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English: bill of exchange

Alternate spelling: Suftaja, Suftajal

Definition: A bill of exchange between three parties (the payor, the payee and the transmitter), which was used for the delegation of credit during the Muslim period, especially the Abbasides period. It was used to collect taxes, disburse government dues, transfer funds by merchants and was commonly used by traveling merchants. Suftajahs could be payable on a future fixed date or immediately.

It differs from the modern bill of exchange in that a sum of money transferred by suftajah had to keep its identity and payment had to be made in the same currency. Also it usually involved three persons (A pays a certain sum of money to B for agreeing to give an order to C to pay back to A). Finally, a suftajah could be endorsed. The Arabs had been using endorsements (hawala) since the days of the Prophet Muhammad.

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