The Islamic Debt Market for Sukuk Securities

The Islamic Debt Market for Sukuk Securities

The Theory and Practice of Profit Sharing Investment

Foundations of Islamic Finance series

Edited by Mohamed Ariff, Munawar Iqbal and Shamsher Mohamad

The relatively new sukuk (or Islamic debt securities) markets have grown to more than US $800 billion over the past decade, and continue to grow at a rate of around 20-30 per cent per year. Arguably the first of its kind, this path-breaking book provides a highly unique reference tool relating to key issues surrounding sukuk markets, which are found in 12 major financial centres, including Kuala Lumpur, London and Zurich.

Chapter 3: History of Sukuk: Pragmatic and Idealist Approaches to Structuring Sukuk

Abdullah Saeed and Omar Salah

Subjects: economics and finance, financial economics and regulation, islamic economics and finance, money and banking

Extract

Abdullah Saeed and Omar Salah 3.1 INTRODUCTION Sukuk are Islamic securities that are often translated as Islamic bonds. However, the term ‘Islamic bond’ does not entirely cover the substance of sukuk. A closer look at sukuk shows that sukuk have elements that might resemble both shares and bonds, depending on the applicable underlying Islamic financial contract terms and structures. In this chapter we will outline the backgrounds of sukuk providing a better understanding of sukuk as Islamic financial instruments. This chapter is motivated to illustrate the discrepancy in the idealistic approach to sukuk structures. That is, how this financial product ideally should be structured from a shari’ah perspective, as compared with a pragmatic approach adopted at this early stage of the market development, in other words, how it is structured in practice. In order to place sukuk in context, first some concepts associated with shari’ah that are relevant to any conceptualization of sukuk will be briefly mentioned in section 3.2. These include key sources of shari’ah as well as concepts of ijtihad, riba and gharar. In the following historical overview of sukuk in section 3.3, we provide particular focus on the origins of the word ‘sukuk’, its use in medieval times and the recent history of sukuk, known today as new financial instruments in financial and capital markets. Finally, the development of several forms of sukuk will be described, explaining a number of structures and mechanisms that have been developed in practice over the years, highlighting the tension between the...

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