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We need Committed Islamic Bankers not Successful ones!

Although historigrams and time series graphs reveal growth in Islamic Banking,often interpreted as rapid growth, its pace is not as fast as it should be. One of the major reasons hampering this potential development is the lack of qualified and committed Islamic Bankers.

Even people working in the Islamic Banking sector are not always convinced,nor do they agree onthe basis upon which Islamic Banking should properly function. They, because of their professional tracks, can be termed as successful bankers but not successful and committed Islamic bankers. The evidence can be taken from human resource department data. Can a Committed Islamic Banker join a Conventional Bank, after resigning from an Islamic Financial Institution (IFI), regardless of the reasons? No! But there are such examples in the market. Why should this happen? Should it be analyzed by Islamic R&D departments whose presence is rare or nonexistent in many cases?

Human resource departmentsare engaged in finding good bankers for their institutions. Although human resource hunting is different in general from human resource training, we can regard it as the first step in human resource development which is the utmost need of the time.

The department should search for committed Islamic bankers, groom and train them towards maximizing productivity instead of experimenting with bankers who are very successful but not committed to Islamic banking. The question is not who should be given a chance and who should not. Being an Islamic banker means business should be conducted using different standards.

For a banker, the difference starts from the very first step when one transaction is declared as Halal,whereas, a second one,which in many cases is very similar but not identical or exactly matching with Islamic product,is declared Haram. The reasons lie behind our interpretations of  “the standards as defined by Shari’ah”; the scope can be further enhanced by adding “in true letter and spirit of Islam”. And the same can be expected, of course, from a committed Islamic banker only. Various tools can be used such as intensive counseling sessions with Shari’ah staff using existing resources, moving away from needless parroting. Staff development is comparatively a more time consuming task but is relatively safer and more practical. Sometimes it can give the appearance of increased human resource costs because of very frequent orientation and training courses and test cases. But, it would ultimately breed a generation of qualified and committed Islamic bankers, which will be a permanent asset and not just another breed of Migratory Birds. Ironically, the very nature of the problem that provided the inspiration for this tool also acts as a barrier to its dissemination when orthodox and mountain–locked approaches are applied towards staff development. Undoubtedly, experienced bankers are an asset for any institution and the same is in case of IFI’s but only if they are committed. The tool may also be used as a preventive measure against an avalanche of change environments especially when conventional banks are also considered as potential nests.

 

 

 1)      Why do you think that Islamic bankers are not committed to the spirit of Shari’ah in doing Islamic banking transactions?

It is not only matter of transactions. As I have tried to highlight, not all but most bankers who join IFI’s are not committed to Islamic banking and consider it just another option of switching. That is why market observer noticed job switching from Islamic Banks to Conventionalones, which would not happen when resourcesare committed to Islamic Banking in true letter and spirit.

 

2)      What type of staff development are you suggesting, that is different from what is already being given by Islamic banking institutions to their employees, both staffers and management?
 

Well, it is transformation. Here training does not mean product training, but rather refers to development of mind frames from the grass root level to top management. Through this process, we can develop an ideal working environment in IFIs, where everybody would be committed to Islamic Banking in true letter and spirit, instead of the mixed culture which is commonly observed.

 

3)      What is your understanding of the spirit of Shari’ah, outside of Halal and Haram?
 

Shari’ah is the way to“Destiny”.

 

4)      Should education/training be started at the college levels? Or at professional certification bodies like Ethica, CIMA, Inceif, or others?
 

Initial training should start at the high school level which is the most appropriate place and time. At that level, students should be educated on banking, ethics of banking and basic differences in Islamic and convention banking.

 

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