Back Matter

Back Matter

Author(s):
Abbas Mirakhor, and Zubair Iqbal
Published Date:
March 1987
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    Glossary1Amanah.

    The process of leaving a financial asset in trust with someone and expecting to receive the same at some future date in its original form and value.

    Bay’al-Muajjl.

    Sale against deferred payment, either in lump sum or installments.

    Jo’alah, Joaalah.

    The undertaking by one party (the Jael, bank, or employer) to pay a specified amount of money (the Joal) to another party in return for rendering a specified service in accordance with the terms of the contract.

    Mudarabah, Modaraba, Mozarebeh.

    An agreement between two or more persons whereby one or more of them provide finance, while the others provide entrepreneurship and management to carry on any business venture with the objective of earning profits. The profit is shared by them in an agreed proportion. The loss is borne only by the financiers in proportion to their share in total capital.

    Murabaha.

    Sale at a specified profit margin. This term is also used to refer to a sale agreement whereby the seller purchases the goods desired by the buyer and sells them at an agreed marked up price, the payment being settled within an agreed time frame, either in installments or lump sum.

    Musaqat, Mosaqat, Mosaghat.

    A contract between the owner of an orchard or garden with another party for the purpose of gathering the harvest and dividing it, in a specified ratio, between the two parties.

    Musharakah, Musharika.

    A temporary equity participation agreement between a bank and clients for effecting a certain operation within an agreed period of time. Both parties contribute to the capital of the operation in varying degrees and agree to divide the net profits or losses in proportions agreed upon in advance.

    Muzara’ah, Mozara-ah, Mozaraah.

    A contract wherein the bank (the Mozare) turns over a specified plot of land for a specified period of time to another party (the Amel or Agent) for the purpose of farming the land and dividing the harvest between the two parties in a specified ratio.

    Qard al-Hasanah, Gharz-al-hasaneh, Qard-e-Hasana, Gharz-al-hassaneh.

    Loans extended for a definite period of time without interest or profit sharing.

    Quran.

    The Holy Book of the Muslims consisting of revelations made by God to the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him. The Quran lays down the fundamentals of the Islamic faith, including beliefs and all aspects of the Muslim way of life.

    Riba.

    Literally means increase or addition and refers to the “premium” that must be paid by the borrower to the lender along with the principal amount as a condition for the loan or an extension in its maturity. It is, thus, equivalent to interest.

    Salaf, Bai Salam. A

    contract between a producer and a purchaser (bank) whereby the purchaser buys the specified product on post delivery and pays the cost immediately. In this sale, the cost of goods is fixed and paid in advance but the delivery is postponed or delayed up to a certain period. The characteristics of the good, the place of delivery, quantities, and prices, are specified in the contract.

    Shari’a.

    Divine guidance as given by the Quran and the Sunnah (which refers to the Prophet’s example as indicated by his practice of faith) and embodies all aspects of the Islamic faith, including beliefs and practices.

    Zakat.

    The tax payable by a Muslim on his net worth as a part of his religious obligations, mainly for the benefit of the poor and the needy.

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    Bashir (1982), pp. 21–22.

    This property right explanation of prohibition of interest also helps to clarify not only the emphasis which the Quran places on the injustice of interest but also on exhortations to Muslims to provide interest-free loans to the needy (Qard al-Hasanah), for which the Quran promises manifold returns from Allah. The Quran suggests that such loans are made to Allah, and it is He who will guarantee manifold returns to the lender.

    Musharakah and Mudarabah, primarily partnership arrangements in the commercial-industrial sector of the economy, have their counterparts in farming (called Muzara’ah) and in orchard keeping (called Musaqat) where the harvest is shared between and among the partners based on a prespecified percentage of profit sharing. Other modes of non-interest-based transactions cover a broad spectrum of maturities and apply to a variety of economic activities, particularly those to which profit sharing may not apply. Since the evolution and application of these modes differ by the characteristics of economies where they are in use, they are discussed in detail in Section II in the context of their application in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan.

    Chapra (1982), p. 62, and (1985), p. 205. Recently Mohsin Khan (1985) suggested a different model of Islamic banking. This model, also based on profit sharing, divides the liability side of the bank balance sheet into two windows. One contains demand deposits (transactions deposits), and the other contains investment balances. The choice of window is left to the depositor. Khan’s model requires a 100 percent reserve for demand deposits, on the presumption that such deposits are placed as Amanah (safekeeping) and therefore must be fully backed by reserves because the bank does not have the right to use these deposits belonging to depositors as the basis for money creation through fractional reserves. Money deposited in investment accounts, on the other hand, is placed with the depositor’s full knowledge that it will be invested in risk-bearing projects; therefore no guarantee is justified and the model stipulates no reserve requirements for the second window.

    Chapra (1985).

    Ibid.

    El-Sarraf (1984).

    Pryor (1985).

    Ibid., pp. 7–8.

    Ibid.

    Chapra (1985), Siddiqi (1982).

    For a summary discussion of Islam’s position on contracts see Ul Haque and Mirakhor (1986a).

    It is reasonable to expect that in the long run the latter set of factors is closely correlated to the viability and profitability of investment projects undertaken by the entrepreneurs. Hence, the distinction drawn here relates more to the initial phases of implementation.

    Chapra (1985).

    Those favoring the adoption of the model requiring a 100 percent reserve requirement argue that it would make the system more efficient because (a) whereas any switch from high-powered money to deposit money and vice versa in the fractional reserve system creates an inherent instability; such a switch in the 100 percent reserve system would only change the composition of money, thus leaving the total supply constant; (b) in a fractional reserve system it is more costly to maintain or to increase the existing stock of real balances as a result of changes in money supply arising from deposit creation or from substituting deposit and cash. It is argued that a 100 percent reserve system contributes to the stability of the economy as a whole. By eliminating any differences between the monetary base and the money supply, thus making the money multiplier equal to unity, the 100 percent reserve system forces the banking system to be fully liquid. This model would preclude the central bank from using variation in the reserve ratios as a policy instrument. See M. Khan (1985).

    For details, see Bank Markazi (1984a).

    Steps were taken in 1979 through the Bank Nationalization Act and the Bank Management Act to consolidate and reorganize the banking system. These Acts led to the reorganization of the banking system into six commercial banks (previously 36) and three specialized banks. In addition, 22 provincial banks (one for each province) were established. The total number of banking units was reduced from 8,275 to 6,581.

    Presumably the banks’ margin is determined by the spread between the price negotiated between the producer and his bank and the going market price.

    See the Appendix, which provides regulations relating to the Law for Usury-Free Banking.

    Insofar as the supervision of foreign banks is concerned, these banks are prohibited from engaging in banking operations in the Islamic Republic of Iran. They are allowed, however, to establish “Representative Offices,” but the operations of such offices are restricted to mainly advisory services provided for their Iranian clients (mostly importers and banks) and to their parent banks. Hence, supervision of these banks is limited to ensuring that they comply with the regulation. See Bank Markazi (1984b).

    Bank Markazi (1984a), pp. 451–52.

    During the transitional period July 1-December 31, 1984, lending for working capital purposes on interest was permitted but was not to exceed six months in maturity.

    However, deposits under the national savings schemes, which were the equivalent of over 11 percent of deposits with commercial banks, have remained exempt from this provision.

    Once the liability toward the loss has been determined, the bank’s share of investment would be reduced by the aggregate amount of its share of loss and the provisional profit earlier taken would also be refunded.

    The mechanism of conducting markup transactions is similar to that followed for the cash credit accounts under the interest-based system. At the end of each quarter, the amount of markup payable by each account is worked out as banks did in the case of interest payable under the old system.

    Some Pakistani bankers have downplayed the importance of rates of return differentials in generating transfer of funds. They view quality of services provided to clients as equally (if not more) important in determining stability of the deposit base.

    The service charge is calculated as a percentage ratio of net administrative expenditures to the average total assets of the bank for each accounting year. The State Bank of Pakistan scrutinizes these charges to ensure fairness.

    While creditworthiness is also a significant factor in bank loan evaluation in more developed financial markets, financial institutions in these markets are far better equipped to analyze the profitability of prospective investments than are banks in the typical developing country.

    Methods (b), (c), and (d) have been rejected by some Muslim scholars on the grounds that they are incompatible with the Shari’a. See Z. Ahmad (1984).

    Areas of particular importance and needing further research include (a) how does the Islamic banking system affect the depth of the financial market and what are its supervisory and regulatory prerequisites; (b) how does the operation of Islamic banking affect fiscal policy and what role does fiscal policy play under an Islamic system; (c) how are international capital flows determined between the interest-based system and countries applying the Islamic system, including the impact of the latter on external debt; and (d) how do the two systems interface, and what role does exchange rate policy play in this context?

    In economies in which capital markets are imperfect and interest-based monetary policy tools are in extensive use, there may be a need for instruments to influence net international capital movements and possibly for including a greater role for the exchange rate and flexible use of central bank control over banks’ profit-sharing ratios.

    It must be kept in mind that the transactions and information costs in the conventional system are largely reduced through government insurance and supervision. It is likely that a depositor in an interest-based conventional banking system but with no such insurance and supervision would face similar costs.

    Reproduced from Bank Markazi Jomhouri Islami Iran, The Law for Usury-Free Banking (Tehran, 1983).

    Unofficial translation of notifications by the Council of Ministers implementing the Law for Usury-Free Banking in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    Corresponding to February 20-March 20, 1984.

    The definitions are derived from Bank Markazi Jomhouri Islami Iran (1983); and Chapra (1985).

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