WHS: The need for specialist halal sector scholars

download-150x98The Islamic Finance industry has produced specialist scholars with unique knowledge of the intricate workings of the finance industry, and the specific Syariah rulings that are applicable to banking and financial transactions.

In today’s third session of the Scholars Forum, World Halal Summit (WHS 2015), Judge Hafiz Mahomed, Vice President of the Islamic Council of South Africa states that the main issue today is that there are very few specialist scholars with the equivalent levels of knowledge and training in the Halal sector.

Daud Vicary, President of INCEIF encouraged Muslim scholars to continue their professional training and expand their expertise in order to fully understand and experience the economy, especially for banking and legal systems, to ensure that professional standards are being applied within the Halal industry.

A call was also made for the industry to give due attention to Halal’s related sub sectors, not solely focusing on the F&B industry. Halal support sectors such as ICT, transportation, logistics, tourism and hospitality must also be given more attention.

Dr. Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director of Education Cluster of TECOM Business Parks of UAE in making the call suggested, “A tripartite partnership cooperation, consisting of academia, industry and the government as role players, is definitely needed to strategise and spur the growth of Islamic economy.”

Fatwas (judgments / rulings) related to the Halal industry are also few and far in between. Professional education and training can gradually unify Muslim scholars together, possibly resulting in the centralisation of Halal-related fatwas within one central repository.

Meanwhile, the fourth session began in earnest this afternoon, with its moderator, Abdalhamid Evans, Founder of HalalFocus and Conference Director of World Halal Summit, lambasting the lack of concern and coverage on food commodity speculation. According to Abdalhamid, there has been zero opinion raised from the Muslim world on this topic until today. It has undoubtedly caused extreme hardships, leading nations to starvation and even deaths.

“There is a need for Islamic commodity exchange by implementing halal producing, halal trading and halal financing methods,” suggests Daud Vicary. “This is where Islamic finance comes in – by setting certain standards to go into the real economic industry and prevent speculators to play with the prices.”

“The world is filled with materialists,” said Prof Dr Saim Kayadibi, Chairman of European Union Halal Standards Committee (CEN). “Humanity must be aware and understand the destructive path that food commodity speculation leads and the inequalities of food distribution that follows,” he said.