Chapter 6: Special sectors
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In addition to banks, there are specialized financial institutions active in various fields of Islamic finance, in particular in insurance, real estate finance, portfolio investment and related activities, pensions and microfinance. An important institution furthermore has traditionally been the waqf (foundation). Waqfs, or awqaf, are undergoing a transformation and take up new roles. Other new phenomena are crowdfunding, with Islamic crowdfunding platforms active since roughly the mid-2010s, and Islamic digital currencies, making their appearance in the late 2010s. This chapter looks at the way these institutions function within the limits posed by the prevailing application of the sharia. The first sector is insurance, which is followed by Islamic home finance and its limitations, investment and waqf; furthermore Islamic pension funds, hedge funds, microfinance institutions, crowdfunding and digital currencies are briefly discussed.

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