Introduction of Research Center for Islamic Banking and Contemporary Issues
Several economic systems are currently functioning in the world; and most of them are imposed on the Muslims to adopt in contravention to the basic tenets of their faith. Islam is a religion which encompasses all aspects of the human life, including, but not limited to, social, economic, and financial.
Islamic economics is a significant and vibrant portion of the Islamic system. Although the term "Islamic Economy” has gained more attention recently, the fact remains that guiding principles are laid down centuries ago. Since the beginning, Shari‘ah has valued generation and growth of wealth so much so that one of the Maqasid al-Shari‘ah (Purposes of Shari‘ah) is Protection and Preservation of Wealth (حفظ المال). Islam has put in place principles that govern the economic and financial matters and has allowed Muslims to apply the principles to newly arising issues. This flexibility has enabled Islamic principles apply to issues that arise in 21st century and onwards. The only criterion remains that Halal (allowed) methods of generating, gaining and spending wealth shall be preferred to those that are proscribed.
In addition to the theoretical foundations, the Islamic system has been put into practice in the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), his rightly Guided Caliphs and later on. However, the collapse of Ottoman Empire and disintegration of the Muslim world into smaller, unnaturally divided states undermined the political, social and economic system of the Muslim world. Resultantly, Muslims were subject to subjugation by the western hegemony in all aspects of their life, notably, ideology, politics, and economics. The growth of secularism and capitalism threaten the foundations of Islamic system by propagating a malicious notion that Islam is but a set of ethical rules and some rituals and has nothing to do with ideology, society, economics and politics.
In this context, Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is committed to revive Islamic system in Afghanistan, and strive to implement Islamic principles, values and norms in all aspects of our lives. To help in achieving this objective, IEA has resolved to review and rectify the foundations of economic and financial system of Afghanistan in light of Shari‘ah. Therefore, Research Center for Islamic Banking and Contemporary Issues (RCIBCI) is established and mandated to propose amendments in and convert the banking and financial system of Afghanistan.
RCIBCI is Established by virtue of Article No. 2, Decree No. 15, dated (16.05.1443 AH and 29.09.1400 HS) under the auspices of Afghanistan Sciences Academy (ASA).
The Research Center for Islamic Banking and Contemporary Issues (RCIBCI) is a government institution, mandated to Islamize the banking and financial sector of Afghanistan; devising market strategy for Islamic economic principles and Islamic banking system; and conducting comprehensive research on Islamic banking and contemporary financial issues. RCIBCI will provide services in the relevant sector aiming at promotion of Islamic banking and Islamic economy in Afghanistan.
To encourage, develop and strengthen Islamic economics, banking and finance in Afghanistan, replacing the Riba based banking and financial system.
Establish a platform for Islamization of financial institutions, conducting and disseminating scientific research on Islamic economics, banking, finance, and contemporary financial issues; devise Shari’ah complaint products.
- Islamization: Bring the economic, financial, commercial, and banking activities within the framework of Shariah.
- Transparency and Integrity: Transparency and integrity in the operations and activities of RCIBCI.
- Professionalism: uphold the values requisite for and dealing with all matters in a professional manner.
- Commitment: RCIBCI is committed to its vision, mission and principles of IEA generally and overall to the progress and prosperity of the people of Afghanistan in light of Shari‘ah.
- Team work and Innovation: Team work is RCIBCI’s norm and operating strategy to offer best services in the most innovative manner possible.
- Critically evaluating products and process flow thereof in the economic, financial, commercial, and banking sectors, and providing alternatives to the non-compliant products and flows in the light of Shari’ah as expounded by the Hanafi School of thought.
- Adopting new, review and amendment of existing laws and regulations related to economy, finance and banking in the light of Shari’ah principles.
- Preparing and approval of conversion plans for banking, microfinance and insurance companies,
- Preparing standard documents and guidelines for various products of the abovementioned financial institutions.
- Conducting research on contentious issues and submitting the findings to the relevant authorities for execution.
- Advising the government on economic, financial, commercial and banking issues, to ensure operation of the government and private sectors in a Shari‘ah compliant manner.
- Represent the government in the fields of Islamic economics, banking and finance and establish and maintain relations with other similar institutions around the world.
RCIBCI has the following administrative structure:
The Office of Director shall operate under the Director of RCIBCI and shall have the following staff:
- Five Technical Advisors;
- One Technical Secretary;
- The Executive Management.
- The Directorate for Research on Islamic Banking and Commercial Transactions.
- The Directorate for Research on contemporary financial issues.
The Directorate for Research on Islamic Banking and Commercial Transactions
This Directorate shall be responsible for conducting research on topics related to Islamic banking, offer Shariah alternatives to the non-Shari‘ah compliant products and critically evaluate transactions. The findings and conclusions shall then be presented to the concerned authorities/ entities for execution.
This Directorate contains two departments:
- Department of Islamic Banking: In general, this Department reviews and proposes amendments to the banking law, prepares drafts of new laws, designs products of Islamic banking, conducts research on issues related to Islamic banking and finance, and provides trainings and seminars on Islamic banking and finance.
- Department of Commercial Transactions: Mainly, this department conducts research on contemporary commercial issues, points out legal and illegal elements in the issues and puts them in a framework that is not against the principles of Shari’ah.
The Directorate of Contemporary Financial Issues
This Directorate conducts research on contemporary issues and operates with two Departments:
- Department of Finance and Money: This Department conducts research on financial and monetary issues, analyzes financial policies, harmonizes them with the current situation of the country and conducts research on various issues related to finance.
- Department of Trade: This Department conducts research on goods, transactions, exchange of goods (bartering) and all the issues related thereto.
- Murabahah product guideline for financial institutions;
- Prepared Shariah ruling of pecuniary penalty/ fines (Al-Tazir Bil-Maal);
- Prepared conversion plan for microfinance companies;
- Issued Shari‘ah ruling on pension and the rights of retirees;
- Prepared conversion plan for insurance companies;
- Prepared detailed fatwa on Takaful operations;
- Prepared conversion plan for conventional banks;
- Issued paper on the nature and limits of state intervention in Market in light of Shari‘ah.