The first comprehensive guide to Islamic finance has been produced by the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC), filling a long-felt need in one of the world's fastest growing economic sectors.

The 40-page Guide to Islamic Finance - in or from the DIFC' is designed to help all who are interested in learning more about the subject.

It provides a summary of the underlying concepts in Islamic finance, as well as examines the issues facing the Islamic financial services industry regionally and internationally.

The guide places specific emphasis on "Tayyab", an underlying principle of Islam which is emerging as a new concept in Islamic finance. Tayyab ensures that Islamic financial products are developed with a focus on holistic, equitable Islamic criteria of transparency, accountability and fairness so as to ensure credibility is maintained.

The booklet also details the DFSA regulatory environment for Islamic finance and the requirements applying to Sharia'-compliant operations and the products they offer. The only financial jurisdiction in the world that has a modern-day world-class regulatory structure for Islamic finance

Nasser Alshaali, CEO of DIFC Authority described the new guide as: "an invaluable source of information for everyone involved in Islamic finance or those who simply want to understand the subject better."

Until now, he said, such a comprehensive guide had not been available in one single volume, although the Islamic sector is estimated to be worth $400 billion worldwide.

"DIFC plays a leading role in providing an infrastructure and environment that is helping the Islamic financial sector develop," he explained and highlighted four core strengths:

  • provision of a Sharia' systems model which not only clearly defines the role of the Regulator, the institution and the scholars; but is based on a unique model which combines the recognised international standards and practices with modifications to reflect the specifics of Islamic finance;
  • providing clarity and certainty of regulations across wholly Islamic financial Institutions, and also Islamic windows;
  • providing a responsive and integrated regulatory structure conducive to the cross-sectoral nature of Islamic finance; and
  • ensuring that all institutions operating within the DIFC and other financial centres are subject to the same standards of regulation.

"Commissioning and publishing this guide marks another important step in our mission to foster the growth and understanding of Islamic finance regionally and internationally."

A Guide to Islamic Finance - in or from the DIFC' has been written by Hari Bhambra, head of DIFC-based firm Praesidium LLP a newly established regulatory, compliance and client advisory firm which specializes in helping clients with DFSA regulations, compliance and training services for conventional and Islamic Institutions.  She was formerly a regulator with the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

Hari Bhambra is an acknowledged authority on Islamic finance, having set up the "Sharia" Systems' regulatory regime for the DIFC and authored a number of articles internationally on Islamic finance. She sits on a number of committees dealing with Islamic finance and was recently appointed sole adviser to a secular Islamic state on the introduction of Islamic contracts into their market for the first time.  

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