Dr. Sahitya represents the senior presence in the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC) under the aegis of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
Dr(CA) Sahitya K. Chaturvedi, Chartered Accountant – India, England & Wales, Islamic Finance & Commerce (CIMA), Phd is a leading business professional in Dubai with a global portfolio in finance, economics, money market, and business leadership backed by deep knowledge of Islamic Banking and Halal financing. He has astute expertise backed by 19 years of international experience across myriad business categories of Luxury, FMCG, Real Estate, Education, Medicine and Investments. Presently associated with Ajmal Perfumes in Dubai since 2007, with key responsibilities of Finance in retail operations across 240 outlets globally. Prior to Ajmal, have worked with Khimji Ramdas Group of Oman and also with Reliance Industries in India.
Living in Dubai for over a decade, Dr. Sahitya represents the senior presence in the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC) under the aegis of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industries. He bagged several awards and recognitions in retail, manufacturing, supply chain, real estate, banking and law. In conversation with Asian Lite Dubai’s Iqbal Azeez. Excerpts:
What attract you to study Islamic finance after acquiring the coveted qualification as a chartered accountant?
Islam teaches mankind to fulfil obligations, to record in writing, and observe the proper measurement without committing any fraud. The computation and payment of Zakat, an obligatory practice in Islam is the primary attraction. That prompted me to attract Islamic and Sharia complied finance. I personally believe the unique Islamic principles and faith-based practices in Sharia-compliant commerce are socially significant and economically important for a society to maintain balanced chemistry among the stakeholders of business and consumers in general.
Secondly, I was inspired by the operating principles of my organisation (Ajmal Perfumes Group) which operates in more than 50 countries. Our network of 256 retail stores and manufacturing plants is proudly complied with Islamic Finance practices and follows halal principles in all its business dealing and serving the community.
How do you differentiate Islamic finance from conventionally practiced banking and finance systems?
The history of Islamic commerce begins with the revelation of the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which contains legal principles and injections dealing with subjects such as ritual, marriage, divorce, succession, commercial transactions, and penal laws. It is a belief held by religion that absolute ownership belongs to Almighty Allah and man as servant and vicegerent to act in trust in administering wealth in a just and equitable manner.
The Islamic Financial System eliminates the interest and probabilities in the commerce contrary to the conventional financial system. But, establishes the common goal of achieving the same economic benefits as conventional finance offers to society. In advocating the form of economic activities under Islam, trade is encouraged, usury is prohibited, and acquisition of wealth should be achieved through lawful means that promote mutual consent and goodwill. It is termed Shariah-compliance, to ensure that the financial activities of the institution meet the requirements of Shariah Principals and rules prescribed in the Holy Quran and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
There are Islamic Banks in the GCC and other countries. How are they regulated in regards to the standards of accounting, administration, and quality of transactions to the satisfaction of international consumers?
Firstly, the banking and insurance in all the countries are regulated by the laws and legislation of the respective country, and additionally, the International Professional Institutions such as AAOIFI (Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions), IFSB (Islamic Financial Services Board). Internal Shariah Control Systems (ISCS) do prescribe and recognize the quality standards, guidelines, and best practices that are globally accepted.
Though interest-free banking is a unique concept in International Finance Industry yet its acceptance is rapidly growing in the UAE followed by GCC & MENA, Malaysia followed by eastern countries, and the UK lead in European territories and America. In the UK, although Islamic banking remains a fraction of the overall banking sector but is expanding five times as fast as the traditional market. The government of India is also conducting the research work for introducing the same and inviting international investments.
What is the emerging trend in interest-free banking and Islamic Commerce?
In the phase the of post-Covid struggle, Islamic finance has attained a multinational and multi-disciplinary emerging industry, representing more than 1% of the global financial markets at the size of $3 trillion and targeting to become $10 trillion. Their presence is visible in key sectors including halal food, fashion, cosmetics, medical, tourism, media, blockchain, insurance, and capital markets.
The GCC is expected to be one of the key drivers in the expansion of Islamic finance. In addition to the banking support, the platforms provided by Dubai Islamic Financial Center, NASDAQ Dubai, and Abu Dhabi Security Exchange are promoting Sukuk at the growing rate of 21% annually.
It can be wondering to believe but are evident from the facts that financial products like Sukuk, Mudarbah, Musharaka, Karj Hasan, Mubadala, Takkaful, and many more likes are thriving at the fastest growth rate in the modern age while following the ancient principals of thousands of years i.e.
1. Timeliness of payment of debt or delivery of an asset,
2. Tolerance in terms of bargaining by considering each other’s requirements and circumstances,
3. Mutual revocation of a contract on request of one party, it finds uncomfortable.
4. Honesty or Amanah in all statements, representations, and warranties.
5. Uncertainty (Gharar) and interest (Riba) are prohibited by Shariah.