El-Gamal has pointed out that Islamic financial jurisprudence has aimed at enhancing human welfare but transaction costs have been substantially reduced rendering contract-based jurisprudence incoherent (2007, p. 1). El-Gamal (2007) provides a basis for Islamic financial engineering aiming for an Islamic law compliant as well as legal risk compliant financial instruments.
An authority on the Islamic financial system is the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Islamic Financial Services Board is an international standard-setting organization that seeks to promote stability of the Islamic financial services industry by issuing standards and guiding principles (IFSB 2009, p. 1). The member central banks/countries of the IFSB include Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Bahrain, Iran, the Islamic Development Bank, Pakistan, Qatar, Singapore, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates.
A key dimension of Islamic financial services pertains to Shari-ah governance. Unfortunately, according to IFSB documents (2009, p. 1), Shari-ah governance, despite being an often used word within the Islamic financial service institutions (IFSI), has never been “properly” defined. Nevertheless, Shari-ah governance is deemed to have been realized when a Shari-ah board believes so (IFSB 2009, p.1). El-Gamal (2003, p. 4), however, associates the Shari-ah with the Islamic Law. Following El-Gamal, Shari-ah compliance is therefore compliance with Islamic Law as judgment of competent authorities of the Shari-ah or the Islamic Laws. Gait and Worthington (2007, p. 27) clarified, however, that the main sources of the Shari-ah law are the Qu’ran, Hadith, Sunna, Ijma, Qiyas and Ijtihad.
According to the latest available IFSB (2009) document on the Shari-ah, the Shari-ah board is usually composed of scholars on the Shari-ah (alternatively known as the Shari-ah Committee or the Shari-ah Supervisory Board) but the practice over the years is