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Home arrow Business & Finance arrow The art of RF (riba-free) Islamic banking and finance

THE RF BANKING DISCIPLINE: WHERE DO WE START AND HOW DO WE REALIZE THE DREAM?

A young professional in our community approached us when American finance house LARIBA was started in 1987, as we were pioneering our effort to implement the values of the RF banking and finance system on a small scale. He said, “I respectfully disagree with your attempt to change the order and the seating arrangements on a Titanic-size ship. It will be impossible for LARIBA to do so.” We thought deeply about what he said and we wrote to him, stating, “We agree that changing the seating arrangement on a Titanic-size ship in one shot is of course impossible and is in fact unwise and of course would lead to failure. However, our approach is very humble and simple. ...”

Our approach is to take a very small area on that large ship, ask those who are responsible for the space for their permission to rearrange things without violating their rules and regulations, and offer the rest of the passengers an alternative way of doing things. If we are right, we shall be able to attract more people to notice our new alternative, ask about it, learn more about it, and eventually subscribe to it. This will eventually lead others to change to a better future, as was tested in this pilot experiment. This description is not a pipe dream. It is, in fact, the lesson of history — of all new civilizations and nations, as described to us in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur'aan. All God's prophets started in a small way and grew their base after proving that the new values and systems they were bringing to the community were better. This strategy is articulated in the following sentence, which is used as one of our mottos: “Start from the possible to achieve the impossible.” If we have a good idea that we believe is in great need by the people, and if we are sincere in our efforts to introduce it to the citizens — one individual at a time — we, in this RF Movement, shall capture the imagination of all people in the community and in the world, and they will eventually follow and subscribe to the new RF lifestyle and banking system.

But the question is where to begin? The answer is extremely difficult, and in fact was a big challenge for all of us. Our efforts to start American finance house LARIBA in 1987 and the way we developed it to become a recognized institution in the United States and the world were highlighted in the beginning of the book. Yes, capital is an important ingredient of the process. History has shown repeatedly that money does not make people, but people can earn that money and accumulate capital. Experience has shown that the more important factors are belief and trust in God, imagination, and determination to create a clear image of a better but well-defined future. Most important is to attract people who believe in living a new RF lifestyle and use RF banking concepts and services and to capture the imagination of educated professionals who are willing to learn RF lifestyle and banking, leading them to practice it. Our challenge has been to build the morally and ethically qualified RF team players and leaders of the future of a new RF banking movement. We believe that if we are sincere, patient, and wise in our approach, all else will fall in place by the grace of God and the support of our community as well as the superior results we achieve.

 
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