Artificial Intelligence (AI) through the Lens of Islamic Economics – IV

Text analysis may be useful, for instance, for a waqf organization to know what the neighborhood feels about the public goods (education, healthcare, orphan care etc.) it provides. An association of zakat organizations in a country concerned about a high rate of “donor attrition” may feel the need for a “feel-good analysis” of donors. A…

Artificial Intelligence (AI) through the Lens of Islamic Economics – III

When a poor and needy individual (faqir/ miskeen) is wrongly classified as non-poor and deprived of zakat (a case of false-negative) or a rich is wrongly classified as poor and receives zakat (a case of false-positive), it involves ethical dilemmas of varying order. Of course, there are in-built mechanisms within the classification models to address…

Artificial Intelligence (AI) through the Lens of Islamic Economics – II

Algorithms are essential building blocks of AI. In this blog I introduce the notions of data, algorithms and machine learning against the backdrop of the zakat and Islamic micro finance sectors. A few responses to my introductory blog on AI seemed to suggest a good-natured attempt to confer human-ness on Sophia. Some wondered (in a…

Artificial Intelligence (AI) through the Lens of Islamic Economics – I

Intelligence, intellect, rationality may be subsumed under the notion of Aql in Islamic economics. However, when intelligence is artificial, it raises new issues and challenges. This is the first in a series of blogs that touches upon this issue and sets the stage for further discussion on application of AI in Islamic finance. Let me…

Kafalah (Guarantee) for Shariah-compliant SMEs in the UK

Kafalah (guarantee) is assurance, its original meaning relates to joining and commitment. Technically Muslim jurists differed about the definition of guarantee. The majority of Hanafis defined it as joining the debts or material assets. The second definition of theirs: joining the liability of the warrant or to the liability of the principal for a debt.…

Fighting Covid-19 with Sadaqah & Faith

The numbers are scary. As we write this, there are four and a quarter hundred thousand humans reported to be affected by the pandemic Covind-19. The number of deaths are fast approaching the twenty-thousand figure world-wide. No one can predict where these numbers are headed. Mankind has never faced a challenge of this magnitude during…

Developing a Waqf System in the UK

By Mufti Billal Omarjee, Certified Waqf Professional (CeWP), IIIBF. As we are out of Europe, and with the rise of populism and the far-right support across the UK and Europe, and with the recent attacks by so called Muslim jihadists in the West, it has become imperative for the British Muslims to start thinking of…

Blockchains through the Lens of Islamic Economics

Verifiability, traceability, immutability, validation through consensus, sharing through network, inter-generational distribution - attributes and concepts common to block chain methodology have a root in Islamic scholarship. The “chain” played a significant role in shaping the contours of Islamic economics, by creating the authenticated and tamper-proof records of the words of God and the words and…

The Issue of Anonymity in Digital Zakat

Identity brings in many benefits in the context of zakat distribution (as underlined in my earlier blog). Lack of identity or anonymity on the part of the beneficiaries is certainly not desirable. It should be obvious that a digital environment makes it possible for the zakat organization to collect many types of personal data. Zakat…

The Issue of Identity in Digital Distribution of Zakat

My last blog ended on a note that digitizing zakat payments to beneficiaries would be more efficient, as compared to payments involving hard cash or in-kind payments, by avoiding costs related to leakages, fraud and ensuring greater accountability. This comes with a few qualifiers, however. We assume that the technology and infrastructure is there. And…