Author: Kunal Singh
Modern banking system was introduced into the Muslim countries at a time when they were politically and economically at the lowest ebb in the late 19th century. The main banks in the home countries of the imperial powers established local branches in the capitals of the subject countries and they catered mainly to the import-export requirements of the foreign businesses. The banks were generally confined to the capital cities and the local population remained largely untouched by the banking system. The local trading community avoided the “foreign” banks both for nationalistic as well as religious reasons. However, as time went on it became difficult to engage in trade and other activities without making use of commercial banks. Even then many confined their involvement to transaction activities such as current accounts and money transfers. Borrowing from the banks and depositing their savings with the bank were strictly avoided in order to keep away from dealing in interest which is prohibited by religion.