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Defining Harmonisation of Sharīʻah Rulings in Islamic Finance

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Having been applied for over four decades, the Islamic finance industry faces a divergence of opinions on the Sharīʻah, resulting from different interpretations adopted by Sharīʻah scholars when modifying classical fiqh doctrines to suit the current banking system. Although juristic disagreement is acceptable from a fiqh perspective, its practice in the financial industry brings more disadvantages than benefits. Recently the call for harmonising Sharīʻah rulings has become stronger. This article defines what is meant by harmonisation of Sharīʻah in the context of the Islamic finance industry, and outlines its scope and contribution. The discussion is pertinent due to confusion over the term ‘standardisation’. Contemporary Sharīʻah scholars and practitioners in the financial industry appear to be in disagreement when elaborating upon the issue. Hence, it is hoped that this article will help clarify the meaning of ‘harmonisation’ and shed light on how this can be accomplished to benefit the financial industry.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Economics and Muʿamalat, Universiti Sains Islam MalaysiaMalaysia

1 The article was prepared during my tenure as Scholar in Residence in Islamic Finance at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS). I would like to thank the Securities Commission of Malaysia and OCIS for the sponsorship.

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