SERVICES IN THE
It is important to bear in mind that a perceived need for complex Islamic financial products and services is not in any sense a traditional problem, but one that has been created by the demands of a modern economy. The majority of first generation Muslim immigrants to Britain came from rural areas with very little in the way of formal banking, Islamic or otherwise. The country to which they came, although much more highly developed than Pakistan or Bangladesh, had not yet entered the world of instant international money transfer and round-the-clock globalised stockmarkets in which we live today. In the 1950s and early 1960s, the period of peak immigration, most working-class people were paid in cash, credit cards had not been invented, loans and overdrafts were only available in exceptional circumstances, houses could sometimes be bought without borrowing and investing in the stockmarket was a specialised pastime of the affluent. There was just far less opportunity for questions of riba and gharar to arise.
I make this point to emphasise the fact that the Islamic financial services industry has not developed simply as part of an increased Muslim cultural assertiveness, but because the needs that it supplies have become far more pressing.