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Islamic finance is one of the most rapidly growing segments of the global financial system. However, despite the increasing importance of Islamic finance, particularly in developing economies in the Middle East and South-East Asia, religious and social complexity has acted against a fuller understanding by regulators, policymakers, researchers and practitioners. This paper provides a succinct and accessible analysis of the definition, sources, principles and methods of Islamic finance. This serves as a suitable starting point for further work into Islamic finance and many of the pressing regulatory, supervisory and competitive issues that remain as yet unaddressed.

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