Islam Compliance, beyond Sharīʿah Compliance: Toward a Broader Socio-Economic Transformation

In: Arab Law Quarterly
Mohammad Omar Farooq Department of Economics and Finance, Gulf University 743 Sanad Bahrain

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With the emergence and growth of the Islamic finance industry, Muslims now have at their disposal comprehensive Sharīʿah-compliant financial services. However, the notion of Sharīʿah compliance has rarely been deconstructed; essentially, it constitutes a prohibition-driven enterprise. While avoidance of the forbidden (ḥarām) is fundamentally important, Islam encompasses a great deal more than the impermissible. Approaching relevant issues from the perspective of Sharīʿah compliance, where legal aspects are overemphasized, leads to legalism where the principles, norms and values based on the Qurʾān and Sunnah are largely ignored or compromised. Limiting itself to merely avoiding the ḥarām has significantly handicapped the industry from identifying and endeavouring to address synergistically the broader socio-economic challenges. In this article, a modified conceptualization based on a more nuanced framework of ‘Islam-compliance’ is proposed and explored, especially from the perspective of value-orientation in Islam. The notion and framework of Islam compliance has broader implications beyond Islamic finance.

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