Glossary of Islamic Finance Terms
AAOIFI: The Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions is based in
Bahrain and brings together Islamic finance scholars from around the world. AAOIFI Shariah
standards are the de facto Islamic finance standard in over 90% of the world’s jurisdictions.
Acquisition Payments: Payments on Account made to acquire a property under the Promise to Purchase at a pre-agreed price. These are often equivalent to amortization in a conventional mortgage. In the aggregate, these are termed On Account Balance.
Adadiya: Countables – items which are measured as units and not by weight, length or volume, i.e.
eggs sold as units (dozen or half a dozen).
Additional Rent: Reimbursement to the Lessor of real estate taxes and casualty insurance. Such amounts may be held in escrow and segregated from the Basic Rent and Acquisition Payments to facilitate both servicing and timely payment of obligations as well as adjusted upwards or downwards according to the Lessor’s actual payments compared to prior estimates granted to consumers.
Adil: Trustee; an honest and trust worthy individual.
Adl: Justice, impartiality, fairness.
Advance Against Murabaha: The amount disbursed by the financial institution for the purchase of
goods from the supplier.
Agency Agreement: An agreement by means of which a third party whether an individual or a
financial institution is established as an agent to carry out an activity such as make an investment,
on behalf of the principal.
Ahadith: (pl.hadith) Reports of the attributes, words and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah
bless him and give him peace).
Ajr: Remuneration or compensation. In a service Ijarah, the ajr is the price paid to the employee by
the employer in exchange for services rendered.
Ajeer e Aam: An employee who is not restricted to the employment of a single employer but in fact
is free to work for another person or persons as long as he fulfills his duties responsibly towards each
Ajeer e Khas: An employee for a specified term, who only serves one beneficiary.
Akl al Suht: Illegal acquisition of wealth.
Al-Ajeer al-Mushtarak: A worker who may concurrently serve or be contracted by a number of
clients, for instance a lawyer.
Al-Ajr al-Mithl: The prevalent price; the standard rate for a particular service.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 63
Al-Akl bi-al-batil: Wrongful acquisition of wealth.
Al-Amin al-Amm: Trustee for property other than that granted for safe-keeping such as the lessee in
an Ijarah or the Mudarib in a Mudarabah.
Al-Amin al-Khas: Trustee for property granted for safe-keeping as in the Wadi’ah (safe-keeping)
Al-Ghunm bi-al-Ghurm: An Arab proverb according to which profit may lawfully be earned
provided risk is shared for an economic activity that ultimately contributes to the economy.
Al-Hisab al-Jari: Current account.
Al-Sanadiq: Marketing investment funds.
Amanah: Property in the safe-keeping of another (the ameen) that must be preserved and protected;
deposits maintained as trusts on a contractual basis.
Amil: A worker entitled to remuneration, i.e. the Mudarib in a Mudarabah contract or a zakat
Amoor e Mubaha: Commodities that are naturally available and may be benefited from by all. For
instance, water from a river or the wood from the trees of a forest.
Amwaal e Ribawiya: Goods which, when exchanged with one another, result in the accrual of
interest by either of the contracting parties. Six items have been classified as such by a hadith of the
Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace): gold, silver, wheat, barley, salt and dates.
These items may only be exchanged for each other in equal measure and at spot.
Amwal: (pl. maal); goods
Aqar: Real estate; immovable property, i.e. land, buildings etc.
Aqd al-Bai: A sale contract.
Arbaab al-Maal: Partners who contribute capital to the business, plural for Rabb al Maal.
Arbun: A non-refundable down payment received from the buyer or the Istisna requestor securing
the purchase of manufactured goods.
Ariya: A contract in which one party loans another the use of an item for an indefinite period of
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 64
Arif: An expert who is consulted in matters requiring an informed and just decision.
Arkan: (lit. pillars) Fundamentals of a contract.
Average Balance: A formula for determining the eligibility of profit a partner or Musharakah account
holder can receive on his invested amount. Essentially, it is the minimum amount that must remain
invested at all times in an account over a period of time for the account holder to be eligible to
Ayn: Currency or ready money, i.e. gold, silver, coins, notes or any other form of ready cash.
Bai: Contract of sale.
Bai’ al ‘inah: Bai’ al ‘inah is a sale and buy-back agreement, is a type of Islamic finance that is a banking activity that is congruent with Shariah, which are the principles of Islamic law. Bai’ al ‘inah is a part of Islamic finance, such as a Muslim mortgage, where there is transaction of buying and selling between the customer and the financial institution. The financial institution, or the financier, will purchase an asset from a customer and the price that they pay for the asset will be disbursed by the terms that the financial institution lays out. Because of this the asset that is purchased is one that the payments are deferred and the price paid will be done so in installments. The second sale in this type of Islamic finance is done so in order to make the customer obliged to the financial institution.
Bai’ bithaman ajil:Bai’ bithaman ajil is a type of deferred payment sale and a sale of goods on a price where the payments will be deferred. This includes a profit margin that is agreed upon by both parties in this type of Islamic finance. A Bai’ bithaman ajil is used under a type of facility that deals with Islamic finance. The deferred payment of interest can be avoided since the customer will pay the sale price and that differs from interest that is charged on a loan. The bringing together of two financial transactions is not allowed under the shariah (Islamic law). Basically in a Bai’ bithaman ajil there is interest charged that looks much like a sale.
Bai al Dayn bi Dayn: An exchange of debt, i.e. sale of securities or debt certificates.
Bai’ muajjal: Bai’ muajjal is a type of Islamic finance credit sale that is compliant with the shariah. Bai’ muajjal literally means credit sale. In a Bai’ muajjal the financial institution will earn a profit margin on the price of a purchased asset or assets and will let the buyer pay off the price and they can do so all at once or in installments. Both parties in this Islamic finance transaction must agree upon the cost of the asset, as well as the profit margin.
Bai’ muajjal is also referred to as a deferred payment sale, but one of the main descriptions of Riba is a delay in payment that is not justified or the increase or decrease in the price if the payment is right away or is delayed. Riba, in terms of shariah terminology, shows an excess of payment without prudent consideration.
Bai Salam: Bai Salam is a contract transaction where an advance payment is made for particular goods or services that will be delivered at a later day. In modern banking term, this is essentially a prepaid transaction. The seller agrees to supply a specific product or service in exchange for a price (that is agreed upon and is just and fair) at the time of the contract signing.
Bai Muajjal: A deferred sale, where one of the considerations of the contract such as its price or the
delivery of its subject matter is delayed to a future date.
Bai al Muzayadah: The sale of an asset to the highest bidder in the market.
Bai’ al Salam: A sale where the price of the subject matter is paid in full at the time of the contract’s
execution while the delivery of the subject matter is deferred to a future date.
Batil: Void, invalid; refers to a transaction, a contract governing a transaction or an element in a
contract which is invalid.
Bai al-Wafa: A sale where the seller is allowed to repurchase property through a purchase price
refund. It is a transaction prohibited by a majority of scholars.
Bai bi-Thaman ‘Ajil: (syn. bai muajjal) A deferred payment sale, where requested goods are
purchased by the bank and sold to the client for a profit. The buyer is usually permitted to complete
payments in installments.
Bai’ ‘Ajal bi al-’Ajil: (syn. bai al salam) A type of sale in which the price is paid upon signing the
contract and the delivery of goods is delayed to a future date.
Bai’atan fi Bai: Two sales in one also referred to as “safaqatan fi safaqah.”
Bai al Inah: A buy-back transaction that is prohibited in Islam.
Bai al Istijrar: A contract where the supplier agrees to provide a particular product to the client on
an ongoing basis for an agreed price based on an agreed mode of payment.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 65
Bai’ al-Kali’ bi al-Kali’: (kali. syn. debt) Sale of debt for debt, specifically prohibited by the Prophet.
In such a transaction, the creditor grants an extension in the repayment period in exchange for an
increase on the principal.
Bayu-al-amanah: There are three types of Bayu-al-amanah in terms of Islamic finance. They are Murabahah, which is the cost plus sale of a property as well as Tawliyah or sale at cost and Wadiah, which is the sale at specified loss. Bayu-al-amanah is an Islamic finance term meaning a fiduciary sale. The fiduciary sale is broken down into these three banking terms used for Muslim mortgage transactions. These terms show a variety of ways in which to transfer property in a contract. Selecting the right Islamic banking method will change the way your transaction takes place.
Baytul Maal: The Muslim community’s treasury.
Benchmark: A known and acknowledged standard that may already exist or alternatively be
identified by means of expert appraisal.
Benchmarking: A method by which the rent for the remaining period of an Ijarah is based upon a
known and acknowledged standard that may already exist or alternatively be identified by means of
Bond: A certificate of debt based on which the issuer agrees to pay interest if any in addition to the
principal, to the bondholder on specified dates.
B.O.T or Build, Operate and Transfer: A contract by which the government hires a contracting
company to assist it in the development of infra-structure. Usufruct for a fixed period of time is
established as the price of the contract after which ownership is transferred to the government free of
Bringing Forward Future Installments: Based on this option, in the event a client defaults on his
payment, all the installments for the entire term of the contract fall due immediately.
Buy-Back: The same as Bai inah, a prohibited type of sale in which one sells an item on credit then
buys it back for a lesser price.
Business Partnership: A joint venture or project between two or more parties entered into to make a
Capital Recovery Risk: The risk of the inability to regain capital from the security maintained by the
financial institution in case of a loss.
Catastrophic Risk: The risk arising from the possibility of the occurrence of a natural disaster causing
loss of or damage to goods.
Certificate Holder: The party holding a Trust Participation Certification by direct endorsement of the obligatory or through assignment.
Charity Clause: A stipulation made at the time of contract execution which establishes a certain
amount of payment to a designated charity in the event of a default.
Commodity Murabaha: A transaction where the Islamic bank purchases a commodity on spot and
sells it for a deferred payment for the purpose of managing liquidity.
Compound Interest: The accrual of additional interest on existing interest payments due on the
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 66
Commercial Interest: The excess paid in exchange for a loan taken for the establishment of a
Commutative Contract: A contract involving an exchange.
Conditional Agency Agreement: An agency agreement where the agent is limited by certain
conditions and restrictions with respect to the execution of a required task such as the purchase of
Constructive Liquidation: Evaluating the capital value of a business, without actually liquidating or
selling it off.
Constructive Possession: Any form of documentary evidence that proves rightful ownership of an
asset thereby sanctioning the seeking of gain from it; where the one possessing the asset is in a
position to use the item for which it is intended.
Consumer Beneficiary: The consumer participant in IJARA™ will benefit from an irrevocable trust formed by the IJARA™ Originator to hold the property. The consumer’s Initial Payment on Account and ongoing Payments on Account will determine the degree to which the consumer is beneficiary of the Trust.
Contract: A commitment to something enjoined by the association of an acceptance with an offer.
Conventional Insurance: The conventional form of providing indemnity against loss.
Credit Risk: The possibility of a counter party failing to meet its financial obligations in accordance
to the terms agreed upon in the contract.
Credit Stage: This stage begins once the goods for a Murabaha are received by the financial
institution and the documents of offer and acceptance are signed and ends once the Murabaha
payment is recovered from the client. It is during this period that the bank has the right to accrue
profit. It is also referred to as the financing stage.
Daftur al-Tawfir: Savings account.
Dayn: A debt created by a contractual obligation or credit transaction.
Dhaman: A contract of guarantee whereby a guarantor underwrites any claim or obligation to be
fulfilled by the owner of the asset.
Deal Ticket: A form of documentation evidencing the acceptance of funds by one bank from another
based on a Musharakah contract.
Default: A contracting party’s failure to make a due payment. If a consumer fails to make the Monthly Payment or Rental Payment under the Lease, then the consumer will be issued a Notice of Default indicating they have failed to make contractual payments on time on their Islamic loan. They will then have a specific period to cure defaults, after which the Lessor may invoke the Promise to Purchase and foreclose the consumer out of his or her beneficial interest in the property.
Dhulm: Refers to all forms of injustice, exploitation or oppression through which a person deprives
others of their rights or does not fulfill obligations towards them.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 67
Diminishing Musharakah: A temporary partnership where an asset or property is jointly purchased
by two partners and one partner eventually acquires ownership of it through a series of property
Dinar: A gold coin used by early Muslims. Its standard mass was app. 4.25 grams.
Displaced Commercial Risk: Islamic financial institutions manage the funds of investment account
holders on a profit-and-loss-sharing basis. However, in order to maintain competitiveness with
conventional banks which offer fixed returns, IFIs typically surrender part (or all) of their profit share
in order to allow their depositors to receive their expected profit allocation. This effectively means
that the risk attached to depositors’ funds is partially or wholly transferred to the IFI’s capital, which
increases the overall risk for IFIs and is referred to as DCR.
Earnest Money: A sum received from the client as security that serves as compensation in the event
the lessee backs out from entering into or continuing an Ijarah. The lessor makes up for the actual
loss from it and returns the remainder to the client.
Equity: The ownership share in a business.
Equity Investment Risk: The risk arising from entering into a partnership in order to finance a
particular or general business activity, where the manager of finance also shares the business risk.
Equity Market: The equity market is the place where company shares are traded thereby providing
viable investment opportunities to individuals, other companies and financial institutions seeking to
Faqih: Muslim jurist.
Faqir: A needy person.
Fasid: Voidable, usually said of a contract or an element within a contract.
Faskh: Cancellation of a contract, usually based on one of the contracting parties exercising an
option, i.e. the option of return in case of a defective asset or the option of refusal to purchase an
Fatwa: An authoritative legal judgment based on the Shariah.
FI Pool: A Musharakah based financial investment pool created by the Islamic financial institution to
Financier/Financier Beneficiary: The licensed lender who closes the IJARA™ Islamic finance transaction will be a beneficiary of the trust established to hold title and lease the residence to the Consumer Beneficiary. The Financier Beneficiary will take the risks customary to those of a lender.
Financing Stage: This stage begins once the goods are received by the financial institution and the
documents of offer and acceptance are signed and ends once the Murabaha payment is recovered
from the client. It is during this period that the bank has the right to accrue profit.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 68
Fiqh: Islamic jurisprudence.
Fiqh al Muamalat: Islamic jurisprudence governing financial transactions.
Foreign Currency Commodity Murabaha: A transaction commonly used for investing excess funds
which is available for maturities ranging from overnight to a period of one year. The commodity used
in the transaction exists with a foreign asset exchange company.
Fuduli Transaction: A transaction with another’s property without Shariah consent. For instance,
selling property before contracting an agency agreement with its owner is a “fuduli” transaction.
Fungible Goods: Goods that are similar to one another and are sold as units, any difference between
them is considered negligible.
Gharar: Contractual uncertainty that may lead to major dispute between contracting parties which is
otherwise preventable or avoidable.
Ghasb: The misappropriation of property.
Global Agency Agreement: An agreement where the agent may purchase the required asset from any
source of his choice. Such an agreement also lists a number of assets which the agent may procure
on the bank’s behalf without having to execute a new agency agreement each time.
Guarantee: A risk mitigating technique that serves as a form of security in contracts and is provided
by a third party. For instance, a guarantee for the supply of specific goods at a specific time or a
guarantee for a timely payment.
Hadith: A report of the attributes, words and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and
give him peace).
Halal: Permissible in the Shariah
Haamish Jiddiah: The Islamic financial term for a sum of earnest money received from the client as
security that serves as compensation in the event the lessee backs out from entering into or
continuing an Ijarah. The lessor makes up for the actual loss from it and returns the remainder to the
Hand-to-Hand Sale (Mu’ata): A sale where the seller hands the asset over to the buyer in exchange
for a price without any verbal expression of offer or acceptance.
Haq Dayn: Debt rights.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 69
Haq Mali: Rights over financial assets.
Haq Tamalluk: Ownership rights.
Haram: Prohibited in the Shariah.
Hawala: A contract by which a debtor transfers his debt to a third party.
Hawl: The amount of time that must elapse before a Muslim possessing funds equaling or exceeding
the exemption limit/nisab, is required to pay zakat. Typically, one Islamic year/lunar year.
Holding Risk: The risk that accompanies the possession of assets by the financial institution before
they are delivered to the buyer.
Homogeneous Commodities: Commodities that are similar to one another and are sold as units. The
difference between them is negligible.
Huquq: (Pl. haq) Rights.
Hybrid Sukuk: Certificates of ownership representing trust assets for more contracts than one.
ICD: Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector.
IDB: Islamic Development Bank.
IFI: Islamic financial institution; i.e. bank or financial organization operating commercially within
the limits prescribed by Shariah.
IFSB: International Financial Standards Board.
Ijab: Offer, in a contract.
Ijarah: A form of lease seeking to provide the benefits of an asset or a service to the lessee in return
for a payment of an agreed upon price or rent. Ijarah ultimately means wage, rent or lease. The concept involves the selling a product or service (or the use of something) for a fixed price. This can include rental properties, apartments, cars (in terms of a lease), homes, etc. A specific period of time is agreed upon and the price is fixed with no interest added. The aqd (contract) states the pre-determined lease period of time and the agreed upon rental price.
IJARAH™ Arrangements: A process to acquire a home in a lease to own concept entailing an operating lease of property, a consumer’s promise to purchase the same at an agreed price, a means to foreclose the consumer out of the property through the consumer’s failure to make payments or keep the promise, a note like negotiable instrument which conveys beneficial property ownership along with the proportionate share of the consumer’s payments according to schedule, and a lessor’s promise to sell to the consumer.
Ijarah tul Amaal: A contract of lease providing services for an agreed upon rental.
Ijarah tul Ashkhaas: (syn. ijarah tul amaal) A contract of lease providing services for an agreed upon
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 70
Ijarah tul Manaafay: A contract of lease executed for the transfer of the benefits of an asset in
exchange for an agreed upon price.
Ijarah Mawsoofah fi Dhimma: A lease agreed upon and based on a deposit for the future use or
delivery of an asset.
Ijarah Muntahiya bi Tamlik: An Ijarah based on the lessor’s undertaking to transfer the ownership of
the leased property to the lessee at the end of the lease or by stages during the term of the contract.
Ijarah Sukuk: Certificates representing the ownership of leased assets, the ownership of the usufruct
of leased assets or the ownership of the rights to receive benefits from services.
Ijarah wa Iqtina: An Ijarah conducted solely for the purpose of transferring the ownership of the
leased asset to the lessee at the end of the lease period.
Ijma’: Juristic consensus on a specific issue. It is recognized as one of the four sources of Shariah.
Ijtihad: Juristic reasoning based on the Quran and the Sunnah.
Illah: The attribute of an event requiring a specific ruling in all cases possessing that attribute;
analogies are drawn based on it to determine the permissibility or prohibition of an act or
Inaan: (A type of Shrikah) A form of partnership in which each partner contributes capital and has a
right to work for the business.
Infisakh: Contract cancellation without the will of the contracting parties, i.e. as a result of an asset’s
destruction or the death of a party to the contract.
Informational Asymmetry: A situation where important relevant information is known by some
parties, but not by all.
Initial Payment on Account: The equivalent to a down payment, this is the money at the closing by the consumer and may range from 3% of the cost to 20% or higher.
In-kind: Where instead of cash, payment or capital contribution is made in the form of tangible
assets, goods or services.
Interest: Any addition or increment involved in an exchange between contracting parties.
Investment Stage: This is the stage that begins after the execution of the agency agreement. It is the
time period during which the bank has disbursed the money for the purchase of the asset from the
supplier but has not yet acquired possession of it in order to sell it.
Ishara: A gesture made by a person’s head or hand taking the place of speech in expressing the will
of two contracting parties.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 71
Israf: Immoderateness and wastefulness.
Istihsan: Judicial preference for one legal analogy over another in view of general public welfare.
Istijrar: A contract where the supplier agrees to provide a client a particular commodity on an
ongoing basis for an agreed price based on an agreed mode of payment.
Istisna: A transaction used for the purpose of acquiring an asset manufactured on order. It may be
executed directly with the supplier or any other party that undertakes to have the asset
Istisna Requestor: The party placing the manufacturing order.
Istisna Sukuk: Certificates representing proportionate ownership of manufactured goods.
Joa’ala: A contract involving a reward for a specific service or achievement.
Jihalah: Ignorance; inconclusiveness in a contract leading to gharar.
Kafalah: A third party taking responsibility for another’s repayment of debt; a pledge given to the
creditor that a debtor will repay his debt.
Kafil: The party assuming responsibility for repayment of another’s debt in a kafalah contract.
Kali bil Kali: The exchange of debt for debt.
Kharaj: The share of the produce from agricultural lands collected by Muslim rulers and added to
the Bayt al-Maal.
Khayaar: Option or power to annul or cancel a contract.
Khayaar e Aib: The option of return in case of a defective asset.
Khayar e Majlis: The option to annul a contract possessed by both contracting parties.
Khayaar e Rooyat: The option of refusal based on which the buyer may decline from accepting the
goods of a sale as a result of non-conformity to specifications.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 72
Khayaar e Shart: An option in a sale’s contract established at the time of signing the agreement
giving one of the two parties to the contract a right to cancel the sale within a stipulated time.
Khayaar e Taaeen: The purchaser’s option to return an asset to the seller in case it does not meet
specifications as established at the time of contract execution.
Khilabah: Fraud in word or deed by a party to the contract to coerce another into entering into a
Khiyanah: Deception by withholding information, or breach of an agreement.
KYC: (Abb.) Know-Your-Client; the due diligence checks carried out on customers to determine their
Late Charge: A flat charge levied by the obligatory under the TPC in the event the Lessee fails to make a scheduled Monthly Payment. The charge of $50 is meant to cover the Servicer’s average costs of collection.
Legal Risk: The risk of having to resort to litigation for redemption of claims arising from a contract.
Lessor: A financier as beneficiary of a trust providing property to a consumer for occupancy and eventual acquisition.
LIBOR: London Inter-Bank Offered Rate.
Lien: A charge, claim, hypothecation or mortgage, pledging an asset to a creditor.
Liquidity Management: The management of an excess or shortage of funds by financial institutions
through inter-bank treasury transactions to meet day to day business needs and liquidity reserve
Local Currency Commodity Murabaha: In the absence of an organized asset exchange market, the
LCC Murabaha is conducted for the management of funds at financial institutions with the help of
local commodities exempt from value added tax.
Luqta: An item misplaced by its owner and found by someone else.
Madhab: (pl. madhahib) A school of Islamic jurisprudence characterized by differences in the way
Shariah sources are understood, forming the basis for differences in Shariah rulings derived from
them. The four Sunni schools named after their founders are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i and Hanbali.
Maisir: 1) The act of gambling or playing games of chance with the intention of making an easy
profit; 2) the element of speculation in a contract; 3) chance or uncertainty with respect to an
Major Maintenance: The fulfillment of all the requirements that ensure that the leased asset provides
Maal: Wealth; anything of value that may be possessed.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 73
Maal-e-Mutaqawam: Items that are lawful to use or consume by Shariah; or wealth considered
commercially valuable by Shariah.
Manfa’ah: Usufruct or benefit derived from an asset.
Maqasid al-Shariah: The establishment of goals and objectives by Muslim jurists in a way that assists
the investigation of new cases and the organization of prior rulings.
Market Risk: The current and future volatility of the market value of specific assets to be purchased
and delivered over a specific period of time such as the commodity price of a Salam asset, the
market value of a Sukuk, the market value of a Murabaha asset and the fluctuating rates of foreign
Maximum Rent: A statutory ceiling on Rent payable under the Lease.
Memorandum of Lease and Promise to Purchase: This is the recorded document giving reference to the lease and the promise to purchase, neither of which is recorded.
Minimum Balance: A formula for determining the eligibility of profit a partner or Musharakah
account holder can receive on his invested amount. Essentially, it is the minimum amount that must
remain invested at all times in an account over a period of time, for the account holder to be eligible
to receive profit.
Moral Hazard: Risk of a party acting either in bad faith, or underperforming due to negligence and
indifference, brought on by insulation from risk.
Mu’amalah: A financial transaction.
Mubah: Object that is lawful; an item permissible to use or trade.
Mudarabah: A Mudarabah is a business partnership between two or more parties, where, typically,
one of the parties supplies the capital for the business, and the other provides the investment
management expertise. Also known as Muqaradah or Qirad. Mudarabah is a type of Islamic finance transaction where there is a contract between 2 parties. One of the parties will give the capital and the other will supply the labor. This type of partnership of Islamic finance is compliant with the shariah. This agreement is a type of profit sharing one and the split of the profit is determined before the contract is signed.
Mudarib: Partner responsible for management in a Mudarabah, also defined as an investment
Mudarabah Sukuk: Certificates representing the proportionate ownership of capital for specific
projects undertaken by an entrepreneur.
Mufti: A highly qualified jurist who issues fatawa or legal verdicts.
Mugharasa: An agricultural contract similar to muzara`ah in which a land owner agrees to grant the
farmer a share of the harvest from the fruit orchard he tends.
Muwaada/ Mua’hida: A bilateral promise.
Mujtahid: A highly qualified fiqh specialist who engages in independent juristic reasoning.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 74
Mukhabarah: An agreement between a landowner and a farmer, similar to a muzara’ah the only
difference being that in a muzara`ah the seeds are provided by the landowner whereas in a
mukhabarah they are supplied by the farmer.
Muqassa: Setting off two debts at an agreed exchange rate.
Murabaha: A contract in which the cost of acquiring the asset and the profit to be earned from it are
disclosed to the client or the buyer. Murabaha is a Muslim mortgage variation. During this Islamic finance option, a purchaser pays an agreed upon payment amount after a financier purchases an item (car or a home), then marks it up because of the costs they have incurred during the sale. The buyer is aware of this markup, making it an “honest declaration of cost” and thus following proper economic Islamic codes.
Murabaha Facility Agreement: An agreement including the approval of the credit facility extended
to the client, the terms and the conditions of the contract, the specification of the Murabaha asset
and the client’s promise to purchase.
Musawamah: A general sale in which the price of the commodity to be traded is bargained between
the buyer and the seller and where no reference is made to the cost of acquisition of the sale asset or
the profit to be earned from it. Musawama, involves a transaction where the selling price of a good or service is a process of negotiation between the seller and the buyer, with the buy being unaware of the actual cost. The seller is not obligated to inform the buyer of the price that they paid to make or obtain the particular product or service for sale. This form of transaction can only be used from the seller himself cannot determine the exact cost of the item. It should not be used in order to gain access profit from an item.
Musaqah/Musaqat: A partnership whereby the owner of an orchard agrees to share the produce with
a farmer as a recompense for the farmer tending the land.
Musharakah: A business partnership set up to make profit, where all partners contribute capital and
effort to help the business run. There are differences between a Musharaka and other types of financial transactions. One way that a Musharaka is different is that the customer and the bank or institution that deals with Islamic finance essentially enters into what is considered a joint venture partnership rather than a loan or any other type of transaction. This is because both the customer and the bank reach an agreement to use funds or assets that both the customer and the bank have, rather than the money coming just from the bank or other financial institution.
Musharik: A partner in a Musharakah.
Mutual Insurance: A form of insurance where a group of people exposed to a similar risk, by mutual
consent make voluntary contributions to a pool of funds to share that risk and provide one another
with indemnity against loss.
Muwakkil: The principal in an agency agreement.
Muzara’ah: Share-cropping; an agreement where one party agrees to allow a portion of his land to
be farmed by another in exchange for a part of its produce.
Najash: Deceiving a potential buyer during pre-sale dialogue, through insincere bidding by a third
party (a party expressing insincere desire to purchase the commodity at a higher price) or false
claims on the seller’s part.
Negligence: Loss resulting from the violation of the conditions of a contract.
Nisab: The exemption limit for paying zakat. A Muslim possessing wealth below the nisab is exempt
from zakat whereas a Muslim with wealth at or exceeding the nisab is obligated to pay zakat.
Numeraire: A basic standard by which comparative values are measured, or a unit of account.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 75
Offer and Acceptance: The actual execution of a sale, where one of the contracting parties makes
an offer to sell or purchase an asset and the other accepts it.
On-Account Payment: Also called Payments on Account, these are the equivalent of amortization. From a Shariah perspective, whether or not disbursed to the financier, these are considered like a savings account accrediting to the value of the home to be acquired by the consumer at the Maturity of the Lease.
Operational Risk: The risk of direct or indirect loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal
processes, people and systems or from external events as well as non-compliance to Shariah
regulations or a neglect of fiduciary responsibilities.
Parallel Istisna: Another contract of Istisna executed alongside the original Istisna. The manufacturer
in the original contract serves as the Istisna requestor in the parallel contract and profits from a
difference in price.
Partial Pre-Payment: Any On-Account Payment, not in the full amount of a scheduled Payment, which exceeds the scheduled On-Account Payment in any given period. Such payment is used to curtail or shorten the term of the On-Account accretion and thereby the Lease Maturity.
Periodic Maintenance: Regular maintenance of the leased asset.
Permanent Musharakah: Also referred to as an ongoing Musharakah, a partnership where there is no
intention of terminating or concluding the business venture at any point.
Physical Possession: The actual or corporal possession of an asset and the ability to benefit from it.
Pledge: A form of security that is taken from the client and maintained by the financial institution. It
may be in the form of an asset or cash.
PLS: Profit and Loss Sharing; used to describe interest-free Islamic finance schemes, typically
represented by Musharakah and Mudarabah
Possession: The ownership of all the risks and rewards associated with an asset.
Power of Sale: This is the traditional remedy for a financier of a residence built into the Promise to Purchase. Once a consumer has received a Remedies Notice in light of his or her continued failure to meet his or her obligations, then the financier is able to foreclose the consumer out of any property rights and sell the property through this mechanism.
Premium: The amount of contribution made by the insured to the pool of funds established for the
purpose of providing indemnity against loss.
Pre-Payment: Any On-Account Payment, in the full amount of a scheduled Payment, which exceeds the scheduled On-Account Payment in any given period for an Islamic finance transaction. Such payment is used to curtail or shorten the term of the On-Account accretion and thereby the Lease Maturity. Such payment may also result in an early buy-out of the Lease.
Price Risk: The risk arising from the fluctuating price of goods in the market, thereby affecting the
value of the goods of the contract.
Private Equity: Shares in a business that are not for sale to the general public but are sold exclusively
through invitation to certain parties.
Project Finance: The financing of large infrastructure and industrial projects based on a
comprehensive financial structure for operation.
Promise: An undertaking by the client to enter into a contract with the financial institution for the
sale or lease of an asset in the future.
Promise to Purchase: A document enabling a consumer to buy-out a Lease of a residence at a specific price according to a schedule. The document further enables a financier to seize and sell property according to customary residential foreclosure rules.
Provisional Profit: The profit earned by the investor for the period of time his funds remained
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 76
Pure Risk: The risk that involves the possibility of loss or no loss. For instance damage to property
due to a fire that may or may not occur.
Qabda: (lit. to seize) Take possession of the exchange commodity in an exchange transaction.
Qard e Hasana: A goodwill loan against which interest is not charged; where only the principal
amount is to be returned in the future. Qard Hassan is a contract involving a loan with two parties on the basis of social welfare. It also can fulfill a short-term need of the borrower. In modern day terms, many compare this to a payday loan. During the loan process, the repayment amount must be the same as the amount borrowed. This means no interest or riba must be applied to the loan.
Qimar: An agreement where the acquisition of an asset is contingent upon the occurrence of an
uncertain event in the future.
Qirad: Alternative name for Mudarabah or Muqaradah.
Qiyas: Drawing a comparison; deriving law through analogy from an existing law if the basis for
both is the same; also one of the Shariah sources.
Qubul: Acceptance, in a contract.
Ra’s al maal: Capital; the money or capital which an investor (Rabb al Maal) invests in a profitseeking
Rabb al Maal: The investor or the owner of capital in a Mudarabah contract.
Rahn: Collateral; a pledge or the transaction which governs such a pledge.
Rate of Return Risk: The risk that a financial institution is exposed to as a result of an undetermined
or variable amount of return on an investment.
Receivable: An asset or cash that a business is due to receive as a result of a prior transaction.
Restricted Mudarabah: A Mudarabah in which the Mudarib has to observe certain restrictions
regarding how the business may be run. Typically, these restrictions may relate to sector, activity,
and/or region in which the business may be operated (various other restrictions also may be
Re-Takaful: The re-Takaful is a new Takaful arrangement consistent with Takaful principles and
guidelines provided by the Shariah board. It is enacted in the event that the funds in the original
Takaful are not sufficient to meet the needs of its members.
Riba: Any amount that is charged in excess which is not in exchange for a due consideration.
Conventionally it is referred to as interest and is prohibited in Islam.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 77
Riba al Buyu: The Riba of exchange surplus. Any barter transaction where like commodities are
exchanged in unequal measure, or the delivery of one commodity is postponed, is characteristic of
Riba al Buyu.
Riba al Fadl: The same as Riba al Buyu.
Riba an Nassiya: The predetermined excess repayable on the principal extended as a loan.
Riba al Quran: The same as Riba an Nassiya.
Ribawi: Goods subject to Shariah rulings with respect to Riba in the event of their sale.
Risk: An exposure to the likelihood of loss, where this loss takes many forms depending on the kind
of risk involved. It is the possibility that the outcome of an action or event could bring an adverse
impact resulting in a direct loss of earning and capital or the imposition of constraints in the bank’s
abilities to meet its business objectives.
Risk Management: The process of evaluating and responding to the exposure facing an organization
or an individual. It is a structured and disciplined approach employing people, processes, and
technology for managing uncertainties faced by an organization.
Roll-over: A roll-over is the provision of an extension in return for an increase in the original payable
Rukn: (lit. pillar) Fundamental of a contract.
Sa’: A dry measure in use in Madinah during the time of the Prophet used to weigh dates, barley and
other similar items.
Sadaqah: Voluntary charitable donations.
Sahih: (lit. sound, correct) In reference to: 1) A valid contract, 2) A highly authenticated hadith.
Sak: (pl. Sukuk) Certificate of equal value representing an undivided share in the ownership of a
tangible asset, usufruct or service.
Salaf: A loan that draws no profit for the creditor. Salaf is also referred to as Salam where the price of
the subject matter is paid in full at the time of the contract’s execution while the delivery of the
subject matter is deferred to a future date.
Salam: A sale where the price of the subject matter is paid in full at the time of the contract’s
execution while the delivery of the subject matter is deferred to a future date.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 78
Sale Contract: The commitment to trade a commodity in a specific manner for a consideration in
cash or kind, evidenced by the exchange of an offer and acceptance.
Salam Sukuk: Certificates representing financial claims arising from the purchase of commodities to
be delivered in the future based on an advance payment of price.
Sarf: Currency exchange.
Securitization: The process of issuing certificates of ownership against an asset, an investment good
or a business.
Share: A form of equity ownership representing claims on earnings and assets.
Shart: (pl. shurut) A necessary condition or stipulation, that must exist to ensure the validity of a
Shart e Jazai: The Shart e Jazai is a penalty established at the time of the execution of the Istisna
contract which allows for a reduction in the price of the manufactured goods in the event of a delay
in their delivery.
Shariah: Islamic law. Islamic rules and regulations governing how Muslims may bind and conduct themselves in their commercial, personal and spiritual affairs including the Islamic loan process.
Shariah Advisory Board: A panel of Shariah scholars appointed by Islamic financial institutions to
supervise all transactions and ensure their Shariah compliance. Its role also includes conducting
regular and annual audits.
Shariah Non-Compliance Risk: The risk arising from non-compliance to the standards of Islamic law.
Sharikah: The same as Shirkah
Shirkah: (lit. sharing) Refers to different kinds of business partnerships based on sharing.
Shirkah tul Aa’maal: A partnership based on the pooled provision of services.
Shirkah tul Wujooh: A ‘partnership of goodwill’ where the subject matter is bought on credit from
the market on the basis of a relationship of goodwill with the supplier, with the aim of reselling at a
profit to be shared.
Shirkah tul Aqd: A ‘business partnership’ established through a deliberate contract.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 79
Shirkah tul Amwaal: The commonest type of Shirkah tul Aqd which refers to a partnership between
two or more parties for the purpose of earning profit by means of investment in a joint business
venture. Also known as Shirkah tul ‘Inaan.
Shirkah tul Inaan: It is the commonest type of Shirkah tul Aqd and refers to a partnership between
two or more parties for the purpose of earning profit by means of investment in a joint business
Shirkah tul Milk: Primarily a ‘partnership of joint ownership’ which may come about deliberately or
Sigha: Formulation of the contract, often referred to as ‘offer and acceptance.’
Silent Partner: A partner in the business who only contributes capital but takes no part in
management of the business; also referred to as the sleeping partner.
Simple Interest: The excess or increment that is charged over and above the initial investment.
Sleeping Partner: A partner in the business who only contributes capital but takes no part in
management of the business; also called silent partner.
Sole Proprietorship: A business fully owned and managed by one person.
Specific Agency Agreement: An agreement based on which the agent is under restriction to
purchase a specified asset from a specified supplier only.
Specific Payments: Any required payments other than Monthly Payments.
Speculative Risk: The risk representing potential gain or profit, i.e. the risk involved in a new
SPV: (Abb. Special Purpose Vehicle) An independent entity created based on the Mudarabah
contract for the purpose of generating funds by acquiring assets from a company and issuing
certificates of proportionate ownership against them.
Specific Commodities: Commodities possessing specific attributes that make them different from
one other. One may not be replaced by the other, for instance livestock, precious stones.
Standard Ijarah: A lease contract executed for the provision of usufruct for a fixed term at the end of
which the ownership of the leased asset is not transferred to the lessee.
Stock Company: A company in which the capital is partitioned into equal units of tradable shares
and each shareholder’s liability is limited to his share in the capital; it also represents a form of
Sublease: The lease of an already leased asset to a third party with the primary lessor’s consent.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 80
Sukuk: Certificates of equal value representing undivided shares in ownership of tangible assets,
usufruct and services.
Sukuk al Ijarah: Certificates representing the ownership of leased assets, the ownership of the
usufruct of leased assets or the ownership of the rights to receive benefits from services.
Sukuk al Mudarabah: Certificates representing the proportionate ownership of capital for specific
projects undertaken by an entrepreneur.
Sukuk al Murabaha: Certificates representing the investor’s shares in receivables from the purchaser
of assets based on a deferred sale.
Sukuk al Musharakah: Certificates representing proportionate ownership of a Musharakah asset, be it
a partnership for new projects or a partnership for the expansion of existing projects.
Sukuk al Salam: Certificates representing financial claims arising from the purchase of commodities
to be delivered in the future based on an advance payment of price.
Sunna: The personal example, comprising words and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless
him and give him peace).
Tabburro: Gift or contribution.
Tadlis al aib: Refers to the activity of a seller concealing the defects of goods.
Takaful: A Shariah-compliant system of insurance based on the principle of mutual co-operation.
The company’s role is limited to managing operations and investing contributions.
Takaful Operator: The manager of Takaful funds.
Tawarruq: A mode of financing, similar to a Murabaha transaction, where the commodity sold is not
required by the client but is bought on a deferred payment basis and sold to a third party for a lesser
price, thereby becoming a means of liquidity generation.
Tawliyah: is a relatively broad concept in nature. It defines a type of transaction, but aside from the basis that the sale is made with neither a loss nor a gain, there is not much more to this type of transaction. It defines how the bank or the lending institution handles the sale, but there are a variety of ways that a Tawliyah sale can be handled as part of Bayu-Al-Amanah depending on the individual buyer and seller at play.
Thaman al bai: Sale price.
Time-Sharing Leasing Contract: The lease of a single asset to multiple lessees by means of different
leasing contracts for different time periods, with none of them overlapping with one another.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 81
Trade Finance: The financing of international trade transactions, which involves satisfying the needs
of importers and/or exporters.
Transit Period Risk: The risk posed to the bank for the time period that ensues after assuming
possession of Murabaha goods from the supplier and before selling them to the client.
Treasury Operations Department: The section of the financial institution that deals with the
maintenance of funds and capital reserves and their movement in and out of the bank.
Trust Participation Certificate: A negotiable document conveying beneficial ownership in a property held in a trust to an investor in a manner consistent with contemporary securitization.
Two-Tier Business Model: Where one set of capital investments enables a stream of follow-on
investments in multiple Shariah-compliant ventures.
Ujrah: Financial payment for the utilization of services.
Ulema: Muslim scholars.
Ummah: The Muslim community.
Unconditional Agency Agreement: An agency agreement where the principal does not stipulate any
conditions or restrictions upon the agent’s performance of duties. The agent is allowed to exercise
his own discretion with reference to the assigned task, taking into consideration the market norm.
Unrestricted Mudarabah: A Mudarabah in which the Mudarib has a free hand regarding where and
how to invest the capital of the business.
Uqud al Mu’wadat: Exchange contracts.
Uqud al Ishtirak: Partnership contracts.
Uqud al Tabbaruat: Charitable contracts.
Urf: Market norm.
Ushr: Islamic tax on agricultural produce.
Usufruct: The benefit received from an asset in a contract of lease.
Usul al Fiqh: Sources of law.
Usury: An exorbitant amount of interest or any rate of interest or the excess paid in exchange for a
loan granted for personal use.
Voluntary Contract: A contract based on the mutual co-operation of contracting parties for which
remuneration is not granted or received.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 82
Wa’da: Promise; an undertaking regarding future actions.
Wadiah: Wadiah can be looked at as a safekeeping of a deposit in Islamic finance. When it comes to Muslim banking, this type of deposit would be held within a trust known as Amanah. Should the depositor pay for the favor, then the depository is going to replace it in any situation where it has become lost. Using this deposit by the bank is generally going to be subject to a decision from the person responsible for making the deposit. When it comes to practical terms you can look at it as this. The bank client is going to accept usage over the deposit by the bank, but will not be entitled to participation in the profiting or the loss. The deposit, on the other hand, is completely guaranteed.
Wadi`a: Safe-keeping deposit.
Wadia yad Dhaman: Goods or deposits granted for safekeeping. As Wadia is a trust, the depository
becomes the guarantor for repayment on demand, of all the deposits or any part that remains
outstanding in the accounts of depositors. The depositors are not entitled to any of the profits but the
depository may grant them a portion of the returns at its own discretion.
Wakalah: An agency contract which usually includes in its terms a fee for the agent.
Wakalah tul Istismaar: An investment management contract
Wakalah Muqayyada: The same as the conditional agency agreement.
Wakalah Mutluqqa: The same as the un-conditional agency agreement.
Wakalah tul Ujrah: Agency executed for a fee.
Wakeel bil Bai: The agent assigned to sell.
Wakeel bil Khasooma: The agent assigned to deal with common disputes.
Wakeel bil Qabd: The agent assigned to take possession of debt.
Wakeel bi Shara: The agent assigned to purchase.
Wakeel bi Taqazidain: The agent assigned to retrieve debt.
Waqf: A legal entity that has the potential to own, purchase and sell in addition to grant and receive
Wasiya: Will, bequest.
Weightages: Ratios calculated for the appropriate allocation of profit and assigned to investment
categories at financial institutions. They are subject to change with changes in market trend; the
longer the term of deposit, the greater the weightage assigned to it.
Working Partner: A partner who is responsible for running the business.
Wujuh: (Lit.face) Interpreted in financial transactions as goodwill or credit for partnership.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 83
Zakat: (see also Zakat al Maal) A tax imposed by Islamic law on all persons possessing wealth at or
above an exemption limit (nisab). Its objective is to collect a portion of wealth of the affluent
members of society and distribute it amongst the underprivileged. It may be collected by the state or
distributed by the individual himself.
Zakat al Fitr: A small obligatory tax imposed on every Muslim who has the means for himself and
his dependants. It is paid once annually at the end of Ramadan before Eid al Fitr.
Zakat al Maal: The Muslims wealth tax; a Muslim must pay 2.5% of his yearly savings at or above
the nisab, to the less fortunate members of the community. Zakat is obligatory for all Muslims who
have saved the equivalent of 85g of gold at the time when the annual zakat payment is due.
Zakat al Maadan: Zakat on minerals.
Zakat al Hubub: Zakat on grain / corn.
Zakat al Tijarah: Zakat on profits from trade.
Zakat al Rikaz: Zakat on treasure/precious stones.
Glossary of Commonly Used Terminology 84
Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance
Level 14, Boulevard Plaza – Tower One
Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai
PO Box 127150, Dubai, UAE
Emails are responded to within the same working
day, usually in a few hours.
New inquiries about Ethica’s training and
Islamic finance questions:
We take calls Sunday to Thursday from 9am to
5pm Dubai time:
+9714 455 8690
Fax? If you insist:
+9714 455 8556
Click here to receive regular updates and the 2014 edition of Ethica’s
Handbook of Islamic Finance