Islamic Financial Arrangements Used in Islamic Banking

Written by admin on May 21st, 2011

Islamic financial arrangements used in Islamic banking






Islamic finance is an old concept but a very young discipline in the academic sense. It lacks the required extent and level of theories and models needed for expansion and implementation of the framework provided by Islam. In these circumstances, unawareness and confusion exist as to the form of the Islamic financial system and instruments.

The main difference between the present economic system and the Islamic economic system is that the later is based on keeping in view certain social objectives for the benefit of human beings and society. Islam, through its various principles, guides human life and ensures free enterprise and trade. That is the reason why the conventional banker does not have to be concerned with the moral implications of the business venture for which money is lent.



2. The Role of Money

3. Types of Islamic Financial Instruments

4. Risk Mitigating Features

5. Islamic Leasing




Socio-economic justice is central to the Islamic way of life. Every religion has the same basic aim. In an Islamic environment, an individual not only lives for himself, but his scope of activities and responsibilities extend beyond him to the welfare and interests of society at large. The KORAN is very precise and clear on this issue. There are basically three components of an Islamic economic paradigm:

1. That as vice-regent, man should seek the bounties of the land that God has bestowed on humanity. From the wealth thus obtained, he should enjoy his own share.

2. That he should be magnanimous to others and use a part of the wealth so obtained also for the benefit of his fellow-beings.

3. That his actions should not be willfully damaging to his fellow-beings.

Human society in Islam is based upon the validity of law, of life and the validity of mankind. All these are natural corollaries of the faith. Islamic laws promote the welfare of people by safeguarding their faith, life, intellect, property and their posterity. God nurtures, nourishes, sustains, develops and leads humanity towards perfection. Even though an individual may be making a living because of his efforts, he is not the only one contributing towards that living. There are a number of divine inputs into this effort and therefore, the results of such an effort obviously cannot be construed as entirely proprietary.

Whereas the Islamic banker has a much greater responsibility. This leads us to a very fundamental concept of the Islamic financial system i.e. the relation of investors to the institution is that of partners whereas that of conventional banking is that of creditor-investor.

The Islamic financial system is based on equity whereas the conventional banking system is loan based. Islam is not against the earning of money. In fact, Islam prohibits earning of money through unfair trading practices and other activities that are socially harmful in one way or another. [1]

Those who swallow down usury cannot arise except as one whom SHAITAN (evil) has prostrated by (his) touch does rise. That is because they say, trading is only like usury; and Allah has allowed trading and forbidden usury. To whomsoever then the admonition has come from his Lord, then he desists, he shall have what has already passed, and his affair is in the hands of Allah; and whoever returns (to it) – these are the inmates of the fire; they shall abide in it [SURAH 2:275].

Not that there was any ambiguity in the Command of Allah. Far be it from Him to give any order to His Servants, which they can not comprehend. The fact is that those who had surplus money and wanted to earn profit did so either by lending it through RIBA (usury) or by investing it in trade and hypocrites were not prepared to forgo the first option. Hence, they argued that since both were means of earning profit, they were alike and the prohibition of RIBA did not stand to reason.

The practice of RIBA i.e. usury was so deep-rooted in society and continuance of the practice was so undesirable, that Allah warned the believers that if they did not desist, they should be prepared for a war against Allah and His Apostle. This warning was heeded by the Muslim UMMAH and for more than a thousand years the economies of Muslim states were free from RIBA. With the ascendancy of Western influence and its suzerainty over Muslim states, the position changed and an interest-based economy became acceptable. Efforts in Muslim countries to revert to an interest-free economy were hampered by many obstacles. [2]

The Role of Money

The traditional definition of the time value of money leads one to assume that profit maximization is the objective of investors irrespective of whether or not the earning of profit has made someone else worse off. Some economists have termed the maximization of profit as the sole objective of corporations. This view cannot be supported or defended since the profit maximization process may lead to perverse outcomes. When financial operations are removed of moralistic tone, competitive markets fail to achieve the efficient allocation of a country’s resources.

In Islam money in itself is not considered, as actual capital only exists when money, along with other resources, is sunk into productive activities. Linking the use of money to productive purposes invariably brings into action the factor of labor, a process from which benefits pass on to society.

Types of Islamic Financial Instruments

Demand for monetary instruments is influenced by the variation and level in the market rate what is meant as the market rate of return. The demand for household monetary instruments is mainly for the purpose of circulation of income. Banks need these instruments for:

1. Transaction purposes;

2. Precautionary purposes, in that some unexpected payments have to be made while some expected inflows may not be forthcoming on their due date, and;

3. not only to avoid loss but also to obtain gains in the capital value of financial assets under the expectation that the market rate of return may move in a certain direction.

What differentiates a traditional financial market from others markets is that no tangible good or service is exchanged for any monetary consideration; only a “financial claim” changes hands in the form of a promissory note or a title to any future flow of income adjusted for any capital appreciation. Not all Islamic instruments are purely financial claims. Some of the instruments also represent ownership of the underlying assets together with a claim to underlying cash flows. Basically there are the following four types of Islamic financial instruments:

1. Type “A” is a financial claim of monetary value with recourse to underlying durable assets and related cash flows. This type has a predictable future income stream, is marketable and can be discounted since with the changing of hands, the instrument passes title to the goods and not to the debt. It is basically lease-based.

2. This instrument is partly backed by durable assets and its income is not predictable, but evaluated through an asset valuation process at the end of an agreed and declared duration. The underlying transactions can be a mix of IJARA, MODARABA, MUSHARAKA etc., contracts. This Type may be traded in the secondary market at its fair market price acceptable to the parties involved but not discounted.

3. Type “C” is purely a monetary claim to an expected income stream forthcoming from underlying commercial transactions. Income is evaluated through an asset-valuation process at the end of an agreed and declared period. A transaction of this type may comprise MORABAHA, ISTASNA etc., contracts which are debt claims against third parties in respect to actual commercial transactions. The Type may be traded at its face value declared at the end of each accounting period but cannot be discounted.

4. The Type “D” is purely a financial claim of monetary value but with recourse to certain precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, etc., or commodities quoted on exchanges. The instrument entitles the holder to take delivery of the underlying asset but does not carry any attached revenue stream except that its price is pegged to the price of the underlying precious metal or commodity quoted at recognized international exchange rates. It can be traded but not discounted. [3]

Risk Mitigating Features

The phenomenon of risk plays a pervasive role in economic life. Without it, financial and capital markets would consist of the exchange of a single instrument each period, the communications industry would cease to exist in so far as this market is concerned and the profession of investment banking would be reduced to that of accounting. Risk is further segregated from uncertainty. A situation is said to involve risk if the randomness facing an economic agent can be expressed in terms of specific numerical probabilities (these probabilities may either be objectively specified, as with lottery tickets or else reflect the

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