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Islamic Finance in the Western Balkans: Prospects and Regulatory Challenges

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image of Arab Law Quarterly

Abstract In this article the authors contend that the murabaḥa debt-contract is over-emphasized, inefficient, and of questionable value with regards to creating Shariʿah-compliant alternatives to ribā-based finance. Instead, they argue that mushārakah, or equity-participation, should be the focus of Islamic financial innovation. They propose the creation of a new mushārakah market that would allow investors to bid for participation in investment projects, which would be distinguished from existing equity markets by requiring the direct participation of investors in a project’s management. Second, the authors address the legal and regulatory reforms necessary for mushārakah financing to succeed in the Western Balkans. They recommend the protection of property rights through financial arbitration mechanisms rather than court litigation. Arbitration resolves the conflict of laws inherent to Islamic finance, by providing a means of negotiating disputes between Islamic and secular sources of law. These measures reduce transaction costs associated with equity participation and thereby increase investor confidence.


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