Sharia Supervisory Board

The Company shall always conduct its business in accordance with the Islamic Sharia rules.

In compliance with licensing requirements of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), the Bank’s Articles and Memorandum of Association and the general practice of the Company, at all times, has a Sharia Supervisory Board (SSB) elected by the shareholders at General Meetings based on recommendations of the Board of Directors (through the Remuneration & Nomination Committee).

The SSB actively participates in developing and overseeing the company’s products and business activities. It is responsible for certifying every product to ensure strict adherence to the principles of Sharia.

The SSB has full access to the Board, management personnel of the company including access to the Company’s Sharia Compliance Officer who is proactively involved in: (a) reviewing and advising on the Sharia compliance of all products and investment projects, (b) auditing the operations of the company from Sharia point of view, and (c) producing reports to the SSB in order to ensure that the company’s activities are under a strict and direct oversight of Sharia guidelines. Furthermore, the Sharia Compliance Officer monitors on a day to day basis in ensuring that all areas of the company adhere to SSB’s recommendations, advices and opinions. The current Sharia Board members for Ithmaar Holding are:

Sheikh Al Manee’a is a prominent, highly-respected Sharia scholar. He is a member of the Senior Sharia Board in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a consultant in the Royal Court. He is the Vice Chairman of the Sharia Board of the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI). He is also Chairman or a member of the Sharia Supervisory Boards of several other Islamic banks and financial institutions.

An expert at the Islamic Fiqh Academy, Sheikh Al Manee’a holds a Master’s degree from the Higher Institute for Judgment and has authored several books including ‘Paper Money: Truth, History and Reality’ and ‘Economic Research’ and others.

Sheikh Dr. Yaqouby is a prominent, highly-respected Islamic Sharia scholar and a successful businessman from the Kingdom of Bahrain. He is a member of the Sharia Board of the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), and is also a member of the Sharia Supervisory Boards of several banks, Islamic financial institutions, investment funds and international banks in the GCC region, Arab countries and around the world.

In 2007, the King of Bahrain, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, awarded Sheikh Dr. Yaqouby the Order Merit in recognition of his services in Bahrain and abroad. Sheikh Dr. Yaqouby has also received the Euromoney award for Innovation in Sharia Supervision, as well as the Malaysian Islamic Banking award and other awards.

Sheikh Dr. Yaqouby holds many academic, appreciation and honorary degrees. He has authored a large number of books.

Sheikh Al Asfoor is a well-known and highly-respected Sharia scholar in the Kingdom of Bahrain. In addition to his membership of the Ithmaar Bank Sharia Supervisory Board, he is a member in several Sharia Supervisory Boards in the Kingdom of Bahrain and abroad. He has previously been a judge at the Supreme Sharia Court of Appeal (Jaafari).

Sheikh Al-Asfoor is the Head of the Jaafari Endowments and is a member of the Curriculum Development at the Jaafari Religious Institute as well as the Sharia Board of the International Islamic Rating Agency of the Islamic Development Bank. He is a graduate of Islamic Hawza from Qom, Iran and has authored more than 60 books on Islamic Sharia.

Sheikh Dr. Bahar is a well-known, highly-respected Sharia scholar from the Kingdom of Bahrain.

He is currently a Sharia member at First Energy Bank. He is also the Chairman or a member of the Sharia Supervisory Boards of several other Islamic banks and financial institutions, funds and investment portfolios in Bahrain and abroad.

Sheikh Dr. Bahar holds a Doctorate from Lahaye University in the Netherlands, a Master’s degree from Al Emam Al Awzae University in Lebanon, and a Bachelor’s degree in Islamic Sharia from Prince Abdul Qader Al Jaazaeri University of Islamic Studies in Algeria.

Sheikh Dr. Bahar has authored several books in Islamic banking as well as society affairs. He also has several radio interviews and participations and newspaper columns.

The SSB’s responsibilities and functions fall within the scope of banking transactions, but not administrative affairs, and shall include the following:

  • Approval of Sharia`a aspects in the Memorandum and Articles of Association and in the regulations, forms and policies followed by the Company.
  • Approval of the agreements and standard and non-standard contracts related to financial transactions conducted by the Company with shareholders and investors, etc. after looking into them from Sharia`a aspects and taking part in amending and improving the said forms, if required, as well as examining contracts which the Company intends to conclude and which do not have standard forms previously used, for the purpose of verifying that the said contracts, agreements and transactions are free of Sharia`a prohibitions.
  • The SSB shall give a Sharia`a opinion on the products which the Company intends to offer and issue Fatwas on Sharia`a issues which the Company follows in conducting transactions.
  • The SSB shall follow the Company’s operations and examine its activities from a Sharia`a aspect within the periods specified in co-ordination between the SSB and the management and ensure that the transactions concluded are for products and contracts approved by the SSB, through regular reviews of the practical steps and audit of documents from a Sharia`a aspect to ensure that Sharia`a requirements are not violated. This review shall include rectification and correction of transactions or to settle obligations and rights in accordance with the principles of Sharia`a.
  • Examination of the activities of investment funds and subsidiary companies overall, failing which every fund and company should appoint its own SSB.
  • The SSB shall propose and submit the possible Sharia`a solutions to the problems of financial transactions which are not consistent with the rules and principles of Islamic Sharia`a and contribute, in co-operation with the Company’s management, towards finding alternatives to the products which contravene Sharia`a rules.
  • It shall provide guidance and advice to the Company’s Management through the conduct of Islamic financial transactions to help it achieve compliance with Islamic Sharia`a rules and principles.
  • It shall give the Sharia`a opinion on the Company’s financial statements within the periods specified in co-ordination between the SSB and the management.
  • The SSB shall ensure avoidance of gains made from sources or through methods that are repugnant to the rules and principles of Islamic Sharia`a and spend them in general charitable purposes.
  • The SSB shall examine sources of income, expenses, assets and liabilities in the financial statements in accordance with Sharia`a rules and principles.
  • It shall submit an annual report to be discussed during the Company’s annual general meeting, in which the SSB shall give its opinion on the transactions conducted by the bank and the Management’s compliance with the Fatwas and resolutions issued by it at the end of every financial year.
  • It shall give recommendations on the training courses required by the Sharia`a reviewer to carry out internal Sharia`a review duties, as well as the banking events which it deems necessary for the Sharia`a reviewer to participate in and attend.
  • The SSB shall be concerned, in exclusion of other bodies, with the resolution settlement of any difference of opinion that may arise between the Company’s Management and the Sharia`a reviewer in respect of the Sharia`a aspects of banking transactions.
  • It shall assist in developing the Company’s products and devise and introduce new products, while upgrading the necessary contracts.