Termination of Mudarabah

The contract of mudarabah can be terminated at any time by either of the two parties. The only condition is to give a notice to the other party. If all the assets of the mudarabah are in cash form at the time of termination, and some profit has been earned on the principal amount, it shall be distributed between the parties according to the agreed ratio. However, if the assets of the mudarabah are not in the cash form, the mudarib shall be given an opportunity to sell and liquidate them, so that the actual profit may be determined.

There is a difference of opinion among the Muslim jurists about the question whether the contract of mudarabah can be effected for a specified period after which it terminates automatically. The Hanafi and Hanbali schools are of the view that the mudarabah can be restricted to a particular term, like one year, six months, etc, after which it will come to an end without a notice. On the contrary,

Shafi’i and Maliki schools are of the opinion that the mudarabah cannot be restricted to a particular time.

However, this difference of opinion relates only to the maximum time-limit of the mudarabah. Can a minimum time-limit also be fixed by the parties before which mudarabah cannot be terminated? No express answer to this question is found in the books of Islamic Fiqh, but it appears from the general principles enumerated therein that no such limit can be fixed, and each party is at liberty to terminate the contract whenever he wishes.

This unlimited power of the parties to terminate the mudarabah at their pleasure may create some difficulties in the context of the present circumstances, because most of the commercial enterprises today need time to bring fruits. They also demand constant and complex efforts. Therefore, it may be disastrous to the project, if the rabb-ul-mal terminates the mudarabah right in the beginning of the enterprise. Specially, it may bring a severe set-back to the mudarib who will earn nothing despite all his efforts. Therefore, if the parties agree, when entering into the mudarabah, that no party shall terminate it during a specified period, except in specified circumstances, it does not seem to violate any principle of Shariah, particularly in the light of the famous hadith, already quoted, which says:


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.

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