The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2021

Name: Mohammed Saqub Firm: Shakespeare Martineau Location: Birmingham University: University of Cambridge Undergraduate degree: Law

to a developer who wants to use a sharia- compliant credit line. I sawmy role and purpose to make Islamic finance less ‘exotic’ and to provide support from the grass roots up.” Islamic finance – where next? In the last year, both Mohammed’s practice and his thinking have developed. He is now extending his interest into Islamic economics, as “finance is only a small element of the whole philosophy of the economics of Islam”. Looking at the ‘Muslim pound’, Mohammed questions where Islamic finance’s place will be in post-Brexit Britain. “When Elizabeth I was side-lined in Catholic Europe, she built an alliance with the Shah of Iran, the Ottomans, the King of Morocco – she developed relationships with the Muslim world. Let’s look at this again!” Purpose Mohammed has a young team and he takes mentoring seriously because he never had any formal mentoring himself. “My team joke with me because I make it sound too easy. But my advice is simple: you need a purpose, because through your purpose you find yourself. I began to understand myself better when I was a carer and I’ve tried ever since to ensure that I have a purpose linked to what I believe in.” Mohammed’s advice to young and upcoming lawyers is clear and passionate: “If you feel you have a purpose, you will do well.” He encourages the next generation of lawyers to ask themselves why they want to work in law. Mohammed sees his religious upbringing as a significant driver in his desire to help communities. “Don’t just live for the weekend,” he advises. “It may take a while, but spend time each week thinking about your purpose and things will grow from there. Some people become lawyers for the status or the money, or maybe to use their brains and solve problems, but these skills will be so much more productive if you grasp your ‘why’!”

the penny dropped and Mohammed decided that he wanted to have more control over his work and his interest in Islamic finance blossomed. During the early years of his career, he researched what Islamic finance was really about. “I worked for a Birmingham firm in a Birmingham office – there was no Islamic finance knowledge, so I taught myself.” He listened to podcasts by Mohammed Amin, then head of Islamic finance at PWC and booked himself on a course that Amin was teaching. “I turned up and only understood the first 10 minutes. I was a simple property lawyer at the time and easily confused.” Taking the bull by the horns, Mohammed approached Amin and asked for some practical experience and before long he was being introduced to the sales director of the Islamic Bank of Britain. The bank recognised his ambition, even though he told them quite candidly that “I don’t know where I can add value, but you are doing a lot of property transactions and I am becoming a good property lawyer.” The bank took him on board and Mohammed was soon advising government agencies on Islamic finance, including the Land Registry. The registry had no Islamic finance experience and Mohammed was asked to write its Islamic finance practice guide. With time, hebecame involved inmore complicated formsof Islamic finance. Revenue began to flowandhe foundhimselfwithmoreof asay in thepracticeand itsbusinessplan. Fast forwardadecade, andMohammedhasa teamof about 40, workingoncross-discipline, variedand significant transactions. For Mohammed, it was grass roots, not capital markets, that really got him ticking: “There are communities in the UK with no access to finance because they think they can’t for religious reasons. I was part of the story that made it possible for them to access finance. We’ve now completed tens of thousands of transactions – from Joe Bloggs who wants to buy a property using an Islamic mortgage,


Sign up to


Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online