Sawitri Mardyani holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Toronto and has a keen interest in islamic Finance. She writes about Islamic Finance and other topics at sawitrimardyani.com.
Just a few decades ago, the only way that many Canadian Muslims could get zabiha halal slaughtered meat was to go to a local farm and slaughter it themselves. Today, the availability of halal meat from street food vendors, in supermarkets from brands such as Mina Halal, and franchises like Hero Burgers is a testament to the growth of the halal industry in Canada.
When Mihami Shash started a new job, one of the benefits she was offered was the opportunity to participate in the company’s matched-RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) program. The company had set up a number of investment options that the employees could use to save for retirement and as an incentive to invest in these, the company would match each employee's contributions.
It's not often that God and financial services are mentioned together in one sentence but Iana Financial's mission statement is an exception: "Towards God-centred community financial services, for the common good." Since 2009, the Edmonton, Alberta based organization has provided interest-free loans across Canada and the world to relieve people of the burden of usury and to help them pursue their goals.
Ijara Community Development Corporation (Ijara CDC) is a non-profit corporation which structures Shariah compliant transactions for home buyers in the US and Canada. Since it started operating in the US in 2005 and in Canada in 2008, it has helped thousands purchase homes through Shariah compliant financing contracts.
Despite the Islamic prohibition on interest or riba, many, if not most Muslims have credit cards. While it’s possible to use a credit card and never pay interest by paying off the full credit card balance each month, it doesn’t always work out this way. Any number of situations such as emergencies, unexpected expenses, unstable income or loss of employment can lead people to carry a balance on their card and accrue interest on their debt. From there, getting out of debt can become a very difficult challenge.
Of all the things that observant Muslims try to avoid, interest is the most challenging. It seems impossible to get by in today's world without it. How do you finance your education, buy a home, start a business or get out of a jam when you can't borrow money with interest? What does Islam say about it? Is all interest bad? What is interest for? How does it work? What does it do to people and society?
Whether or not you invest in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), with the March 1 RRSP deadline around the corner, February tends to be the month Canadians talk about investments.
Investments don’t only help your money grow, they are also a good way to keep your money from losing value. Whether we realize it or not, money kept in a chequing account loses value over time due to inflation.
For Canadian Muslims who want to invest in the stock market but don't have the confidence to pick halal stock investments on their own, the choices have always been limited. If you're looking to invest more than a few hundred thousand dollars, you can hire a financial advisor knowledgeable in Shariah compliant investments. If you're investing less than that, you can invest in a halal mutual fund, which charges management fees of 2.5% or more. That's it. So when Wealthsimple announced their Canadian Halal Investing portfolio in August of this year, it was reason to celebrate.
Asking people to trust you to invest their hard earned cash is a challenge in the best of times. Doing that in the wake of a major global financial crisis and asking them to invest in a brand new Shariah compliant mutual fund takes the challenge to a whole other level.
One of the best tools for savings and investment we have in Canada is the Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). You might have received calls or emails from your bank about it or maybe you’re heard about it compared to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP).