Having an experience as an Islamic banker; though not as vast as other peers due to my resignation after serving merely 16 months in the financial world; has somehow opened up my horizon to the world of “Halal” and “Haram”. Yes, we can say that the Islamic banking in Malaysia is yet to bloom and well-equipped due to some glitches; but in comparison to other Asian countries who are obviously vying to become the hub of Islamic banking like Singapore and Hong Kong, Malaysia can be considered as heading forwards above them; and what’s more with Malaysia’s official religion is Islam, Malaysia definitely is the most suitable country to become Islamic banking hub in ASEAN or Asia region.
All right, moving to the real core. I am actually drawn to write this piece of entry because I’ve arisen an issue pertaining Amanah Saham Nasional (ASB) and Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) in my Facebook just to get seconds and thirds opinions from other acquaintances and friends. I’ve tagged a few people who I believe are well-versed in Islamic issues such as my ex-tutor in Islamic Studies in USM, Dr. Ustaz Jasni Sulong; and the renowned Professor Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar – a very well-known Syariah lawyer in Malaysia to siphon out thoughts and opinions.
Dr. Jasni Sulong; my ex-tutor in Islamic Studies in USM.
Professor Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar – Malaysian renowned Shariah lawyer.
As the matter of facts, I was actually quite determined to open an ASB account as I have yet to have. It is actually one of my 2012 resolution (if you check my New Year 2012 entry); apart from travelling and all, I would like to venture into small-scale investment – that is to open an ASB account. For Bumiputera, an ASB account has strong affinity of which an equity that can be channelled to generate competitive and consistent long-time revenue for the unit holders while at the same time to ensure that the capitals are maintained on a minimum-risk tolerance.
Nevertheless, the question is : ASB – is it “Halal” or “Haram”; boon or bane?
From various discussions with all these well-verse Islamic scholars, most of them find that ASB has strong essence of ‘Syubhah” – essence of suspicions. When some matter is suspected to be involving non-Syariah compliance activities, it can be considered as “Syubhah”; and Moslems are encouraged to avoid themselves from divulging into the “Syubhah”. Now, the question that evokes QUESTION MARK inside ignorant Moslems and non-Moslems; how ASB becomes ‘Syubhah’?
When an activity which on superficial seems to be a ‘Halal’ activity; affiliates with some aspects that correlate with non-Shariah compliance; it is crystal clear that it is decreed as “Haram”. This is based on a Hadith coveyed by Jabir Al-Ja’fi from Ibnu Mas’ud :
ما اجتمع الحلال والحرام إلاغلب الحرام الحلال
“Never it mixes between the Halal and Haram, unless Haram supersedes Halal”.
It is suspected that the capitals are being invested into Non-Shariah compliance activities or industries; and the possibilities of having the capital injected from conventional trading and banking is inevitable. With that essence, concerned Moslems began to question and asking whether ASB is a Shariah-compliant investment… or not.
In addition, even the JAKIM’s website issued discussion over this polemic at http://www.e-fatwa.gov.my/fatwa-negeri/penilaian-semula-hukum-pelaburan-aamanah-saham-nasional-asn-dan-amanah-saham-bumiputera. It was issued on 12th April 2011. But an opinion raises an alarm as well; it was issued by Selangor Clerics. Could it be political-basis statement? Why now? Why not before this? Why haven’t the Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan make national Fatwa pertaining this to clear the smoke?
Apart from that, I’ve also encountered a letter in Ustaz Zaharuddin’s website pertaining ASB polemics at http://zaharuddin.net/pelaburan-&-perniagaan/805-terkini-hukum-asb-dan-asn.html. The website was suggested by my USM coursemate, Huda Sanusi in the FB discussion pertaining this matter. What attracted my attention was the letter published in the letter; from Securities Commission to Secretary of Shariah Committee in one of the bank in Malaysia pertaining the status of ASB :-
The letter claiming ASB is non-Shariah compliant.
Nonetheless with all these antagonistic points, we should also look into the proactive points as well. Regardless what people say about the doubts and ambiguities swirling around the matter, the Amanah Saham Nasional Bumiputera’s website itself has published that ASB and ASN are considered as “HARUS” or Mubah. This was as per newspaper issuance by National Committee of Fatwa (“Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan) on 1-3 Februari 2008 as per http://www.e-fatwa.gov.my/fatwa-kebangsaan/pelaburan-dalam-asn-asb-dan-seumpamanya
Fatwa-keratan (The PDF newspaper excerpt on ASB is mubah)
With all these pros and cons, I guess in the end it is prerogative to choose. Individual per se. Boon or bane? You decide. Insya ALLAH.