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Updated: September 12, 2011 20:59 IST

Studying Islamic Economics

Dr. Lubna Sarwath Muhammad
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Dr. Lubna Sarwath Muhammad,MBA, Ph.D.
Dr. Lubna Sarwath Muhammad,MBA, Ph.D.


I was selected with a high ranking in the Probationary Officers Exam and joined as an officer in the Punjab National Bank. As I gained work experience my understanding was that the financial disbursements by banks were not as responsive to the socio-economic circumstances and necessities, either individually or systemically.

For example, disbursements of loans for autos was not interacting with other factors, viz., the number of existing autos on the roads, the demand for autos; the environmental and decibel pollution, alternative self-employment sources, income of existing tenant/owner auto drivers, technical and academic education, etc.

I started looking out for alternative theories or institutions with strategies for an integrated or inclusive socio-economic amelioration. I came across literature containing references from Qur’an, Vedas and Bible suggesting alternatives for integrated developmental economics without the interest factor.

Inspired by these factors I started searching educational institutions that would give me in-depth knowledge on these aspects. The search helped me secure admission for Masters in Islamic Economics in MIHE, UK and IIUM, Kuala Lumpur. But I feel lucky having pursued a Ph.D. programme in Islamic Economics and Finance (IEF) from Trisakti University, Jakarta, Indonesia.

The six-month classroom session at IEF, Trisakti is unique because here the student learns about process of generation and creative evolution of knowledge in contrast to acquiring received knowledge. The course is rigorous on episteme of unity of knowledge and unity of world-systems, embedded knowledge-building process to enable sustainability of all variables including ethics, consultative participatory inclusive development, generating criteria for evaluation and measurement of wellbeing.

The course involves study of epistemology of both occidental and Islamic economic theories as well as their socio-economic applications. The teachers are from across the globe like Oman, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, UK and USA. Each professor conducts classes for about two to four weeks in various disciplines like Comparative Epistemology and Socio-scientific Thought; Binary Economics; Political Economy and Globalization; Computer Modelling; Islamic Socio-economic accounting and Islamic Banking and Finance.

The medium of instruction at educational institutions is Bahasa Indonesian language. Researches and conferences are conducted in Bahasa language. But IEF being an international programme English is the medium of instruction. The certificates are issued in English for international programmes. Staff at the IEF department and women’s hostel is very courteous.

The seven green and sprawling campuses of Trisakti are spread across Jakarta and Bogor. Trisakti has been rated as the best private university in Indonesia in 2010. Trisakti has many facilities such as libraries, banks, money exchange counters, ATMs, Post-office, Food Courts, Museum, Sports, Radio, Cultural institute for the benefit of students.

Indian students don’t miss the home as the culture is similar. Bollywood is a hit with the Indonesians and Hindi songs are a rage. Moreover, Bahasa language has lot of Indian touch like woman is ‘vanita’ and love is ‘chinta’; poor is ‘miskeen’ and want is ‘maaoo’. Sanskrit, Arabic and local words make up this language.

Dr. Lubna Sarwath Muhammad, Ph.D.

Islamic Economics at Trisakti, Jakarta, Indonesia

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