Sunday, August 2, 2015

Because Islamic Banking and Finance is not my thing

I was scrolling the phone mindlessly when my brother-in-law came and sat on the opposite couch. Only two of us were there in the living room.

Dead silent the atmosphere was, I started off a conversation to break through the cricket's krikk-ing sound after a good topic popped out on my mind. 

He whom I see as someone who earns good money and has better knowledge in Islam than the rest in the house, had just got back home with a new-but-doesn't-quite-look-like-it (read: second-hand) car. So rather than having an empty chat, it slowly headed towards what I prefered it to be - an intellectual discourse. While I was at it, one-line questions were just not enough to shoosh my curiousness away. Hence I deliberately extended the initiated topic to the next level.

Done sentencising my words as I scared it could be of his sensitivities, I carefully asked him why wouldn't he buy a new car when his former second-hand car had costed him big amount of money on maintanence (lots of time I saw him failing to start the engine). Or buy an imported one of which best known for their excellent performance. With his salary, he could easily afford a 6-digit worth of car. But instead, he bought a used Proton by lump sum.

And here were his answers and explanations: 

1) He doesn't want to live a life surrounded by debts. It takes years for middle-class people to settle their today's-must loans - house loan, car loan, study loan and etc. No one knows when they are going to die, so passing a tremendous sum of debts as inheritances to his kids is just as cruel as physically abusing them.

2) He sees no problem with driving a second-hand car. The maintenance issue seems a bit too small to a man who used to work in a workshop in his teenage days. Well he practically knows everything about car. So point 2 is kinda invalid.

3) It is undeniable that he too, has desires on worldly materials. Cool outfits, big cars, luxurious bungalow, etc2. But he wants to keep everything down to earth, so he'd be able to walk looking at his toes. While owning things that make people glance at us twice will toughen our road towards staying humble, he chooses to stay with his 'motor kapcai' from his matric year and still rides it to work. 

4) Last but not least, the subtle involvement with riba' when making loans. Car loans, house loans. You name it all. Unless you are a millionaire, never think of having decent car and house without signing loan's agreement.

So the conversation went on with me questioning him over and over again. Point 4 seemed arguable at that moment, thus I picked him on that. I said, Bank Islam is riba' free so why didn't he? Abah is an ex-manager of Bank Islam, hence explaining on how is Bank Islam safe from interest-based profit making and that how is it different from other conventional banks is something at his very own finger tips.

Previously when being asked, Abah was saying that they charge no interest, rather, they take share of profits. But sadly, I can't totally relate this to paying loans higher than what we were actually lent. Of which my brother-in-law's reply made me ponder upon my life-asset plannings - that loan shall never be made profit out it. You lend RM10, you get back RM10. Sounds seemingly true. But arghhh, how then would the majority middle-class Malaysians be able to own a house and a car while staying free from riba'?

Need to start digging into this further.