Sources of Shari'ah Financial planning

L. Yulyandi Arnakim

Sources of Shari'ah Financial planning

.. L. Yulyandi Arnakim
      

Financial Planning in the conventional sense is an effort to render professional service to individuals, their families and their businesses, to provide impartial assistance in analyzing and organizing financial affairs in order to achieve financial and lifestyle goals. It would involve the process of determining life goals, gathering relevant financial information, examining current financial status and later proposing a strategy and plan to handle the current situation. The crux of a financial planning practice is the planning itself then the implementation of the plan and the monitoring of it. Being attributed by shari'ah, this process should be embedded with Islamic values and principles. Thus this paper attempts to delineate the sources of shari'ah financial planning, which include revelation and reality.
Shari'ah or Islamic way of life is based on the qur'an and sunnah. These bases are everlasting sources of guidance for Muslims life. The qur'an as word of Allah sent down upon the prophet Muhammad, through the Angle Gabriel, in its precise meaning and wording (the Arabic language), transmitted to us by numerous persons (tawatur) both verbally and in writing, is not only talking about Muslims' daily ritual worship, but it contains all aspects of human life. It consists of Allah's instructions for human being in order to maintain and achieve their life goal in this world and hereafter.
The qur'an is not word of the prophet, but it is Allah's word, as He says "Your companion (Muhammad SAW) has neither gone astray nor has erred. Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. It is only a divine revelation revealed unto him." (53:2-4).
The qur'an was sent down to the prophet gradually during his life in two places namely Mecca and Madinah, which later on became the attributes of the verses: Meccan and Madinan verses. The Qur'anic verses sent down in Mecca during the first part of the Prophet-hood mainly center on Islamic creed such as Oneness of Allah and mission of the prophet which constitute primary element of the Islamic worldview. The later verses sent down during the Prophet-hood in Madinah contain rules and laws such as conduct of state, conduct of family life and relations among Muslims and between Muslims and non-Muslims which constitute the Islamic way of life.
Sunnah as what was transmitted on the authority of the prophet saw, his saying, deeds, tacit approval, or description on his feature (his physical appearance), has put the first source into the reality. In other words, the second source of shari'ah financial planning is in fact the implementation, and deliberation of the former source. It is through hadith or sunnah, the qur'an was being implemented and practiced. Otherwise it remains ideal, holistic principles. In addition, sunnah like the first source, legislates laws that were silent or not displayed in the qur'an. Sunnah has been recognized as the second source of shari'ah by the first source, in which Allah says, ""And whatsoever the Prophet (Muhammad SAW) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it), and fear God. Verily, God is Severe in punishment." (59:7). And Allah again authorizes the sunnah as the second source after the qur'an as mentioned in the various verses, as He says, "He who obeys the Prophet (Muhammad SAW), has indeed obeyed Allah, but he who turns away, then we have not sent you (O Muhammad SAW) as a watcher over them." (4:80)
These constitute the primary and pivotal sources of Shari'ah financial planning. However the principles and values that are highlighted in the above sources, cannot be implemented at least, we understand and know the reality of the market. This is what the so-called "financial instruments" or available and existing means of achieving the life goal. Therefore the next thing as a shari'ah financial planner should know, is what ever related to all information of available instruments and means in the financial market. Afterwards, the shari'ah financial planners should look into them from the Islamic perspective. In integrating the values that are prescribed in the qur'an and sunnah on one hand and financial instruments on the other, they have to put them into the implementation based on available market. In this case, they should make ijtihad (interpret and apply the Islamic laws) using prescribed methods or the so called "secondary sources" such qiyas, istihsan, istislah, and the like to evaluate the existing financial instruments from the Islamic perspective. These instruments may need to be adjusted or abandoned if they are not in line with the Islamic principles.
The secondary sources of shari'ah financial planning include those methods and procedures employed by Muslim scholars to comprehend and operationalize the principles and values as contained in the qur'an and sunnah. These include: Qiyas (analogical deduction) Istihsan (jurist preferences), Istislah (consideration of public good) Istishab (continuance or performance) and 'Urf (custom or usages that are not contradicting with shari'ah). A previous ijtihad of an individual or a group may arrive at the consensus of the learned Muslim scholars of the Muslim community and thus at the status of Ijma'. In this case Ijma (consensus of the Muslim scholars on Islamic laws) is also considered as one of the secondary sources of shari'ah.
In this regard, Public Mutual Berhad, one of outstanding financial institutions, appointed the shari'ah advisers to render the advice and ensure the islamicity of her Islamic funds. Presently the company has successfully and professionally established three competitive products known as Public Islamic Equity Fund, Public Islamic Bond Fund and Public Ittikal Fund.
In conclusion, shari'ah financial planning basically covers two interrelated things: end and means. The qur'an and sunnah perfectly guide human being to set and achieve the end as reflected in Allah saying, "And when the prayer is finished, then you may disperse through the land, and seek of the bounty of Allah; and celebrate the praises of Allah often (and without stint); that you may prosper (Falah)" (62:10). However, in translating this verse into the implementation as means to achieve end, the other secondary sources and the surrounding should be taken in to consideration in preparing the shari'ah financial planning.