Part 1 of 5: Fiqh or Fiction — The Need for Standardized Training
The primacy of a fatwa when accrediting an Islamic finance
training program, and why Islamic finance scholars, not
academic and professional bodies, should certify training
programs for authenticity
A fatwa, or expert legal opinion of one or more Islamic scholars, is the highest level of accreditation granted a transaction, product, or institution in Islamic finance. Islamic banks esteem fatwas. And Islamic banking customers esteem fatwas. Yet Islamic finance training programs continue to turn to academic and professional bodies for Shariah accreditation. Why?
Whence this came one can only guess. Perhaps the word “accreditation” itself naturally harks one back to the leafy environs of one’s campus and conjures up images of stone pillars and gilded arches. After all, accreditation and academia have always gone hand in hand. Or perhaps it is the Islamic finance industry’s natural tendency to replicate the conventional finance industry, and thereby errantly impose upon the Islamic educational paradigm a western educator’s sensibility.
Whatever the origins of this mistake, Islamic finance is ultimately about Islam. And in Islam, accreditation is not about the sanctity of a particular hall of academia or the credentials of a professor; it is about the Islamic qualification of the accreditor — qualification proper to a particular Islamic science, in this case the application of Islamic commercial law, and qualification proper to the individual or institution issuing the opinion, in this case a fatwa.
After all, it was the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) who said, "Whoever is given a fatwa without knowledge, his sin is but upon the person who gave him the opinion" (Abu Dawud).
Part 2 of 5: Fiqh or Fiction — What Does Standardized and Accredited Training Mean in Islamic Finance?
Part 3 of 5: Fiqh or Fiction — Standardized AAOIFI Based Training Promotes Shariah Harmonization
Part 4 of 5: Fiqh or Fiction — Addressing Common Questions
Part 5 of 5: Fiqh or Fiction — Next Steps
Approved by Ethica’s Shariah Board. For the original article with footnotes, visit www.EthicaInstitute.com.