It has been reported that the Marhaba Decentralized Financial Platform (as Marhaba means “welcome” in Arabic) is expected to launch in the coming months and seeks to offer the Islamic world a DeFi platform informed by the core tenets of Shariah.
Naquib Mohammed, the Chief Innovation Officer of Blockchain Australia and CEO and founder of Marhaba, emphasized that a core tenet of Shariah-based finance is ensuring that “both the financial body providing a service and the client must win in the financial transaction.”
“We are building a platform that aims at the inclusivity of the community and a trusted place where faith-conscious Muslims can be onboarded without any hesitation or doubt.”
However, after founding enterprise-focused platform Spherium Finance in early 2020, Mohammed turned his attention to designing a platform that caters to the world’s Muslim population of 2 billion.
Mohammed noted that the Marhaba team has done research into the attitudes of many Arabic communities regarding crypto assets.
“In the Muslim countries, we found that 99% of the time, people ask: ‘Is this token Halal? Is this token Shariah compliant?’ […] Question number two is: ‘Where do you buy this?’”
The report said that while most new crypto projects begin by tinkering on a testnet and seeking out talented meme lords on social media, Marhaba’s journey began with Mohammed seeking out respected Islamic scholars who also understand the crypto-asset sector and believe decentralized finance can be conducted in a way that adheres to Shariah thought. The Islamic concept of riba (usury) prohibits “high-interest loans or aggressive derivatives” products, and transactions akin to gambling (maysir) and those that pose excessive risk or doubt (gharar) are also banned.
“The reason that Bitcoin is still under discussion by some scholars in the Islamic ecosystem is because nobody knows who the creator of Bitcoin is. If you don’t know who created it — that means the thing is under doubt.”
Likewise, Marhaba DeFi will first launch its noncustodial “Sahal Wallet,” which will support custody and transfers of “Shariah-screened tokens and NFTs.” Marhaba will hire a team of “highly qualified in-house Shariah advisors” tasked with ensuring that the products and tokens supported by the platform are Shariah-guided.
Australia is building what would be the very first #DeFi platform informed by basic Shariah principles. The platform, Marhaba will bridge the paths between the benefits of DeFi and the beliefs of Islamic finance. https://t.co/rBgg9RNiPH — Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) May 16, 2021
The team will systematically assess the tokens listed on crypto data aggregators from largest to smallest and will conduct regular reviews of projects after they have been approved. Future versions of the wallet will be integrated with Marhaba’s forthcoming “ethical trading,” “yield maximizer buckets,” decentralized charity, payments solution, and nonfungible toke marketplace products.
“It’s not exactly yield farming, it’s pretty innovative because we are making different investment buckets for you to maximize profits.”
Marhaba is also exploring borrowing and lending products that mobilize depositors’ assets without charging them interest, although charging interest on lending is banned under Shariah law.
Thus, the NFT marketplace is scheduled for launch later this year, with the Marhaba team working to onboard respected artists creating traditionally-inspired Islamic calligraphy to tokenize on the platform.