Halal Investing for Beginners: A crash course to make Muslims richer

Ibrahim Khan. Pic: Islamic Finance Guru

If you’re not making the most of your finances (like most of us) then Halal Investing for Beginners by Ibrahim Khan and Mohsin Patel is the book for you, writes Roshan Muhammed Salih.

Finance is an area that Muslims massively neglect. We are taught all kinds of useless subjects in school that we never actually implement in our lives, but we are never given a solid grounding about the one area which affects all of us – money.

And when we are taught about money it’s often from the Martin Lewis perspective of penny-pinching, rather than learning how to get richer by exploding our income (something Martin Lewis never teaches us but is the reason why he is a millionaire).

Basically we’re encouraged to indebt ourselves through university education, then do a soul-destroying 9 to 5 job for 50 years, indebt ourselves even more by buying a home and stuff we can’t afford on crazy credit, and to squirrel money away all our working years so that we will have a good income in our retirement.

So in a nutshell: After slaving away like a workhorse in a job that you probably hate, if you’re lucky you’ll finally get rich once all the life has been sucked away from you. In other words – wealth in a wheelchair.

But what if we all had a halal financial education when we were young? What if we learned how to purify our wealth from the beginning of our financial journey instead of having to detoxify it in our later years? What if we learned how to make our money work for us instead of living from cheque to cheque? What if we could achieve financial freedom and self-dependence which would allow us to live happier, more fulfilling lives instead of being a cog in the wheel of the rat race?

And let’s face it, Muslims need to be financially independent, especially living in non-Muslim societies where we regularly get “cancelled,” have our bank accounts shut down or job opportunities denied to us.

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So if any of the above resonates with you then Halal Investing for Beginners could be a good place to begin.

Islamic Finance Guru

Ibrahim Khan and Mohsin Patel are the movers-and-shakers behind the popular Islamic Finance Guru website and the Cur8 investment platform. Their mission in life is to level Muslims up financially and this book is a crash course to do exactly that.

At the beginning of the book they argue that Muslims are five times poorer than the rest of the world and this needs to be urgently addressed if we want to progress as an Ummah.

They write: “According to an annual report on global wealth by Credit Suisse, the global average net worth at the end of 2021 was $87,489 – a staggering 12.7% increase from 2020 and the fastest annual rate of growth ever recorded. Some quick back-of-the-napkin analysis of their numbers accounting for Muslim populations indicates that global Muslim net worth is approximately $16,702. In other words the Muslim community is approximately five times poorer than the rest of the world.”

Mohsin Patel. Pic: IFG

So just think what difference it could make if Muslims got richer in terms of their personal lives, their happiness, their life chances, and the power they could exert and the impact they could have on the world.

Right from the get-go Ibrahim and Mohsin make it clear that we should all be making lots of money but in a halal way. Thus, they take a no-nonsense approach to the issue of riba quoting the famous Quranic verse:

Oh Believers fear Allah and give up outstanding interest if you are true believers. If you do not, then beware of a war with Allah and His Messenger! But if you repent, you may return your principle – neither inflicting nor suffering harm.

“Dealing in interest is the only thing in the entire Quran that attracts such a severe injunction as to have Allah and his Messenger declaring war on that individual,” Ibrahim and Mohsin write. “But unfortunately because finances are perhaps not as visceral or as physical a thing as alcohol or pork, for many of us this gets overlooked until we stumble across it or look into it.”

Halal Investing for Beginners is divided into four parts. Part 1 takes you through the basics of personal finance and investing. Stuff like going halal, paying zakat, breaking even, increasing your incomings and decreasing your outgoings, getting an Islamic will, getting a pension, setting up a rainy day fund, eradicating debts, and getting on the housing ladder.

Part 2 focuses on how to develop your investment strategy. It zones in on the investment mindset – always remember the “Why?” behind your investment journey and don’t lose sight of it. It also discusses things like renting or buying a house, planning for retirement, how not to get caught out in Get-Rich-Quick schemes, and tax saving strategies.

Part 3 is more of a practical chapter about real-life investment opportunities. It discusses stocks, property, investing in Muslim nations, crypto, gold and other assets, while examining the Shari’ah implications of each one.

And Part 4 gives you advice on how to construct a robust portfolio. It recommends having a goal for your portfolio and examines the role time-horizons must play in your selection. It also discusses strategies suited for all kinds of risk appetites.

After a 200 plus page journey Ibrahim and Mohsin conclude: “Please don’t finish reading this and then not invest for another few years. Use this moment as a turning point in your financial life and build up the momentum and urgency.”

Final thoughts

Halal Investing for Beginners, for the most part, is written in a fairly simply manner that even a beginner could understand. Ibrahim and Mohsin also employ the kind of humour throughout the book that followers of their YouTube channel would be familiar with.

However, some sections of the book would appeal more to more experienced investors rather than the beginner. But the less well-informed can no doubt return to it over the years as they become more seasoned.

And while it’s true that there are plenty of financial books out there for the layman, they aren’t really written for the likes of us who have to operate within an Islamic framework. And those which do deal with Islamic finance are not accessibly written for your average Yusuf or Aisha.

So if you are serious about purifying and increasing your wealth from an Islamic perspective then this book is a must-have.

You can buy Halal Investing for Beginners here.

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