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Sharing in the Gross Profit

Financing on the basis of musharakah according to the above procedure may be difficult in a business having a large number of fixed assets, particularly in a running industry, because the valuation of all its assets and their depreciation or appreciation may create accounting problems giving rise to disputes. In such cases, musharakah may be applied in another way.

The major difficulties in these cases arise in the calculation of indirect expenses, like depreciation of the machinery, salaries of the staff etc. In order to solve this problem, the parties may agree on the principle that, instead of net profit, the gross profit will be distributed between the parties, that is, the indirect expenses shall not be deducted from the distribute able profit. It will mean that all the indirect expenses shall be borne by the industrialist voluntarily, and only direct expenses (like those of raw material, direct labor, electricity etc.) shall be borne by the musharakah. But since the industrialist is offering his machinery, building and staff to the musharakah voluntarily, the percentage of his profit may be increased to compensate him to some extent.

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This arrangement may be justified on the ground that the clients of financial institutions do not restrict themselves to the operations for which they seek finance from the financial institutions. Their machinery and staff etc. is, therefore, engaged in some other business also which may not be subject to musharakah, and in such a case the whole cost of these expenses cannot be imposed on the musharakah.

Let us take a practical example. Suppose a ginning factory has a building worth Rs. 22 million, plant and machinery valuing Rs. 2 million and the staff is paid Rs. 50,000/- per month. The factory sought finance of Rs. 5,000,000/- from a bank on the basis of musharakah for a term of one year. It means that after one year the musharakah will be terminated, and the profits accrued up to that point will be distributed between the parties according to the agreed ratio. While determining the profit, all direct expenses will be deducted from the income. The direct expenses may include the following:

1. the amount spent in purchasing raw material

2. the wages of the labor directly involved in processing the raw material

3. the expenses for electricity consumed in the process of ginning

4. the bills for other services directly rendered for the musharakah

So far as the building, the machinery and the salary of other staff is concerned, it is obvious that they are not meant for the business of the musharakah alone, because the musharakah will terminate within one year, while the building and the machinery are purchased for a much longer term in which the ginning factory will use them for its own business which is not subject to this one-year musharakah. Therefore, the whole cost of the building and the machinery cannot be borne by this short-term musharakah. What can be done at the most is that the depreciation caused to the building and the machinery during the term of the musharakah is included in its expenses. But in practical terms, it will be very difficult to determine the cost of depreciation, and it may cause disputes also. Therefore, there are two practical ways to solve this problem.

In the first instance, the parties may agree that the musharakah portfolio will pay an agreed rent to the client for the use of the machinery and the building owned by him. This rent will be paid to him from the musharakah fund irrespective of profit or loss accruing to the business.

The second option is that, instead of paying rent to the client, the ratio of his profit is increased.

From the point of view of Shariah, it may be justified on the analogy of mudarabah in services which is allowed in the view of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal.


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