Is there any independent central body that regulates Shariah scholars globally, in order to maintain some degree of consistency within the Islamic banking industry?

Disclaimer: We do not provide financial advice. Do not take anything on our community space as financial advice.

It’s always best to do your own research or consult a professional investment advisor before making any investment decisions!

The opinions expressed within this community forum are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of Wahed.

Is it even possible to achieve regulation at such a global level? Do we have precedence for it? I’m not sure if even during the Muslim empires, such a level was achieved. I believe there was always a level of autonomy at lower levels for the Qadi and judges to rule

For example when the Ottomans ruled over Egypt they didn’t impose their Fatawa on Egypt rather they set up the council of scholars in Egypt to produce Fatawa for the people of Egypt

To take a further step back, what kind of consistency are we looking to achieve? The Islamic principles underlying are consistent though I don’t think we need to achieve absolute uniformity especially considering the Urf and unique circumstances of each nation state and people

Very good point. There are often many nuances at play which id think the local authorities are best able to gauge

Having said that I would content that an overarching body/ or one person at the helm is a common norm in most aspects of life- whether it be the prime minister of a country or the Board/CEO of a firm. A global representative of Islamic finance is useful as a point of reference at the least

I think realistically the challenge is that in both examples you’ve given

prime minister of a country

This wouldn’t be a single person globally like is being proposed as of course each country has their own separate leader

Board/CEO of a firm

This is because they all agreed to join in this business under the operation of said CEO or board. Difference is getting all Islamic organisations to unite like this is practically infeasible without a, or equivalent of, a caliphate :eyes:

There will always be a difference of opinion on all matters, I don’t think, in subjects such as finance, will there be a be-all and end-all answer, especially in the west. So I do not think it is possible, however, having said that, there are fiqh councils that are respected. People such as sheikh Haythem al Haddad is in the European fiqh council and I believe he is the head of finance. So I think, we can get very close to it, but if you know about sheikh haythem, you would know he has a lot of haters and so the muslim body is not united on anything, even if the man has the suitable qualifications.

Allah knows best.

Yes, a very good example. When one of the Amir visited imam malik, he asked for his fatwa on his land, and he responded saying “they already have their fatawa their, you should follow that instead”… it goes to show, even a giant like imam malik, had a great understanding, that fiqh changes from time to time and location to location.

While we have the islamic fiqh council of Europe, there will always be people who don’t follow these scholars or these muftis and so it really depends on the CEO’s and the founders of these islamic banking industries. I heard one islamic bank was made by a non muslim because he saw the potential in it, not sure how true that is, but it makes sense. So… I don’t think it is feasable.

JazakAllahu Khayra that’s a very good example

I think the best that we will have to settle with for now is independent decentralised body of scholars, like Fiqh councils of Europe, North America and elsewhere, to regulate matters

I agree! I wish we were all as sensible as this when picking what to do with our lives in Islamic matters, but it is so tempting to also go fatwa shopping when our desires come in the way. So sad!

Wa iyaakum, I believe it was in book we read about usool al fiqh, we did an essay and that quote REALLY stuck to me, I am a bit sad I forgot what book that was, how unfortunate.

There isn’t a central authority as far as I’m aware. However there are several councils which are the most respected. Aofie for instance is probably the most respected.

I think that for general fiqh you are completely right. A central body is a problem not a solution, but for Islamic finance. Given its flexibility and its global reach. A central body is very achievable. Essentially, we can have a uniform Islamic banking system. However, business practice will differ according to Urf.

Please remember khalil general fiqh is localised, but finance is a global. Hence its very possible to have a central council for finance. And then local councils to dictate implementation.

There are still people who are considered as leading experts, like mufti taqi Usmani from Pakistan. I guess this is perhaps different from a single head

But going back to the question.

Examples of global bodies of Shariah scholars are the Shariah Board of the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and the OIC (Organisation of the Islamic Conference) Islamic Fiqh Academy

Most of these are super respected and essentially fill the space of a central authority