Securities against Murabahah Price

Another issue regarding murabahah financing is that the murabahah price is payable at a later date. The seller/financier naturally wants to make sure that the price will be paid at the due date. for this purpose, he may ask the client to furnish a security to his satisfaction. The security may be in the form of a mortgage or a hypothecation or some kind of lien or charge. Some basic rules about this security must, therefore, be kept in mind.

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1. The security can be claimed rightfully where the transaction has created a liability or a debt. No security can be asked from a person who has not incurred a liability or debt. As explained earlier, the procedure of murabahah financing comprises of different transactions carried out at different stages. In the earlier stages of the procedure, the client does not incur a debt. It is only after the commodity is sold to him by the financier on credit that the relationship of a creditor and debtor comes into existence. Therefore, the proper way in a transaction of murabahah would be that the financier asks for a security after he has actually sold the commodity to the client and the price has become due on him, because at this stage the client incurs a debt. However, it is also permissible that the client furnishes a security at earlier stages, but after the murabahah price is determined. In this case, if the security is possessed by the financier, it will remain at his risk, meaning thereby that if it is destroyed before the actual sale to the client, he will have either to pay the market price of the mortgaged asset, and cancel the agreement of murabahah, or sell the commodity required by the client and deduct the market price of the mortgaged asset from the price of the sold property.

2. It is also permissible that the sold commodity itself is given to the seller as a security. Some scholars are of the opinion that this can only be done after the purchaser has taken its delivery and not before. It means that the purchaser shall take its delivery, either physical or constructive, from the seller, then give it back to him as mortgage, so that the transaction of mortgage is distinguished from the transaction of sale. However, after studying the relevant material, it can be concluded that the earlier jurists have put this condition in cash sales only and not in credit sales.

Therefore, it is not necessary that the purchaser takes the delivery of the sold property before he surrenders it as mortgage to the seller. The only requirement would be that the point of time whereby the property is held to be mortgaged should necessarily be specified, because from that point of time, the property will be held by the seller in a different capacity which should be clearly earmarked. For example, A sold a car to B on first of January for a price of Rs. 500,000/- to be paid on 30th June. A asked B to give a security for payment at the due date. B has not yet taken delivery of the car and he offered to A that he should keep the car as a mortgage from 2nd January. If the car is destroyed before 2nd of January the sale will be terminated and nothing will be payable by B. But if the car is destroyed after the second of January, sale is not terminated, but it will be subject to the rules prescribed for the destruction of a mortgage. According to Hanafi jurists, in this case, the seller will have to bear the loss of the car, to the extent of its market price or its agreed sale price, whichever is lesser. Therefore, if the market price of the car was 450,000/- he can claim only the remaining part of the agreed sale price (i.e. Rs. 50,000/- in the above example). If the market price of the car is Rs. 500,000/- or higher, nothing can be claimed from the purchaser.

This is the view of Hanafi School. The Shafi’i and Hanbali jurists hold that if the car is destroyed by the negligence of the mortgagee, he will have to bear the loss, according to its market price, but if the car is destroyed without any fault on his part, he will not be liable to anything, and the purchaser will bear the loss and will have to pay the full price.

It is clear from the above example that the possession of A over the car as a seller carries effects and consequences different from his possession as a mortgagee and therefore it is necessary that the point of time on which the car is held by him as a mortgagee should clearly be defined. Otherwise different capacities will be mixed up giving rise to dispute and rendering the security invalid.


Source: Republished with the kind permission of Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani.