DEFINITION of 'Musharakah'

A joint enterprise or partnership structure with profit/loss sharing implications that is used in Islamic finance instead of interest-bearing loans. Musharakah allows each party involved in a business to share in the profits and risks. Instead of charging interest as a creditor, the financier will achieve a return in the form of a portion of the actual profits earned, according to a predetermined ratio. However, unlike a traditional creditor, the financier will also share in any losses.

BREAKING DOWN 'Musharakah'

Musharakah plays a vital role in financing business operations based on Islamic principles, which prohibit making a profit on interest from loans. For example, suppose that an individual (A) wants to begin a business but has limited funds. Individual (B) has excess funds and wishes to be the financier in musharakah with A. The two people would come to an agreement to the terms and begin a business in which both share a portion of the profits and losses. This negates the need for A to receive a loan from B.

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