The term “Islamic Investment Fund” means a joint pool wherein the investors contribute their surplus money for the purpose of its investment to earn halal profits in strict conformity with the precepts of Islamic Shari’ah.
Suppose there are investors who have with them surplus liquidity, but these investors do not have the skill and the ability to conduct business, so they would like to invest their surplus with somebody who is a skilled person who knows how to invest the money in strict conformity to shariah principles and give them a return
The subscribers of the Fund may receive a document certifying their subscription and entitling them to the pro-rata profits actually earned by the Fund. These documents may be called ‘certificates , units’, ‘shares’ or may be given any other name, but their validity in terms of Shari’ah, will always be subject to two basic conditions:
Firstly, instead of a fixed return tied up with their face value, they must carry a pro-rata profit actually earned by the Fund.
Therefore, neither the principal nor a rate of profit (tied up with the principal) can be guaranteed. The subscribers must enter into the
fund with a clear understanding that the return on their subscription is tied up with the actual profit earned or loss suffered by the Fund. If the Fund earns huge profits, the return on their subscription will increase to that proportion. However, in case the Fund suffers loss, they will have to share it also, unless the loss is caused by the negligence or mismanagement, in which case the
management, and not the Fund, will be liable to compensate it.
Secondly, the amounts so pooled together must be invested in a business acceptable to Shari’ah. It means that not only the channels
of investment, but also the terms agreed with them must conform to the Islamic principles.
Modes of investment of Islamic Investment Funds
Keeping these basic requisites in view, the Islamic Investment Funds may accommodate a variety of modes of investment. Some of them are :
- Equity Fund
- Commodity Fund
- Ijarah fund
- Murabaha Fund
- Mixed fund
In an equity fund the amounts are invested in the shares of joint stock companies. The profits are mainly derived through the capital
gains by purchasing the shares and selling them when their prices are increased. Profits are also earned through dividends distributed
by the relevant companies.
Another possible type of Islamic Funds may be a commodity fund. In the fund of this type the subscription amounts are used in
purchasing different commodities for the purpose of their resale. The profits generated by the sales are the income of the fund which
is distributed pro rata among the subscribers.
Another type of Islamic Fund may be an ijårah fund. Ijårah means leasing the derailed rules of which have already been discussed in the
third chapter of this book. In this fund the subscription amounts are used to purchase assets like real estate, motor vehicles or other
equipment for the purpose of leasing them out to their ultimate users. The ownership of these assets remams with the Fund and the
rentals are charged from the users. These rentals are the source of income for the fund which is distributed pro rata to the subscribers.
Each subscriber is given a certificate to evidence his proportionate ownership in the leased assets and to ensure his entitlement to the pro rata share in the income. These certificates may preferably be called ‘suknF—-a term recognized in the traditional Islamic jurisprudence. Since these sukük represent the
Murabahah is a specific kind of sale where the commodities are sold on a cost-plus basis. This kind of sale has been adopted by the
contemporary Islamic banks and financial institutions as a mode of financing. They purchase the commodity for the benefit of their
clients, then sell it to them on the basis of deferred payment at an agreed margin of profit added to the cost. If a fund IS created to
undertake this kind of sale, it should be a closed-end fund and its units cannot be negotiable in a secondary market. The reason is that
in the case of murabahah, as undertaken by the present financial institutions, the commodities are sold to the clients immediately
after their purchase from the original supplier, while the price being on deferred payment basis becomes a debt payable by the client.
Therefore, the portfolio of murabahah does not own any tangible assets. It comprises either cash or the receivable debts, Therefore,
the units of the fund represent either the money or the receivable.
Another type of Islamic Fund may be of a nature where the subscription amounts are employed in different types of investments, like equities, leasing, commodities etc. This may be called a Mixed Islamic Fund. In this case if the tangible assets of the Fund are more than 51% while the liquidity and debts are less than 50% the units of the fund may be negotiable. However, if the proportion of liquidity and debts exceeds 50%, its units cannot be traded according to the majority of the contemporary scholars. In this case the Fund must be a closed-end Fund.
In sha Allah we will discuss all of it in detail.
Excrepts are taken from book : An Introduction to Islamic finance by mufti Taqi uthmani (amazon link)
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