Thursday, August 10

Book: Islamic Commercial Law: An Analysis of Futures and Options, Mohammad Hashim Kamali Click for more info

Aww. My very first book from Amazon.

Anyway, Islamic Commercial Law is an attempt to bring the concept of futures and options (together called derivatives) under the fold of Islam. This is a pretty tough premise considering how the consensus opinion is that they are pretty much unlawful. Kamali does make some interesting points though - enough at least to make the subject indeterminate rather than absolute. But hey, this is a review, not an Islamic debate.

The book itself is split into three parts, the first of which discusses futures in general; how they work and what they are used for. The second part then argues their Islamic lawfulness from a variety of different angles, most being in defense of the more classic criticisms made against them in recent times. Finally the book talks about options, by both explaining how they work and then by performing a brief Islamic analysis of them.

The explanations of futures and options are a joy to read, with everything set out in a reasonably logical fashion and timely examples were given when particularly complex topics were being explained. My knowledge of futures certainly improved during this first part, and this alone was enough to make the book worth reading.

However, Kamali seems to be able to explain financial concepts much better than the Islamic ones. It's these parts that were the hardest to read (and is why it's taken me so long to get through the book. I had to reread pages many times and was literally put to sleep more than once).

Quite complex terms and ideas are thrown at the reader without any of the consideration given in the other parts. Explanations were muddled and repetitive; at times the author seemed as confused about the subject as I was. I'm not even entirely sure what was concluded by the end of it - it seems slightly contradictory at best.

It's a shame because this is the precise reason anyone would want to read the book. Although very good, the qualitative analysis of derivatives could have been found anywhere, so it was really the Islamic take that made this book unique.

All these issues are probably due to a lack of understanding on my part though, and a another read, possibly after some preliminary study (in the pure sense) of the Islamic principles used by Kamali, might remove some of these problems. So at best this book is only able to open the way to a more broader study, which is understandable given how vast and complex the subject matter is in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. what did i tell you about sticking to interesting blogs shakil?