Musharakah

English: joint venture, profit and loss sharing

Alternate spelling: Musharaka

Definition: An investment partnership in which all partners are entitled to a share in the profits of a project in a mutually agreed ratio. Losses are shared in proportion to the amount invested. All partners to a Musharakah contribute funds and have the right to exercise executive powers in that project, similar to a conventional partnership structure and the holding of voting stock in a limited company.

This equity financing arrangement is widely regarded as the purest form of Islamic financing.

The two main forms of Musharakah are:

Permanent Musharakah: an Islamic bank participates in the equity of a project and receives a share of the profit on a pro rata basis. The length of contract is unspecified, making it suitable for financing projects where funds are committed over a long period.

Diminishing Musharakah: this allows equity participation and sharing of profits on a pro rata basis, and provides a method through which the bank keeps on reducing its equity in the project, ultimately transferring ownership of the asset to the participants. The contract provides for payment over and above the bank’s share in the profit for the equity held by the bank. Simultaneously the entrepreneur purchases some of the bank’s equity, progressively reducing it until the bank has no equity and thus ceases to be a partner.