The Journey Continues

Praise be to Allah for His mercy and guidance. May peace and blessings of Allah be on Prophet Muhammad s.a.w., his household and companions.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to INCEIF for giving me the honorable opportunity to deliver this speech on behalf of our graduates this year. I am honored and humbled to be in the company of many capable talents who are driven in the pursuit of knowledge in Islamic finance.

To me, INCEIF has given us a wonderful learning experience as a blessing from Allah swt. INCEIF has not only provided us with academic knowledge but also equipped us with a set of skills and expertise that can be applied in the Islamic finance industry, InshaAllah. More importantly, the multi-disciplinary approach has opened our mind and convinced us that any kind of knowledge in this world should be driven by values in Islam.

I would like to emphasize on the fact that implementing values is not an easy task. Let me bring forward one of the rapidly growing trends in the global financial environment, which is sustainability finance, strongly driven by value-based system of ‘ESG’, Environmental, Social, and Governance. This industry has remarkably grown up to 33 trillion US$ assets (486% since 1995), and the United Nations has supported this initiative to the appeal of many stakeholders globally. Meanwhile, Islamic finance industry has also shown tremendous growth and reach to USD1.7 trillion, and its stakeholders are predominantly confined to Muslim-majority countries. We believe that Islam brings its own distinctive value system for the benefit of humanity. Now the questions arise in our mind, if social inclusion is one of the values of Islam, shouldn’t be that Islamic finance is at the forefront of micro- and SME finance? If transparency is a core value proposition, shouldn’t be that Islamic finance takes a leadership in governance practices? If preserving the earth is the value, shouldn’t be that environment serves as one of key criteria in Islamic financial decision making? If risk sharing serves as the core activity, shouldn’t be that Islamic finance becomes a main reference of best practices in equity finance?

It is true that Islamic banks were initially established to provide an alternative of riba for Muslims. But from what we have learned from INCEIF, we believe that there are also distinctive values of Islamic finance that can make the world better, appealing to both Muslims and non-Muslims. This graduation is only the beginning of our journey, where some of us will serve as academicians, regulators, or practitioners. By instilling those values that we embedded into our heart, it will keep us on a continuous learning path towards the betterment of knowledge, behavior and society. We need to continue to shape Islamic finance together with these values, bounded with our faith, from which a beautiful akhlaq is manifested in the most intrinsic and meaningful way.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to The Honourable Chancellor, Tan Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz and the family of INCEIF. For all professors, there really are no words to express gratitude for all they did. Many of them are role models and made a huge difference in our lives. We are also very grateful to our parents, spouse, children and friends for their support and do’a. To this end, we would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to Bank Negara Malaysia, for its commitment to Islamic finance industry and the development of human capital. Malaysia has taken the global leadership for the advancement of Islamic finance, which also include halal economy, sustainability, and risk sharing. Our contributions, as the next generation, depend on how we can expand further the frontier of Islamic finance in the future.

We should not forget the blessings from Allah swt for our progress. Let us always pray that may Allah swt continue His Blessings to INCEIF in spreading the knowledge of Islamic finance.

“Subhanaka Allâhuma wa bihamdika.  Ash-hadua lâ ilaha illa Anta. Astaghfiruka wa atuubo ilaik.”

By Asst. Prof. Dr Ginanjar Dewandaru

 

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