Below is an interview with Dr. Mohammed Masum Billah, Shari’ah scholar.
Has the role of the Shari’ah scholar evolved over the last years/months, notably vis-à-vis:
1. The development of Islamic finance on a worldwide scale
The role of Shari’ah Scholars is appreciable towards the development of the Shari’ah standard of Financial & Halal business as to principles, technicalities, products, operations & services across the world with gradual progressive culture. The statistic of the achievement in Shari’ah compliance is only about 40% perfectly, 30% debatable while the remaining 30% are not resolved yet.
2. The financial crisis since 2008
Ever since the financial crisis 2008, the Shari’ah Scholars from different parts of the world had been confidently contributing towards keeping up the sustainable existence of the appreciation & progress of Islamic Finance through their findings, research, sharing of ideas, decisions, advises and other relevant cooperation in view of new dimension in Islamic finance worldwide. The existing efforts require further improvement as to training, organization, professionalism, research & global standards.
How should a Shari’ah Board effectively operate, according to you? What are the challenges?
A Shari’ah Board shall be operated with effective results as:
- Having Accurate Skills of Shari’ah.
- No ‘Fear’ or ‘Favor’ as to views or decision making.
- A Shari’ah Board shall not be employed by the Company, but be an Independent decision making body endorsed by the Regulatory authority.
- Concealment of weakness shall be avoided.
The challenges for the Shari’ah Board are:
- Lack of accurate knowledge on the Issue of concern.
- Fear & Favoritism.
- Poor Research.
- Lack of Professionalism.
How to best structure a shari’ah board to operate at an international level?
- A Shari’ah Board shall be established at the following levels with cooperative culture (holistic spirit of brotherhood):
- Standard Shari’ah Skills of the Members.
- Acceptable Perfect Decision with Accurate Shari’ah Compliance.
- No ‘Fear’ & ‘Favor’ shall have the room.
- Discovery of practical issues with Shari’ah solutions.
- Globally acceptable Professionalism.
- Globally acceptable but Shari’ah Compliant Standards, Policies & Guidelines.
- Enrichment of Shari’ah Professional Trainings with:
- Conceptual knowledge.
- Practical reality with Case Studies.
- Law & Policies (Shari’ah standard).
- Technical know-how.
- Socio-political & cultural concern with humanity, harmonization & professionalism by wisdom, tolerance & mutual respect
How do you see the relationship between the lawyer and the Shari’ah scholar? How to make it optimal?
By adapting the following:
- Knowledge Sharing.
- Wisdom, tolerance & mutual respect towards harmonization within the Shari’ah principles.
- Sharing of efforts (Research & Development).
- Sharing in implementation (round-table discussion & solution with mutual respect, but within the Shari’ah principles).
Dr.Mohammed Masum Billah is Chairman of Middle Eastern Business World (Oil & Gas and Investment), and Former Director of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jeddah
T: +601 02 989 242
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