“The stage was set, the dignitaries had arrived. The grandeur was visible, the audience was elated. The seats were filled with the who’s who of the Islamic finance industry. It was an event that not many wanted to miss. The smartest academics, the pragmatic bankers, and the powerful regulators were all present to discuss the future of the Islamic finance industry. The pursuit of the noble cause, along with the opportunity to network and rise in the career ladder, meant that the hall was full of the sincere and the ambitious. The event was to start with the keynote address of one of the biggest names in the Islamic finance industry. The person whose identity is hidden for the purposes of anonymity, sat in his chair with a sense of certainty and inner security. He seemed to not experience the nerves that one would associate with such an event. The presence of the powerful did not unnerve him. His name was called by the organizer and he moved with his usual sense of self-assurance and grace, not in the least bit giving away the shock waves he was about to create. The greatest champion of Islamic finance was about to unleash carnage on it. A sincere destruction, meant to restore its authenticity rather than bringing permanent damage. His words were imbued with rhyme and reason, invigorating the souls of a few while bringing horror to the faces of the others. His words were those of a man driven by a cause which was not unadulterated by the pursuit of money. Notions of profit, risk, and efficiency seemed alien to him; the bigger purpose seemed to be the singular drive. The crowd could hear the roar of a man who believed in the absolute prohibition of Riba. He believed from the depth of his being that Islamic finance was an ‘alternative’ designed to dominate the prohibited, not to succumb to its whims and never to co-exist. His words were not those of a critic bent to questioning the legitimacy of the industry; they were the war cry of a warrior who believed in the immense potential of a thing only to watch it painfully settle for a meager victory. He believed in establishing an alternative way of dealing imbued with the ideal of fairness and justice, with the intention of achieving God’s pleasure, rather than simply following the outer form of religiosity. The intellectual in him knew that the outer form was better than no form, but his mystical side yearned for the spirit. Many a time in the past he had thought that 104the soul could not exist without the body, the outer form of Islamic finance serving as the body. The outer precedes the inner. This day he longed for the inner reality at the expense of annihilating the form that he had created with much labor and care. It seemed that the heart had refused to listen to the mind. The shackles of propriety were broken by the tearful emotion of being. The deepest desire, unmet for so long, controlled by the strength of resolve, was impossible to manage. It seemed like the words of a dying man, whose only wish in life was under the threat of un-fulfillment. The pain in his voice would remain undetected unless one could view life from his perspective, otherwise the emotion he was experiencing would remain elusive. His words were a plea as much to the people as to God. It was a sermon as well as a prayer. It touched many in the audience; for others it was no more a voice of impracticality, utopian ideas devoid of practical relevance. Some shrugged them off immediately as they would be incapable of generating money for them. For others it brought applause, a standing ovation that brought about fleeting emotions rather than permanent change.