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Definition of Major Islamic Finance Terms
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AAOIFI = Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions

Bahrain-based Islamic international standard setting body established in 1991 for Islamic corporations and the industry. Members include central banks, Islamic financial institutions and other industry participants.

Adadiyyah = countable items measured in individual units rather than by volume, weight or length
Alternative spelling = `Adadiyyat

An example is eggs, which are customarily purchased by the dozen or half dozen rather than by weight

Ajr = commission or fee charged for services

Akhirah = the hereafter

Akhlaq = virtue, morality and manners in Islamic theology

Al Ghunm bil Ghurm = rationale of profit sharing

Especially with regard to financial partnership (Shirkah) arrangements

'Alim = Shariah jurists
Alternative spelling = Ulema

Al-wa’d bi al-bai’ = promise to sell

Al-wa’d bi al-syira’ = promise to buy

Amanah = reliability, trustworthiness, loyalty, honesty
Alternative spelling = Amana

An important value of Islamic society in mutual dealings. It also refers to deposits in trust, where a person may hold property in trust for another.

'Amil = agent

Someone who deserves compensation for completing a task, such as a mudarib in a Mudarabah or a zakat collector.

Aqd = contract

Aqidah = set of beliefs

Arif = expert

Consultant in situations requiring an impartial, informed decision, such as the appraisal of property.

'Ariyah = loan of small articles

Contract in which one party allows the other use of an asset for an indefinite period, without fee

'Ayn = currency or ready money

Gold, silver, coins, notes and any other form of ready cash. Often contrasted with dayn.

Bai Ajil bi Ajil = delayed-for-immediate sale

The sale price is paid immediately and delivery of the sale item is delayed. Synonymous with Bai al Salam.

Bai al Arboon = deposit-secured sale

A sale agreement in which a security deposit is provided in advance as part payment towards the price of the commodity. The deposit is forfeited if the buyer does not meet his obligation.

Bai al Inah = sale and buy-back

The sale and buy-back of an asset for a higher price than that for which the seller originally sold it. A seller immediately buys back the asset he has sold on a deferred payment basis at a price higher than the original price. This can be seen as a loan in the form of a sale.

Bai al kali’ bi al kali’ = sale of debt for a debt

Prohibited sale, the most well known of which is where a lender extends his debtor’s debt repayment period in return for an increase on the principal, that is, interest.

Bai al Salam = future delivery

A contract whereby the payment is made in cash at the point of contract but the delivery of asset purchased will be deferred to a predetermined date.

Bai Bithaman Ajil = deferred payment sale
Alternative spelling = Bai Muajjal

The sale of goods on a deferred payment basis. Equipment or goods requested by the client are bought by the bank, which subsequently sells the goods to the client for an agreed price, including a mark-up (profit) for the bank. The client may pay by installments within a pre-agreed period, or in a lump sum. This sale works in a similar way to a Murabahah contract, but with deferred payment.

Bai Dayn = debt financing

The provision of financial resources required for production, commerce and services through the sale and purchase of trade documents and papers. Bai Dayn is a short-term facility with a year or less maturity. Only documents evidencing debts arising from bona fide commercial transactions can be traded.

Bai Istijrar = supply sale

When a supplier agrees to deliver to a client on a regular basis at an agreed price and mode of payment.

Bai Muajjal = deferred payment sale
Alternative spelling = Bai Bithaman Ajil

The sale of goods on a deferred payment basis. Equipment or goods requested by the client are bought by the bank, which subsequently sells the goods to the client for an agreed price, including a mark-up (profit) for the bank. The client may pay by installments within a pre-agreed period, or in a lump sum. This sale works in a similar way to a Murabahah contract, but with deferred payment.

Bai Muzayadah = open bidding trading

The principle governing open auctions, where the asset is awarded to the highest bidder.

Bai Wafa = sale and buy-back

The sale and buy-back of an asset within a set time, when the original buyer agrees to the original seller's repurchase.

Baitul Mal = treasury

Batil = null and void

Darurah = necessity

Muslims may disregard aspects of Shariah laws in order to save their lives, or to preserve the Islamic community.

Dayn = debt
Alternative spelling = Duyun

Wealth that one is required to pay back to another

Dha 'wa ta 'ajjal = Creditor’s debt

A creditor’s forfeit on part of the debt when the debtor settles the balance of his debt earlier than scheduled.

Dhaman = guarantee

A contract of guarantee whereby a guarantor shall underwrite any claim and obligation that should be fulfilled by an owner of the asset. This concept is also applicable to a guarantee provided on a debt transaction in the event a debtor fails to fulfill his debt obligation.

Dhimmah = liability

The concept may be likened to a virtual liability container that every responsible person has, which is constantly being filled with rights and obligations, such as the obligation to repay someone.

Dirham = unit of currency

A unit of currency, usually a silver coin, used in the past in some Muslim countries and still used in some Muslim countries today, for example Morocco and the UAE.

Falah = to flourish

Success as measured in this world and Akhirah.

Faqih = Shariah jurist
Alternative spelling = Fuqaha

Faqir = poor person
Alternative spelling = Fuqara’

Fard al Kifayah = socially obligatory duties
Alternative spelling = Fard Kifaya

A collective duty of Muslims. The performance of these duties (for example funeral prayers) by some Muslims absolves the rest from discharging them. This term covers functions which the community fails to or cannot perform and hence are taken over by the state, such as the provision of utilities, or the building of roads, bridges and canals.

Fasid = unsound or unviable

A forbidden term in a contract, which consequently renders the contract invalid.

Faskh = dissolution of contract

Agreement canceled voluntarily by the parties. Compare Infisakh, used for cancelations that occur outside of the will of the contractual parties.

Fatwa = religious decree
Alternative spelling = Fatwah, Fatawa

Islamic legal opinion based on Quranic, Sunnah and Islamic legal precedent or the Shariah.

Fiqh = Islamic jurisprudence

The science of the Shariah. An important source of Islamic economics.

Fiqh al-muamalat = Islamic commercial jurisprudence

Fuduli = dealing with someone else’s property without permission

An example is when X negotiates and “closes” a deal with Y in which he sold some machinery without the owner of the machinery having made him his wakeel. X would be described as fuduli.

GCC = Gulf Cooperation Council

A political alliance and trade bloc consisting of six states of the Arabian Gulf: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Ghalat = Mistake

A negative element that can affect the validity of `aqad. In Arabic, it connotes error in perception.

Gharar = uncertainty

One of three fundamental prohibitions in Islamic finance (the other two being riba and maysir). Gharar is a sophisticated concept that covers certain types of haram uncertainty in a contract. It is an exchange in which one or more parties stand to be deceived through ignorance of an essential element of the exchange. Gambling is a form of gharar because the gambler is ignorant of the result of the gamble. The prohibition on gharar is often used as the grounds for criticism of conventional financial practices such as short selling, speculation and derivatives.

Gharim =
Alternative spelling = Gharimun

A debtor who does not have the funds, after repayment of his debt, would not equal the nisab. The Shafi`i and Maliki jurists divide the gharimun into two types: (i) those whose debts were incurred in their own benefit; and (ii) those whose debts were incurred benefiting others. The gharimun are one of the eight groups mentioned in the Quran as legitimate recipients of zakah funds.

Ghasb = forfeiture

Wrongful appropriation of property by force

Hadith = the Prophet's sayings and commentary on the Quran
Alternative spelling = Ahadith

Hajj = pilgrimage to Mecca

There is a duty on every Muslim who is financially and physically able to carry out Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam, at least once in his lifetime. The pilgrimage takes place in the week from the 8th until the 13th day of the 12th Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah.

Hak Tamalluk = ownership right

A tradable asset in the form of ownership rights.

Halal = lawful, permissible

The concept of halal has spiritual overtones. In Islam there are activities, professions, contracts and transactions that are explicitly prohibited (haram) by the Quran or the Quran. All other activities, professions, contracts and transactions are halal. This concept differentiates Islamic economics from conventional economics. In western finance all activities are judged on economic utility. In Islamic economics, spiritual and moral factors are also involved – an activity may be economically sound but may not be allowed in Islamic society if it is not forbidden by the Shariah.

Hamish jiddiyyah = security deposit

Sum paid by a party who places an order to purchase, as security for his promise.

Hanbali = Islamic school of law

Islamic school of law founded by Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal. Followers of this school are known as Hanbalis.

Hanifite = Islamic school of law

One of the major Islamic school of law, founded by Imam Abu Hanifa. Followers of this school are known as Hanafis.

Haq Maliy = rights on the financial assets

Haq Maliy are rights on the financial assets. Examples of such rights are haq dayn (debt rights) and haq tamalluk (ownership rights).

Haqq = truth, right

A right which a party possesses, for example, the creditor’s right to payment.

Haram = unlawful, forbidden

Activities, professions, contracts and transactions that are explicitly prohibited by the Quran or the Sunnah. See halal above.

Hawala = bill of exchange, remittance
Alternative spelling = Hiwala

A contract which allows a debtor to transfer his debt obligation to a third party who owes the former a debt. The mechanism of Hawala is used for settling international accounts by book transfers, thus obviating the need for a physical transfer of cash.

Hawl =

The length of time that must pass before a Muslim in possession of funds equaling or exceeding the exemption limit (nisab) must pay zakat on his wealth. In the case of cash, gold and silver, it is one Islamic year, i.e. a lunar year of approximately 354 days.

Hibah = gift

A gift voluntarily donated in return for a loan provided or a benefit obtained.

Hibah al-‘umra = contingent hibah

Hibah contingent on the lifetime of the gift donor or the recipient.

Hibah al-ruqba = conditional hibah

The gift donor stipulates that the recipient is to receive the gift upon the death of the former.

Hila = forbidden structure
Alternative spelling = Hiyal

A transaction which appears permissible, but is in fact structured in an un-Islamic way.

Hisbah = regulatory duty

The necessary steps in order to maintain a fair and orderly marketplace.

Hukm = Islamic ruling
Alternative spelling = Ahkam

Ibra = rebate

When a person withdraws the right to collect payment from a borrower.

IFSB = Islamic Financial Services Board

A Kuala Lumpur-based international standard-setting organization that was set up in 2003 to promote the stability of the Islamic financial services industry by issuing global prudential standards and guidelines. The IFSB helps regulators govern Islamic financial institutions in compliance with Basel II and evolving global standards.

Ihtikar = hoarding

The prohibited practice of purchasing essential commodities, such as food and storing them in anticipation of a price increase.

Ijab = offer in a contract

Also see Qabul

Ijarah = leasing
Alternative spelling = Ijara

A lease agreement whereby a bank or financier buys an item for a customer and then leases it to him over a specific period, thus earning profits for the bank by charging rental. The duration of the lease and the fee are set in advance. During the period of the lease, the asset remains in the ownership of the lessor (the bank), but the lessee has the right to use it. After the expiry of the lease agreement, this right reverts back to the lessor. This is a classic Islamic financial product.

Ijarah Mawsufah fi Dhimmah = forward lease

If there is a reasonable expectation that something will be made, then we may structure a forward lease for which rent is collected today. The lessor, however, must refund the rent if he fails to deliver the object of the lease.

Ijarah Thumma Bai = leasing to purchase

The principle governing an Ijarah contract at the end of the lease period, when the lessee buys the asset for an agreed price through a purchase contract.

Ijarah wa Iqtina = buy-back leasing

A hire and purchase mode of financing where an Islamic bank finances equipment, a building or other facility for the client against an agreed rental, together with an undertaking from the client to repurchase the facility at the end of the contract. The rental and the purchase price are fixed so that the bank gets back its principal sum along with some predetermined profit.

Ijma = consensus

The unanimous decision of all or the majority of leading jurists on a Shariah matter in a certain age. Ijma has traditionally been recognized as an independent source of law, along with the Quran, Sunnah and Qiyas.

Ijtihad = effort, exertion, industry

A faqhi's endeavor to formulate a rule on the basis of evidence found in the Islamic sources.

Ikhtikar = monopoly

Ikhtilaf = divergence of opinion among jurists

Iktinaz = hoarding wealth by not paying zakat on it

'Illah = legal effective cause

Basis for applying analogy in determining the permissibility or otherwise of a transaction.

Iman = conviction, faith or belief

Inan = financial partnership

Iqtisad = moderation

Islah = reform

Israf = wastefulness

Lawful spending but exceeding moderation in quality or quantity; includes spending on objects that are incompatible with the economic standard of the majority of the population and spending on superfluous objects while necessities are not met. (Also see Tabzir)

Istihsan = guiding choice

Judicial preference for one legal analogy over another, usually when public welfare is concerned.

Istijrar = recurring sale

Different quantities are bought from a single seller over a period of time. Sometimes it is also referred to transactions whereby seller delivers different quantities in different installments to complete the full purchase. Some divergence among the scholars in terms of the timing of fixation and pricing.

Istisnah = advance purchase of goods or buildings
Alternative spelling = Istisna’a, Istisna’ah

A contract of acquisition of goods by specification or order, where the price is paid in advance, or progressively in accordance with the progress of a job. For example, to purchase a yet to be constructed house, payments would be made to the builder according to the stage of work completed. This type of financing, along with Salam, is used as a purchasing mechanism, and Murabahah and Bai Bithaman Ajil are for financing sales.

Ittifaq Dhimn = pre-agreed contract

The sale and repurchase of an underlying asset. Prices are agreed in advance, prior to the contract, to allow the bidding process to take place.

Jahiliyyah = pre-Islamic period

The era just before the coming of prophet Muhammad and, more generally, to the state of affairs which characterized this era, which was plagued by shirk (the crime of associating partners with Allah), infanticide, tribal strife and so on.

Jahl = ignorance (of morality or divinity)

Ji Alah = pre-agreed contract

A unilateral contract promising a reward for a specific act or accomplishment, also known to be a contract of reward.

Ju’alah = stipulated price for performing a service
Alternative spelling = Ju’ala

Applied by some in Islamic banking. Bank charges and commission have been interpreted to be ju'alal by the jurists and thus considered lawful.

Kafalah = guarantee

Shariah principle governing guarantees. It applies to a debt transaction in the event of a debtor failing to pay.

Khalif or khalifa = ruler, steward, custodian
Alternative spelling = khulafaa

Khilabah = fraud

A form of fraud, either in word or deed by a party to the trading contracts with the intention of inducing the other party into making a contract. This is prohibited according to the Shariah.

Khiyanah = deception

Refers to deception by not disclosing the truth or breaching an agreement in a hidden way. This is prohibited according to the Shariah.

Khiyar = power to annul contract

The option to rescind a contract upon the appearance of a defect.

Loan (with service charge) =

Some Islamic banks give loans with service charges. The Council of the Islamic Fiqh Academy has resolved that it is permitted to charge a fee for loan-related services offered by an Islamic bank, provided that the fee relates to service-related expenses. The service charge can only be calculated accurately after all administrative expenditure has been incurred (at the end of the year). However it is permissible to levy an approximate charge on the client, and then reimburse/claim the difference when the actual expenses are known.

Maaliki = Islamic school of law

Islamic school of law founded by Imam Malik Ibn Anas. Followers of this school are known as Maalikis.

Madhhab = way of going
Alternative spelling = Madhahib

A fiqh school or orientation characterized by differences in the methods and therefore in the Shariah rulings that are deduced from them. There are four well-known madhahib among Sunni Muslims whose names are associated with the classical jurists who are said to have founded them (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i and Hanbali).

Makruh = detested

An action that one is rewarded for avoiding, but not punished for committing.

Mal = Capital or wealth

Valuable item that can be gainfully used according to the Shariah.

Mal-e-Mutaqawam = wealth that has commercial value

Manfa’ah = beneficial ownership

Usufruct associated with a given property, especially in leasing transactions. In an automobile lease, for example, “manfa’ah” might be used to describe the benefit which the lessee derives from the use of the car for the duration of the lease (as opposed to the actual ownership of the vehicle).

Mansil = Shariah compliant property mortgage in the UK

Maqasid = general objectives of Islamic law

Maslahah = public good or benefit

Maysir = gambling

One of three fundamental prohibitions in Islamic finance (the other two being riba and gharar). The prohibition on maysir is often used as grounds for criticism of conventional financial practices such as speculation, conventional insurance and derivatives.

Mithli = goods that can be returned in kind

Muamalat = economic transaction
Alternative spelling = Mu'amalah, Mu'amalat, Muamalah

The lease of land or fruit trees for money, or for a share of the crop.

Mubah = lawful objects

Mudarabah = trust financing, profit sharing
Alternative spelling = Mudaraba, Modaraba, Modarabah

An investment partnership, whereby the investor (the rab al maal) provides capital to the entrepreneur (the mudarib) in order to undertake a business or investment activity. While profits are shared on a pre-agreed ratio, losses are born by the investor alone. The mudarib loses only his share of the expected income. The investor has no right to interfere in the management of the business, but he can specify conditions that would ensure better management of his money. In this way Mudarabah is sometimes referred to as a sleeping partnership. A joint Mudarabah can exist between investors and a bank on a continuing basis. The investors keep their funds in a special fund and share the profits before the liquidation of those financing operations that have not yet reached the stage of final settlement. Many Islamic investment funds operate on the basis of joint Mudarabah.

Mudarib = entrepreneur in a Mudarabah contract

The entrepreneur or investment manager in a Mudarabah who puts the investor's funds in a project or portfolio in exchange for a share of the profits. A Mudarabah is similar to a diversified pool of assets held in a discretionary asset management portfolio.

Mufawadah = equal, unlimited partnership

Mufti = qualified professional who issues fatawa, usually in response to questions posed

Mujtahid = legal expert or a jurist who expends great effort in deriving a legal opinion or interpreting the sources of the la

Muqarada = Sukuk for specific projects

This technique allows a bank to float what are effectively Islamic bonds to finance a specific project. Investors who buy Muqarada bonds take a share of the profits of the project being financed, but also share the risk of unexpectedly low profits, or even losses. They have no say in the management of the project, but act as non-voting shareholders.

Muqasah =

Debt settlement by a contra transaction.

Murabahah = cost-plus financing
Alternative spelling = Morabaha, Morabahah, Murabaha

A form of credit that enables customers to make a purchase without having to take out an interest-bearing loan. The bank buys an item and sells it to the customer on a deferred basis. The price includes a profit margin agreed by both parties. Repayment, usually in installments, is specified in the contract. The legality of this financing technique has been questioned because of its similarity to riba. However, the modern Murabahah has become the most popular financing technique among Islamic banks, used widely for consumer finance, real estate, the purchase of machinery and for financing short-term trade.

Musaqah = agricultural contract

A contract in which the owner of agricultural land shares its produce with another person in return for his services in irrigating the garden.

Musawwamah = general sale

The price of the commodity in question is reached through bargaining.

Musharakah = joint venture, profit and loss sharing
Alternative spelling = Musharaka

An investment partnership in which all partners are entitled to a share in the profits of a project in a mutually agreed ratio. Losses are shared in proportion to the amount invested. All partners to a Musharakah contribute funds and have the right to exercise executive powers in that project, similar to a conventional partnership structure and the holding of voting stock in a limited company. This equity financing arrangement is widely regarded as the purest form of Islamic financing. The two main forms of Musharakah are: Permanent Musharakah: an Islamic bank participates in the equity of a project and receives a share of the profit on a pro rata basis. The length of contract is unspecified, making it suitable for financing projects where funds are committed over a long period. Diminishing Musharakah: this allows equity participation and sharing of profits on a pro rata basis, and provides a method through which the bank keeps on reducing its equity in the project, ultimately transferring ownership of the asset to the participants. The contract provides for payment over and above the bank's share in the profit for the equity held by the bank. Simultaneously the entrepreneur purchases some of the bank's equity, progressively reducing it until the bank has no equity and thus ceases to be a partner.

Musharakah mutanaqisah = partnership

One of the partners promises to buy the equity share of the other gradually until the title is completely transferred to him.

Mutlaqa = unrestricted

Muzara’ah = share-cropping

An agreement in which one party agrees to allow a portion of his land to be used by the other in return for a part of the produce of the land.

Muzara'a = agricultural contract

A contract in which one person works the land of another person in return for a share in the produce of the land.

Najash = deception

The prohibited practice of deceiving and inciting a potential buyer during the course of pre-sale negotiations or bidding by egging him on.

Nisab = exemption limit

Exemption limit for the payment of zakat, which differs for different types of wealth.

Non Performing Financings(NPF’s) =

The Islamic banking equivalent to non-performing-loans. NPF’s are based on a profit sharing basis and not interest as are their conventional counterparts.

Qabdh = discount

Qabdh means possession, which refers to a contract of exchange. Generally, qabdh depends on the perception of ‘urf or the common practices of the local community in recognizing that the possession of a good has taken place.

Qabul = acceptance in a contract

Also see Ijab

Qard = loan

Qard Hasan = benevolent loan
Alternative spelling = Qard Hassan, Qard al Hassan

A loan contract between two parties for social welfare or for short-term bridging finance. Repayment is for the same amount as the amount borrowed. The borrower can pay more than the amount borrowed so long as it is not stated by contract. Most Islamic banks provide interest-free loans to customers who are in need. The Islamic view of loans (qard) is that there is a moral duty to give them to borrowers free of charge, as a person seeks a loan only if he is in need of it. Some Islamic banks give interest-free loans only to the holders of investment accounts with them; some extend them to all bank clients; some restrict them to needy students and other economically weaker sections of society; and some provide interest-free loans to small producers, farmers and entrepreneurs who cannot get finance from other sources.

Qimar = gambling

An agreement in which possession of a property is dependant upon the occurrence of an uncertain event. By implication it applies to those agreements in which there is a definite loss for one party and a gain for the other, without specifying which party will gain and which party will lose.

Qirad =

Synonym for Mudarabah

Qiyas = analogical deduction

Derivation of the law on the analogy of an existing law if the basis or Illah of both is the same.

Qu’ran = the holy scriptures of Islam

Ra’s al-mal = capital

The money or property that the Rab al maal invests in a profit-seeking venture, often in a partnership such as a Mudarabah or Shirkah.

Rab al maal = the investor in a Mudarabah contract
Alternative spelling = Rab al mal

Rahn = collateral

An arrangement whereby a valuable asset is placed as collateral for a debt. The collateral may be disposed of in the event of a default.

Riba = interest

An increase, addition, unjust return, or advantage obtained by the lender as a condition of a loan. Any risk-free or “guaranteed” rate of return on a loan or investment is riba. Riba in all its forms is prohibited in Islam. In conventional terms, riba and “interest” are used interchangeably, although the legal notion extends beyond mere interest.

Riba al Buyu = usury of trade

Also known as riba al fadl. A sale transaction in which a commodity is exchanged for an unequal amount of the same commodity and delivery is delayed. To avoid riba al buyu, the exchange of commodities from both sides must be equal and instant. Riba al buyu was prohibited by the prophet Mohammad to forestall riba (interest) from creeping into the economy.

Riba al Diyun = usury of debt

Also known as usury of delay (riba al nasia). The usury of debt was an established practice amongst Arabs during the pre-Islamic period. It can occur as an excess increment on top of the principal, which is incorporated as an obligatory condition of the giving of a loan. Alternatively, an excess amount is imposed on top of the principal if the borrower fails to repay on the due date. More time is permitted for repayment in return for an additional amount. If the borrower fails to pay again, a further excess amount is imposed, etc.

Ribawi = goods subject to fiqh rules on riba

Rishwah = bribery

Rukn = pillar
Alternative spelling = Arkan

An integral part of an act, such as a transaction, without which the act cannot be said to have been performed.

Ruq'a = payment order

A payment order to draw money from the bank; used in the early Muslim period.

Sadaqah = voluntary charitable giving
Alternative spelling = Sadaqat

Sahih = sound, correct

Opposite of Batil. Hadith of the highest level of authentication.

Salaf = loan for short, intermediate or long term

Also a synonym for Salam. Unlike Qard, however, the amount given as Salaf cannot be called back before it is due.

Salam = advance purchase
Alternative spelling = Al Salam, Bai al Salam, Bai Salam

Advance payment for goods which are to be delivered at a specified future date. Under normal circumstances, a sale cannot be effected unless the goods are in existence at the time of the bargain. However, this type of sale is an exception, provided the goods are defined and the date of delivery is fixed. The objects of sale must be tangible goods that can be defined as to quantity, quality and workmanship. This mode of financing is often applied in the agricultural sector, where the bank advances money for various inputs to receive a share in the crop, which it then sells.

Samad = Shariah compliant property mortgage in the USA

Sarf = currency sale

Refers to buying and selling of currencies.

Shafi'e = Islamic school of law

Islamic school of law founded by Abu Abdullah Ahmad bin Idris or Imam Shafie. Followers of this school are known as Shafi'es.

Shariah = Islamic jurisprudence
Alternative spelling = Sharia, Shari'a, Shari'ah, Syariah, Syaria, Syari'ah, Syari'a

Islamic cannon law derived from three sources: the Quran, the Hadith and the Sunnah A “Shariah compliant” product meets the requirements of Islamic law. A “Shariah board” is the committee of Islamic scholars available to an Islamic financial institution for guidance and supervision in the development of Shariah compliant products. A “Shariah advisor is an independent Islamic trained scholar that advises Islamic institutions on the compliance of the products and services with the Islamic law.

Shart = stipulation in a contract
Alternative spelling = Shurut

Pre-existing condition for a transaction to be valid

Shirkah = partnership

A contract between two or more persons who launch a business or financial enterprise to make a profit.

Shuf`ah = right of pre-emption

The right of pre-emption in sale transactions, for example, a real estate sale in which one party has the right to compel the vendor to sell all or part of the real estate in the event of a sale.

Sighah = formal exchange

Parties’ willingness to enter into the contractual agreement, which therefore constitutes the contract itself.

Suftajah = bill of exchange
Alternative spelling = Suftaja, Suftajal

A bill of exchange between three parties (the payor, the payee and the transmitter), which was used for the delegation of credit during the Muslim period, especially the Abbasides period. It was used to collect taxes, disburse government dues, transfer funds by merchants and was commonly used by traveling merchants. Suftajahs could be payable on a future fixed date or immediately. It differs from the modern bill of exchange in that a sum of money transferred by suftajah had to keep its identity and payment had to be made in the same currency. Also it usually involved three persons (A pays a certain sum of money to B for agreeing to give an order to C to pay back to A). Finally, a suftajah could be endorsed. The Arabs had been using endorsements (hawala) since the days of the Prophet Muhammad.

Sukuk = Islamic bond (Plural. Also see Saak.)

An asset-backed bond which is structured in accordance with Shariah and may be traded in the market. A Sukuk represents proportionate beneficial ownership in the underlying asset, which will be leased to the client to yield the return on the Sukuk.

Sunnah = practice and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad

Ta’widh = deliberate delay in payment

Penalty agreed upon by the contracting parties as compensation that can rightfully be claimed by the creditor when the debtor fails or is late in meeting his obligation to pay back the debt.

Tabarru' = Takaful donation

A contract where a participant agrees to donate a pre-determined percentage of his contribution (to a Takaful fund) to provide assistance to fellow participants. In this way he fills his obligation of joint guarantee and mutual help should another participant suffer a loss. This concept eliminates the element of gharar from the Takaful contract.

Tabzir = wasteful spending

Especially on objects explicitly prohibited by the Shariah, irrespective of the quantum of expenditure. (Also see Israf)

Tadlis al’ aib = intentionally hiding the defects of goods

Refers to the activity of a seller intentionally hiding the defects of goods. This activity is prohibited according to the Shariah principles.

Takaful = Islamic insurance

Based on the principle of mutual assistance, Takaful provides mutual protection of assets and property and offers joint risk-sharing in the event of a loss by one of the participants. Takaful is similar to mutual insurance in that members are the insurers as well as the insured. Conventional insurance is prohibited in Islam because its dealings contain several haram elements, such as gharar and riba.

Tanajusy = manipulation

Refers to a conspiracy between a seller and a buyer wherein the buyer is willing to purchase the goods at a higher price. This is done so that others would rush to buy the goods at a higher price, resulting in the seller obtaining a huge profit. This transaction is not permissible in Islam.

Tawarruq = reverse Murabahah

In personal financing, a client with a genuine need buys an item on credit from the bank on a deferred payment basis and then immediately resells it for cash to a third party. In this way, the client can obtain cash without taking out an interest-based loan. It has two forms: Tawarruq Munazzam (organized Tawarruq), in which the client simply seeks credit and has no interest in the original asset for sale; and Tawarruq al Asli, where the client buys goods on credit and then sells them to get cash.

Ujrah = fee

The financial charge for using services, or manfaat (wages, allowance, commission, etc).

Ummah = the Muslim community

'Umum balwa = Common plight

An unfavorable widespread situation affecting most people which is difficult to avoid.

'Uqud al-Isytirak = Contracts of partnership

'Uqud al-Mu’awadhart = Contracts of exchange

'Uqud al-Tabarruat = Charitable contracts

Urbun = deposit

Earnest money which forms part payment of the price of goods or services paid in advance, but will be forfeited in the event the transaction is cancelled. The forfeited money is considered as hibah (gift).

Wadiah = Deposit
Alternative spelling = Wadia, Al Wadia, Al Wadiah

The safekeeping of goods with a deposit on the original stated cost. An Islamic bank acts as the keeper and trustee of depositors' funds. It guarantees to return the entire deposit, or any part of it, on the depositor's demand.

Wadiah Yad Dhamanah = Savings or deposits with guarantee

Goods or deposits entrusted to the care of a person, who is not the owner, for safekeeping. The depository becomes the guarantor, thereby guaranteeing repayment of the whole amount or any part of the deposits that is outstanding in the account of depositors, when so demanded. The depositors are not entitled to any share in the profits but the depository may provide returns to the depositors as a token of appreciation.

Wakalah = agency
Alternative spelling = Wakala, Al Wakala, Al Wakalah

Absolute power of attorney: where a representative is appointed to undertake transactions on another person's behalf. In terms of Takaful operations, Wakalah refers to an agency contract, which may involve a fee for the agent.

Waqf = charitable trust
Alternative spelling = Awkaf, Awqaf

An endowment or a charitable trust set up for Islamic purposes (usually for education, mosques, or for the poor). It involves tying up a property in perpetuity so that it cannot be sold, inherited, or donated to anyone.

Wasiyyah = will or testament

Document detailing the manner in which a Muslim’s wealth is to be disposed of after his death.

Zakat = religious tax
Alternative spelling = Zakah

An obligatory contribution which every wealthy Muslim is required to pay to the Islamic state, or to distribute amongst the poor. According to Islam, zakat – the third pillar of Islam – purifies wealth and souls. Zakat is levied on cash, cattle, agricultural produce, minerals, capital invested in industry and business. There are two types of zakat: Zakat al Fitr, which is payable by every Muslim able to pay at the end of Ramadan. This is also called Zakat al Nafs (poll tax). Zakat al Maal is an annual levy on the wealth of a Muslim above a certain level. The rate paid differs according to the type of property owned.


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Wednesday 29th April 2015
Volume 12 Issue 17
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