Takaful: An Islamic Insurance Instrument

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An Introduction to Takaful – An Alternative to Insurance

By (Muhammad Ayub)∗

Islamic finance has developed mainly in two directions namely Islamic banking and Islamic insurance (Takaful). While information about Islamic banking is being increasingly disseminated, features, models and structures of Takaful are little known particularly in Pakistan. Purpose of this brief article is to describe main features and models of Takaful system operating in various parts of the world. All human beings are invariably exposed to the possibility of meeting catastrophes and disasters giving rise to misfortunes and sufferings such as death, loss of limbs, accident, destruction of business or wealth, etc. Notwithstanding the belief of all Muslims in Qadha-o-Qadr, Islam provides that one must find ways and means to avoid such catastrophes and disasters wherever possible, and to minimize his or his family's financial losses should such events occur. One possible way out is to buy an insurance cover as in the conventional system. Different views have been expressed about the status of conventional insurance from the point of view of Islam. An overwhelming majority of the Shariah scholars believe that it is unlawful due to involvement of Riba (interest), Maisir (gambling) and Gharar (uncertainty).@ Takaful, the Islamic alternative to insurance, is based on the concept of social solidarity, cooperation and mutual indemnification of losses of members. It is a pact among a group of persons who agree to jointly indemnify the loss or damage that may inflict upon any of them, out of the fund they donate collectively. The Takaful contract so agreed usually involves the concepts of Mudarabah, Tabarru´ (to donate for benefit of others) and mutual sharing of losses with the overall objective of eliminating the element of uncertainty. Takaful is not a new concept in Islamic commercial law. The contemporary jurists acknowledge that the foundation of shared responsibility or Takaful was...
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