Ratio of Profit

Is it necessary that the ratio of profit of each partner conforms to the ratio of capital invested by him? There is a difference of opinion among the Muslim jurists about this question.

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In the view of Imam Malik and Imam Shafi’i, it is necessary for the validity of musharakah that each partner gets the profit exactly in the proportion of his investment. Therefore, if A has invested 40% of the total capital, he must get 40% of the profit. Any agreement to the contrary which makes him entitled to get more or less than 40% will render the musharakah invalid in Shariah.

On the contrary, the view of Imam Ahmad is that the ratio of profit may differ from the ratio of investment if it is agreed between the partners with their free consent. Therefore, it is permissible that a partner with 40% of investment gets 60% or 70% of the profit, while the other partner with 60% of investment gets only 40% or 30%.

The third view is presented by Imam Abu Hanifah which can be taken as a via media between the two opinions mentioned above. He says that the ratio of profit may differ from the ratio of investment in normal conditions. However, if a partner has put an express condition in the agreement that he will never work for the musharakah and will remain a sleeping partner throughout the term of musharakah, then his share of profit cannot be more than the ratio of his investment.

Source: Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, An Introduction to Islamic Finance. Republished with permission.