What is the philosophy of Islamic banking?

Answer: The philosophy of Islamic banking takes the lead from Islamic Shariah. According to Islamic Shariah, Islamic banking cannot deal in transactions involving interest/riba (an increase stipulated or sought over the principal of a loan or debt). Further, they cannot deal in the transactions having the element of Gharar1 or Maiser2. Moreover, they cannot deal in any transaction, the subject matter of which is invalid ( haram in the eyes of Islam). Islamic banks focus on generating returns through investment tools which are Shariah compliant as well. Islamic Shariah links the gain on capital with its performance. Operating within the ambit of Shariah, the operations of Islamic banking are based on sharing the risk which may arise through trading and investment activities using contracts of various Islamic modes of finance.The prohibition of a risk free return and permission of trading, as enshrined in the Verse 2:275 of the Holy Quran, makes the financial activities asset-backed in an Islamic set-up with ability to cause ‘value addition’.

What is Meant By Riba?

Answer: The word “Riba” means excess, increase or addition, which correctly interpreted according to Shariah terminology, implies any excess compensation without due consideration (consideration does not include time value of money). This definition of Riba is derived from the Quran and is unanimously accepted by all Islamic scholars.
The meaning of Riba has been clarified in the following verses of Quran (Surah Al Baqarah 2:278-9)
“O those who believe; fear Allah and give up what still remains of the Riba if you are believers. But if you do not do so, then be warned of war from Allah and His Messenger. If you repent even now, you have the right of the return of your principal; neither will you do wrong nor will you be wronged.”

What is interest? Is there any difference between interest and Riba?

Answer: The origination of term interest dates back to 17th century with the emergence of banking system at global level. Interest means giving and/or taking of any excess amount in exchange of a loan or on debt. Hence, it carries the same meaning/value as that of Riba as defined in the previous question. Further, it is narrated that “the loan that draws interest is Riba”.There is consensus among the Muslim scholars of all the fiqhs that interest is Riba in all its forms and manifestations.

What are the different kinds of Riba?

Answer: There are two kinds of Riba:
1. Riba-An-Nasiyah/Riba-Al-Quran
2. Riba-Al-Fadl
1. Riba An Nasiyah/Riba Al-Quran:
In the Holy Quran, Allah (SWT) says in Sura Al-Baqarah (2-279):
“ …..And if you repent, yours is your principal”
It is reported by Harith ibe Abi Usamah in his Musnad that Sayyidna Ali Radi-Allahu Anhu reportedly referred that the Holy Prophet said:

  1. Riba-al-Fadl: Abu Said al Khudri Radi-Allahu anhu narrated that Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
    “Gold for gold, silver for silver, wheat for wheat, barley for barley, dates for dates and salt for salt, like for like, payment made hand by hand. If anyone gives more or asks for more, he has dealt in riba. The receiver and giver are equally guilty” 7
    Based on aforesaid definition, it may be noted that economically speaking it would be irrational to exchange one kilogram of wheat with one and a half kilogram of wheat in a spot exchange. Therefore, some fuqaha have pointed out that Riba-al-Fadl has been prohibited because if it was left un-prohibited it could be used as a subterfuge for getting Riba-al-Nasiyah. Of the six commodities specified in the hadith, two (gold and silver) unmistakably represent commodity money used at that time. One of the basic characteristics of gold and silver is that they are monetary commodities. As a matter of fact, each of the six commodities mentioned in the hadith has been used as a medium of exchange at some time or the other.
    During the dark ages, only the first form (Riba An Nasiyah) was considered to be Riba. However, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) also classified the second form (Riba-al-Fadl) also as Riba

What are the revelations/verses in Holy Quran regarding prohibition of Riba/interest?

Answer: There are four sets of revelations about Riba which were revealed on different occasions.
1. First Revelation: In Surah-Ar-Rum, verse 39 , dealing in riba has been discouraged in the following words:
“And whatever riba you give so that it may increase in the wealth of the people, it does not increase with Allah.” [Surah Ar-Rum 30:39]

  1. Second Revelation: Muslims have been informed about the practice of taking riba by Jews in Surah An-Nisaa:
    3. Third Revelation: Riba/Interest has been abolished in the third verse of Surah Al- i-‘Imran. The prohibition of riba is laid down in the following words:
    “O those who believe do not eat up riba doubled and redoubled.” [Surah Al-e-Imran 3- 130] 4. Fourth Revelation: In the fourth revelation, Riba has categorically been prohibited in all its forms. The following set of verses is found in the Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 275-281 in the following words:
    “Those who take interest will not stand but as stands whom the demon has driven crazy by his touch. That is because they have said: ‘Trading is but like riba’. And Allah has permitted trading and prohibited riba. So, whoever receives an advice from his Lord and stops, he is allowed what has passed, and his matter is up to Allah. And the ones who revert back, those are the people of Fire. There they remain for ever. Allah destroys riba and nourishes charities. And Allah does not like any sinful disbeliever. Surely those who believe and do good deeds, establish Salah and pay Zakah, have their reward with their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve. O those who believe, fear Allah and give up what still remains of the riba if you are believers. But if you do not, then listen to the declaration of war from Allah and His Messenger. And if you repent, yours is your principal. Neither you wrong, nor be wronged. And if there be one in misery, then deferment till ease. And that you leave it as alms is far better for you, if you really know. And be fearful of a day when you shall be returned to Allah, then everybody shall be paid, in full, what he has earned. And they shall not be wronged.” [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:275-281]

What are the sayings/Ahadith9 about Riba/Interest?

Answer: According to Islamic jurists and scholars, there are around 40 different Ahadith on the subject of riba and its prohibition from Holy Prophet (peace be upon him)
Few of these are as follows:
1. From Hazrat Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet, cursed the receiver and the payer of interest, the one who records it and the two witnesses to the transaction and said: “They are all alike [in guilt].” 10 2. Jabir ibn Abdallah (May Allah be pleased with him), giving a report on the Prophets Farewell Pilgrimage, said: The Prophet addressed the people and said “All of the riba of Jahiliyyah is annulled. The first riba that I annul is our riba, that accruing to Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib (the Prophet’s uncle); it is being cancelled completely.
3. From Hazrat Abdallah ibn Hanzalah (May Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet, said: “A dirham of riba which a man receives knowingly is worse than committing adultery thirty-six times”
4. Bayhaqi has also reported the above hadith in Shuab al-iman with the addition that “Hell befits him whose flesh has been nourished by the unlawful.”
5. From Hazrat Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet said: “On the night of Ascension I came upon people whose stomachs were like houses with snakes visible from the outside. I asked Gabriel who they were. He replied that they were people who had received interest.
6. From Hazrat Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet said: “Riba has seventy segments, the least serious being equivalent to a man committing adultery with his own mother.”
7. From Hazrat Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet said: “There will certainly come a time for mankind when everyone will take riba and if he does not do so, its dust will reach him.”
8. From Hazrat Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet said: “God would be justified in not allowing four persons to enter paradise or to taste its blessings: he who drinks habitually, he who takes riba, he who usurps an orphans property without right, and he who is undutiful to his parents.”

Are there any injunctions against Riba/usury in religious texts other than Holy Quran?

Answer: The following references against the prohibition of Riba/usury are drawn from the old testament of the bible:
Deuteronomy 23:19: “Thou shall not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of anything that is lent upon usury.”
Psalms 15:1, 2, 5: “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that putteth not out of his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent.”
Proverbs 28:8: “He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.”
Nehemiah 5:7: “Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and rules and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.”
Ezekiel 18:8.9: “He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniguity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, hath walked in my statues, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just. He shall surely live, said the Lord God.”
Ezekiel 22:12: “In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and though hast greedily gained of thy neighbors by extortion, and hast forgotten me, said the Lord God.”
In these excerpts of the Bible the word usury is used in the sense of any amount claimed by the creditor over and above the principal advanced by him to the debtor. The word riba used in the Holy Qur’an carries the same meaning because the verse of Surah An-Nisaa (4-161) explicitly mentions that riba was prohibited for the Jews also18.

Does interest/Riba is related only to consumption loans or it applies to commercial loans also?

Answer: The interest is prohibited whether it is consumption loan (loan for meeting day to day human needs) or commercial loan (loan for business purpose). There are quite a number of ahadith which clarify that in the days of Holy prophet, people not only borrowed for consumption purposes but also for productive purposes. A few of the ahadith are given as follows for reference:

(i) Ibn Saad has reported Hazrat Umar ( Radi-Allahu anhu), wanted to send a trade caravan to Syriya. He borrowed four thousand dirhams from Sayyidna Abdurrahman ibn Awaf, Radi-Allahu anhu for this purpose.
(ii) Ibn Jarrir has reported that Hind, daughter of Utbah and wife of Abu Sufyan borrowed four thousand dirhams from Sayyidna Umar, Radi-Allahu anhu, for the purpose of her trade. She invested this money in purchasing goods and selling them in the market of the tribe of Kalb.

This is an ample testimony that the commercial loan was in practice when Quranic verses on Riba were revealed and the term Riba covers not only consumption loan but also the commercial loan.

Does the prohibition of Riba apply equally to the loans obtained from or extended to Muslims as well as non-Muslims?

Answer: With respect to the receipt and payment of interest, there is no distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims or between individuals and states because interest is prohibited not only in Islamic scriptures but also in other religious scriptures of the world as given in Question No. 8 above. Therefore, prohibitions of interest apply to Muslims as well as to non-Muslims..

What are the basic principles of Islamic banking?

There are at least six basic principles which are taken into consideration while executing any Islamic banking transaction. These principles differentiate a

financial transaction from a Riba/interest based transaction to an Islamic banking transaction.

  1. Sanctity of contract: Before executing any Islamic banking transaction, the counter parties have to satisfy whether the transaction is halal (valid) in the eyes of Islamic Shariah. This means that Islamic bank’s transaction must not be invalid or voidable. An invalid contract is a contract, which by virtue of its nature is invalid according to Shariah rulings. Whereas a voidable contract is a contract, which by nature is valid, but some invalid components are inserted in the valid contract. Unless these invalid components are eliminated from the valid contract, the contract will remain voidable.
    2. Risk sharing: Islamic jurists have drawn two principles from the saying of prophet Muhammad (SAW). These are “Alkhiraj Biddamaan21” and “Alghunun Bilghurum22”. Both the principles have similar meanings that no profit can be earned from an asset or a capital unless ownership risks have been taken by the earner of that profit. Thus in every Islamic banking transaction, the Islamic financial institution and/or its deposit holder take(s) the risk of ownership of the tangible asset, real services or capital before earning any profit there from.
    3. No Riba/interest: Islamic banks cannot involve in riba/interest related transactions. They cannot lend money to earn additional amount on it. However as stated in point No. 2 above, it earns profit by taking risk of tangible assets, real services or capital and passes on this profit/loss to its deposit holders who also take the risk of their capital.
    4. Economic purpose/activity: Every Islamic banking transaction has certain economic purpose/activity. Further, Islamic banking transactions are backed by tangible asset or real service.
    5. Fairness: Islamic banking inculcates fairness through its operations. Transactions based on dubious terms and conditions cannot become part of Islamic banking. All the terms and conditions embedded in the transactions are properly disclosed in the contract/agreement.
    6. No invalid subject matter: While executing an Islamic banking transaction, it is ensured that no invalid subject matter or activity is financed by the Islamic financial transaction. Some subject matter or activities may be allowed by the law of the land but if the same are not allowed by Shariah, these can not be financed by an Islamic bank. .

What is meant by Shariah/Islamic Law?

Answer: Shariah lexically means a way or path. In Islam Shariah refers to the divine guidance and laws given by the Holy Quran, the Hadith (sayings) of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and supplemented by the juristic interpretations by Islamic scholars. Shariah embodies all aspects of the Islamic faith, including beliefs and practices. Islamic Shariah or the divine law of Islam is derived from the following four sources:
1. The Holy Quran.
2. The Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).
3. Ijma’ (consensus of the Ummah).
4. Qiyas (Anology).

The end result of Islamic Banking and Conventional Banking is the same. Why do they appear similar?

Answer: The validity of a transaction does not depend on the end result but rather the process and activities executed and the sequence thereof in reaching the end. If a transaction is done according to the rules of Islamic Shariah it is halal even if the end result of the product may look similar to conventional banking product.
For example a normal McDonalds burger in USA and Pakistan may look similar, smell similar and taste similar but the former is haram and the later is halal due to its compliance of Islamic guidelines of slaughtering animals.
Similarly, if a person is feeling hungry, he may steal a piece of bread and eat or alternatively buy a piece of bread to eat. The apparent end result would be same but one is permissible in Shariah and the other is not allowed.
The same is also true for Islamic and conventional banking. Therefore, it can be concluded that it is the underlying transaction that makes something “Halal” (allowed) or “Haram” (prohibited) and not the result itself. Apparently, Islamic banks may look similar to conventional banks, however the contracts and product structures used by Islamic banks are quite different from that of the conventional bank. In the verse 2:275 of the Holy Quran, Allah the Almighty has responded to the apparent similarity between trade and interest by resolutely informing that he has permitted trade and prohibited Riba (though they may look similar to someone).

If Islamic banks do not invest in interest based activities then how do they generate profit to pay to their customers?

Answer: The Islamic bank uses its funds in various trade, investment and service related Shariah compliant activities and earns profit thereupon. The profit earned from such activities is passed on to the depositors according to the agreed terms.

Are not Islamic banks just paying interest and dressing it as profit on trade and investments?

Answer: No, Islamic banks accept the deposits either on profit and loss sharing basis or on Qard basis. These deposits are deployed in financing, trading or investment activities by using the Shariah compliant modes of finance. The profit so earned by the bank is passed on to the depositors according to the pre-agreed ratio which, therefore, cannot be termed as interest.

Islamic banks use interest base system (KIBOR) as a Bench Mark while determining profit; how Islamic banking can be said to be Islamic?

Answer: Islamic banks should ideally have their own benchmark system for determination of profit. Since, the industry is in its initial stage of development, it is using the available benchmark for the banking industry. It is expected that once it is grown to a sizable level, it would have its own benchmark. However, using Interest Rate benchmark for determining the profit of any permissible transaction does not render the transaction as invalid or haram. It is the nature/mechanism of the transaction that determines its validity or otherwise.

For example Mr. A and Mr. B are two neighbors. Mr. A sells liquor which is totally prohibited in Islam whereas Mr. B, being a practicing Muslim dislikes the business of.
Mr. A and starts the business of soft drinks. Mr. A wants his business to earn as much profit as Mr. A earns through trading in liquor. Therefore he decides that he will charge the same rate of profit from his customers as Mr. A charges over the sale of liquor. Thus he has tied up his rate of profit with the rate used by Mr. A in his prohibited business.
One may say that Mr. B uses an undesirable benchmark in determining the rate of profit, but obviously no one can say that the profit charged by him is haram because he has used the rate of profit of the business of liquor only as a benchmark.

The same is true for Islamic banks, it is most desirable and preferable that Islamic banks develop their own benchmark however; in the absence of any such alternative, interest rate related benchmark can be used.

Is Islamic banking meant only for Muslims?

Answer: The teachings of Islam are not confined to Muslims, rather these equally address the non-Muslims due to their universal nature. The basis of Islamic banks is laid down on ethical values and socially responsible system. The values like justice, mutual help, fee consent and honesty on the part of the parties to a contract, avoiding fraud, misrepresentation and misstatement of facts and negation of injustice or exploitation form the basic principles of Islamic banking. Therefore, the principles of Islamic banking lead the economic system to achieve the common good and economic prosperity. On this premise, Islamic banking becomes a viable option for everyone irrespective of their religion

What are the major modes of Islamic banking and finance?

Answer: The following are the modes of finance which are or three categories:

1) Participatory modes of Finance a)
Mudarabah b) Musharakah
2) Non Participatory modes of Finance
a) Murabaha
b) Musawamah
c) Salam
d) Istisna
e) Ijarah
f) Ijarah wa Iqtina (Ijarah Muntahiyyah Bittamleek)
3) Sub contracts
a) Wakalah
b) Kafalah
c) Rahn

What is Mudarabah?

Answer: A form of partnership where one party provides the funds while the other party provides expertise. The people who bring in money are called “Rab-ul-Maal” while the management and work is an exclusive responsibility of the “Mudarib”. The profit sharing ratio is determined at the time of entering into the Mudarabah agreement whereas in case of loss it is borne by the Rab-ul-Mal only. In case of Islamic banks, the depositors are called Rabb-ul-Maal and the bank is called Mudarib.
There are two types of Mudarabah:
1. Al-Mudarabah Al-Muqayyada: Rab-ul-Maalmal who, in case of Islamic bank, is depositor specifies a particular business or a particular place for the mudarib (bank), in which case he shall invest the money. This is called Al-Mudarabah Al- Muqayyadah (restricted Mudarabah).
2. Al-Mudarabah Al-Mutlaqah: In case where Rab-ul-maal (depositor) gives full freedom to the Mudarib (bank) to undertake whatever business he deems fit, this is called Al-Mudarabah Al-Mutlaqah (unrestricted Mudarabah).
It is necessary for the validity of Mudarabah that the parties agree on a certain formula of sharing the actual profit right at the beginning of the contract. The Shariah has prescribed no particular proportion of profit sharing rather it has been left to the mutual consent of the parties.
For the deposit management, Islamic banks create different pools of investment keeping in view the risk and maturity profile of the depositors. The deposits of the customers are placed in these pools and profit therefrom is distributed between the bank and the depositors as per weightages assigned at the time of agreement.
Mudarabah agreement cannot allow a lump sum amount of profit for any party nor can it determine the share of any party at a specific rate tied up with the capital. For example, if the capital is Rs.100,000/-, parties cannot agree on a condition that Rs.10,000 out of the profit shall be the share of the Mudarib nor can they say that profit equivalent to 20% of the capital shall be given to Rab-ul-Maal. However they can agree that 40% of the actual profit shall go to the Mudarib and 60% to the Rab-ul- Maal or vice versa.

What is Musharakah?

Answer: Musharakah means a relationship established under a contract by the mutual consent of the parties for sharing of profits and losses in the joint business. Under Islamic banking, it is an agreement under which the Islamic bank provides funds which are mixed with the funds of the business enterprise and others. All providers of capital are entitled to participate in management but not necessarily required to do so. The profit is distributed among the partners in pre-agreed ratios, while the loss is borne by each partner strictly in proportion to respective capital contributions. The following are the rules with regard to profit and loss sharing in Musharakah.
1. The profit sharing ratio for each partner must be determined in proportion to the actual profit accrued to the business and not in proportion to the capital invested by him. For example, if it is agreed between them that ‘A’ will get 10% of his investment, the contract is not valid.
2. It is not allowed to fix a lump sum amount for anyone of the partners or any rate of profit tied up with his investment. Therefore if ‘A’ & ‘B’ enter into a partnership and it is agreed between them that ‘A’ shall be given Rs.10,000/- per month as his share in the profit and the rest will go to ‘B’, the partnership is invalid.
3. If both partners agree that each will get percentage of profit based on his capital percentage, whether both work or not, it is allowed.
4. It is also allowed that if an investor is working, his profit share could be higher than his capital contribution irrespective of whether the other partner is working or not. For instance, if ‘A’ & ‘B’ have invested Rs.1000/- each in a business and it is agreed that only ‘A’ will work and will get two third of the profit while ‘B’ will get one third. Similarly if the condition of work is also imposed on ‘B’ in the agreement, then also the proportion of profit for ‘A’ can be more than his investment.
5. If a partner has put an express condition in the agreement that he will not work for the Musharakah and will remain a sleeping partner throughout the term of Musharakah, then his share of profit cannot be more than the ratio of his investment.
6. It is allowed that if a partner is not working, his share of profit can be established at a rate lower than his capital share.
7. If both are working partners, the share of profit can differ from the ratio of investment. For example, Mr. A and Mr. B both have invested Rs.1000/- each. However, Mr. A gets one third of the total profit and Bakar will get two third, this is allowed.
8. If only a few partners are active and others are only sleeping partners, then the share in the profit of the active partner could be fixed at higher than his ratio of investment eg. ‘A’ & ‘B’ put in Rs.100 each and it is agreed that only ‘A’ will work, then ‘A’ can take more than 50% of the profit as his share. The excess he receives over his investment will be compensation for his services
The following are the Basic rules of distribution of Loss in case of Musharakah:
All scholars are unanimous on the principle of loss sharing in Shariah based on the saying of Syedna Ali ibn Talib that is as follows:
“Loss is distributed exactly according to the ratio of investment and the profit is divided according to the agreement of the partners.”
Therefore the loss is always subject to the ratio of investment. For example, if Mr. A has invested 40% of the capital and Mr. B has invested 60%, they must suffer the loss in the same ratio, not more, not less. Any condition contrary to this principle shall render the contract invalid.

What is Murabaha?

Answer: Murabaha is one of the most common modes used by Islamic Banks. It refers to a sale where the seller discloses the cost of the commodity and amount of profit charged. Therefore, Murabaha is not a loan given on interest rather it is a sale of a commodity at profit.
The mechanism of Murabaha is that the bank purchases the commodity as per requisition of the client and sells him on cost-plus-profit basis. Under this arrangement, the bank is bound to disclose cost and profit margin to the client. Therefore, the bank, rather than advancing money to a borrower, buys the goods from a third party and sells those goods to the customer on profit.
A question may be raised that selling goods on profit (under Murabaha) and charging interest on the loan (as per the practice of conventional banks) appears to be one of the same things and also produces the same results. The answer to this query is that there is a clear difference between the mechanism/structure of the product.The basic difference lies in the contract being used. Murabaha is a sale contract whereas the conventional finance overdraft facility is an interest based lending agreement and transaction. In case of Murabaha, the bank sells an asset and charges profit which is a trade activity declared halal (valid) in the Islamic Shariah. Whereas giving loan and charging interest thereupon is pure interest-based transaction declared haram (prohibited) by Islamic Shariah.

What are the basic rules of a valid Murabaha transaction?

Answer: The following are the rules governing a Murabaha transaction:
1. The subject matter of sale must exist at the time of the sale. Thus anything that may not exist at the time of sale cannot be sold and its non-existence makes the contract void.
2. The subject matter should be in the ownership, either actual or constructive, of the seller at the time of sale. If he sells something that he has not acquired himself then the sale becomes void.
3. The subject matter of sale must be in physical or constructive possession of the seller when he sells it to another person. Constructive possession means a situation where the possessor has not taken physical delivery of the commodity yet it has come into his control and all rights and liabilities of the commodity are passed on to him including the risk of its destruction.
4. The sale must be instant and absolute. Thus a sale attributed to a future date or a sale contingent on a future event is void. For example, ‘A’ tells ‘B’ on 1st January 2008 that he will sell his car on 1st February 2008 to ‘B’, the sale is void because it is attributed to a future date.
5. The subject matter should be a property having value. Thus goods having no value cannot be sold or purchased.
6. The subject matter of sale should not be a thing used for an un-Islamic purpose. 7. The subject matter of sale must be specifically known and identified to the buyer. For Example, ‘A’ owner of an apartment says to ‘B’ that he will sell an apartment to ‘B’. Now the sale is void because the apartment to be sold is not specifically mentioned or identified to the buyer.
8. The delivery of the sold commodity to the buyer must be certain and should not depend on a contingency or chance.
9. The certainty of price is a necessary condition for the validity of the sale. If the price is uncertain, the sale is void.
10. The sale must be unconditional. A conditional sale is invalid unless the condition is recognized as a part of the transaction according to the usage of trade.

What is Murabaha used for in Islamic banks?

Answer: Murabaha is typically used to facilitate the short-term financing requirements of the customer.
The following are the uses of Murabaha:
1. Purchase of raw material, goods and merchandise of all kinds and description.
2. Purchase of equipments.
3. Import of goods and merchandise.
4. Export financing (pre-shipment)
5.Other financing of working capital nature Presently, the majority of financing extended by Islamic banks is based upon Murabaha.

What is Bai Muajjal?

Answer: Bai’ Muajjal is the Arabic equivalent of “sale on deferred payment basis”. The deferred payment becomes a debt payable by the buyer in lump sum or in installments as may be agreed between the two parties. In Bai’ Muajjal, all those items can be sold on deferred payment basis which come under the definition of tangible goods where quality does not make a difference but the intrinsic value does. Those assets do not come under definition of capital where quality can be compensated for by the price and Shariah scholars have an ‘ijmah’ (consensus) that demanding a high price in deferred payment in such a case is permissible. The following are the conditions of a valid Bai’ Muajjal:
1. The price to be paid must be agreed and fixed at the time of the deal. It may include any amount of profit agreed between the parties.
2. Complete/total possession of the object in question must be given to the buyer, while the deferred price is to be treated as a debt due from him.
3. Once the price is fixed, it cannot be decreased in case of earlier payment nor can it be increased in case of default.
4. In order to secure the payment of price, the seller may ask the buyer to furnish a security either in the form of mortgage or in the form of any other item.
5. If the commodity is sold on installments, the seller may put a condition on the buyer that if he fails to pay any installment on its due date, the remaining installments will become due immediately

What is Musawamah?

Answer: Musawamah is a general and regular kind of sale in which price of the commodity to be traded is bargained between seller and the buyer without any reference to the price paid or cost incurred by the former. Thus, it is different from Murabaha in respect of pricing formula. Unlike Murabaha, seller in Musawamah is not obliged to reveal his cost. Both the parties negotiate on the price. All other conditions relevant to Murabaha are valid for Musawamah as well. Musawamah can be used where the seller is not in a position to ascertain precisely the costs of commodities that he is offering to sell.

What is Ijarah?

Answer: Ijarah refers to transferring the usufruct of an asset but not its ownership. Under Islamic banking, the bank transfers the usufruct to another person for an agreed period at an agreed consideration. The asset under Ijarah should be valuable, non-perishable, non-consumable identified and quantified. All those things which do not maintain their corpus during their use cannot become the subject matter of Ijarah, for instance money, wheet etc.

What are the salient features of Ijarah transaction?

Answer: The customer approaches the bank and expresses his desire for a particular asset/property. The bank acquires that asset as per undertaking of the customer to acquire the said asset on Ijarah basis. The bank leases (transfers the use of the asset) it to the customer for an agreed period of time and against an agreed amount of rentals. An Ijarah agreement, signed between the bank and the customer, stipulates all the relevant conditions with regard to the transaction. According to this agreement the bank is Lessor and the customer is Lessee. During the Ijarah period, the corpus of the leased property remains in the ownership of the bank and only its usufruct is transferred to the lessee. The following main points are considered in the Ijarah transaction:
1.As the corpus of the leased asset remains in the ownership of the Islamic bank, all the liabilities emerging from the ownership shall be borne by the bank. It is necessary for a valid lease that the leased asset is fully identified by the parties.
2. The lessee (customer) cannot use the leased asset for any purpose other than the purpose specified in the lease agreement. However, if no such purpose is specified in the agreement, the lessee can use it for whatever legitimate purpose it is used in the normal course.
3. The lessee is liable to compensate the lessor (bank) for any harm to the leased asset caused by any misuse or willful negligence. The leased asset shall remain in the risk of the bank throughout the lease period in the sense that any harm or loss caused by the factors beyond the control of the lessee shall be borne by the lessor.
4. A property jointly owned by two or more persons can be leased out and the rental shall be distributed between all joint owners according to the proportion of their respective shares in the property.A joint owner of a property can lease his proportionate share only to his co-sharer and not to any other person.
5. The rental must be determined at the time of contract for the whole period of lease. It is permissible that different amounts of rent are fixed for different phases during the lease period, provided that the amount of rent for each phase is specifically agreed upon at the time of executing a lease. If the rent for a subsequent phase of the lease period has not been determined or has been left at the option of the lessor, the lease is not valid.
6. The determination of rental with regard to the aggregate cost incurred in the purchase of the asset by the lessor, as normally done in financial leases, is not against the rules of Shariah, if both parties agree to it, provided that all other conditions of a valid lease prescribed by the Shariah are fully adhered to.
7. The lessor cannot increase the rent unilaterally, and any agreement to this effect is void.
8. The lease period shall commence from the date on which the leased asset has been delivered to the lessee.
9. If the leased asset has totally lost the function for which it was leased, the contract will stand terminated.
10. The rentals can be used on or benchmarked with some Index as well. In this case the ceiling and floor rentals would specifically be mentioned in the agreement for validity of lease.
11. At the end of the lease period, the ownership of the property may be transferred to the lessee against a nominal price through a separate sale deed to be executed after the expiry of the lease..