Religious compliance in Islamic financial institutions

  • Nunung Hidayah

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The central goal of this research is to explore the approach of the Islamic banking industry in defining and implementing religious compliance at regulatory, institutional, and individual level within the Islamic Banking and Finance (IBF) industry. It also examines the discrepancies, ambiguities and paradoxes that are exhibited in the individual and institutional behaviour in relation to the infusion and enactment of religious exigencies into compliance processes in IBF. Through the combined lenses of institutional work and a sensemaking perspective, this research portrays the practice of infusion of Islamic law in Islamic banks as being ambiguous and drifting down to the institutional and actor levels. In instances of both well-codified and non-codified regulatory frameworks for Shariah compliance, institutional rules ambiguity, rules interpretation and enactment ambiguities were found to be prevalent. The individual IBF professionals performed retrospective and prospective actions to adjust the role and rules boundaries both in the case of a Muslim and a non-Muslim country. The sensitizing concept of religious compliance is the primary theoretical contribution of this research and provides a tool to understand the nature of what constitutes Shariah compliance and the dynamics of its implementation. It helps to explain the empirical consequences of the lack of a clear definition of Shariah compliance in the regulatory frameworks and standards available for the industry. It also addresses the calls to have a clear reference on what constitute Shariah compliance in IBF as proposed in previous studies (Hayat, Butter, & Kock, 2013; Maurer, 2003, 2012; Pitluck, 2012). The methodological and theoretical perspective of this research are unique in the use of multi-level analysis and approaches that blend micro and macro perspectives of the research field, to illuminate and provide a more complete picture of religious compliance infusion and enactment in IBF.
Date of Award8 Dec 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aston University
SupervisorMargaret Woods (Supervisor) & Alan D Lowe (Supervisor)


  • religious compliance
  • shariah
  • ambiguities
  • boundaries adjustments
  • islamic banking and finance

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