Termination of Musharakah

Musharakah is deemed to be terminated in any one of the following events:


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(1) Every partner has a right to terminate the musharakah at any time after giving his partner a notice to this effect, whereby the musharakah will come to an end.

In this case, if the assets of the musharakah are in cash form, all of them will be distributed pro rata between the partners. But if the assets are not liquidated, the partners may agree either on the liquidation of the assets, or on their distribution or partition between the partners as they are. If there is a dispute between the partners in this matter i.e. one partner seeks liquidation while the other wants partition or distribution of the non-liquid assets themselves, the latter shall be preferred, because after the termination of musharakah, all the assets are in the joint ownership of the partners, and a co-owner has a right to seek partition or separation, and no one can compel him on liquidation. However, if the assets are such that they cannot be separated or partitioned, such as machinery, then they shall be sold and the sale-proceeds shall be distributed.

(2) If any one of the partners dies during the currency of musharakah, the contract of musharakah with him stands terminated. His heirs in this case, will have the option either to draw the share of the deceased from the business, or to continue with the contract of musharakah.

(3) If any one of the partners becomes insane or otherwise becomes incapable of effecting commercial transactions, the musharakah stands terminated.

Termination of Musharakah without Closing the Business

If one of the partners wants termination of the musharakah, while the other partner or partners like to continue with the business, this purpose can be achieved by mutual agreement. The partners who want to run the business may purchase the share of the partner who wants to terminate his partnership, because the termination of musharakah with one partner does not imply its termination between the other partners.

However, in this case, the price of the share of the leaving partner must be determined by mutual consent, and if there is a dispute about the valuation of the share and the partners do not arrive at an agreed price, the leaving partner may compel other partners on the liquidation or on the distribution of the assets themselves.

The question arises whether the partners can agree, while entering into the contract of the musharakah, on a condition that the liquidation or separation of the business shall not be effected unless all the partners, or the majority of them wants to do so, and that a single partner who wants to come out of the partnership shall have to sell his share to the other partners and shall not force them on liquidation or separation.

Most of the traditional books of Islamic Fiqh seem to be silent on this question. However, it appears that there is no bar from the Shari‘ah point of view if the partners agree to such a condition right at the beginning of the musharakah. This is expressly permitted by some Hanbali jurists.

This condition may be justified, especially in the modern situations, on the ground that the nature of business, in most cases today, requires continuity for its success, and the liquidation or separation at the instance of a single partner only may cause irreparable damage to the other partners.

If a particular business has been started with huge amounts of money which has been invested in a long term project, and one of the partners seeks liquidation in the infancy of the project, it may be fatal to the interests of the partners, as well as to the economic growth of the society, to give him such an arbitrary power of liquidation or separation. Therefore, such a condition seems to be justified, and it can be supported by the general principle laid down by the Holy Prophet (pbuh) in his famous hadith:

All the conditions agreed upon by the Muslims are upheld, except a condition which allows what is prohibited or prohibits what is lawful.

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