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Islamic Finance | M

Mal

A general Arabic term that denotes wealth, property, money, funds, or any valuable things (intangibles included) that can be possessed and used as a countervalue in exchange-based transactions. For an item to qualify as mal in Islamic shari'a, it must meet two conditions: 1) possibility of being possessed, physically or constructively, and 2) having actual or potential, beneficial uses- whether due to possessing use value or financial value. In its specific meaning, mal was used to refer to cash money such as dirham and dinar. For an item to be a subject-matter of a contract, it must be lawful under shari'a. In this sense, wine has no legal value for Muslims, and hence it cannot be bought or sold from a shari'a perspective.

Mal is usually classified as fungibles (mithliyyat) and non-fungibles (qimiyyat). Also, it can be divided into movables (manqulat) and immovables (aqar). Mal can be owned as either 'ayn (physical or virtual asset) or dayn (debt).

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