As we mentioned in one of our previous articles on this website, the Islamic banking & finance industry is facing a huge shortage of experts who could get the ball rolling, the problem is becoming acute with every passing day. We need scholars who know both worlds in the best way possible. On the one hand, they MUST have a great understanding of what the original Shariah sources say about any specific product or transaction being conducted by their client banks. On the other hand, they need to have a thorough understanding of how the conventional finance industry is functioning today
There is no doubt that Islamic financial assets passed the $2 trillion mark by the end of 2014, and, the industry is on a dizzying growth trajectory these days. but true Sharia scholars qualified to make unbiased and informed rulings on complex banking and investment products and transactions remain a scarce commodity even today.
Often referred to as the industry’s gatekeepers, these scholars must give their approval before Islamic banks can launch any investment products, offer to finance, and make many other business decisions.
These Shariah scholars evaluate the compliance of all sorts of investment products including Islamic bonds and mortgages and hold vast sway over the industry.
Yet observers say a shortage of qualified scholars is squeezing further growth in the industry.
According to a study in January by Funds@Work, an investment industry consultancy based in Germany, only 20 scholars occupy 54% of all Sharia board seats at Islamic financial institutions globally. The top 100 scholars occupy almost all of them.
Institutions such as Ethica Institute and Japan Institute of Islamic Finance have been trying to create awareness about the Islamic finance industry. However, we need more efforts like these to develop qualified professionals in the Islamic finance industry.