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Beyond DebtIslamic Experiments in Global Finance$
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Daromir Rudnyckyj

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226551920

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226552118.001.0001

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Consuming Form, Investing in Substance

Consuming Form, Investing in Substance

(p.150) Chapter Six Consuming Form, Investing in Substance
Beyond Debt

Daromir Rudnyckyj

University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes how experts often compared Islamic finance to the halal food industry and commented on the fact that while Malaysians were fastidious about observing culinary prohibitions, they were much less diligent about conforming to financial ones. The chapter argues that Malaysia’s Islamic finance project has made the economy a domain in which debates over the propriety of Islamic practice are conducted. It details how these experts compare the prohibition against interest (riba) to restrictions on the consumption of meat that is not slaughtered according to proper religious prescriptions. I illustrate how Islamic finance is riven by questions over the extent to which compliance with economic directives in Islam’s key texts, the Qur’an and the hadiths, is necessary to proper religious comportment. The chapter argues that the apparent paradox between inattention to Islam in economic action and hyper-attention in dietary practice is rooted in the relative complexity of the practices of creating halal financial products as opposed to halal food, and uncertainty about the Islamicity of Islamic finance stemming from widespread criticism that it is “not really Islamic.”

Keywords:   halal food, religious practice, ethics, development strategy, fractional reserve system, maqasid al shariah, social justice

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