The sky is the limit in Islamic finance education

Islamic finance is one of the most important developments that have made progress in the Muslim world in the past few decades. The emergence of Islamic finance traces its roots back to July 1963 when a bank in the Egyptian town of Mit Ghamr was established as a rural savings bank, following which a number of Islamic finance institutions were introduced in the early 1980s. These developments raised the need for talent and human resources in order to maintain the system. Therefore, workshops, seminars and roundtable discussions were dedicated to Islamic finance education, curriculum development, writing textbooks and so on. Special bodies were established to address issues and challenges in Islamic finance education and to bring forth solutions and best practices. All these developments highlight the importance of Islamic finance education.

However, age is not a matter talked about when discussing about Islamic finance issues, subjects or study programs. Being in the Islamic finance teaching line for more than a decade, I never came across the outliers in terms of age. However, my recent move to Turkey opened up a totally different profile of Islamic finance students.

One of my students, Himmet Baskaldirim, is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Islamic economics and finance at KTO Karatay University. Himmet is 61 years old, the oldest among my students and seeing him in the classroom awakened my curiosity to know more about his inspirational drive and to share with IFN readers.

Upon graduating as a first degree student in theology, Himmet was actively involved in business in Turkey and Europe. Having witnessed the financial crises of 1994 and the 2000s, his interest in economics grew. He was inspired to study about Islamic economics and finance through the program promotion by KTO Karatay University which opened for the first intake in the 2016–17 academic year and immediately enrolled himself in the program.

This phenomenon shows that we have a generation who is waiting for Islamic finance education to arrive. Though Himmet is a successful businessman, he is one of my most active and participative students from whom we can learn a lot. His future plan is to continue pursuing the Master’s and PhD programs in Islamic finance.
The main aim in sharing this true story with readers is twofold:

1. To encourage individuals who think that it is too late to take new steps, and

2. To remind our younger generation how important and crucial Islamic finance is for the sustainable growth of Muslim nations, since the protection of wealth and property is equally important as the protection of religion, self, mind and offspring, commonly known as Maqasid Shariah.

Dr Kamola Bayram is an assistant professor at KTO Karatay University, Turkey as well as a project consultant and advisor for project management at the International Council of Islamic Finance Educators. She can be contacted at [email protected]