• Down Deposits: Halal or Haram?

    Bismillah. One of the types of transactions that’s very common today is a down-deposit transaction. This happens all the time with somewhat large purchases, like wedding cakes, or cars. Say your sister is getting married. You go to the bakery to locate a nice cake; passing by towers of icing, you locate one that doesn’t seem too unhealthy. “That one?” the shopkeeper says. “That one is $200. There’s a non-refundable deposit of $50 on it.
  • Futures: Halal or Haram?

    Is futures trading halal or haram? Futures trading isn’t just for investors–even day-to-day transactions like buying and selling fruit, furniture, or funky gadgets can take the same ruling! So is it halal? Or haram? What exactly are futures? Futures trading generally apply to stocks, indexes, etc. Say you’re trading currencies (such as the Japanese Yen). Normal trading is buying high and selling low; futures trading is “I’ll sell you 1000 Yen at this price, two months from today, and you pay me then.
  • The Certainty Principle

    Edit: It’s makrooh, NOT haram, to sell something when you’re 50%+ sure it’ll be used for haram. In Islamic finance, permissibility to sell something is tempered by the certainty principle–that is, how certain are you that this thing you’re selling will be used properly? Say you sell grapes in a specialty grape-only store. A few types of customers come in: A young woman comes in with her little boy and buys some grapes; you see her feeding him the grapes as soon as the cashier scans it through.
  • Debt for Debt Transactions

    One of the ways in which Islamic finance differs greatly from conventional law is in the debt-for-debt transaction. In Islamic finance, a debt-for-debt transaction is not allowed. And this is one of the big factors in the current economic depression–people selling a debt for a debt for a debt for … one report says that America is built on debt seven times over! The guy at the bottom finally asks for his commodity, and all the people in the chain realize there was nothing there at all; it’s all debt on debt.
  • Specific vs. Non-Specific Commodities

    In Islamic Finance, the shari’ah differentiates between two types of commodities (this is just one differentiation): specific, and non-specific. Specific: “I’ll sell you this Saheeh Bukhari printed in 2004 by Dar-us-Salaam that I’m holding in my hand.” Non-Specific: “I’ll sell you a copy of Saheeh Bukhari printed in 2004 by Dar-us-Salam.” So if you own some large amount of inventory, or you sell in volume, or you have a bookstore, etc.