The Question Of An Islamic Futures Market
This paper criticizes the tendency to characterize an Islamic futures market mainly in terms of the salam contract (e.g. Khan, 1995). Salam is not only a financing mode, like banking murabahah, but it is basically a means of hedging for capital providers not producers. The financing function of salam implies ‘discounted’ expected future prices, and hence salam is not an ideal means of projecting future prices. Alternatively, the istisnac contract is presented as the appropriate backbone of the Islamic futures market. Istisnac is uniquely characterized by the built-in flexibility of providing two simultaneous functions: a partial financing function and a partial hedging function. When the partial financial function is eliminated and total weight is placed on the hedging function, istisnac boils down to a forward contract. Accordingly, a good anchor will be established for future price movements not particularly affected by an implied ‘discounting’ process. The istisnac-based forward contract is proposed here as an ideal risk managing structure for a bankable profit and loss sharing (PLS) scheme. Although this article adopts the currently accepted juristic opinion, it is concluded by highlighting the need for a more up-to-date ijtihad to develop an Islamic futures market capable of capturing the merits of modern future markets and avoiding their demerits. It raises critical issues in relation to the juristic description of the forward contract as a prohibited debt for debt sale, with a special appeal to the critical juristic works of Kamali (2000), Muhiuddin (1986) and Hammad (1984).
Volume (Year): 12 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
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