In conjunction with the establishment of I-CON, ISRA organised an Intensive Training on Applied Shari’ah Research in Islamic Finance dated 5th July until 14th July 2011. This training is the first-time gathering of Shari’ah officers employed in the various Islamic banks or Islamic windows. It is organised with the objectives of assembling all the participants so as to be a competent Shari’ah researcher capable of analysing the industry’s current state of affairs, conducting research and applying the appropriate methods in solving the problems faced, addressing the present needs in industry as well as in developing Islamic financial products. Due to the new Shari’ah Governance Framework which mentioned that each Islamic institution shall have an internal unit, Shari’ah research and secretariat is therefore obliged to ensure accurate reflection and dissemination of Shari’ah related substances.

A total of 37 people comprising of Shari’ah officers from the banking industry and academicians attended to achieve understanding in conducting and applying research in Islamic banking and finance. During the 8 days course, they learnt efficient technique on how to make an efficient research by referring to electronic sources as well as textual reading skills. During the training, there were 5 modules that had been presented. The module consists of scope of research and major Shari’ah concerns in Islamic financial contracts. This training module focuses on the ways to understand the scope of new product with the flow of research. 

Furthermore the training also includes understanding of the textual reading of classical books in the field of fiqh muamalat. This is a great opportunity as the participants were exposed on the various techniques in understanding on how to define the exact meaning of the text. Dr. Mohammad Hail Al-Madhaji, a senior researcher at Al-Rajhi Bank was invited to guide the participants in employing efficiently the digital resources in fiqh for research purposes. The utilization of this digital resources save a lot of time, as compared to the previous method used which is the library research where a lot of time is needed to spend in the library. Therefore the time needed on doing research is reduced with this new approach.

The next module focused on the practitioners’ views. This session was established to enhance efficient communication and to expose them to the common concerns and constraints of the industry. The final module is in relation to research on the relevant contemporary rulings and views and findings or the proposed solutions. This final module aims to analyse the contemporary rulings and views related to the topic under research as well as the right to justify the rulings and views.

Lastly it is not about the skills learnt during the training only, but also of the experiences shared among the bankers and researchers.