Maslahah (Benefit; Interest)

Literally: derived from salaÍ (goodness), the opposite of corruption and disorder. The plural is masaliÍ.

Technically: to seek benefit or avert harm. Some said: an attribute which, if a rule is based upon it, will result in realizing benefit for or averting harm from the people. Some said: pleasure and happiness and their causes; the opposite is mafsadah, which is pain and sorrow and their causes. Some said: preserving the objects of the Shariah with regard to God's creatures and preservation of the five comprehensive objectives of the Shariah.

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Mu'atah (Nonverbal Sale)

Literally: to hand over.

Technically: when the buyer and seller exchange the subject matter of the sale and its price without any verbal offer or acceptance, or only the offer or the acceptance is verbal. It falls into the category of circumstantial indicators. Such as is valid regardless of the transaction size, according to the Hanafis, Malikis and Hanbalis, and some Shafi'i scholars like al-Mutawalli and al-Baghawi, who disagreed with most other Shafi'i scholars.

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Mudarabah (Silent-Partnership Enterprise)

Literally: Derivation of daraba; one of its meanings is to travel across the earth.

Technically: a type partnership for profit in which one partner (the rabb al-mal) provides capital and the other partner (the mudarib) contributes his labour. The profit will be shared between them according to the terms they agree to. Mudarabah is the term used by the Hanafis and Hanbalis. The Malikis and Shafi'is use the term qirad instead. Jurists accept the legality and permissibility of mudarabah as an exceptional dispensation or on the basis of istihsan (an exception to a text-based rule on the basis of public interest). It is two types: restricted and unrestricted.

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Murabahah (Mark-up Sale)

Literally: from ribh: increase

Technically: to sell goods for the price at which it was purchased along with a specified profit agreed upon by the two parties, either as a percentage of the price or a flat amount. It can occur without a previous promise, which is ordinary murabahah, or with a previous promise from the customer to buy the good from the institution, which is called "banking murabahah". It is a lawful sale, and is classified as a trust-based sale (because the client trusts the seller to disclose the true purchase price to which the profit is added).

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Musawamah (Negotiation)

Literally: haggling between a buyer and seller to decide the price of a good.

Technically: a sale for any price agreed between the two parties without reference to how much it cost the buyer. Some said: haggling between a buyer and seller to decide the price of goods. It is permissible as long as no najash is involved.

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Musharakah mutanaqissah (Diminishing Partnership)

Technically: a type of partnership in which one of the partners undertakes to gradually buy the share of the other partner until the buyer completely owns the property or projects. It is a contemporary financial transaction invented by Islamic banks as a way to invest their wealth> it basically consists of two contracts: 1) an initial contract of partnership; 2) a sale contract. It is permissible on condition that sale and purchase are not conditions of the partnership contract; rather the client undertakes to purchase by a separate promise. The purchase and sale should be executed by a separate contract, and neither contract should be made a condition of the other.

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Muqassah (Offset)

Literally: to equalize; also, to trace something.

Technically: when two parties owe debts to each other, the two parties may agree to cancel the amount of one debt in return for cancellation of the same amount of the other debt. It is one of the valid ways to pay back debts.

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Muwa'adah (Bilateral Promise)

Literally: two persons make reciprocal promises to each other; a promise is a statement regarding an act a person will do in the future that is related to another person.

Technically: an announcement by two persons of their intent to enter into a contract in the future whose effects will pertain to them. The Maliki School defined it as each party promising the other (because the linguistic form requires two subjects). If only one party makes a promise to the other, it is called 'idah (a unilateral promise). Jurists have mentioned muwa'adah in a number of issues, including: a bilateral promise of marriage during a woman's 'iddah (waiting period after divorce or the death of her husband); a bilateral promise in currency exchange, etc. The ruling on muwa'adah differs, according to the particular issue.

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Promise (wa'd)

Literally: informing someone that some good or harm will be done to them; it is usually used for a promise of good, while wa'id (warning) is used for a threat to inflict harm.

Technically: informing someone that some good may be done to them in the future. The Shafi'is, Hanbalis and Zahiris ruled that fulfilling a promise is commendable under all circumstances but not obligatory, even if it is made contingent upon a condition and even it the receiver of the promise spent money based upon the promise. Some scholars ruled that fulfilling a promise is obligatory under all circumstances. The Malikis ruled that if the promise is made conditional upon a cause, such as "Get married, and I will give you such-and-such," fulfilling the promise is obligatory; otherwise, it is not obligatory. The OIC Fiqh Academy ruled that a promise is always morally binding except in case of a valid excuse and that it is also legally binding if it is made conditional upon a cause and receiver of the promise incurs expenses due to the promise.

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Source: ISRA Compendium for Islamic Financial Terms Arabic - English, 1st edition, Kuala Lumpur: International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA), 2010