Muhammad Arif
Muhammad Arif: Chairman Centre of Advisory Services for Islamic Banking and Finance (CAIF), Former Head of FSCD SBP, Former Head of Research ArifHabib Investments and Member IFSB Task Force for development of Islamic Money Market, Former Member of Access to Justice Fund Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Education on Islamic Economics, Banking and Finance

In Pakistan Islamic banking industry consist of 22 Islamic banking institutions; 5 full-fledged Islamic banks (IBs) and 17 conventional banks having standalone Islamic banking branches (IBBs) by end June, 2019. Branch network of Islamic banking industry consist of 2,913 (spread across 113 districts) by end June, 2019. More than 77 percent of the branches are concentrated in Punjab and Sind.

To provide Islamic Banking with Knowledgeable staff different Training Program are in process to  enhance skills and knowledge base of field staff of Islamic banking institutions particularly Branch Managers (BMs), Operation Managers (OMs), and Relationship Managers (RMs) of Islamic banking industry, academia, students in colleges and universities  and Shariah scholars.

Still Islamic banking around the world tends to focus more on producing qualified Sharia advisors than grooming people working in treasury or product development departments which is absolutely wrong. Every area has its special features. Hence for developing Islamic Banking Sharia Scholars, Bankers, Market Practitioner and Legal Experts all are needed. One must recognize that most credible Islamic Banking experts in the world are non-Muslims as they work to develop the market products by considering all aspects pertaining to market requirements.

Further Intensive use of print media, engaging electronic media has always been tried but it has not proved successful so far. This is due to the fact that the growth of the Islamic financial industry is causing a mismatch between required and available human resources at different levels and for different institutions.

At the same time, it provides an opportunity to academic institutions to design and develop Islamic business programs to meet the requirements of the Islamic finance industry.

Islamic finance education can ensure a promising career because exponential expansion of the Islamic finance industry in Pakistan but it has created a severe shortfall of trained human capital as well. This gap is usually filled by trained staff from conventional financial industry. However; the lack of basic Sharia and Islamic finance knowledge among the conventional financial institutions’ staff is causing misconceptions about Islamic financial products and services among the customers. The Islamic banking and finance field is growing at a much faster pace than the education institutions are able to produce graduates with required training. According to a conservative judgment around 4,000 Islamic finance graduates are required, each year, to meet the requirements of human resource of the Islamic finance industry in Pakistan.

In order to facilitate and provide quality graduates and skilled staff to the industry, and promote Islamic finance education and research, the State Bank of Pakistan has established three centers for excellence in Islamic finance in reputed business schools of the country. These centers are located at the Institute of Management Sciences (IMSciences) Peshawar, at IBA-Karachi and at LUMS Lahore. These centers are providing quality Islamic finance education, training for professionals and awareness about Islamic banking and finance.

Based on the judgment of the officials of State bank of Pakistan, these Centers are required to come up with highly reputed Islamic finance faculties, knowledge creation areas in the form of writing textbooks and producing local cases in Islamic finance and PhD program for initiation in Islamic business and finance.

As an example In Malaysia, the National Sharia Advisory Council has additionally set up at Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) that advises BNM on the Sharia aspects of the operations of these institutions, as well as on their products and services. In 2006, Bank Negara Malaysia setup International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) a dedicated University to provide skilled and certified personnel for Islamic Finance in Malaysia. The university was established as part of the Malaysian Government’s initiative to further strengthens the country’s position as an international Islamic finance center. It is the only university in the world that is wholly dedicated to postgraduate study in Islamic Finance.

It has now become very important that the employees of Islamic banks should know about financial products they are offering and services, using the principles of Islam to convince their customers. For this they are required to know full ABC of current banking by adding full knowledge and teachings of Islam. To realize their own missions, it is the products and its benefits that are important. As it is been stated that all essentials for Islamic banks is based upon to study the principles of Islamic Banking and Finance guided with enhancing behavior, attitude and awareness towards their clients. First than comes to adhere to Al-Qur’an and Hadith Nabvi,s knowledge that are pivotal to deal with  clients mainly in the retail segment who usually acknowledge and comprehensively understand and constitutes as the main element of the banking business in practice. The possession of knowledge and experience by awareness, attitude and understanding of conventional and Islamic sides, the employees can be used as the vital resource for the banking amongst their customers.

There is no other opinion that government, regulators and banks themselves can become the main source to ensure proper training of the bankers and also to develop a research-oriented mechanism to improve wide range understanding about Islamic Banking system. By going this way we can ultimately pave way for actual and successful implementation of Islamic Finance in the world. IDB and other world bodies have also to play main role in this regard.

Growing numbers of Islamic banks and branches of conventional banks offering Islamic banking products to the people is not enough. Economists, bankers, market practitioners and sharia scholars with full knowledge of Islamic Finance have to play main role in development of Islamic Financial Market so as to achieve optimum of the present government’s commitment towards “Sharia based Islamic Banking.”

Centre of Advisory Services for Islamic Banking and Finance is also carrying out its research activities to support these efforts. With its book on “Islamic Economics” and with lot of research articles it is trying to create awareness as well solutions for moving forward in Islamic Banking and Finance


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