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The Philosophy Of Money in Islam

By Mufti Faraz Adam

The last decade has witnessed many events and developments in the financial world such as the global financial crisis, the economic reforms in China, the slump in oil prices and the global drift towards a cashless economy. The digitisation of the economy has innovated payment methods  and revolutionised the concept of money. Nations would barter goods they had in surplus for goods they needed as early as 9000 BC. Grains and cattle were popular goods of barter. In 1200 BC, cowries – the shells of a mollusc – were used in China as money (Wray, 2012). Thereafter, bronze and copper cowrie imitations were manufactured in China at the end of the Stone Age in 1000 BC (Davies, 2002). This is considered to be the earliest form of metal coins. Metal tool money such as knives and spade were also used in China. The first official currency was minted by King Alyattes of Lydia in modern day Turkey in 600 BC (Luo, 1999). The coins were developed out of lumps of silver and took the familiar circular form. This technique was duplicated and refined by the Greeks, Persian, Macedonian, and later the Roman empires. These empires used precious metals such as gold, silver and bronze whilst China  used based metals (Luo, 1999). In 118 BC, the first documented type of banknotes came into existence in China, where leather money was being circulated in the form of one-foot-square pieces of white deerskin with colourful borders. From the ninth to the fifteenth century, China experienced the rapid growth of paper banknotes in circulation to the point that their value rapidly depreciated and inflation soared. In 1816, gold was officially made the standard of value in England. Although banknotes were in use prior to this, this was the first time that their worth had been tied to directly to gold. In 1860, Western Union developed e-money with electronic fund transfer via telegram. In 1946, John Biggins invented Char-It Card, the first credit card. European banks began offering mobile banking with primitive smart phones in 1999. Electronic money was further developed when contactless payment cards were issued in 2008 in UK for the first time. 2008 also witnessed the birth of Bitcoin: a cryptic peer to peer electronic cash system (Bank of England, 2014). This evolution highlights the global shift towards a cashless economy.

The Philosophy of Money in Islam Islam does not recognise money as a subject matter of trade, except in some special cases. Money has no intrinsic utility; it  is only a medium of exchange; Each unit of money is exactly equal to another unit of the  same denomination, therefore, there is no room for making profit through the exchange of these units inter se. Profit is generated when something that has intrinsic utility is sold for money or when different currencies are exchanged, one for another. The profit earned through dealing in money (of the same currency) or the papers representing them is interest, hence prohibited.

Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 H) states that the physical body of money is never the objective of acquiring money, rather, it is the counter-exchange which is the objective and benefit of money. [Majmu’ al-Fatawa] 

The owner of the money must spend or put labour to derive benefit from money. If the money is lent in the form of a loan, interest cannot be charged on it. Money is simply a unit of measurement. Thus, money is not a commodity in Islam. Its reward is not guaranteed, instead, it is contingent on the result of production from productive activity which generates surplus value. [Viability of The Islamic Dinar, 73-90].

Ibn Taymiyyah states in another place: “When currencies and money are inter-traded with the intention of investment and profit, it opposes the very purpose of money and Thamaniyyah.” [Majmu al-Fatawa] 

Ibn al-Qayyim (d.751 H) states: “Money is never sought for itself; rather, it is used as a means to gain commodities. When money begins to be treated as a commodity and becomes the objective of transactions, the entire (economic) system will become corrupted and in crisis.” [I’laam al-Muq’een]
Imam al-Ghazali (d.505 H) states:  “Allah Ta’ālā created dinar and dirham for circulation and to be an equitable and just standard between different assets. They are the means to all other assets; they are precious in themselves but not desired for themselves.” [Ihya’ Ulum al-Deen]

Money in the Quran and Prophetic traditions
The Quran describes the role of money in the following manner: “Do not entrust your wealth to the feeble-minded, which Allah has made to maintain you”   [Quran 4:5]  

The word used to describe wealth in this verse is Qiwam. This refers to something made to maintain, support and sustain others. This word reflects the true essence of money; money is a powerful means which Allah has created to upkeep and maintain the entire worldly system. It is the means to an end; not an end in and of itself. The end goal of money is to sustain one’s worldly affairs to facilitate focus on the Hereafter. 

The primary sources of Islam have not defined any characteristic nor condition for money.[Majmu’ al-Fatawa]. The Qur’an and Sunnah only refer to the prevalent money in circulation at the time: Dinar and Dirham. At the time of revelation, the bimetallic currency was in use. In fact, the two verses of the Quran (3:75) and (12:20) shows that the previous nations also used Dirhams or silver coins. Imam Abd al-Barr states that Muslims of the prophetic era used the Roman Dinars and Persian Dirhams (Shukri, 2007).  

Money in Islamic history 
Caliph Abdul Malik ibn Marwan introduced the first Islamic dinar and dirham in the year 76 Hijrah (Shukri, 2007). During the Mamluk dynasty (872-922 A.H/1468-1517 CE), Fulūs (copper coins) came into existence to use in small commercial transactions. Its purchasing power was very limited and was for common daily needs of life (Wan Kamal, 2006). In the Ottoman empire, money was further developed. The Ottomans produced the currency named Qaimah in the form of paper money. In 1914, the Ottomans officially declared that paper money was the only legal tender for the medium of exchange (Yaacob, 2013). 

The above developments across the Islamic empires support the view that Islam has not defined currency, instead, it has left it to people to decide their currency. Ibn Taymiyyah states that the Shariah has not defined any specific condition nor definition for currency and money, and has instead left it to the ‘Urf and understanding of the people. [Majmu’ al-Fatawa]

Hence, the Hanafī jurists state that assets or commodities become money and currency by Ta’āmul (common usage) and Iṣṭilāḥ (common agreement) (al-Kasani). Imam Ahmad also opined that currency and money can be identified by the agreement of the people (Ibn Qudamah).  

Money according to contemporary Muslim thinkers  The introduction of fiat currency witnessed a boom in writings and researches on money. Dr Asmatullah (2013) highlights the opinions of Islamic scholars on what is money. He presents three opinions on what Islamic scholars consider as money: one group of scholars consider gold and silver as real money. A second group of scholars only class minted coins as money regardless of the metal its composed of. A third group of scholars suggest that gold and silver are the real, accepted other forms of money, other items can also be considered as money upon fulfilling certain requirements. Although this paper does not consider nor discuss virtual currencies, an argument is presented on the prerequisites in Islam to consider something as money. Yaacob (2014) addressed another aspect to currency which Dr Asamatullah’s paper failed to address: the evolution of money.  Yaacob (2014) discusses how the understanding of what is money has developed. In this paper, he highlights how paper money evolved from being a debt instrument to being an independent form of money.  However, the most this paper considers in terms of evolution of money is fiat currencies.  Similarly, Mani (1984) discusses the reality of paper money in his paper. The main contribution of this paper is the consideration of whether money has to be government backed to be considered as money. The paper proposes three views: the mineral view, the governmental view and the psychological view.

Types of Money Discussed in Fiqh texts
Islamic jurists state that money is of two types: 

Natural Money (al-thaman al-khilqī) – money created to serve as a medium of exchange and naturally possesses monetary value. Gold and silver are natural money. Imam al-Ghazāli (d.505 H) refers to gold and silver as natural money which Allah The Almighty created for mankind to use as a standard and measure to price and valuate (al-Ghazali, 2011).     

Artificial and customary money (al-thaman al-‘urfī) – money adopted as a medium of exchange whereby the monetary value is extrinsic to the money.  Commodity money and fiat currencies are common artificial and customary forms of money. 

Commodity money refers to those assets which intrinsically has value and serve another function but become an acceptable and popular medium of exchange.  This was an accepted form of money in Shariah.   

Commodity money are assets used as money that also have intrinsic value in some other use.  In other words, it can serve as money as well as commodity due its intrinsic value. Salt, animals, shells, grains etc. are forms of commodity money. Commodity money is an acceptable form of money in Shariah when people attribute Thamaniyyah to a commodity. 

Fiat money gets its value from a government (enforced) order (i.e. fiat). That means, the government declares fiat money to be legal tender, which requires all people and firms within the country (are forced) to accept it as a means of payment. Unlike commodity money, fiat money is not backed by any physical commodity. By definition, it does not have intrinsic value. Hence, the value of fiat money is derived from the relationship between supply and demand. Most of the world’s paper money is fiat money. Fiat money is also an acceptable form of money in Shariah after the government assign a note, coin or electronic money value and Thamaniyyah.    

One of the key differences between the two is the source of monetary value (Thamaniyyah) i.e. who and what primarily assigned it as money. Natural money has intrinsic Thamaniyyah and customary money has extrinsic Thamaniyyah. Gold and silver innately possess Thamaniyyah by which people consider them as stores of value and are ready to exchange goods in lieu of gold and silver.  What is interesting to consider is that besides their unique properties, gold and silver have nothing unique about them to signify the attribute of Thamaniyyah. Nevertheless, across time, humans have naturally valued gold and silver which led them to use it as currency. It is as if the Thamaniyyah is placed by Allah into the hearts of humans for gold and silver and thus, Thamaniyyah has become a permanent description of gold and silver. Besides gold and silver, artificial and customary money such as commodity money and fiat money do not innately possess Thamaniyyah. Although commodity money has intrinsic value, it does not have Thamaniyyah. Humans naturally do not perceive commodities as a medium of exchange, rather, they are the subject of an exchange.  On the other hand, fiat currencies do not have intrinsic value to serve a function nor do humans naturally consider them to possess Thamaniyyah, instead, an extrinsic force adds the notion of Thamaniyyah to fiat currencies which is then perceived by the masses. Thus, money can be divided into the following: 

1) Al-Thaman al-Khilqī (gold and silver) – intrinsic Thamaniyyah and intrinsic value allowing it to be used for other purposes such as jewellery.

2) Al-Thaman al-‘Urfī (customary money)
A) Commodity money – has intrinsic value allowing it to be used for other functions but does not have intrinsic Thamaniyyah. B) Fiat money – No intrinsic value and therefore does not provide any considerable function besides being a medium of exchange. Neither does it have intrinsic Thamaniyyah

Commodity money is an asset used as money that also has intrinsic value.  In other words, it can serve as money as well as a commodity due to its intrinsic value. Salt, animals, shells, grains etc. are forms of commodity money. Commodity money is an acceptable form of money in Shariah when people attribute Thamaniyyah to a commodity.

Fiat money gets its value from a government order (i.e. fiat). That means, the government declares fiat money to be legal tender, which requires all people and firms within the country to accept it as a means of payment.  Unlike commodity money, fiat money is not backed by any physical commodity. By definition, it does not have intrinsic value. Hence, the value of fiat money is derived from the relationship between supply and demand. Most of the world’s paper money is fiat money. Fiat money is also an acceptable form of money in Shariah after the government assign value to a note, coin or electronic money and Thamaniyyah.     

Thaman, commonly translated as price, is a broad term used to describe any medium of exchange in a sale regardless of what the medium is: currency, assets or a debt.  Every sale contract requires a Thaman for validity.  However, not every Thaman is currency or money. In other words, the trait of Thamaniyyah is not in everything used when paying for goods.   

Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 H) states that the Sharī’ah has not defined any specific condition nor definition for currency and money, and has instead left it to the ‘Urf and understanding of the people. Hence, the Hanafī Fuqahā’ state that assets or commodities become money and currency by Ta’āmul (usage) and Iṣṭilāḥ (common agreement).  Imam Ahmad (d.241 H) also opined that currency and money can be identified by the agreement of the people [al-Mughni].  When something becomes currency or money in Shariah, the rulings of Zakat, currency exchange, Ribā and other such rulings apply to the currency.    

The legal consequences of being Thaman (price):
1) When transacting, the Thaman (price) becomes a debt upon the buyer.
2) It is not necessary to own the monetary amount and price (Thaman) at the time of transaction.
3) A transaction is not nullified with the non-delivery of the Thaman.
4) Thaman can be re-negotiated after a transaction except in a ṣarf and Salam contract. 

Characteristics of Thaman:
1) Benefit from Thaman is derived by spending. It serves no other purpose whilst in one’s ownership 2) Thaman is used as a standard for pricing
3) Thaman is used as a medium of exchange to acquire assets with intrinsic value 

The Concept of Ta’āmul and Iṣṭīlāḥ for Establishing Currency

Ta’āmul refers to common usage. Iṣṭilāh refers to mutual concurrence. The term Ta’āmul is synonymous to ‘Urf and ‘ĀdahTa’āmul is established when the usage of something becomes dominant and becomes the standard in affairs and dealings. 

Iṣṭilāḥ (mutual concurrence) is a similar concept to Ta’āmul. Imam Abū Ḥanīfah (d.150 H) and Imam Abū Yūsuf (d.182 H) were of the opinion that a commodity can be considered as money upon the agreement of only the two transacting parties. Whereas, Imam Muhammad (d.189 H) viewed that for commodities to be considered currency and money, general and widespread Iṣṭilāḥ is required for commodities to be money and currency [al-Hidayah]. 

Thus, according to Imam Muhammad (d.189 H), only when commodity has public acceptance will it be regarded as money.   Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmani states that the preponderant position is that of Imam Muhammad. Thus, Iṣṭīlāḥ can only be activated and deactivated by the public and not by the transacting parties alone.

Besides Dinar and Dirham, other assets which became a currency without the intervention of a state did so upon Ta’āmul and Iṣṭilāḥ. In historical times, assets and raw metals were commonly used in daily chores and affairs.  Therefore, assets and raw metals which served other purposes in daily life would not be regarded as money until Ta’āmul (usage as money) transpired. [Al-Mabsut]  Ta’āmul and Iṣṭilāḥ were the indicators of something transforming from Urūḍ (assets) to Thaman (money). Ta’āmul is a natural process which takes time to establish. A habit is formed after an industry, area or market deal with something as money over a given period of time, establishing a Ta’āmul. Some of the apparent indicators of Ta’āmul are:

• The ẓāhir and apparent understanding of such assets is that it is money.  
• People regard them as money extemporaneously. 
• The first description or definition that comes to mind of such assets is of money. 
Thamaniyyah becomes their second nature and innate trait.  
• The obvious form of payment becomes these assets.    

However, money which was coined and released by the government, was money from its inception. A natural process of Ta’āmul was not required as people regarded that asset as money upon circulation. The government establish Ta’āmul and ‘Urf by legislation. Thus, Mufti Taqi Uthmani indicates that an ‘Urf can be established with legislation. Minted coins served no other purpose but as a medium of exchange from inception due to the ‘Urf being implemented and imposed by the government. In such an instance, the natural process of Ta’āmul and forming a habit is fast tracked by legislation.   

Assets which become money and are given the quality of Thamaniyyah upon Ta’āmul can also be deactivated as money once they are withdrawn or no longer used as money. The Thamaniyyah being removed from such items reverts them back to assets and raw metals. This can be understood in commodity money which continue to serve their primary function upon being withdrawn and out of circulation.   

The Thamaniyyah (monetary element) in Dinar and Dirham can never be deactivated or removed, as that is intrinsically and innately instilled in these precious metals by Allah. [Al-Ikhtiyar]

The Fiqhi (juristic) Components for Currency 
This section analyses the components required for any item or asset to be considered a currency. 

Māl (Wealth) 
The primary component for any counter value or consideration is Māl. An accepted definition of a transaction among Muslim jurists is ‘an exchange of Māl in consideration of Māl’ (al-Marghinani). Any consideration in a commutative contract must be Māl. If the consideration is not Māl, the contract is void (bāṭil). Therefore, the first fundamental requirement for money is that it must be Māl. Scholars differ in their understanding of Māl.  

Linguistically, Māl in the Arabic language refers to anything which can be acquired and possessed; whether it is corporeal (‘ayn) or usufruct (manfa’ah); examples of this include gold, silver, animals, plants and the benefit derived from assets such as living in homes, riding vehicles etc. (Wohidul Islam, 1999). Something which cannot be possessed, cannot be considered as Māl linguistically. For example, birds in the sky, fish in the water, trees in forests are not Māl in terms of the Arabic language as they are not in any person’s possession (al-Zuhayli, 1985).

After the codification of Islamic law by various schools, the term Māl was coined to denote different technical meanings and concepts. Thus, jurists from different schools differed in their understanding of Māl. Wohidul Islam (1999) categorises the definitions of Māl into two definitions and understandings: The Hanafi understanding and the majority understanding. 

If we consider Wohidul Islam’s (1999) categorisation, it becomes clear that even among the Hanafi jurists, different definitions of Māl are found. However, when closely examining the definitions, the variance is not due to a difference in the nature of Māl, but simply due to the different ways of expression (Wohidul Islam, 1999). For example, some of the common definitions are:

1) Māl is what human instinct inclines too and which is capable of being stored for the time of necessity (Ibn Abidin, n.d.).
2) Māl is that which has been created for the goodness of human beings. Māl brings with it scarcity and stinginess (Uthmani, 2014).
3) Māl is that which is normally desired and can be stored up for the time of need” (Majallah, 2012). 

According to the Hanafi jurists, Māl is “what is normally desired and can be stored up for the time of need”.  This definition denotes that the two key criteria for defining Māl in the Hanafis’ view are “desirability” and “storability”.  The first criterion clearly links Māl to its linguistic root mayl, which means inclination or desire. Mufti Taqi Uthmani describes desirability as something which is beneficial. However, Shaykh Salah Abul Hāj states that the condition of desirability excludes undesirable articles of trade such as humans etc. 

Ibn ‘Ābidīn (d.1252 H) presents another definition of Māl as “something created for the benefit of man which people hoard and aspire”. Imam al-Lacknawi (d.1304 H) has a similar discussion on Māl.

In terms of storability, Ibn ‘Ābidīn (d.1252 H) states that this condition excludes Manfa’ah (usufruct)45 as Manfa’ah is Milk (something that comes into your ownership) not Māl.  In other words, Manfa’āh is something which comes into one’s ownership as a result of trading Māl and is the usufruct of the Māl and not Māl in itself.  Thus, in a rental contract, one gets ownership of the Manfa’ah and not the Māl (leased item) which is providing the Manfa’ah. Thus, intangibles which can be stored and retrieved are different to Manfa’ah. The former will be Māl whilst the latter is not Māl according to the Hanafi legal theory. 

Storability simply means that something can be retrieved for use later. Thus, thin air, an odour or scent, a passing thought in one’s mind are not ‘storable’. The jurists put this condition for Māl because only storable items can be retrieved and used, and the entire purpose of Māl is usage.   

Although some Hanafi jurists have stated that Māl must be a physical entity, Mufti Taqi Uthmani dispels this argument and states that the Quran and Sunnah have not explicitly defined Māl, rather, Shariah has left it to the understanding of people. Furthermore, he argues that some Furu’ (substantive laws) in the Hanafi school discuss intangibles as Māl. He thereafter quotes the Fatāwā of late Hanafi jurists which consider electricity and gas as Māl despite being intangible.  Thus, intangibles can also be Māl on condition they are desirable and retrievable.  It is not necessary for intangible Māl to remain after using, it may be an intangible which is consumed and depleted upon usage.  The condition of perpetuity is not required in physical Māl either, hence, food is Māl despite being used by consumption. 

The Shafi’i jurists have included usufruct in the definition of Māl. Al-Zarkashi states that, “Māl is what gives benefit, i.e. prepared to give benefit”, and he continues to say at mal can be material objects or usufructs (al-Zarkashi). al-Suyuti states: “The terminology Māl should not be construed except as to what has value with which it is exchangeable; and the destructor of it would be made liable to pay compensation; and what the people would not usually throw away or disown, such as money, and the likes” (Wohidul Islam, 1999).

From among the Hanbali jurists, al-Kharqi states that Māl is something in which there exists a lawful benefit (Wohidul Islam, 1999). Al-Buhuti elaborates on this definition and states that something in which there is not benefit in essence, such as insects, or where there is benefit but it is unlawful in Islam, such as wine, cannot be considered as Māl. 

Another requirement for Māl itself to be exchangeable and tradeable is that it must be Mutaqawwim (possess legal value) for transaction to be legally sound (ṣaḥīḥ). 

Mutaqawwim refers to an item or subject being lawful to use in Shariah. Therefore, Ali Haydar states that the criteria for any item to be tradeable and exchangeable are:

1) Tamawwul 

2) Taqawwum 

Tamawwul refers to anything used as Māl. Taqawwum refers to the item being lawful in Shariah as a result of being considered valuable.  

Thamaniyyah refers to money having two critical functions:

1) Independent standard of value 2) Unit of account  

The first function of Thamaniyyah is to enable money to independently price and valuate goods. The currency is not valued against something else in its market of operation. The entire objective of currency and money is to be a means to facilitate transactions with ease without having to refer to any other benchmark or index. It is a common and widespread reference of value which does not require a further benchmark to understand its operational worth in a market or industry. If money constantly required benchmarking in a local and domestic market, this would undermine the entire function of currency.  

In addition, for something to be an independent standard of value, it necessitates that it has stability and widespread acceptance. Money is an entire system and Intiẓām. The system of money has been established to bring stability in our worldly life and to be of benefit to man. It is a standard and measure for value. Hence, in ancient times, money was weighed in a scale, reflecting the very essence of money – a means to balance and bring order in the world. Thus, Allah states: 

“Do not entrust your wealth to the feeble-minded, which Allah has made to maintain you”   [Quran 4:5]    

Therefore, if money does not have stability and is plagued with gross uncertainty and severe volatility, it loses its primary role and function. Something unstable cannot bring stability to others. 

The second function of Thamaniyyah is to be a unit of account. This refers to being a primary reference point and yardstick for people to use to post prices and record debts.  It is the thing that goods and services are priced As discussed previously, the characteristic of which has Thamaniyyah will be currency. Thamaniyyah Thamaniyyah singles out  currency from all other assets.

An asset (monetary value) is the  key element in an asset which qualifies it to serve as currency  and money. It is these three  features in currency which define  money in Islamic law.  

These three features are similar to what conventional economists define as the functions of money.

Centralisation Necessary for Money in Islam?
Until the caliphate of Abdul Malik ibn Marwān, the Islamic government did not control the currency nor its coinage. The Islamic government did not have a ‘Royal Mint’, however, Sayyiduna ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb raḍiyallahu ‘anhu did introduce some measures to stabilise the alloy, content and weight of silver coins.  In the year 74 AH, the government of Abdul Malik ibn Marwān established a monetary system and an Islamic dirham.  Furthermore, mint houses were established which took control of the coins in circulation and improved the quality and consistency of the currencies. 

In the early decades of Islam, money was thus decentralised and left to public practice.  However, one may argue that money was still centralised since the Muslims used the Dinar – a Byzantine currency – and Dirham – a Persian currency.

The Hanafi jurists state that Ta’āmul can establish currency just as coinage and minting from the government established currency. The Hanafi jurists reasoned that anything minted and centralised would give a known benchmark and point of reference, thus, creating ease in the markets and facilitating transactions. 

The Shafi’ī jurists state that it is disliked for other than the government to mint coins and currency as it was the role of the government. Furthermore, it was a secure method to combat counterfeiting, forgery and corruption.

The Hanbali jurists are explicit in stating that it is not permissible for the Sultan to ban the currency commonly used by people as it will cause financial harm to the people, unless they are recompensed proportionately in the new currency without a fee.  Considering the benefit and harm for the masses, Imam al-Ṣuyūṭī (d. 911 H) also states that it is disliked for the government to withdraw or nullify a currency commonly used among people.  Al-Buhūtī (d.1051 H) says that the reason why the government should solely take control of minting is to benefit the people and to make it easy for them in their transactions and affairs. 

From the above, it is evident that the jurists and economists in Islam favoured a centralised monetary system because of the following reasons:

1) Trust in the currency
2) Presence of a regulatory framework
3) Secure system
4) Wide acceptance
5) Ease for the people in pricing and transacting
6) A benchmark for transactions  

Thus, if these characteristics are found in a decentralised system, there is nothing to prohibit such a system in Islam. These underpinning principles are the ideals for currency and money in Islam.  The government and ruling authority would have been the most efficient and instrumental in achieving these ideals.  It is on the back of this it seems that classical scholars favoured a centralised system. However, the reality is that the Quran and Sunnah have not defined currency, instead, they have left it to the understanding of the people and custom of the people as mentioned by Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728 H). This is a common feature for those aspects of law which are fluid, dynamic and adjustable.   

Considering that a centralised system is not necessary, Shaykh Abdullah al-Mani’ states: “Money is thus whatever is agreed to be such, whether by government authority or public practice.” 

Thus, money can be determined by centralisation and decentralisation. If a decentralised system can provide benefits similar to that of a centralised system, a medium of exchange can become money through public practice and widespread acceptance. 

This research used an inductive process by interpreting classical legal texts to identify the principles of defining money in Islamic law. Three elements were identified for anything to be considered as money: Māl (wealth), Taqawwum (legal value) and Thamaniyyah (monetary usage). The concept of Māl was analysed; different definitions and understandings were presented. A famous definition was “what is normally desired and can be stored up for the time of need”. Two key criteria for Māl were highlighted from this definition: “desirability” and “storability”. Storability simply referred to something retrievable for use at a future date. On the other hand, desirability referred to something beneficial and lawful for use which people had an inclination to. The second condition was Taqawwum, which meant that the asset must be lawful. The final condition was Thamaniyyah. Thamaniyyah referred to the potential of something to be a measure of value and be commonly used as a medium of exchange.

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