The newly formed AAOIFI Shari’ah Board (ASB) held its first meeting (meeting no. 43 since first-time formation) for its new term of office, from 10-12 March 2016 in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The ASB meeting was commenced by electing a chairman and vice chairman through secret ballot. The process led to election of Honorable Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmai (a prominent, leading Shari’ah scholar and jurist, and Chariman of the Central Shari’ah Board, Central Bank of Pakistan; Vice Presidnet, Darul-Oloom; member of international fiqh academies) as Chairman and Honorable Sheikh Dr. Abdul Sattar Abu Ghuddah (a prominenet Shari’ah jurist who is also chairman and member in a number of Shari’ah Supervisory Boards in the global Islamic finance industry) as Vice Chairman.
Then, the board reviewed a detailed report prepared by AAOIFI’s Secretariat General on its technical efforts extended in the area of Shari’ah standards development and the meetings of ASB and its subcommittees. In this regard, Dr. Hamed Merah, Secretary General of AAOIFI, revealed that 40 board and subcommittee meetings have been held over the period of 18 months (from September 2014 to February 2016); an average of 2.2 meetings per month and that some of these meeting extended over three days. The landmark outcomes included discussion, approval and official issuance of 6 exposure drafts for new Shari’ah standards; issuance of revised and reviewed versions of 13 standards; and discussion of 11 new reseach studies. He added that 19 standards are currently under development – at different stages of finalization- and some of them are expected to be finalized and issued in 2016.
The board also decided to re-form its Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, and Karatchi subcommittees and to form three new subcommittees (Amman, Riyadh, and Kuala Lampur), where each subcommittee will have a number of ASB members amongst its members, and no less than 50% of members will be selected from amongst country-based experts and scholars who are not ASB members. The ASB defined the roles of these committtees, among others, as review and discussion of preliminary studies and research papers submitted to the board for Shari’ah standards development, presentation of recommendations and remarks about these studies and research papers, and submission of the same to the ASB for consideration, in addition to revision and discussion of Shari’ah standards’ exposure drafts and presentation of recommendations it deems appropriate about exposure drafts, both in form and substance, and then submission of the same to the ASB. The ASB also regrouped its other specific-purpose subcommittees such as drafting subcommittee, translation subcommitee, and standardization of Shari’ah standards terminology subcommittee.
Furthermore, the ASB rigorously walked through all remarks and recommendations collected at public hearings held in Morocco, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia with regard to exposure draft of the Shari’ah Standard on “Competitions and Prizes”, in addition to those submitted by a number of experts from different parts of the world. In view of this, the ASB made major amendments to the exposure draft and referred it to the drafting subcommittee before official issuance very soon.
The ASB also made a number of imperative resolutions including the commissioning of a Shari’ah scholar and a legal expert to jointly prepare a detailed study on “Construction Contracts and FIDIC Contracts” to initiate the development process for a separate Shari’ah Standard on these contracts. The board also commissioned a consultant to prepare a detailed study on “Fees and Commissions”.
The ASB decided to hold its next meeting from 1 to 3 May 2016 in al-Madinah al-Munawwarah.