Jul 07 2011
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Passing it on
During a panel discussion at an Islamic finance conference recently, a member of the audience asked a question of some leading Shari'ah experts: should Takaful sales agents be Muslim?
The reply that came from one of the leading speakers, and an acknowledged expert in Shari'ah, was that an agent selling Takaful to a member of the public should be like a 'teacher' and pass on to the client an understanding of the nature of Takaful and how it differs from conventional insurance. Furthermore, only a Muslim was in a position to do this properly.
That is why we can easily have the CEOs of Islamic banks being non-Muslim. What they need for the job is to be excellent in their work and understand Islamic finance - but they do not need to convert to Islam in order to be good at their jobs.
So what is it to be? Are we saying that Takaful is for everyone irrespective of religion or are we saying that it is for Muslims only? And if it is for everyone then do we care what religion the agent selling it happens to be?
A rough headcount of agents selling Takaful in Malaysia seemed to suggest that almost half of the sales forces are not Muslim, which is probably on a par with the kinds of numbers reflected in any type of sales force in the country.
What worries me is that it seems that we might be preaching one thing but doing another. I would encourage leaders in the Takaful industry to give us their thoughts on this by sending us a letter or an email - since we need some clarity. And the sales forces out there in the trenches need some clarity too and that has to come from us.
© The Islamic Globe 2011
© Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.
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