Hossam Aql, an Egyptian professor of Islamic studies, encountered an unusual question on a religious radio talk show last month: is it acceptable for (more)
Hossam Aql, an Egyptian professor of Islamic studies, encountered an unusual question on a religious radio talk show last month: is it acceptable for the government to borrow from the International Monetary Fund?
His answer was yes. In times of extreme need, he said, Muslims are allowed to resort to non Shariah-compliant options. Some groups, such as the ultra-orthodox Nour Party, which had decried the possible loan for violating Islam's ban on interest, are now saying that Islamic debt can't replace the $4.8 billion IMF accord. Egypt, rated 12 levels below Qatar, will borrow at about half the rate the emirate paid for sukuk in July.
Egypt's worst economic slowdown in at least a decade is swaying a debate among Islamists toward those who favor the loan, making it easier for the government to secure the "critical mass" of support that the IMF says is needed for the agreement. Indonesia and Pakistan, the world's two biggest Muslim countries by population, have both received IMF funds.
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