Islamic Banking: New Higher Sharia Authority set up

By Eudore R. Chand

ABU DHABI 27 February 2018: The Higher Sharia Authority has held its 1st meeting of 2018 at the Central Bank Head Office, Abu Dhabi, to highlight the authority’s objectives and the steps that must be taken to ensure achieving these objectives.

The meeting was attended by Sheikh Dr. Ahmad bin Abdulaziz Al Hadad, Chairman, and other board members including; Prof. Dr. Jasim Ali Al Shamsi, Dr. Issam Muhammad Ishaq, Dr. Oznan Hasan, Dr. Usaid Muhammad Adeeb Al Kilani, along with a group of Central Bank’s senior officials, said Wam.

Mubarak Rashed Al Mansoori, Central Bank Governor, welcomed the Chairman and the Board Members of the Higher Sharia Authority in his opening remarks, highlighting that establishing the Higher Sharia Authority is in line with the Central Bank’s Strategy which is based on the Federal Government’s Strategy and Orientation.

He added that the establishment of the Higher Sharia Authority will help to achieve the UAE’s economic vision and highlights its leading position as a global Islamic financial hub and Islamic economy.

Core Objectives

The UAE Higher Sharia Authority has a number of core objectives; the most important of which are:

  • Issuing Fatwas and ensure the legitimacy of the products, services, and activities of the institutions providing Islamic services
  • Introducing and approving new and existing Sharia Standards and uniform documents related to best practices for global Islamic financial services
  • Notifying the Central Bank of the UAE of Sharia matters concerning preventive systems related to global Islamic financial services, as well the Sharia-compliant instruments and ways for developing the same to help the Central Bank in aspects pertaining to banking and monetary management
  • Conducting Sharia research regarding Islamic financing and ways of supporting it and communicating and cooperating with other international organisations that currently set Sharia regulations and standards for Islamic financial services.

The UAE’s Islamic banking industry will benefit from having a sole reference point that all institutions providing Islamic financial services can consult in order to achieve conformity regarding Sharia rules and principles.

The authority will help the Islamic banking industry to enhance management practices and Sharia-compliance with regard to Islamic financial services; it will also help to reduce costs, which will benefit consumers and strengthen regulatory and supervisory control over the industry. Last, but not least, it will provide a group of highly specialised experts in Sharia compliance.