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Trillion dollar question

Is there any difference between the prevailing conventional banking and Islamic banking? I keep hearing from bankers, even those who were and are still working for Islamic banks, that actually there is no real difference between the two except for some cosmetic ones.

Islamic scholars around the world are still not very clear or unanimous on what 'riba' really is, as is evident by the claims/fatwa of the head of Al Azhar University (Egypt), who claims that conventional banking is not riba-based, whereas many others believe that normal banking is riba-based. What and who to believe is a trillion dollar question, especially when nothing else in the society is purely based on Sharia. Can anyone kindly shed more light on this issue.

Dr Jamal Nasir Memon

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