Introduction: Shariah Advisors

Shariah advisors are the key element in the infrastructure of Shariah Finance, also known as Islamic Banking. Understanding the role of Shariah Finance advisors is essential to understanding how Shariah Finance works.


How do Shariah Advisors control the flow of capital, credit flows and charitable donations in Shariah Finance investments?

The Shariah scholars employed as SCF advisors are not simply the people who enable Shariah-Compliant Financial transactions. In fact, they have de facto control over capital and credit flows associated with SCF.  When a mutual fund declares itself to be “Shariah compliant”, the Shariah Advisors have final say and veto power over each investment. And the status of this investment can change at any time as declared by the Shariah Advisors.  While there are general rules to be followed, Shariah Advisors alone decide what is acceptable “according to Shariah rules and principles”. Since the goal of Shariah is to create a one world Islam, then any investment which threatens the supremacy of Islam can legitimately be considered “un-Islamic” and banned. There are also various debt ratios, which will deem an investment “unislamic”. This gives Shariah Advisors have another way to exclude an investment that threatens Islam since ratios are constantly changing, and these investments are being constantly reviewed by the Shariah Advisors. As Shariah Finance becomes an important generator of profits to banks, insurance companies and law firms, these Shariah Advisors can easily begin to exclude more and more industries as “un-Islamic” (such as publishers, developers and manufacturers of un-Islamic books, goods, services) as they get bolder in their enforcement of Shariah Rules and Principles.


Who are these Shariah Advisors and what are their qualifications?


Interestingly, there are very few SCF advisors today, perhaps fewer than one hundred of them in the entire world. Of these approximately two dozen are considered the most distinguished scholars in the industry – individuals who not only are recognized Shariah authorities, but who read and speak English and have some knowledge of finance. Typically, each one of these preeminent advisors sits on between 20 and 25 Shariah boards, garnering substantial incomes.  One of these advisors can easily command $50,000 per year from each of the boards on which he sits.  

By definition these “scholars” are adherents to Shariah and, therefore, seek to transform America – and, indeed, the world – into an Islamic state.  Shariah Advisors alone issue “fatwas” which mobilize the Shariah Faithful into action.   

In this fashion, firms engaged in Shariah Finance hire, underwrite and, thereby, endorse and enable some of the worst Jihadists in the world. Very few of them have any credentials in economics or finance. Most have been educated in the madrassas and Shariah studies programs in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Malaysia or at Egypt’s Al Azhar University.


What is a Fatwa and who issues them?

Only Shariah authorities (the ‘ulema’) can issue fatwas or legal rulings and only they can interpret Shariah. As Shariah authorities, they authorize, direct, and condone Jihad actions. The mandate that “true” Muslims carry out their fatwas ensures that these authorities can distance themselves from actual acts of terror. Recent fatwas by Shariah authorities resulted in a) the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, b) rioting following the publication of the Danish Mohammad cartoons, and c) the attacks in New York (Sep. 2001), London (Jul. 2007), Madrid (Mar. 2004), and Mumbai (Jan. 2009).



If you go to an Islamic Finance conference you’ll hear investment bankers talking about the important “fatwas” that Shariah Advisors write that mandate “no interest” or sanction exactly what kind of profits must be donated to Shariah Charities”. These investment bankers and lawyers use this word as if they never heard the word “fatwa” being used more commonly to decree a death sentence on someone who has insulted Islam. The fatwa that declared a death sentence on Salmon Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses or the fatwa that mandated death for Ayaan Hirsi Ali for her role in creating the film Submission are well known. Salmon Rushie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali remain in hiding for 20 and 10 years respectfully. It is the same universe of Shariah advisors who embody the same totalitarian ideology of Shariah that write these Shariah finance or death “fatwas”. 


What are some direct quotes of Shariah Finance Advisors that provide clear evidence of their commitment to Shariah?

Sheik Yusuf al-Qawadari, considered the “Father of Shariah Finance” :


* "Allah Almighty is just; through his infinite wisdom he has given the weak a weapon the strong do not have, and that is their ability to turn their bodies into bombs as Palestinians do."


* “The most important form of jihad today…. is to rebuild Islamic society and state….in the political, cultural and economic domains. This is certainly most deserving of Zakat.”


“ “I like to call it Jihad with money because God has ordered us to fight our enemies with our lives and our money”. (He is speaking about Shariah Finance) BBC interview.



Sheik Taqi Usmani.   Sits or has sat on HSBC, Citi, Dow Jones boards:


* “Killing is to continue until the unbelievers pay jiziah (a subjugation tax) after they are humbled or overpowered.” (Islam and Modernism, 2006)


* “For a Muslim state to have more power and glory than a non-Muslim state is itself an obstacle. Therefore to shatter this grandeur is among the greater objectives of Jihad.”


Sheik Yusuf DeLorenzo:  most sought after Shariah advisor since he is an American, and therefore western in appearance and style.


* “Adapting Islam to modern finance” could influence other areas of finance, which has “essentially been in a coma for several centuries …and desperately needs reviving.”


* “In order to be more readily understandable to regulators in Muslim-minority countries, such as the USA and Europe, there is nothing wrong in using another term like Ethical Advisory Board” (instead of Shariah Advisory Board).



What regulatory agencies exist to provide oversight to Shariah Finance?


The AAOIFI (Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions) Board is the international body that parallels western regulatory agencies, and the most highly regarded regulatory agency in Shariah Finance.  Each of the Shariah Advisors, whose quotes advocating Jihad against the west   (and appear above), sits on this prestigious AAOIFI board. The SEC embraced the legitimacy of the AAOIFI when asked to investigate Shariah Finance in the spring of 2008 by concerned terror-financing, human rights, and Shariah experts.

What is a Certificate of Shariah Compliance?


Each Shariah investment requires a signed Certificate of Shariah Compliance by the Shariah Advisors hired to oversee this investment. Click here to view a copy and translation of a Certificate of Compliance for a Citi Islamic bond issue.  Note that the entire Certificate talks about “compliance with Shariah Rules and Principles” but never once describes exactly what these principles are.  Shariah Advisors are given a blank slate that can change over time over what is and is not an “Islamic” investment.