AAOIFI promotes centralized sharia boards

Published on 23 Nov, 2016

The GCC countries of Oman and Bahrain have already established these types of sharia boards. The UAE is looking at such a measure, and other countries in the Islamic regions are considering the adoption of centralized sharia boards as well.

For more, Gulf News Journal spoke with Barish Gagrani Friday. Gagrani is an analyst at Aranca, a firm evaluating equities in the GCC.

“Centralized Sharia Boards will bring much needed uniformity where financial institutions were hiring and relying on internal sharia boards for interpreting Sharia rules for financial products,” Gagrani he told Gulf News Journal, citing volatility in the region’s financial world and the urge to make financial standards more consistent in a modernizing and data-centric world.

“Standardization and consistency in financial products will help reduce divergence in practices among Islamic banks,” Gagrani said. 

Part of the issue, he believes, is a lack of clarity or consistent use of some guidelines.

“Currently, various Islamic finance rules and guidelines lend themselves open to different interpretation,” Gagrani said. “Centralized sharia boards would address this problem and lay down the foundation for the next phase of growth for sharia-compliant products.”

Also, he said, the board could be a resource for customers.

“These boards would also play a role of arbitration among querying parties and boost the attractiveness of Islamic financial products beyond its traditional base of customers,” Gagrani said. 

The adoption of sharia-compliant financial principles is not limited to the Middle East, or even to majority Muslim countries. Reports from the U.K. show that Britain will likely start issuing sharia-compliant bonds and building aspects of Islamic finance into products offered by its banks and financial institutions.

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