AAOIFI Sharia’h Board held its meeting no. 44, officially issued Shari’ah Standard on “Competitions and Prizes”

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AAOIFI’s Shari’ah Board recently held its second meeting in current term (meeting no. 44 since first formation) over a period of 3 days in al-Madinah al-Munawwarah. The board commenced the meeting with a detailed review by AAOIFI’s General Secretartiat on its technical efforts with respect to Shari’ah standards development, and meetings of Shari’ah Board’s subcomittees. Major landmarks included the convention of three meetings by the subcommittees over a period of six weeks (the time interval between the two consecutive meetings of the Shari’ah Board), at a rate of one meeting every forthnight.

The meeting focused mostly, over its three days, in detailed eleboration and discussion on the provisions and draft Shari’ah rulings of the Shari’ah Standard on Gold, which was previously discussed at length, and both in form and substance, at four meetings held by Dubai Subcommittee.

The Shari’ah Board made a number of major changes to the draft standard. At the end of the meeting, it again referred some issues with the draft standard to Dubai Committee for further study and redrafting according to specific guidances.The committee will then re-submit the same to the board at its next meeting for further discussion. Therefore, Dubai Committee will hold its 5th meeting for this purpose in coming weeks.

The board also decided to hold two more meetings in 2016, at the beginning of October 2016, and in November 2016, each for 4 whole days.

On the sidelines of the Shari’ah Board’s meeting, the Drafting Committee held a meeting to review and discuss the formulation of the draft Shari’ah Standard on “Competitions and Prizes”, where if finalized its work and approved the final wording of the standard. This stage is the last in the standard development cycle; and as such the new standard (Shari’ah Standard on Competitions and Prizes), and its detailed paper, will be available exclusively to subscribers to the digital version of AAOIFI’s standards (through AAOIFI’s website and mobile app platforms).

In this regard, Dr. Hamed Hasan Merah, Secretary General of AAOIFI, stated: “this standard is among AAOIFI’s most important issuances of late, as its particulars and Shari’ah rulings hold great importance and relevance to people’s lives and well-being, even outside the area of institutional Islamic baning and finance, and the standard provides for information needs of ordinary people in relation to their daily activities as buyers and sellers, shopkeepers and customers, and broadly as market participants in addition to the area of Islamic banking and finance”.

It is worthing noting that the new standard covers three main subjects, the first of which is “Competitions” in terms of their types and pertinent Shari’ah rulings. It tackles competitions against reward (prizes), whether this reward is contributed by competitors themselves or some of them or offered by other parties. The standard also sets out Shari’ah rulings on organizing or sponsoring competitions.

Secondly, the standard covers prizes in terms of types and Shari’ah rulings, such as promotional prizes that aim to attract customers, whether through draws or as gifts for purchases of goods or services, or through point accumulation as is the case with loyalty programs offered by hotels and airlines and telecoms. Then the standard enlists and sets out Shari’ah rulings on prizes offered by Islamic banks and financial institutions such as prizes for current and investment accounts, ATM and credit cards, financing and services (currency exchange and fund transfer). Thirdly and lastly, the standard deals with Commercial Gifts and Discounts, detailing their types and Shari’ah rulings.

Furthermore, the Shari’ah Standards Translation Committee held an extensive meeting, over a period of two days, to proof read the Arabic-to-English translation of the standards, both from techincal and linguistic perspectives in addition to ensuring precision and accuracy in the English terminology.