Glossary of Terms

‘adl: equity, the root of this word refers to the balance obtained when the two pannier-bags on either side of a beast of burden are of equal weight.
al’amil: the agent who works with the qirad investment
barter: the exchange of goods for goods, or commodity for commodity which in a normal market situation is often a more common means of exchange than goods for money.
caravan: traders who keep company with each other while they journey together to markets.
condition: any condition imposed on a contract which limits ownership of the goods is usually invalid.
contract: an offer and acceptance followed by exchange of goods and payment.
engrossing: buying up all of a commodity in order to control prices; monopoly.
forbidden commodities: those which of their nature are unclean, like pork, or those which for external reasons are not permitted, like stolen goods.
forestalling: the act of going out to meet traders before they have brought their goods on to the market.
fraud (ghabn): it may also be translated as ‘loss’ when ghaban enters a contract unbeknown to the two partners.
gold coins: gold and silver are the only two kinds of ‘money’ acceptable in the shari’ah.
liability: liability for the goods usually becomes the buyer’s as soon as he takes possession of them.
loan: only a loan free of any increase for the lender is permitted; loans may be made for trade but their reward is with Allah.
market: a place set aside to receive caravans, artisans and farmers who come to sell on particular days; any stalls should be of a temporary nature and not designed as stores or shops.
mufawada partnership: a partnership in which each partner delegates mutual responsibility for buying and selling.
murabaha sale: an agreement to supply another with goods for a fixed and pre-determined profit – this would include, for example, the cost of the goods to the supplier, any expenses he incurs in their transport, and 10% profit.
option of return: the right of the buyer to return goods if found to be defective after he has taken possession of them; a warranty period, usually of three days, but shorter in the case of fruit and longer in the case of a house.
partnership: an agreement by which two or more persons (equally) contribute money, goods equipment or work and receive a profit in proportion to their contribution
qirad investment: investing money with an agent-trader who returns the capital to the investor plus a previously-agreed share of the profit on completion of the buying and selling.
rabb al-mal: the person who invests the money in a qirad contract.
regrating: buying up a particular commodity to sell it again on the same or another market.
salam contract: whereby payment is made after the contract and the thing paid for is received at a later date.
shirka al-abdan: a partnership based on the partners’ work.
shirka al-amwal: a partnership based on the partners’ contribution of gold or silver.
taking possession: taking possession of the goods purchased usually marks the transfer of liability to the purchaser.
shirka fi’l-bay’: the transfer at cost price of an article to another who in return becomes a partner in the ownership of the article and agrees to sell it for both of them.
uncertainty (gharar): also known as risk or alea; any contract in which the availability of goods promised cannot be guaranteed is invalidated through this element of risk.
urf: those practices of a community which do not conflict with the shari’ah and which may be retained in Islam.
usury (riba): literally ‘increase’; in general, any unjustified increase accruing to one party to a sale; more specifically, disparity in any exchange of ‘usurious foodstuffs’ or gold and silver, either by way of a difference in weight or a delay in delivery of these commodities, when one of these commodities is exchanged for the same commodity.
zakat: the payment of two and a half percent of one’s standing wealth; it must be paid to the Amir once a year. The Amir may distribute it to any or all of the eight categories of persons mentioned by Allah in the Qur’an.

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