Securitization of Ijarah

The arrangement of ijarah has a good potential of securitization which may help create a secondary market for the financiers on the basis of ijarah. Since the lessor in ijarah owns the leased assets, he can sell the asset, in whole or in part, to a third party who may purchase it and may replace the seller in the rights and obligations of the lessor with regard to the purchased part of the asset.

Therefore, if the lessor, after entering into ijarah, wishes to recover his cost of purchase of the asset with a profit thereon, he can sell the leased asset wholly or partly either to one party or to a number of individuals. In the latter case, the purchase of a proportion of the asset by each individual may be evidenced by a certificate which may be called ‘ijarah certificate’. This certificate will represent the holder’s proportionate ownership in the leased asset and he will assume the rights and obligations of the owner/lessor to that extent. Since the asset is already leased to the lessee, lease will continue with the new owners, each one of the holders of this certificate will have the right to enjoy a part of the rent according to his proportion of ownership in the asset. Similarly he will also assume the obligations of the lessor to the extent of his ownership. Therefore, in the case of total destruction of the asset, he will suffer the loss to the extent of his ownership. These certificates, being an evidence of proportionate ownership in a tangible asset, can be negotiated and traded in freely in the market and can serve as an instrument easily convertible into cash. Thus they may help in solving the problems of liquidity management faced by the Islamic banks and financial institutions.

It should be remembered, however, that the certificate must represent ownership of an undivided part of the asset with all its rights and obligations. Misunderstanding this basic concept, some quarters tried to issue ijarah certificates representing the holder’s right to claim certain amount of the rental only without assigning to him any kind of ownership in the asset. It means that the holder of such a certificate has no relation with the leased asset at all. His only right is to share the rentals received from the lessee. This type of securitization is not allowed in Shariah. As explained earlier in this chapter, the rent after being due is a debt payable by the lessee. The debt or any security representing debt only is not a negotiable instrument in Shariah, because trading in such an instrument amounts to trade in money or in monetary obligation which is not allowed, except on the basis of equality, and if the equality of value is observed while trading in such instruments, the very purpose of securitization is defeated. Therefore, this type of ijarah certificates cannot serve the purpose of creating a secondary market. It is, therefore, necessary that the ijarah certificates are designed to represent real ownership of the leased assets, and not only a right to receive rent.


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