Sharia economists: monitoring integrity

Dr Humayon Dar is a member of the Islamic sharia supervisory board at BMB Islamic. He has also helped the Cass Business School, at London’s City University, to offer an Executive MBA in Islamic Finance.

He is not a classically trained scholar, who has undergone years of training and studying of Islamic sciences, such as Quranic hermaneutics, but describes himself as a sharia technician or Islamic economist.

« There is a new breed of scholars, who are not traditional, but have a great understanding of finance as well as Islamic law and conventional economics.

« There are about 260 classically trained scholars worldwide who advise on sharia and about 20 of these are renowned, they have a great reputation. I call them tier one sharia scholars. They have a lot of power. »

One scholar was so well known that his criticism of sukuk, an Islamic bond, sent shockwaves through the financial world, with some commentators suggesting that sharia finance was doomed.

Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani sits on the board of the Bahrain-based Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions, a body charged with setting sharia standards and institutions. Another figurehead in this influential organisation is Sheikh Nizam Yaquby.

Dar said: « He is the most glamorous scholar of Islamic finance. He is very popular and has a refined sense of humour. He sits on the most number of sharia boards and advises around 60 organisations. These guys have great integrity. They issue fatwas on real sharia. They are not in it for money, money is not a consideration for these scholars. »

Riazat Butt, 12/03/2008


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