in category Fiqh (Jurisprudence)

If taking interest on a loan is "haram" in Islam, how does the financial system work in Islamic states?

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In a Nutshell: In Islam, the concept of interest (riba) is considered haram (forbidden) and is strictly prohibited in Islamic finance. This means that the traditional financial system, which is based on the charging of interest on loans, is not compatible with Islamic principles. However, this does not mean that Islamic states do not have a functioning financial system. Instead, Islamic finance has developed its own set of principles and practices that are compliant with Islamic teachings and values.

One of the main principles of Islamic finance is the prohibition of riba, or interest. This means that Islamic financial institutions cannot charge interest on loans or other financial transactions. Instead, they must find alternative ways to generate profits and provide financial services to their customers.

One way that Islamic financial institutions generate profits is through the use of profit and loss sharing (PLS) arrangements. Under a PLS arrangement, the financial institution and the borrower share the profits or losses of a business venture or investment. This aligns the interests of the financial institution with those of the borrower and promotes risk sharing and entrepreneurship.

Another way that Islamic finance generates profits is through the use of murabaha, a financing structure in which the financial institution purchases a product on behalf of the borrower and then sells it to the borrower at a mark-up. The mark-up represents the profit for the financial institution, and the borrower pays it in installments over an agreed upon period of time.

Islamic finance also makes use of ijara, a financing structure in which the financial institution purchases an asset and then leases it to the borrower for a fee. The fee paid by the borrower is used to cover the cost of the asset and generate profits for the financial institution. This structure is similar to a traditional lease, but with the added requirement that the asset must be used for a permissible purpose according to Islamic law.

In addition to these financing structures, Islamic finance also includes investment products such as sukuk (Islamic bonds), which are structured to comply with Islamic principles and avoid the prohibition of riba. Sukuk are similar to traditional bonds in that they involve the issuance of debt instruments to raise capital, but they differ in that they represent ownership in a specific asset or project rather than a debt obligation.

Islamic finance is also based on the principle of risk sharing, which means that financial institutions and investors are expected to bear a share of the risks associated with a financial transaction. This encourages responsible and ethical behavior, as those involved in the transaction have a stake in its success or failure.

Another principle of Islamic finance is the prohibition of speculation and gambling, which are considered haram in Islam. This means that Islamic financial products must be based on real, tangible assets and must be used for productive purposes rather than purely for speculation.


Overall, Islamic finance is a unique and innovative financial system that is based on principles and practices that are compliant with Islamic teachings and values

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