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Financing of the Working Capital

Where finances are required for the working capital of a running business, the instrument of musharakah may be used in the following manner:

(1) The capital of the running business may be evaluated with mutual consent. It is already mentioned while discussing the traditional concept of musharakah that it is not necessary, according to Imam Malik, that the capital of musharakah is contributed in cash form. Non-liquid assets can also form part of the capital on the basis of evaluation. This view can be adopted here. In this way, the value of the business can be treated as the investment of the person who seeks finance, while the amount given by the financier can be treated as his share of investment. The musharakah may be effected for a particular period, like one year or six months or less. Both the parties agree on a certain percentage of the profit to be given to the financier, which should not exceed the percentage of his investment, because he shall not work for the business. On the expiry of the term, all liquid and non-liquid assets of the business are again evaluated, and the profit may be distributed on the basis of this evaluation.


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Although, according to the traditional concept, the profit cannot be determined unless all the assets of the business are liquidated, yet the valuation of the assets can be treated as “constructive liquidation” with mutual consent of the parties, because there is no specific prohibition in Shari‘ah against it. It can also mean that the working partner has purchased the share of the financier in the assets of the business, and the price of his share has been determined on the basis of valuation, keeping in view the ratio of profit allocated for him according to the terms of musharakah.

For example, the total value of the business of A is 30 units. B finances another 20 units, raising the total worth to 50 units; 40% having been contributed by B, and 60% by A. It is agreed that B shall get 20% of the actual profit. At the end of the term, the total worth of the business has increased to 100 units. Now, if the share of B is purchased by A, he should have paid to him 40 units, because he owns 40% of the assets of the business. But in order to reflect the agreed ratio of profit in the price of his share, the formula of pricing will be different. Any increase in the value of the business shall be divided between the parties in the ratio of 20% and 80%, because this ratio was determined in the contract for the purpose of distribution of profit.

 

Since the increase in the value of the business is 50 units, these 50 units are divided at the ratio of 20-80, meaning thereby that 10 units will have been earned by B. These 10 units will be added to his original 20 units, and the price of his share will be 30 units.

In the case of loss, however, any decrease in the total value of the assets should be divided between them exactly in the ratio of their investment, i.e., in the ratio of 40/60. Therefore, if the value of the business has decreased, in the above example, by 10 units reducing the total number of units to 40, the loss of 4 units shall be borne by B (being 40% of the loss). These 4 units shall be deducted from his original 20 units, and the price of his share shall be determined as 16 units.

 

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