While researching for SFW this morning, we came across this article about a man named Jacques Bernard, who is the Chief Investment Officer of “National Bonds” in the United Arab Emirates.


National Bonds, as it turns out, is the shariah-compliant national savings “scheme” of the UAE. The company’s own web site even refers to it as a “scheme,” which we thought was amusing.

At first, we figured that National Bonds was just a sukuk system in which individuals could place savings in instruments that were created to be shariah-compliant. Kind of like US Savings Bonds, right?

Well, it turns out there is an interesting twist to this story.

It seems National Bonds has a prize drawing program for investors:


This program rewards people for saving by making them millionaires.

Sure seems like a lottery to us.

How is this shariah-compliant? Promoters of Shariah-Compliant Finance always seem to proclaim that gambling is prohibited. How does a lottery not qualify as gambling and how does this qualify for Shariah-compliance?


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