Change the world

15/05/2024

Nelson Mandela University Financial Planning lecturer Raaiq Pandie's master’s degree study combined principles of Islamic finance and financial planning by assessing the Zakat literacy levels among South African Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) professionals. Raaiq recently graduated from the University with his master’s degree in business management (cum laude).

Raaiq Pandie (centre) together with his supervisors Dr Jasmine Kinsman (left) and Mukhtar Raban. 

The South African Muslim community, historically marginalised from the formal economy, has sought financial solutions aligned with their religious beliefs.

Exclusion during apartheid hindered their access to mainstream financial services, resulting in a lack of products and services catering to Islamic principles.

This led to the introduction of Islamic finance in South Africa.

The foundation of Islamic finance is based on an eco-system that strives to balance social equality and finance by incorporating ethics and moral standards into all economic activities.

This eco-system is governed by Shariah, which refers to a set of rules that governs the conduct of Muslims and this differentiates the Islamic finance sector from other sectors within the conventional financial services industry, Raaiq says.

The religion of Islam was founded on five pillars, one of which is Zakat, the annual mandatory charitable donation that a Muslim must pay from their wealth. The intention behind Zakat is the purification of a Muslim’s wealth through generously sharing that wealth with those who are less fortunate to bring about a balance between the rich and poor in society.

Given the annual obligation for Muslims to pay Zakat, possessing or having access to the essential knowledge of Zakat calculation, is important to ensure accurate payment. Although existing research provides insights into Zakat calculations, it does not address which professionals or individuals can assist Muslims with their Zakat calculations.

Muslim individuals without the capability to calculate their annual Zakat precisely are susceptible to unintentionally making incorrect payments. To address this perceived risk, access to professional Islamic financial advice within the South African financial services industry becomes important.

In this industry, the CFP® designation is the highest globally recognised professional qualification in financial planning. CFP® professionals possess the potential to assist Muslim clients in the accurate calculation and payment of their annual Zakat. However, their ability to do so must first be established.

The study, therefore, sought to assess the Zakat literacy levels among South African CFP® professionals to determine their ability to provide suitable financial advice to Muslim consumers regarding the calculation of Zakat.

A total of 158 respondents provided data for the study. The findings included that ethnicity and religious affiliation play an important role in influencing Zakat literacy levels among the CFP® professionals.

The study confirmed the importance of inclusivity within the South African financial services industry, particularly including Muslim consumers. It also sheds light on the fundamental concepts of Islamic finance, particularly Zakat, and how it works.

Recommendations included establishing Zakat Fundamental Workshops in collaboration with Zakat institutions, integrating Zakat into academic curricula, creating continuous learning platforms, facilitating networking opportunities with Zakat institutions, and developing Zakat resource guides for quick reference.

To address the lack of advanced knowledge, it proposes the introduction of Advanced Certification Programmes, cross-functional sessions with Islamic scholars, regular webinars on evolving Zakat regulations, encouragement of research contributions to Zakat literature, and the implementation of mentoring programmes with experienced Zakat practitioners.

These recommendations aim to fill the knowledge gaps and ensure CFP® professionals are equipped to provide accurate and informed financial advice to their Muslim consumers. By empowering CFP® professionals with Zakat literacy, the South African financial services industry can better serve the needs of the Muslim community and contribute to inclusive economic growth.

By delving into this topic, Raaiq aimed to bridge his personal passion with academic rigour to ensure his research journey would be enriching and impactful.

“I firmly believe that aligning one’s personal interests with scholarly pursuits not only enriches the learning experience but also creates genuine engagement and innovative insights. I chose the topic because it resonates with me on a personal and academic level”, he says. 

Raaiq also holds a BCom in Financial Planning and a Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning. His master’s research supervisors were Dr Jasmine Kinsman, CFP®, from the Business Management department and Shaykh Mukhtar Raban, an Islamic scholar and an academic from the University’s Department of Applied Languages. 

“My dream job involves helping those less fortunate globally while experiencing diverse cultures and opportunities. Additionally, I envision combining this endeavour with my love for surfing and travelling, seeking a lifestyle free from material pursuits”, says Raaiq.

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Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160
elma.dekoker@mandela.ac.za