Islamic scholars call for ‘more attention to morals than law’
Islamic scholars working with banks to shape Islamic financial products should pay more attention to the moral rather than the legal aspects of Islamic law, scholars told the Third International Islamic Finance Forum yesterday.
Islamic and conventional banks are keen to develop and offer products in the fast-growing market for Islamic financing but some Islamic experts have criticised the banks and their advisors for not applying a stringent enough interpretation of Shariah, or Islamic law, when assessing the products.
They have also said that some banks are “Shariah shopping”, that is, selecting scholars most likely to approve their product.
Most banks seek approval for Islamic products from either national Shariah boards or from individual scholars attached to banks to reassure investors that their choices conform to their faith.
For example, Islam bans investment in products that pay interest, considered usury, products where there is undue uncertainty, or where one party is deemed to be taking undue advantage of another.
Although scholars interpret much of Qur’anic law in the same way, there is still some difference in views, paving the way for disagreement over the viability of certain products or practices.
Mohamed Akram Laldin, chairman of the Shariah advisory committee of HSBC Amanah Malaysia, said scholars look at three basic areas when assessing the compliance of products: belief, legalilty and morality.
Via Gulf Times.