Islamic Banking III

Investments through principles, continued..

Murabahah (Cost Plus)
This concept refers to the sale of goods at a price, which includes a profit margin agreed to by both parties. The purchase and selling price, other costs, and the profit margin must be clearly stated at the time of the sale agreement. The bank is compensated for the time value of its money in the form of the profit margin. This is a fixed-income loan for the purchase of a real asset (such as real estate or a vehicle), with a fixed rate of profit determined by the profit margin. The bank is not compensated for the time value of money outside of the contracted term (i.e., the bank cannot charge additional profit on late payments); however, the asset remains as a mortgage with the bank until the Murabaha is paid in full.
This type of transaction is similar to rent-to-own arrangements for furniture or appliances that are very common in North American stores.

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

Bai salam
Bai salam means a contract in which advance payment is made for goods to be delivered later on. The seller undertakes to supply some specific goods to the buyer at a future date in exchange of an advance price fully paid at the time of contract. It is necessary that the quality of the commodity intended to be purchased is fully specified leaving no ambiguity leading to dispute. The objects of this sale are goods and cannot be gold, silver, or currencies. Barring this, Bai Salam covers almost everything that is capable of being definitely described as to quantity, quality, and workmanship.

Basic Features And Conditions Of Salam
1-First of all, it is necessary for the validity of Salam that the buyer pays the price in full to the seller at the time of effecting the sale. It is necessary because in the absence of full payment by the buyer, it will be tantamount to sale of a debt against a debt, which is prohibited, as the basic wisdom behind the permissibility of salam is to fulfill the instant needs of the seller.

2-Salam can be effected in those commodities only the quality and quantity of which can be specified exactly. The things whose quality or quantity is not determined by specification cannot be sold through the contract of salam.

3-Salam cannot be effected on a particular commodity or on a product of a particular field or farm.

4-It is necessary that the quality of the commodity (intended to be purchased through salam) is fully specified leaving no ambiguity which may lead to a dispute. All the possible details in this respect must be expressly mentioned.

5-It is also necessary that the quantity of the commodity is agreed upon in unequivocal terms. If the commodity is quantified in weights according to the usage of its traders, its weight must be determined, and if it is quantified through measures, its exact measure should be known.

6-The exact date and place of delivery must be specified in the contract.

7-Salam cannot be effected in respect of things which must be delivered at spot.

More to come…

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