Glossary of Islamic terms
Ijara is a form of leasing. It involves a contract where the bank buys and then leases an item – perhaps a consumer durable, for example – to a customer for a specified rental over a specific period. The duration of the lease, as well as the basis for rental, are set and agreed in advance. Islamic Bank of Britain retains ownership of the item throughout the arrangement and takes back the item at the end.
Ijara-wa-iktana is similar to Ijara, except that included in the contract is a promise from the customer to buy the equipment at the end of the lease period, at a pre-agreed price. Rentals paid during the period of the lease constitute part of the purchase price. Often, as a result, the final sale will be for a token sum.
Ijara with Diminishing Musharaka
The principle of Ijara with Diminishing Musharaka can be used for home-buying services. Diminishing Musharaka means that we reduce our equity in an asset with any additional capital payment you make, over and above your rental payments. Your ownership in the asset increases and ours decreases by a similar amount each time you make an additional capital payment. Ultimately, we transfer ownership of the asset entirely over to you.
Mudaraba refers to an investment on your behalf by a more skilled person. It takes the form of a contract between two parties, one who provides the funds and the other who provides the expertise and who agree to the division of any profits made in advance. In other words, Islamic Bank of Britain would make Sharia compliant investments and share the profits with the customer, in effect charging for the time and effort. If no profit is made, the loss is borne by the customer and Islamic Bank of Britain takes no fee.
In a Mudaraba contract, the expert who manages the investment is known as a Mudarib.
Murabaha is a contract for purchase and resale and allows the customer to make purchases without having to take out a loan and pay interest. Islamic Bank of Britain purchases the goods for the customer, and re-sells them to the customer on a deferred basis, adding an agreed profit margin. The customer then pays the sale price for the goods over instalments, effectively obtaining credit without paying interest.
Musharaka means partnership. It involves you placing your capital with another person and both sharing the risk and reward. The difference between Musharaka arrangements and normal banking is that you can set any kind of profit sharing ratio, but losses must be proportionate to the amount invested.
A Qard is a loan, free of profit. We use this arrangement for our Current Accounts. In essence, it means that your Current Account is a loan to the bank, which is used by the bank for investment and other purposes. Obviously it has to be paid back to you, in full, on demand.
Riba means interest, which is prohibited in Islamic law. Any risk-free or guaranteed interest on a loan is considered to be usury.
Wakala is an agency contract, which usually includes in its terms a fee for the expertise of the agent. We may use it for our large Deposit accounts: you own the capital invested, you appoint us as your agent and pay a fee for our expertise.