New book aims to increase Muslim kids’ financial literacy

New book aims to increase Muslim kids’ financial literacy
The Prince of Wales is greeted by local school children at the British Muslim Heritage Centre in Manchester, April 2019. (Getty Images)
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Updated 28 October 2021

New book aims to increase Muslim kids’ financial literacy

New book aims to increase Muslim kids’ financial literacy
  • Children are taught to invest for the future, delay gratification and give to charity, all while ‘keeping it halal’
  • Nearly half of Britain’s Muslims live in the country’s most deprived areas, places that also have low financial literacy

LONDON: A children’s book using Qur’anic teachings to educate children on financial literacy could help to address systemic inequalities afflicting Muslims in Britain’s financial system, its creator has said.

Despite the UK having one of the highest financial literacy rates in the world, there are stark differences between Britons in their understanding of how best to manage their finances.

A poll conducted by Ipsos Mori in September found that Britain’s most economically deprived areas also have the lowest rates of financial literacy, meaning people are less aware of the most efficient ways to manage their finances in general, and of the risks and possibilities surrounding personal finance.

For Britain’s millions of Muslims — 46 percent of whom live in the top 10 percent of the country’s most deprived areas — this presents yet another barrier to social mobility. 

That is why Wahed, an Islamic finance investment and advisory company, partnered with Learning Roots to create the children’s book “The Prophet Yusuf’s Amazing Investment” — a free online book that calls itself “a child’s first guide to halal investing.”

Drawing on the Qur’anic story of the Prophet Yusuf — who encouraged his community to save through years of prosperity to prepare for years of hardship — the book teaches children the concepts of planning for the future, delayed gratification, and how to grow wealth, all while “keeping it halal.”

Readers are told: “Most investments need time to mature. So the earlier you start, the more your investments will make over a long period of time.”

The book does not teach children which financial products or stocks best suit them, but rather the foundational concepts that underpin healthy finances in the future — in a fun and accessible way, Wahed’s UK head Umer Suleman told Arab News.

“We’re teaching them patience, understanding what they have now, and what they may or may not have tomorrow,” Suleman said. 

“If you look at communities that are low on the socioeconomic ladder or are in poverty, you’ll find a direct correlation between their socioeconomic level and levels of financial literacy — even basic things like knowing how to save, taxation and planning ahead.”

He said the book is aimed at “uplifting” those communities while ensuring that people in more economically stable positions “understand how to interact with finance,” which “starts when you’re young and continues into adulthood.”

The book, Suleman added, teaches from a specifically Islamic perspective, so young Muslims are taught how they will interact and flourish in a wider financial system that was not built to accommodate their religious beliefs.

“Muslims need to feel empowered with the money they have, to be able to invest it in a way that reflects what they believe, so they can feel comfortable that it can be used for good,” he said, adding that the benefits of healthy finances expand beyond the bank account.

“There’s direct a link between mental wellbeing and financial wellbeing — if people aren’t able to manage their finances or get out of debt, it can push them into a dark space. We’ve especially seen that during COVID-19.”


What We Are Reading Today: What a Mushroom Lives For

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Photo/Supplied
Updated 29 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: What a Mushroom Lives For

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Author: Michael J. Hathaway

What a Mushroom Lives For pushes today’s mushroom renaissance in compelling new directions. For centuries, Western science has promoted a human- and animal-centric framework of what counts as action, agency, movement, and behavior. But, as Michael Hathaway shows, the world-making capacities of mushrooms radically challenge this orthodoxy by revealing the lively dynamism of all forms of life.
Many Tibetan and Yi people have dedicated their lives to picking and selling this mushroom—a delicacy that drives a multibillion-dollar global trade network and that still grows only in the wild, despite scientists’ intensive efforts to cultivate it in urban labs.
But this is far from a simple story of humans exploiting a passive, edible commodity. Rather, the book reveals the complex, symbiotic ways that mushrooms, plants, humans, and other animals interact.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Two Wheels Good

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Photo/Supplied
Updated 28 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Two Wheels Good

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Author: Jody Rosen

Two Wheels Good examines the bicycle’s past and peers into its future, challenging myths and cliches, while uncovering cycling’s connection to colonial conquest and the gentrification of cities.
But the book is also a love letter: A reflection on the sensual and spiritual pleasures of bike riding and an ode to an engineering marvel — a wondrous vehicle whose passenger is also its engine.
In Two Wheels Good, writer and critic Jody Rosen reshapes “our understanding of this ubiquitous machine, an ever-present force in humanity’s life and dreamlife — and a flashpoint in culture wars — for more for than 200 years,” said a review on Goodreads.com.
Combining history, reportage, travelogue, and memoir, Rosen sweeps across centuries and around the globe, unfolding the bicycle’s saga from its invention in 1817 to its present-day renaissance as a “green machine,” an emblem of sustainability in a world afflicted by pandemic and climate change. Rosen is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine.
His work has appeared in Slate, New York, The New Yorker, and many other publications.


What We Are Reading Today: The Owl and the Nightingale

What We Are Reading Today: The Owl and the Nightingale
Updated 27 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Owl and the Nightingale

What We Are Reading Today: The Owl and the Nightingale

Author: Simon Armitage

The Owl and the Nightingale, one of the earliest literary works in Middle English, is a lively, anonymous comic poem about two birds who embark on a war of words in a wood, with a nearby poet reporting their argument in rhyming couplets, line by line and blow by blow.

In this engaging and energetic verse translation, Simon Armitage captures the verve and humor of this dramatic tale with all the cut and thrust of the original.

Sounding at times like antagonists in a Twitter feud, the owl and the nightingale quarrel about a host of subjects that still resonate today—including love, marriage, identity, cultural background, class distinctions, and the right to be heard.


New book by leading Japanese calligrapher unveiled at Abu Dhabi Book Fair

New book by leading Japanese calligrapher unveiled at Abu Dhabi Book Fair
Updated 26 May 2022

New book by leading Japanese calligrapher unveiled at Abu Dhabi Book Fair

New book by leading Japanese calligrapher unveiled at Abu Dhabi Book Fair

DUBAI:  Tokyo-born Fuad Kouichi Honda is widely recognized as one of the world’s top Arabic calligraphers and he just launched his new book, “Noor Ala Noor,” during the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) 2022, underway until May 29.

The book was released in collaboration with the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, where a collection of Honda’s work is on display.

“The Arab and Japanese culture share common values, aesthetics and artistic practices that have always acted like a bridge of cultural communication between the two civilizations,” said Dr Ali Bin Tamim, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center, which inaugurated the book during a book launch ceremony in the UAE capital.

The book was released in collaboration with the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia. Supplied

“Both Japanese and Arabic languages use calligraphy as a medium of artistic expression and allow calligraphers to reinvent existing styles and innovate and create new ways to personalize their creations. Their styles are based on age-old traditions developed ages ago and are passed down through the generations,” he added.

Syed Mohamad Albukhary, Director of the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, said: “The Islamic Arts Museum is proud to present this bilingual publication in honour of the works of Japanese calligrapher Fuad Honda. We hope that together we are able to contribute to enhancing the vision of Arabic art and Islamic calligraphy at the international level. Honda’s works of art carry the message of Arabic calligraphy throughout the world.”

The museum is home to thousands of artifacts and archaeological manuscripts from across the Muslim world that have contributed to the development of Islamic arts, particularly the art of Arabic calligraphy and the decoration of Qurans and manuscripts.

Albukhary hopes that the book, authored and translated by Dr Heba Barakat, will help spread Honda’s calligraphy to a wide spectrum of readers and art connoisseurs.

The Japanese Muslim, who teaches at Daito Bunka University, has won numerous awards for his work, including at the International Arabic Calligraphy Competition.

It was topography that inspired Honda to try his hand at calligraphy. 

After graduating in Foreign Studies at Tokyo University, he joined a Japanese company that was working with the Saudi government to survey and make maps of the Arabian Peninsula. He traveled to the Kingdom in 1974 as a translator for the company. Several of the maps the company was using bore Arabic calligraphy and Honda says he fell in love with the art form. He started teaching himself to recreate the work he had seen.


What We Are Reading Today: The Currency of Politics: The Political Theory of Money from Aristotle to Keynes

What We Are Reading Today: The Currency of Politics:  The Political Theory of Money from Aristotle to Keynes
Updated 25 May 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Currency of Politics: The Political Theory of Money from Aristotle to Keynes

What We Are Reading Today: The Currency of Politics:  The Political Theory of Money from Aristotle to Keynes

 Author: Stefan Eich 

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, critical attention has shifted from the economy to the most fundamental feature of all market economies—money. Yet despite the centrality of political struggles over money, it remains difficult to articulate its democratic possibilities and limits. 

The Currency of Politics takes readers from ancient Greece to today to provide an intellectual history of money, drawing on the insights of key political philosophers to show how money is not just a medium of exchange but also a central institution of political rule.