Islamic Finance Fatawa

The Obsession with Possession in Islamic Finance

In almost all contemporary Islamic Finance structures and products, a fair amount of attention is given to how assets are being possessed, transferred and how the associated risks are being allocated. Similarly, retail investments are vetted and screened to understand whether an investor has possession of the underlying asset. What’s the big deal and obsession […]
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The Life of a Transaction in Islamic Finance

I often describe the sale item or the subject matter of a contract as the ‘heart’ of a transaction; everything revolves around the sale item and it is central to a transaction. If the subject matter is the heart, the life of the transaction depends on it. If the sale item is destroyed, the transaction […]
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Making Sense of the 30% Rule in Islamic Finance

To determine the Shariah compliance of an equity investment, a company’s business and financials are screened. Investors commonly ask the nature and evidence behind the 30% and 5%. This article addresses the rationale and the history of the financial screening as well as raise some questions on the future of the screening criteria. The History […]
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Is there Zakat on an investment in a start-up company?

Question: Is there Zakat on an investment in a start-up company? In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh. The Answer: Zakat on a start-up depends on the underlying net Zakatable assets of the company. An investor will pay Zakat (2.5%) on the percentage of shareholding in net […]
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What is the Zakat liability on a fixed-term annuity?

Question: What is the Zakat liability on a fixed-term annuity? In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh. The Answer: Zakat is not due on the total amount in a fixed annuity yet to be received. The Fiqh (jurisprudence of the answer): An annuity is a contract between you and […]
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How are raw materials, goods in progress and finished goods valued for Zakat?

Question: How are raw materials, inventory and finished goods valued for Zakat? In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh. The Answer:1. Raw material – for Zakat purposes, will consider its current value (usually difficult to determine, so may use cost price alternatively) 2. Work in progress – for […]
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What is the Zakat treatment for prepaid expenses on one’s balance sheet?

Question: What is the Zakat treatment for prepaid expenses? In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh. The Answer: The prepaid sum is no longer in one’s ownership and as such, it is not Zakatable. Prepaid expenses are future expenses that have been paid in advance. In other words, prepaid expenses are costs that have […]
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Is Zakat due on Sukuk al-Ijarah investments?

Question: Is Zakat due on Sukuk al-Ijarah investments? In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh. The Answer: Ijarah Sukuk is based on an underlying Ijarah structure. Certificates are issued by a special purpose vehicle that entitles the holders to an ownership interest and a right to a return in proportion to […]
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