What is Tawarruq Contract or Reverse Murabaha?
Tawarruq contract is also referred as Reverse Murabaha, and it is defined as follows: “Tawarruq is a financial instrument in which a buyer purchases a commodity from a seller on a deferred payment basis, and the buyer sells the same commodity to a third party on a spot payment basis”. To fully understand what is tawarruq, it is important to observe that in Tawarruq “Commodity” is not the actual need of buyer, and it is only bought to fulfill the running cash requirements.
Difference between Tawarruq and Enah:
In Tawarruq, the person who acquires liquidity, sells the commodity to a third party; While in Enah, buyer resells it to the same seller, from whom the commodity was bought, with a difference in the sale and purchase price.
Tawarruq and Enah in the View of Jurisprudence:
- Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal and Imam Shaafi generally allow Tawarruq or Reverse Murabaha.
- Imam Malik, who is very strict about Enah, does not see a major problem in it and consider it a way to avoid Riba.
- Some other scholars do not see it as permissible. However, the preferred view of all four schools of thoughts is that it is permissible.
- In view of AAOIFI, if a commodity is sold back to the original seller on a deferred payment, it is invalid. However, it is acceptable if the commodity is sold to a third party.
Verdicts on Tawarruq:
Its nature is allowed by the Jurists. Here are some views:
- Tawarruq sale is the purchase of a commodity acquired, and possessed by the seller with a time fixed price, which the buyer will later sell to another person.
- Consider the Shariah Ruling: “Allah allows the selling, but forbids Riba”. And, there is no trace of a Riba in type this transaction.
- Tawarruq is permissible, only if the selling price is higher than the buying price. If it is not, then it will eventually fall into the unlawful credit sale.
- Tawarruq is to support cooperation and mercy among Muslim Brothers, to secure them from debt; and to save them from prohibited transactions.
Role of Tawarruq in the Growth of Islamic Economics:
Tawarruq financing is basically a legal trick and a lawful way out. However, it may impede the natural path for the Islamic economy, on which Islamic Shariah urges. So, it is necessary for the Shariah boards to strictly monitor all Tawarruq based transactions.
Mechanism of Tawarruq Contract:
Tawarruq Financing Agreements:
According to Islamic jurists, it consists of some simple agreements:
Seller sells a commodity in his possession, to the Buyer, for a fixed particular period of time.
The buyer sells this commodity to a third party, that has no connection with the first seller.
Banks and institutions add another agreement. Bank authorizes the seller to sell commodity in the market. Islamic banks are practicing Tawarruq in the international stock market, because stock exchanges are the shortest way for processing the fast sales.
Classical Tawarruq Contract:
Let us understand its classic form, through following scenario:
- Islamic Bank purchases commodity from Trader “Ali”, on cash, and ownership is transferred to Islamic bank.
- Islamic bank then sells the commodity to the “Bilal” on deferred payment, and on cost price plus profit margin basis. And the ownership of the commodity is transferred to “Bilal”.
- “Bilal” then sell the commodity to “Zayn” on cash basis, in the commodity market, and its ownership is transferred to “Zayn”.
Mechanism of Tawarruq Contract Among Financial Institutions:
It may be executed in the following manner:
- Suppose Bank-B is in need of funds, and Bank-A intends to place funds.
- Bank-A selects a commodity or stocks, which are liquid in nature.
- Bank-A approaches Bank-B for Tawarruq contract.
- Bank-A purchases the commodity on cash payment, from the market or broker.
- Bank-B bank purchases it from Bank-A on credit, or on Murabahah basis.
- After taking delivery, Bank-B sells it in the market.
- Bank-B uses this amount to fulfill its financial needs, and pays the amount to Bank-A, over the agreed period of time.
Tawarruq Contract and Enah are discussed in more details during the Islamic banking and finance courses and masters in Islamic banking and finance programs, offered by AIMS through highly interactive learning contents.
Islamic Banking Practices:
Agency Agreement with Buyer:
Suppose a bank appoints a person to purchase the commodity on its behalf. If bank is buying to sell it to the same person, this transaction is “not” valid. But if bank sells it to that person through another contract, with offer and acceptance, this transaction becomes valid.
Conditional Agency Agreement:
Suppose that the client, after purchasing the commodity from bank, appoints the bank as his agent to sell it in the market. If this agency is stipulated as a condition in the contract of sale, the transaction is “not” valid. If the agency was not a condition in the sale contract, and was affected after unconditioned sale, this transaction is valid but not advisable.
Areas of Application:
Tawarruq Contract or Reverse Murabaha is used to provide short-term working capital financing, and short-term personal finance. Along with enah, both are used in structuring credit cards (tawarruq credit card).
Time Gap between Transactions:
There must be a time gap between the sale by the bank to client, and sale by the client in the market. This time gap is essential to expose the parties to price risk. And it ensures that gains are a reward for risk borne, and hence they are free from Riba.