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Heaven's Bankers: Inside the Hidden World of Islamic Finance by [Irfan, Harris]
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Heaven's Bankers: Inside the Hidden World of Islamic Finance Kindle Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Length: 368 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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"A primer on Islamic finance and its vexed relation to the global economy. An intriguing look at the possibilities for modern financial instruments that aren't traditionally Western in design." --"Publishers Weekly"

"In the aptly titled "Heaven's Bankers: Inside the Hidden World of Islamic Finance," Harris Irfan weaves together personal anecdotes with explanations of some of the crucial aspects of the subject and its controversies...The banker deserves praise for a well-written book. The occasional personal stories and color are a welcome touch that enliven the subject...Conventional bankers will find it a superb introduction to a fascinating subject." "Los Angeles Times"
"His message ought to be recited by bankers of every creed." "Wall Street Journal"
"[Irfan's] book, "Heaven s Bankers: Inside the Hidden World of Islamic Finance," gives a fine account of some the groundbreaking transactions that opened up the industry and made it more competitive with conventional banking..."Heaven s Bankers" provides a good introduction to the possible benefits of and the existing challenges faced by Islamic financing, and elucidates some of the more interesting stories behind its development." "Global Finance Magazine"
"A primer on Islamic finance and its vexed relation to the global economy. An intriguing look at the possibilities for modern financial instruments that aren t traditionally Western in design." "Publishers Weekly""

A superb introduction to a fascinating subject.

[Irfan's] message ought to be recited by bankers of every creed.

Irfan tells the story of high jinks and deceitful behaviour with great relish.

Irfan's book is nothing short of a national treasure...[it] should be required reading for all students.

Heaven's Bankers...will become a major primary source for historians and financiers in researching and understanding this fascinating area.

Book Description

A journey inside the hidden world of Islamic finance, from one of the world's leading Islamic finance bankers.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 977 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (24 July 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AN2KTM4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #305,639 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Hardcover
In general, books on such specialist subjects as Islamic finance are over academic at best and and incomprehensible at worst. This book is different. Using a well paced narrative style, it attempts and largely succeeds in making this subject very readable to the interested layman as well as those in the banking profession. It traces a fascinating history of the origin of Islamic finance in the 7th century passing through the golden age of Islam along the way and more recent experiments. The author is quite critical of the way Western banks have jump on the bandwagon and jumped off again whilst trying to circumvent ethical considerations for the sake of short term profit. Despite such chapter titles such as 'The Doomsday Fatwa' and 'The Great Vampire Squid Arrives', the author clearly believes in the validity of a system where ethics and fair dealing come first and is hopeful for a more innovative future. Five stars for readability.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Where to start?

This book was not as i expected. I had assumed it would be a more technical look at Islamic finance, e.g the rules, the products, the pro and cons and costs and benefits etc.

It is not that, and indeed it is clear it never could be, as the way IF (Islamic Finance) works is much more flexible that a list of rules and those that give it the stamp of approval are clearly not working to hard and fast rules.

As a result this book is a mix of technical, biography and history...and is all the better for it.

If you would like some real insight and thought provoking content the i highly recommend this book
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Format: Hardcover
I was given Heaven’s Bankers to read as a friend. I can’t say I had thought that much about Islamic finance before. I knew that it had a couple of patches of ‘heat’ behind it in the banking sector. One was in the late 1990s. It then took a back seat post-911 and took off again as Dubai boomed.

It helps that Harris was not only an insider, but passionate about banking in its widest sense. He’s also sickening polymath who is a top flight racing driver.

Irfan delves into the intricacies of how modern Islamic finance grew and contracted. The industry he provides us an inside view of is now worth a trilliion dollars. The start of history like most things were pretty straight forward. As the industry grew more arcane and complex financial instruments became the norm. This reminded me of a lot of Mark Lewis’ Liar’s Poker. Lewis dealt with bonds and modern derivatives became so complex customers didn’t understand them. The Savings and Loans debacle of 1985–1996 foreshadowed subprime mortgages.

Where Irfan really excels for the non-banker as reader is in his ability to break down the basics. He takes the concepts many of us learned in business or economics classes back into pre-medieval history. He provides a historical perspective on modern capitalism as we know it. So the book becomes invaluable regardless of how you feel about the current economic system. The background gives you a more informed perspective.
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Format: Paperback
A very well written book

... pitched at the right technical level - intelligent, witty and by an author with a social conscience who is perhaps living and working in a moral contradiction in what is a despicable industry. I have spent six years in Islamic Finance and understand the dilemma faced by Shariah academics trying to bolt on a conventional western banking model on their understanding of "Islam". I cannot get over the moronic terminology "Diminishing musharaka" ..the addition of ..ic..to Islam..and then of course "Islamic products"...as if what is being sold is something tangible or real, like a book or a chair. I wonder what a prophet of Allah would make of "structured financial products" ..the creation of an SPV in a Sukuk structure.....the apparent wisdom of distinguishing something that is shariah based over shariah compliant. Dollars for scholars (La illa ha dollar) The problem unfortunately lies in looking at Riba in isolation and assuming that it is usury and nothing else.

Nevertheless a great read by a very bright chap. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
The best book on the subject of Islamic Finance I’ve read as yet! It is at once a gripping insider account of the rise of this nascent industry and also a very accessible guide for practitioners on the various structures employed in some landmark transactions. As a practitioner myself, the challenge of devising arcane and often complex structures to satisfy Shari’a requirements is a source of regular frustration but it’s important to remember the most critical insight from the book: that Islamic Finance is not merely about avoiding interest-based lending. Harris argues instead that the essence of Islamic Finance is in fact its connection to the real economy and to real assets. True adherence to Shari’a principles will therefore avoid the worst excesses committed by Wall Street banks in the build-up to the financial crisis.

For a book tackling an enormously complex topic, it is surprisingly very accessible and eminently readable for laymen. The narrative is gripping and at times focuses on personalities and motivations of the rainmakers of the industry, reminiscent of Liar’s Poker or Barbarians at the Gate, but unlike those books, Heaven’s Bankers does offer a vision for the future.
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