Monday, April 05, 2010


1. Murabahah is a particular kind of sale where the seller expressly mentions the cost of the sold commodity he has incurred, and sells it to another person by adding some profit or mark-up thereon.

2. The profit in Murabahah can be determined by mutual consent, either in lump sum or through an agreed ration of profit to be charged over the cost.
3. All the expenses incurred by the seller in acquiring the commodity like freight, custom duty etc. shall be included in the cost price and the mark-up can be applied on the aggregate cost. However, recurring expenses of the business like salaries of the staff, the rent of the premises etc. cannot be included in the cost of an individual transaction. In fact, the profit claimed over the cost takes care of these expenses.
4. Murabahah is valid only where the exact cost of a commodity can be ascertained. If the exact cost cannot be ascertained, the commodity cannot be sold on murabahah basis. In this case the commodity must be sold on musawamah (bargaining) basis i.e. without any reference to cost or to the ratio of profit / mark-up. The price of the commodity in such cases shall be determined in lump sum by mutual consent.
Example (1) A purchased a pair of shoes for Rs. 100/-. He wants to sell it on murabahah sale is valid.
Example (2) “A purchased a ready-made suit with a pair of shoes in a single transaction, for a lump sum price of Rs. 500/-. A can sell the suit including shoes on murabahah. But he cannot sell the shoes separately on Murabahah, because the individual cost of the shoes is unknown. If he wants to sell the shoes separately, he must sell it at a lump sum price without reference to the cost or to the mark-up.
Murabahah as a mode of financing
Originally, murabahah is a particular type of sale and not a mode of financing. The ideal mode of financing according to shariah is mudarabah or musharakah. However, in the perspective of the current economic set up, there are certain pratical difficulties in using mudarabah and musharakah instruments in some areas of financing. Therefore, the contemporary shariah experts have allowed, subject to certain conditions, the use of the murabahah on deferred payment basis as amode of financing. But there are two essential points which must be fully understood in this respect:
1. It should never be overlooked that, originally, murabahah is not a mode of financing. It is only a device to escape from “interest” and not an ideal instrument for carrying out the real economic objectives of Islam. Therefore, this instrument should be used as transitory step taken in the process of the Islamization of the economy, and its use should be restricted only to those cases where mudarabah or musharakah are not praticable.
2. The second important point is that the murabahah transaction does not come into existence by merely replacing the word of “interest” by the words of “profit” or “mark-up”. Actually, murabahah as a mode of finance, has been allowed by the Shariah scholars with some conditions. Unless these conditions are fully observed, murabahah is not permissible. In fact, it is the observance of these conditions which can draw a clear line of distinction between an interest-bearing loan and a transaction of murabahah. If these conditions are neglected, the transaction becomes invalid according to shariah.

Source: An Introduction to Islamic Finance By Muhammad Taqi Usmani
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