Addressing the two-day international conference “Religion in Business” held at Punjab University (PU) Lahore, the speakers have said that various successful business models prove that if business is adapted according to Sharia, the poverty level can be brought down manifold and the economy of the country can be strengthened.

The international conference was organized by Punjab University Hailey College of Commerce (HCC) in collaboration with Sheikh Zayed Islamic Center, Institute of Islamic Studies, private Islamic banks and other institutions. In the opening session of the conference, eminent religious scholar Allama Dr Raghib Hussain Naimi, head of Jamia Naeemia Lahore, Dean Faculty of Commerce Professor Dr Zulfiqar Ahmed Bora, former Chief Manager of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Chaudhry Munir Ahmed, Dr Umar from Turkey, researchers from various universities, teachers and students participated.

Addressing the event, Allama Raghib Hussain Naimi said that the principle of honesty should be observed in any business as Islam forbids cheating in business. He said that Allah has given the tidings of a severe punishment to those who occupy someone’s land through unfair means. He said that selling a file of a plot whose number and location is not known is haram. He said that any land that is being sold should have its exact whereabouts, possession and other basic information known to the purchaser. He said that if the construction of a house or flat is to be started at a place, that house or flat can be bought in installments, but it is forbidden to sell it on a profit before taking possession of it. He said that until the scholars do not discuss economic issues in their talks, people would not be able to distinguish between halal and haram in business.

Chaudhry Munir Ahmad said that the economic system of Islam dominated the world for 400 years and the Islamic dinar had the same status as the dollar enjoys today. He said that Islam gave system of Zakat, system of free market economics and fair sharing of surplus economic value. He said that communism itself collapsed in the effort of managing the surplus economic value created in the process of production. He said that Madina economics through its faith-based morality does not allow trade/business to convert in theft.

College Principal Professor Dr Zulfikar Ahmed Bora said that it is important to take guidance from Islam in all aspects of economy because Islam guides us to run businesses/economic affairs with honesty and integrity. He thanked the Institute of Islamic Studies and Sheikh Zayed Islamic Center and said that their research on the most important aspects of economy and businesses has provided comprehensive guidelines.

Ali Ahmed Siddiqui said that Islam has defined what is forbidden and what is allowed in business. He said that ethics were an essential part of any business. He said that the awareness of halal and haram should be raised while teaching business studies among students. Mufti Qutbuddin said that Islamic banks have proved that interest-free banking is possible and according to the recent report of State Bank, Islamic banks have achieved 20 percent market share.

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Arsalan Haider is a reporter at Academia Mag and has worked with leading national dailies and news channels. He tweets @arsalanhaider14

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