Policy Recommendations

IAIS works to provide pragmatic advice based on sound knowledge regarding issues facing Islamic societies and governments. Here are excerpts of policy recommendations from research articles in our Journal Islam and Civilisational Renewal.

Vol. 4 No. 1 January 2013

Policy Recommendations from the ICR 4.1 (January 2013)

Anthony H. Johns, Al-Ghazali and the Foundations of an Islamic Humanism

  • Creative development which avoids innovation can be made possible by carefully distinguishing between legal provision and attendant circumstances.
  • Ghazali maintains the sanctity and authority of the Law, but frees Muslims from imposition of unnecessary legal constraints. Awareness of this freedom should be strengthened and heeded.
  • Ghazali demonstrates the space in Islam for a Humanist tradition, one which values all secular human activities within the Law and sees in them the potential for advancing spiritual life. This forms an essential basis for reviving Islam’s reason for being.

Megawati Moris, Making Knowledge Useful: Applying al-Ghazali’s Teachings in the Malay World

  • Universities in the region and in Malaysia in particular, must cooperate to “de-Westernise” and move to redefine higher education and the knowledge they provide by forming their own worldviews and developing indigenous knowledge.
  • Knowledge and research by the higher learning institutions must benefit people and address local issues.
  • An environment of empowerment should be created where youths and students are encouraged to debate, speak freely and be recognised.

Sean Foley, Saudi Arabia, the Soviet Union, and Modern Islam

  • Exchanges between the Kingdom, Russia, and Muslim majority regimes of Central Asia should be reviewed in light of changing regional realities.
  • Research, cultural and religious reciprocity, and historical and sociological collaboration should be promoted between Russia and the Kingdom, in order to promote the best interests of both nations in the context of the Muslim peoples in Russia.
  • Mutual academic and policy institutions might be established as a mark of recognising these strategic shifts and preparing for future contingencies: Russian and Central Asian studies in the Kingdom, and Saudi and Gulf studies in Russia.

Abdul Karim Abdullah, The Pitfalls of Riba or Interest-based Financing

  • Awareness needs to be created that interest-based financing adversely impacts every sector by causing a range of inefficiencies in the economy.
  • Awareness also needs to be created about the destabilising effects of interest-based financing, in particular, the link between this mode of financing and cyclical instability. This is a compelling reason for abandoning interest-based financing in favour of profit and loss sharing.
  • The dangers of going into debt need to be widely publicised while its alternatives explored.
  • The discourse of finance needs to be revisited to ensure that the terminology used reflects the economy of the real sector and that key drivers (incentives) of economic activity are properly understood.
  • Interest-based financing needs to be phased out and replaced with financing on the basis of profit and loss sharing.

Sheila Ainon Yussof, Prospects of a Shariah Audit Framework for Islamic Financial Institutions in Malaysia

  • As the Shariah audit is still uncharted territory, it is recommended that the Central Bank of Malaysia undertakes this task by providing the benchmarks and standards required for an efficient and effective Internal Shariah Audit Framework.
  • Islamic financial institutions (IFIs) in Malaysia should establish a Shariah-specific Audit Charter that will reflect the Shariah “mission” in their organisation’s vision of the scope, purpose, authority, accountability and responsibility for the internal Shariah auditing department.
  • A comprehensive Talent Development Programme needs to be designed for internal Shariah auditors, Shariah reviewers and Shariah advisors for skill training. This will widen the pool of expertise and prevent poaching of internal auditors within the industry.
  • A Professional Practice Code for Shariah Auditors should be developed to govern the profession of auditing (covering internal and external auditors) and ensuring uniformity in audit practice.
  • On Audit Reports, IFIs in Malaysia may consider reporting the Shariah audit findings as a separate statement in their annual report to promote greater transparency in Shariah compliance.

Fahm AbdulGafar Olawale, Islamic Ethics and Stem Cell Research

  • Islamic ethical guidelines should be formulated to assist Muslim scientists in applying Islamic ethical principles to various medical problems, especially as they affect the dignity and totality of the human person.
  • The Islamic ethical principle of moderation (wasatiyyah) should be applied to all stem cell applications. The current debate on stem cell research wavers between extreme positions: the embryo is either a person or a property. The way forward sees the embryo rather as a developing form of human life though not a complete person, thus worthy of a high degree of respect.
  • A well formulated biomedical ethical theory that is also informed by Islamic ethical principles is needed to advance stem cell research. It will guide physicians and researchers alike in striking a balance as well as a morally acceptable foundation in difficult medical cases.
  • Stem cell therapy as a new medical treatment should be allowed because the benefits for people suffering from various ailments are greater than the harm.

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