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Takaful is an Islamic insurance concept which is grounded in Islamic muamalat (Islamic banking ), observing the rules and regulations of Islamic law. This concept has been practised in various forms for over 1400 years. Muslim jurists acknowledge that the basis of shared responsibility (in the system of aquila as practised between Muslims of Mecca and Medina) laid the foundation of mutual insurance.


Islamic References[]

These fundamentals are based on the sayings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Based on the hadith and Qur'anic verses mentioned below, Islamic scholars have decided that there should be a concerted effort to implement the concept of takaful as the best way to resolve these needs.

Some examples are:

  • Basis of Co-operation: Help one another in al-Birr and in al-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety), but do not help one another in sin and transgression. (Surah Al-Maidah, Verse 2)[Quran 5:2]
  • God will always help his servant for as long as he helps others.
  • Basis of Responsibility: The place of relationships and feelings of people with faith, between each other, is just like the body; when one of its parts is afflicted with pain, then the rest of the body will be affected.[4]
  • One true Muslim (Mu’min) and another true Muslim are like a building, whereby every part in it strengthens the other part.
  • Basis of Mutual Protection: By my life (which is in God’s power), nobody will enter Paradise if he does not protect his neighbour who is in distress. The basic fundamentals underlying takaful are very similar to co-operative and mutual principles, to the extent that the co-operative and mutual model is one that is accepted under Islamic law.
  • Some Muslims believe insurance is unnecessary, as society should help its victims. Others believe that Muslims should not ignore the fact that they live, trade and communicate with open global systems, and the need for banking and insurance. They believe in creating Muslim-friendly banking systems and a workable insurance framework by which Muslims can compete with non-Muslims in business and have coverage in daily life.

Principles[]

The principles of takaful are as follows:

  • Policyholders cooperate among themselves for their common good.
  • Every policyholder pays his subscription to help those who need assistance.
  • Losses are divided and liabilities spread according to the community pooling system.
  • Uncertainty is eliminated concerning subscription and compensation.
  • It does not derive advantage at the cost of others.

Theoretically, takaful is perceived as cooperative or mutual insurance, where members contribute a certain sum of money to a common pool. The purpose of this system is not profits, but to uphold the principle of "bear ye one another's burden". Commercial insurance is strictly disallowed for Muslims (as agreed upon by most contemporary scholars) because it contains the following elements:

  • Al-Gharar (uncertainty)
  • Al-Maisir (gambling)
  • Riba (usury)

There are three models (and several variations) of how takaful can be implemented:

  • Mudharabah model (profit-sharing)
  • Wakala model
  • A combination of both

Takaful Companies[]

The growth in demand for Islamic insurance over recent years (particularly within the GCC countries and other areas of the Middle East), has seen a proliferation of new companies offering Islamic insurance products in these markets. The majority of these companies are full-fledged takaful operators, but conventional insurance companies have also entered the market with takaful "window" operations. As with the traditional forms of insurance, reinsurance of a takaful operation may be used, known as "retakaful".


The Mudharabah Model (Profit Sharing)[]

According to this principle the al-Mudharib (takaful operator) accepts payment of the takaful installments or takaful contributions (premiums, known as ra's-ul-mal) from investors or providers of capital or funds (takaful participants), acting as sahib-ul-mal. The contract specifies how the profits (or surplus) from the operations of the takaful is to be shared in accordance with the principle of al-mudharabah – between the participants (as providers of capital) and the takaful operator. The sharing of such profit may be in a ratio of 50:50, 60:40, 70:30 and so forth, as mutually agreed between the contracting parties.

In order to eliminate the element of uncertainty in the takaful contract, the concept of tabarru ("to donate, contribute, or give away") is incorporated. Relating to this concept, a participant agrees to relinquish (as tabarru) a certain proportion of his takaful installments (or contributions) that he agrees or undertakes to pay, should any of his fellow participants suffer a defined loss. This agreement enables him to fulfill his obligation of mutual help and joint guarantee.

In essence, tabarru enables participants to perform their deeds in assisting fellow participants who might suffer a loss or damage due to a catastrophe or disaster. The sharing of profit (or surplus) that may emerge from the operations of a takaful is made only after the obligation of assisting the fellow participants has been fulfilled. It is imperative, therefore, for a takaful operator to maintain adequate assets of the defined funds under its care, whilst striving prudently to ensure the funds are sufficiently protected against over-exposure. Therefore, the provision of insurance coverage in conformity with Shariah is based on the Islamic principles of al-takaful and al-mudharabah.

Al-mudharabah is the commercial profit-sharing contract between the provider or providers of funds for a business venture and the entrepreneur who actually conducts the business. The operation of a takaful may thus be envisaged as the profit-sharing business venture between the takaful operator and the individual members of a group of participants who desire to reciprocally guarantee each other against a certain loss or damage that may be inflicted upon any one of them.




Reference[]

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