Collecting Fees for Safekeeping of Collateral: Rules and Applications in the Contemporary Islamic Financial Institutions

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Abdul Rahman Al-Saadi, Khalil Ahmed


The study aims to examine the Shari’ah legality of whether pledgor or pledgee should take care of collateral (marhun) during the period of the loan. Moreover, the study seeks to provide possible applications for the pledge (rahn) and clarify Shari’ah rules for each application. Malaysian Islamic banks apply pledge products by offering loans (qardh hasan) to the customers and requesting gold assets as collateral against a loan. The banks charge safekeeping fees to keep the gold until the maturity date of the loan. This practice combines loan and sale contracts in a single transaction. Accordingly, the study seeks to evaluate this practice from an Islamic point of view. Islamic law categorizes loans under charity contracts while the sale is categorized under contracts of exchange (mu’awadhat). The nature of the two contracts is different. Therefore, the study examines categories that combine loans and contracts of exchange in one transaction. The results reveal that it is not permissible for the pledgee to charge fees higher than market fees for the keeping of collateral. Charging fees that are higher than the market price is considered riba. According to Shari’ah rules, any kind of benefit derived from a loan is riba and thus it is prohibited. However, charging fees that are comparable to the market price and cover the actual cost for safekeeping of collateral is permissible. According to Islamic Fiqh Academy resolutions and AAOIFI standards, Islamic banks may charge fees for safekeeping of gold collateral considering that fees should be to the market fees and should only cover actual expenses.

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