Monday, December 19, 2011


The electronic banner at the main door of the Conference hall

The 8th ICIEF has started today at the Qatar National Convention Centre. I met many old friends and made many new friends from all the world, Alhamdulillah. Many pioneers of Islamic economics and Islamic banking and finance too are here.

Interestingly, there are also many scholars from Malaysia, in particular from International Islamic University, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi MARA, etc, apart from us from Universiti Sains Malaysia, combining both the lecturers and graduate students. In fact, according to Dr Tariqullah Khan of the Organizing Committee, the Academic Committee found it difficult to choose papers from Malaysia because of the high number, about 40 papers altogether, in balancing with the other regions. The Malaysian presentations, based on many creative and innovative researches too were very impressive, entailing with a high praise from the other scholars.

Conference in progress
However, concentration on this Conference seems to be more on the Islamic banking and finance rather than on the Islamic economics. It is a fact that Islamic banking and finance has grown drastically through an avenue that seems to be gradually detaching from the Islamic economics itself.

Listening to panel speakers
How far this is true is of course as yet to be confirmed. It could be an interesting aspect to be researched. But Prof Volker Nienhaus in a private conversation with me relates the situation to the need of the market which necessitates technical ability rather than philosophical understanding. In short, if Prof Nienhaus is right, Islamic economics has grown within the mould of the conventional market rather than from the mould of Islamic doctrines. Could it be so?

The arriving hall of the Qatar National Convention Centre, where the 8thCIC IC is held
With Professor Volker Nienhaus of Germany, currently Visiting Professor, Faculty of Islamic Studies, Qatar University (on my right)
With Professor Zubair Hassan of INCEIF
With Associate Professor Shinsuke Nagaoka of Japan, who was together with me at IRTI, Jeddah, last year (on my right)
Concurrent session in progress
Private conversation with Dr Muhammad Umar Chapra of the Advisor of IRTI, IDB
The conference on the first day lasted at about 5.30 pm. After a brief return to our hotel, we took a taxi to Qatar city centre to have a dinner at a Bukhari Rice restaurant. The price of a plate of Bukhari Rice is QR22 (about RM22). There were a lot of foreigners. We did not really feel that we are in an Arabic country. Modernization and a high cost of living has conquered Qatar. The night before, the dinner that has been treated by Muhammad Yasir's brother at our hotel costed him QR699. However, Qatar is peaceful, with wide (six lanes) roads and clean city, though sometimes troubled by traffic jams.

Dinner - Nasi Bukhari


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