Brother Marhoom Muazzam Ali has effectively and earnestly contributed to the establishment and development of DMI Group in his capacity as Member and Vice Chairman of the Board of Supervisors until the end of 1998. The Marhoom has pursued thereafter, with the same energy and enthusiasm, his passion and effective action in the filed of Islamic finance, as Chairman of the Islamic Institute for Islamic Banking and Insurance in London.
On behalf of HRH Prince Mohamed Al Faisal Saudi Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of DMI Trust, as well as on behalf of the members of the Board of Supervisors and Management of DMI Trust. Osama Mohamed Ali 2005, Secretary to the Board of Supervisors and Group General Counsel DMI Geneva
A man's dedication can be assessed by where he spends two things: his wealth and his time. We all follow one career or another. We all declare our sympathy for this or that cause. Our dearly respected Syed Muazzam Ali began his career as a journalist, but he invested his personal time and wealth into the cause that he believed in most: Islamic art and Islamic finance. How many of us can say the same? In my memory, Brother Muazzam was one of the first people to realize that the beauty and softness of the Islamic tradition needed to be preserved and shared with the world. This was the secret to his passion for Islamic art, and the reason he established a premier journal dedicated to art in the Islamic world. He brought the same passion to another cause, whose success at the time was less than certain. He was believer among skeptics; here was a journalist who wrote extensively on Islamic finance before it become newsworthy. And when he tried from DMI in 1998 after nearly two decades of services, he focused all his attention on IIBI regularly and saw over it like a father. Since his love for Islamic finance grew out of his love for Islam, he was deeply committed to the University of Islamic Finance. He therefore insisted on its relevance to all human beings: not just to Muslims and to Muslim states, but also to OECD regulators, to conventional banks and to western bankers.People aspire to have a successful career; Muazzam sahib had several. In each case, he sought to communicate his passion to others and to give it shape by establishing landmark institutions. If Emerson was correct in saying that “an institution is the lengthened shadow of one man,” Brother Muazzam cast a very long shadow.
Iqbal Khan 2005 CEO, HSBC Amanah Finance
"Muazzam Ali was a vocal critic of both communist and capitalistic economic systems, but applauded the increasing stress on ethical values and the recognition that financiers cannot ignore the beliefs of their clients. In many respects he was ahead of his time, yet his practical and organisational abilities ensured his efforts had both an immediate and a long-term impact that will be with us for many years to come".
Professor Rodney Wilson 2005 University of Durham, UK Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
He was a man of conviction; a man of faith; a truly good Muslim. His death will definitely have appreciable adverse effect on Muslim Ummah. His sincerely devoted life to spread the voice of Islam throughout the world was undoubtedly an exception. His character, his honesty, and his brotherly humble behavior have impressed me most. Although he might not have considered me as a close friend but my short period of close acquaintance with him made me feel him being an extra-ordinary Brother in Islam.
Iraj Toutounchian 2005 Professor of Economics Tehran
What most impressed me in those first meetings was his willingness to take the time to pass on not only his technical knowledge in what were early days for the Islamic Banking industry but also to make sure that the ethical context was well understood. He wanted his listener to understand the 'why' as well as the what' and the 'how'. Muazzam's 'shin¬ing' quality never left him and his indefatigable working to make Islamic banking credible marks him out as one of the genuine pioneers of the Islamic financial services industry.
During the 1990s and into the new millennium his efforts in the establishment and development of the Institute of Islamic Banking & Insurance have been monumental. I well remember trekking over to the Institute's first home near Kings Cross and listening to Muazzam introducing speakers at the lectures and seminars he arranged. He was one of the earliest if not the ear¬liest person in the industry in the UK to realize that the major thing that was holding back the growth of Islamic Banking was the limited number of knowledgeable, intellectually curious practitioners.
As a natural educator, his vision was to have the Institute act as a clearing house for new ideas, new structures and new instruments, bringing academics, lawyers, scholars and bankers together in one place to engage in debate and to find answers to challenging questions - and frequently giving them a good lunch as well. One of the spin off effects of this part of Muazzam's work has been to cement London's place in the industry as the leading 'international' centre for Islamic Banking, another has been to engage with and be a reference source for the regulators thus indirectly assisting with the introduction of retail Islamic Banking for Britain's Muslims. In recent years although his health was not robust Muazzam continued to try to remain faithful to his ideals for the Institute; this must have been quite a strain and a worry for him. If it was, he carried it well.
Apart from his long and tireless work in developing Islamic Banking, though, Muazzam will, I think, be remembered by his friends in the industry most for his personal qualities, particularly his warmth, his genuineness and his patience. These are rare qualities in the modern world of business and will be missed. More broadly, his legacy to Islamic Finance is an immense one and we are grateful for his selfless and unstinting efforts. I have known and worked with him for twenty something years – originally when he was at DMI – and have not come across a nicer, more genuine man anywhere during the whole of my working life. As one of the major moving forces in the development of Islamic Banking and Finance globally he will be sorely missed though his legacy and example are there for all of us to benefit from and to build on.
Duncan Smith 2005, Head of Islamic Asset Management, Arab Banking Corporation, Bahrain
The Islamic financial services industry will mourn the loss of a figurehead who worked tirelessly to improve it. I will mourn the loss of an exceptional man who was such an influence in many of our careers.
Stella Cox 2005, Managing Director, Dawnay, Day Global Investment Limited London
He was a truly universal Muslim who believed in the all-inclusiveness of Islam as he firmly believed that Islam was revealed for the benefit of mankind … As I was reading the Financial Times article, I wondered how many people among the millions reading this article realised Muazzam Ali's contributions to the growth and spread of Islamic finance. I wondered how many realise that when Muazzam Ali began his efforts in introducing Islamic banking and finance to the West, the market was estimated at only US$50 million, and today it is estimated at close to US$300 billion and growing at conservatively estimated at 10 percent a year. And, I wonder if the future generations of Muslims will come to know of him and his contributions to the development of Islamic finance to which he devoted the best years of his life. He truly believed in the prophetic saying that it was the duty of Muslims to search for knowledge and the wisdom wherever they can find them. Accordingly he believed that Muslims could learn useful lessons from the financial developments in the West and that it Islamic banking has to develop, it has to take advantage of innovative products wherever possible. Equally, he often admonished the Westerners to learn from Islam for their own benefit.
Dr Abbas Mirakhor 2005 Executive Director, IMF, USA
Muazzam was vice-chairman of the Dar Maal Al Islami Group. He was instrumental in DMI's expansion into Pakistan and the establishment of the Faysal banks in that important Islamic country. Muazzam was a pioneer of Islamic Banking in his own right. His unflagging integrity, his determination and his moral courage have set the best examples to Islamic Bankers all over the world. With his death, Islamic Banking and the wider Islamic world have lost one of their staunchest promoters.
Omar Ali 2005, Former CEO DMI Geneva, Switzerland
Mr Ali was such a respected figure and he will be very much missed.
Richard de T Belder 2005, Denton Wilde Sapte Dubai UAE
Whilst I had known Mr Muazzam Ali only for a short period he struck me as a man of conviction and great passion for the Institute. He will be greatly missed.
Michael Hanlon, Managing Director, Islamic Bank of Britain UK
Mr Muazzam Ali's very sad and sudden death is a personal loss to me of a respected father-figure both in Islamic Banking and as a person and I am sure also to the entire Islamic Banking industry. But he had left a wonderful legacy in the Institute of Islamic Banking which it is for us all to maintain and develop from strength to strength.
Warren Edwardes 2005, CEO, Delphi Risk Management Limited London
Muazzam was a good man – a very good man – with a wonderful combination of practical and academic talents that he used with great skill to motivate people to excel. Always at the centre of any decision, he was a stickler for doing the right thing, and not prepared to compromise where his strongly help principles were concerned. I once listened with fascination as he demolished an argument that held films to be haram – with Muazzam holding firmly that films are a powerful means of communication, with Muslims holding the responsibility to consider and reject unseemly content. His dedication to education and innovation was absolute. He recognized that success would only come once a detailed and accurate message relating to the opportunities and tasks ahead was disseminated to Muslim and non-Muslim alike. He work – the books, the workshops, the lectures, the diploma course – all were building blocks toward this goal.
His constant refrain was ‘innovation' – never satisfied with the ‘status quo' he always urged innovation – new products, not re-vamped conventional products.
It is very important that we do not let his hopes and aspirations die or founder. As a true fore – father of modern Islamic finance, he has no peer. So it is our duty to continue his work. In remembrance of great man, we should do all within our power to ensure that the Institute grows in permutation and in strength so that its powerful message continues.
James Hume 2005, Omega Group Services Dubai UAE
We will remember brother Muazzam Ali as a compassionate father figure who devoted his life to the promotion of Islamic banking.He devoted all his life to set an example for the younger generations of our society so that they learn from him how to persevere against occasional hardships and work with determination towards success. This determination was not diminished by his old age and failing health in the later years of his years. He dedicated all his life so that others to take his mantle and pursue the noble goals he set for himself.
Suleiman A. Dualeh 2005, Managing Director, Integrated Property Investments UK
In more than one ways Br Muazzam was the pioneer of serious work on Islamic Banking. We owe a great debt of gratitude to him for the flowering of products and providers we see in the market today.
M Iqbal Asaria 2005
Special Advisor on Business & Economic Affairs to the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain UK
His long dedication to the Islamic finance industry will never be forgotten. As founder of the Institute of Islamic Banking and Insurance in London he will be remembered always.
Dr. S Nazim Ali 2005 Director, Islamic Finance Project Islamic Legal Studies Program Harvard Law School, USA
He was a pioneer in the world if Islamic Finance.
Dawood Yousef Taylor 2005
Assistant General Manager, Head of Takaful Ta'awuni
Bank Al Jazira, Jeddah. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Indeed the services rendered by late Muazzam Ali, in the field of Islamic Banking and Finance is a SADDAQA Jarreeyya. He was a man with great vision, determination and abilities. He will be remembered always.
Tariq Masood Shaikh 2005
Islamic Finance Council UK
We found him a charming, interested gentleman of great presence and warmth. His leadership and innovations leave a great legacy - one that we trust will not be forgotten.
Scott A J MacDonald 2005
MacDonald Asset Consulting Pty Ltd Sydney, Australia
I only met Muazzam briefly but having spent some time in your library it was clear that his contribution to the industry was omnipresent.
Brian Kettell 2005