Sunday, July 31, 2011


I let myself slip into the abyss of my black despair…I was enslaved by the prison of my thoughts. I can’t explain how I went from being overtly excited when I woke up yesterday morning to being emotionally disturbed by noon.

I had to pick myself up from where I let myself slump. I, against the will of my body, meditated on a few things. I have allowed many issues to disturb my pretty head: lack of finances, my career plans not working out the way I’d like…the list is endless. I, Toyin, the tough little lady who tells people to cast their cares upon the Lord and blah de blah de blah…I have not heeded my advice.

I sat on the floor in my room and decided I would not be unhappy. I would bring that grin back to my face. I know what revives my soul, what renews my spirit: its when I praise God from the depth of my heart. But how could I praise God with lead in place of my heart? I did the next best thing I could conceive: I listened to the album “Look to You” by Hillsong united.

Whilst listening, I realized I was being a tad selfish. There are other people who feel the way I felt and worse and here I was, in my field of paper flowers, having a pity party. With that, I got up, took a shower, baptized myself with sweet, smelling body splash, wore a summery dress and forced my lips to smile. Then I said out loud a few scriptures which make me smile. With time, the smile was real

I know that you have to give in order to receive and this applies also to your state of mind. I have to give words of encouragement to receive same; I have to learn to respect what is important to other people whether or not it is important to me.

There are people who have huge smiles like mine but their throats are constricted with tears that refuse to flow…say something truly pleasant to them. There are those who cannot betray their feelings and wear long faces…hug them. Just do something to make people smile from the depths of their hearts.

PS: Scriptures which make me smile include: Habakkuk 2:3; Proverbs 3: 5-6; 1st Peter 2.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Islamic Banking

I had rather interesting conversation with a fellow who has no tolerance for anything labelled Islamic and it occurred to me that perhaps, his lack of tolerance stems from the fact that he is a tad ignorant. We were discussing the Islamic Bank phenomenon and I was going on and on about the advantages and the things I liked about it…needless to say, he accused me of being a false Christian (whatever that means) and promoting Islam. Anyway, he isn’t the focus of my write up. I feel it’s my civic responsibility to enlighten my friends and people around me about Islamic Banking.

Also, on the 30th of June, 2011 there was a protest by the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Delta State Chapter to express their objection to the proposed establishment of Islamic banking by the Central Bank of Nigeria. In my opinion, they have absolutely no idea what Islamic Banking is all about…I think they just heard the Islamic part and flipped.

Islamic Banking is simply a system of banking that encourages interest free loans. This stems from the fact that Sharia forbids the acceptance or payment of usury (Riba) for loans. This banking system is simply based on the profit and loss sharing concept (Mudarabha).

After many conferences and meetings on establishing interest free banks, the Islamic Development Bank was established in 1975 with the aim of providing funding to projects in the member countries. Egypt was the first country to experiment with Islamic Banking and it took the form of a savings bank based on profit sharing.

Banking institutions that offer Islamic banking products and services are required to establish a Shariah Supervisory Board to ensure that their activities comply with the principles of Shariah.

The Vatican has also approved of Islamic banking as it believes that the principle of Islamic finance may represent a possible cure for ailing markets. (

According to CIMB Group Holdings, Islamic finance is the fastest-growing segment of the global financial system and sales of Islamic bonds may rise by 24 per cent to $25 billion in 2010.

I know you would be wondering how this form of banking makes any sense. Well, the basic techniques employed include the following:

• Profit Sharing

• Safekeeping

• Leasing

• Joint Venture

• Cost Plus

It is pertinent to note that Islamic Banking excludes transactions involving alcohol, pork, gambling, smoking, pornography, etc. Also, Islamic Banking is not restricted to Muslims only!

I would like to refer my readers to a short article I read in The Economist a few weeks ago. It would help you understand Islamic Banking better and perhaps see that all along, we might have deprived Moslems in Nigeria the privilege of having a banking system that conforms to their religious beliefs.