Complying with the principles of Shari’ah as enshrined in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is the essence and raison d’être of Islamic banking industry. A sound and effective Shari’ah compliance framework is thus critically important to give confidence to the general public about Shari’ah conformity of Islamic Banking Institutions’ (IBIs’) products and services. State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) endeavors to ensure that the operations of IBIs remain in conformity with the rules and principles of Shari’ah. Accordingly, it has been issuing regulations, instructions and guidelines on Shari’ah compliance since the re-launch of Islamic banking in 2001.
In 2008, SBP issued detailed set of instructions and guidelines for Shari’ah compliance vide IBD Circular No. 2 of 2008. However, keeping in view the developments taking place in the Islamic banking industry over the recent years, some of the instructions and guidelines have been revisited and a comprehensive Shari’ah Governance Framework (‘SGF or Framework’) was developed in 2015, which has now been further reviewed. The Framework shall be applicable to all IBIs i.e. full-fledged Islamic banks, Islamic banking subsidiaries and Islamic banking divisions of conventional banks. The primary objective of the Framework is to
strengthen the overall Shari’ah compliance environment of IBIs and explicitly define the roles and responsibilities of various organs of IBIs including the Board of Directors (BOD), Executive Management (EM), Shari’ah Board (SB), Shari’ah Compliance Department (SCD), Product Development (PD), internal auditors and external auditors towards Shari’ah compliance.
The SGF of an IBI shall, at the minimum, cover the following:
- An effective mechanism for the BOD’s oversight of the IBI’s Shari’ah compliance environment.
- Accountability of management and staff of the IBI in implementation of the Framework.
- An independent and effective SB appointed as per Fit and Proper Criteria (FAPC) set out in Annexure-A of this Framework, with one of its Shari’ah scholar members working as Resident Shari’ah Board Member (RSBM) to oversee the procedures and processes to be adopted for implementation of the SB’s fatawa, resolutions and guidelines and provide clarification thereon.
- A SCD to assist SB and to serve as a conduit between the SB and the management of an IBI.
- Shari’ah compliance review mechanism to assess operative effectiveness of Shari’ah governance and compliance framework devised by the SB and BOD of the IBI.
- An independent Internal Shari’ah Audit Unit (ISAU) which may be a part of internal audit department or an independent unit depending on the size of the IBI. A product development (PD) department / unit responsible for development of new and innovative products and services.
- External Shari’ah Audit to be undertaken along with the annual audit of the IBI.