Following God’s Rules for Sustainable World

Following God’s Rules for Sustainable World

When entering a new market or a new country, it is essential to find out the rules of business, get to know the culture in the country and the nature of the population. However, understanding a new culture is not easy, especially if it is based on completely different rules. Just taking the effort to understand the customs and respect for traditions are signs of a real interest in cooperation.

 

By respecting traditions, we also show respect for people. However, in order to accept the rules of the country, we must know them. It was my great honor to respectfully open for discussion the topic of Sharia with Mr. Abdulaziz Alsharikh, Senior Sharia Auditor in Investment group in Kuwait. 

 

Sharia means, “the clear, well-trodden path to water”. Islamically, it is used to refer to the matters of religion that God has legislated for His servants. The linguistic meaning of ‘Sharia’ reverberates in its technical usage: just as water is vital to human life, so the clarity and uprightness of Sharia is the means of life for souls and minds.

 

Sharia law acts as a code for living that all Muslims should adhere to, including prayers, fasting and donations to the poor. It aims to help Muslims understand how they should lead every aspect of their lives according to God’s wishes.

 

Le Globless: Abdulaziz Alsharikh, you are Senior Sharia Auditor at Investment Group. What does this really mean? In the Islamic world, Sharia law plays a huge role. Can you please explain to a layman what Sharia is?

Mr. Abdulaziz Alsharikh:

This life, then, is a journey that presents to its wayfarers many paths. Only one of these paths is clear and straight. This path is the Sharia. The Sharia regulates all human actions and puts them into five categories: obligatory; recommended; permitted; disliked; or forbidden.

Sharia rules are often divided into four categories : 

laws relating to personal acts of worship; laws relating to commercial dealings; laws relating to marriage and divorce; and penal laws.

The whole principle of  Shari’ah is to apply God’s will on earth, which is to bring about compassion, kindness, generosity, justice, fair play, tolerance, and care in general; as opposed to tyranny, cruelty, selfishness, exploitation etc. All the rules of Sharia are orientated towards those ends.

Therefore Sharia promotes ethical finance and high corporate governance standards

And regarding our shariah compliant company, We are a holding company which consists of several companies and my job is to do the auditing for the whole group; the only difference is that during the audits I do not follow secular laws, but Sharia.

We have clear rules that govern our work. These are simple rules for making financial transactions according to Sharia. For example, a bank in a Muslim country cannot lend you money to make a profit. Which means that you will only return to the bank what you borrow without profit. Our religion forbids us from lending money for profit.

Sharia law allows investment in company shares (common stock) as long as those companies do not engage in forbidden activities. Investment in companies may be in shares, or by direct types of investment (private equity).

Le Globless: Some areas of Sharia overlap with the Western notion of law, while others correspond more broadly to living life in accordance with God’s will. What is the main difference between European law and Sharia law?

Mr. Abdulaziz Alsharikh:

European law and Sharia are not comparable. Yes, maybe there is something similar.

Sharia is constantly evolving. We have to keep our minds open, constantly learning and reading, because life is progressing fast and without the right rules and guidelines, neither business nor life would have order and rules.

Sharia is a helper in matters of the proper and decent closing of deals. Islam shows that you must not ask for interest from anyone to whom you lend money.

Investing also has its rules. When investing, you do not have a pre-agreed percentage of profit. You share the profit, as well as the loss. You can agree on approximate percentages, but it must never be given exactly, because both investors bear the risk of entering the business.

Sharia leads to decent business in Muslim countries and directs private and professional life. When you invest money in Sharia, different rules apply than when you invest on the stock exchange. Everything must be pure, clear, and obey the Laws sent by God. It is absolutely natural for me and this should be the same for a business partner. The main difference between Western law and Sharia, is that Sharia is governed by God’s laws, not secular ones.

 

Le Globless: We can understand the Qur’an on many levels; we can read it, penetrate it, or feel it completely and perceive it as an absolute matter of course. Is it the same with Sharia?

Mr. Abdulaziz Alsharikh:

The Qur’an comes from Arab countries and there are many different translations and interpretations. When you need to translate or explain something, you take an explanation from the hadiths to the verses. You have to be clear about what you hear and feel. Everyone understands the Qur’an differently, because there are not two people in this world who understand it in the same way.

“But I’m sure the feeling of the verses is the same. Beautiful, pure, as if the words of God were passing through your whole being. Whether you understand the words of the Qur’an or not, the feeling is the same. I’m sure of that. You don’t have to do anything, just listen to everything important that you feel; I’m sure you will. These are pure words from the One God and the only truth.”

The words of God in the Quran came from more than 1500 years ago and still work. It is a book that cannot be changed. To help you understand, there are many helpful books that explain this exactly:

  1. What does each verse in the Qur’an mean? 2. Under what circumstances was Mohammed sent by God? 3. Why did the verses come? 4. What is included in these verses? so that we understand correctly. Islam came for all people, not just Arab countries. The Qur’an and Sharia can never be fully known; there is still something to study and learn.

Le Globless: Sharia is governed by the Qur’an, which means that you probably know the Qur’an in the smallest possible detail. How long do you need to devote yourself to such a demanding study?

Mr. Abdulaziz Alsharikh:

All life is a path of knowledge, there are an incredible number of amazing books that explain the Qur’an. There are also a huge number of amazing books that talk about Sharia. It directs work life as well as private life and there is still something to learn. It’s about how to manage our lives properly, according to the simple rules that apply in both business and privacy.

There are five different schools of Sharia law. There are four Sunni doctrines: Hanbali, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanafi, and one Shia doctrine, Shia Jaafari. The five doctrines differ in how literally they interpret the texts from which Sharia law is derived.

The Sharia regulates all human actions and puts them into five categories: obligatory; recommended; permitted; disliked; or forbidden.

“When you need to find the right path, stand in the middle; don’t listen to everything others tell you. You will see that in the most natural way, you will find it. The right path will show you by itself, naturally and clearly, completely clear. The Qur’an speaks of information that could not be known to the people at the time it was heard. Some information in the Qur’an has not yet been clarified. This information is not from people, because real knowledge comes from God.

In the Qur’an, you will find guidance for everything for investing, for knowledge, for health, mind and life. There is an answer to all questions. It is simply our faith that we live every day. That is our faith.”

We want to do the best we can according to our faith. Faith is about small details, about customs whose observance faith strengthens. How can you walk the right path when you don’t have the right direction? It is simply not possible. Man is a mischievous creature, and the rules from our God, who wants only the best for us and wants to make everything easier for us, help us.

Le Globless: Can you tell us more about investments and Sharia?

Mr. Abdulaziz Alsharikh:

Sharia moderates the style of investing. Other rules apply to commodities and trading and other rules cover loans in banks or investing in projects.

Sharia Finance Standards direct all financial transactions in Islam, because Islamic rules are divided into main rules and smaller rules. It is very easy for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It’s just about financial rules.

Le Globless: Is it necessary to know Sharia when entering Arab countries?

Mr. Abdulaziz Alsharikh:

Every single country on the Arabian Peninsula is very similar; we are all like one nation, yet we are all on one peninsula.

A simple example is that, according to our rules, we must help poor people; it is our duty. Islam shows us to give a dose of Zakat, which is 2.5% of our profits, which are paid once a year. It serves to support the poor and people who have problems. For faith, we take money from rich people to help the poor endure their poverty.

In Arab countries, every person is considered rich whose annual income exceeds $ 2,000. We have 5 kinds of poor people to whom money is donated; the money can also be used to help non-Muslims who find themselves in need. Thus, for example, we used the funds during the Covid pandemic for people who stayed in our country and did not have the money to return home. Their governments did not want to help them. We helped them for the rules of faith, not for the law.

Le Globless: Leader skills, Leaders …What do you think the Leader looks like?

Mr. Abdulaziz Alsharikh:

The leader of the field must be honest and very fair. If these two properties have other properties they are like benefits. The leader must know and understand the situation, not take too many risks or be afraid of the risk.

And yes, become a good leader? Follow God’s rules and people will follow you. If a leader has good people around him, everything he will do at work and in his country will be very good.

If the leader is right and the people around him are not good, things will not work properly and easily. We have chosen our leader and he is a really great person but he also needs to have great and strong people around him.

Le Globless: Preparation is very important for starting a business in a new country, and this preparation lies in understanding. In understanding the culture, rules, faith, traditions of the country. How do you want to do business with people you don’t know?

Without respect, reverence and a dose of humility which is absolutely necessary when starting a business relationship, all the more so when it comes to cultural differences between countries. To create a successful and mutually beneficial business, we need to know the rules we follow because they talk about what kind of people we are. Thank you very much for a beautiful entry into Sharia law as well as a sincere, humble and cordial conversation full of strong faith in God. Mr. Abdulaziz Alsharikh, my great honor and respect for your work and your person.

Thank you for the beautiful words.

Throughout history, God has sent messengers to people all over the world, to guide them to the straight path that would lead them to happiness in this world and the one to follow. All messengers taught the same message about belief (the Qur’an teaches that all messengers called people to the worship of the One God), but the specific prescriptions of the divine laws regulating people’s lives varied according to the needs of his people and time.

 

The Prophet Muhammad (God bless him and give him peace) was the final messenger and his Sharia represents the ultimate manifestation of the divine mercy.

Ivanka Vierikova
Ivanka Vierikova
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