An Islamic finance expert and member, Shari’iah Committee of the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation, Malaysia, Dr Bashir Aliyu Umar has said that Islamic finance can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) if properly practiced.

He made the disclosure at the 6th edition of the recently concluded Guild of Muslim Professionals (GMP) Convention which held at the Peninsular Resort, Ajah, Lagos.

In a presentation titled: “The Nexus of Ethical Financing and Economic Development”, Dr Umar asserted that the Islamic microfinance practice has helped in achieving seven out of the 17 SDGs.

According to him, Islamic finance has assisted many homes to end poverty in all its forms.

He added that it has also alleviated hunger, achieved food security, improved nutrition and promoted sustainable agriculture.

“It helps in engendering good health, well-being, and gender equality while promoting peace, justice and strong institutions, among others,” Umar said.

The guest lecturer who also emphasized on Zakat and Waqf (endowment) reiterated that it played vital roles in social protection and poverty alleviation in a dignified manner just as it also leads to wider social and financial inclusion.

Speaking on the impact of investment and Islamic financing, Dr Umar said both are converging because the objectives of the Shari’iah is to achieve benefits for the people and prevent them from harm.

The Islamic finance scholar noted that Islamic financing facilitates social mobility by providing people with what would take them out of poverty through the Zakat institution which enables wealth to be circulated among people of different class.

Dr Umar said based on the global report of Islamic Finance which is based on risk sharing, it further illustrates why the reason for an increasing convergence between Islamic finance and social finance.

“As Muslims, we have the intention of benefiting people and touching lives which spurs economic activities and growth through Zakat, Waqf, Benevolent loans and microfinance,” he said.

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Dr Umar, who is the Director/ Chief Executive Officer of the National Cereals Research Institute, Badeggi, Niger State congratulated the Guild for its efforts at contributing to the attainment of transformational leadership in our society.

He said GMP is working towards the realization of the Maqasid Al-Shari’iah, which are the general objectives and higher goals of the Shari’iah.

The highlight of the session was the presentation of Dr Umar with a plaque by the convener, who also appreciated him for the powerful and eye-opening presentation.