Your introduction to Islamic accounting Principles of Islamic Accounting is the first and only text that covers the fundamentals of Islamic accounting in English. A comprehensive guide, this groundbreaking reference offers both insight into Islamic accounting best practices and disclosure for Shariah-compliant instruments. Covering everything from basic transaction analysis to the preparation of financial statements, this reference serves as a broad framework around which undergraduate students can build their understanding of the Islamic business environment by offering context and showcasing how Islamic values can influence the disclosure of financial information. Islamic accounting is becoming an increasingly important aspect of the business field as globalization results in a surge in business partnerships and transactions around the world. Today's students need to understand Islamic accounting principles in order to effectively work with professionals who adhere to these standards--and accessing this information via text in English was not possible until this revolutionary reference. * Review the basics through an introduction to Islamic accounting * Understand the recording process, and how to complete the accounting cycle and adjust accounts as necessary * Explore accounting for assets, liabilities, equity, and sukuk, as well as zakat and takaful accounting * Discover details regarding Islamic commercial law, accounting for Islamic financial institutions, and Islamic corporate governance and sustainability, and look at auditing from an Islamic perspective Principles of Islamic Accounting is an essential text for first-year university students who are studying Islamic accounting, as well as professional societies and organizations that support the use of Islamic accounting principles, such as The Islamic Finance Professionals Association.
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CHAPTER 1: The Islamic Accounting Environment
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ISLAMIC ACCOUNTING
ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN ISLAMIC ACCOUNTING
ISLAMIC PRINCIPLES AFFECTING FINANCIAL REPORTING
THE USERS OF ISLAMIC ACCOUNTING INFORMATION
FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING AND MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTING
ISLAMIC ACCOUNTING SERVICES
OTHER SPECIALIST AREAS OF ACCOUNTING
THE ISLAMIC ACCOUNTING PROFESSION
TYPES OF ISLAMIC BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS
CHAPTER 2: Recording Transactions and Market Values in Islam
ACCOUNTING CONCEPTS AND THE ISLAMIC SHARIA
TRANSACTIONS AND THE ACCOUNTING EQUATION
TRANSACTIONS ANALYSIS USING THE ACCOUNTING EQUATION
SUMMARY OF BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS
KEEPING ACCOUNTING RECORDS IN ISLAMIC BUSINESSES
USING ACCOUNTING INFORMATION FOR DECISION MAKING
CHAPTER 3: Adjusting Islamic Accounting Records at the Close of the Accounting Period
ADJUSTING THE ACCOUNTS AT THE ACCOUNTING PERIOD END
CHAPTER 4: Islamic Financial Statements
THE ACCOUNTING CYCLE
ASSETS AND LIABILITIES CLASSIFICATIONS
CHAPTER 5: Accounting for Sukuk
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BONDS AND SUKUK
ASSET-BACKED OR ASSET-BASED SUKUK
TYPES OF SUKUK
ACCOUNTING FOR SUKUK
ACCOUNTING FOR SUKUK UNDER IFRS
ACCOUNTING FOR SUKUK UNDER AAOIFI
WORKED EXAMPLE: SUKUK IJARA
CHAPTER 6: Accounting for Zakat
ZAKAT AND CHARITY
ZAKAT AND TAX
SOURCES OF ZAKAT
LIABILITY FOR ZAKAT
DETERMINATION OF WEALTH FOR ZAKAT
GENERAL CONDITIONS FOR LIABILITY TO ZAKAT
SPECIFIC CONDITIONS OF ZAKAT ON TRADING ASSETS
METHODS OF COMPUTING ZAKAT
TREATMENT OF ZAKAT IN FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
WORKED EXAMPLE I
WORKED EXAMPLE II
CHAPTER 7: Islamic Commercial Contracts
INTRODUCTION: LAW AND THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
DIFFERENT SYSTEMS OF LAW IN THE WORLD
THE ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT OF ISLAMIC COMMERCIAL LAW AND ITS REVIVAL
SHARIA AND FIQH: DEFINITIONS, DIFFERENCES, ORIGINS, AND OBJECTIVES
COMPONENTS OF THE SHARIA
ISLAMIC CONTRACTS: PILLARS AND CONDITIONS
PROHIBITED ELEMENTS IN CONTRACTS
CLASSIFICATIONS OF CONTRACTS ACCORDING TO LEGAL EFFECTS
FINANCIAL CONTRACTS UNDER THE SHARIA
CHAPTER 8: Application of Islamic Financial Contracts to Accounting
AAOIFI AND IFRS ACCOUNTING STANDARDS
ACCOUNTING FOR MURABAHA FINANCING TRANSACTIONS UNDER AAOIFI STANDARDS
ISSUES TO BE CONSIDERED
FINANCIAL STATEMENT PRESENTATION OF MURABAHA FINANCING
PROFIT RECOGNITION USING EFFECTIVE PROFIT RATE METHOD UNDER IFRS
COMPREHENSIVE ILLUSTRATION OF MURABAHA ACCOUNTING UNDER AAOIFI AND IFRS
CHAPTER 9: Social Responsibility Accounting
DEVELOPMENT OF CSR
ADVANTAGES OF CSR REPORTING
THE ISLAMIC WORLDVIEW
ISLAM AND CSR
THE PROPOSED ISLAMIC CSR MODEL
CHAPTER 2: RECORDING TRANSACTIONS AND MARKET VALUES IN ISLAM
CHAPTER 3: ADJUSTING ISLAMIC ACCOUNTING RECORDS AT THE CLOSE OF THE ACCOUNTING PERIOD
CHAPTER 4: ISLAMIC FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
CHAPTER 5: ACCOUNTING FOR SUKUK
CHAPTER 6: ACCOUNTING FOR ZAKAT
CHAPTER 7: ISLAMIC COMMERCIAL CONTRACTS
CHAPTER 8: APPLICATION OF ISLAMIC FINANCIAL CONTRACTS TO ACCOUNTING
CHAPTER 9: SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ACCOUNTING
End User License Agreement
TABLE 2.1 Investment by Owner
TABLE 2.2 Purchase of Office Building
TABLE 2.3 Purchase of Equipment
TABLE 2.4 Purchase of Office Supplies
TABLE 2.5 Training Services Provided
TABLE 2.6 Consultancy Services Provided on Account
TABLE 2.7 Payment of Expenses
TABLE 2.8 Payment on Credit
TABLE 2.9 Receipt of Cash on Account
TABLE 2.10 Dividend
TABLE 2.11 Withdrawing of Cash
TABLE 2.12 Transactions for the Month
TABLE 2.13 Ledger Accounts
TABLE 2.14 Journal Entry
TABLE 2.15 Journalising the Transaction
TABLE 2.16 Posting Transaction to the Ledger
TABLE 2.17 Ledger Accounts
TABLE 2.18 Ledger Accounts
TABLE 2.19 Ledger Accounts
TABLE 2.20 Ledger Accounts
TABLE 2.21 Ledger Account
TABLE 2.22 Dar Al Fatina Trial Balance
TABLE 2.23 Journalising the Transaction (Page 1)
TABLE 2.24 Ledger Accounts
TABLE 2.25 Journalising the Transactions
TABLE 2.26 Ledger
TABLE 2.27 Chart of Accounts
TABLE 2.28 Types of Account
TABLE 3.1 Al Madani Group Trial Balance as on December 31, 2019
TABLE 3.2 Al Madani Group Adjusted Trial Balance as on December 31
TABLE 3.3 Al Madani Group Income Statement for the Year Ending December 31, 20X4
TABLE 3.4 Al Madani Group Statement of changes in Owners' Equity for the Year Ended December, 31, 20X4
TABLE 3.5 Al Madani Group Balance Sheet as of December, 31, 20X4
TABLE 4.1 Al Madani Group Trial Balance as of December 31, 20X4
TABLE 4.2 Al Madani Group Worksheet as of December 31
TABLE 4.3 Al Madani Group Income Statement Year Ended December 31, 20X4
TABLE 4.4 Al Madani Group Owners' Changes in Equity Statement for the Year Ended December 31, 20X4
TABLE 4.5 Al Madani Group Balance Sheet as of December 31, 20X4
TABLE 4.6 Al Madani Group Post-Closing Trial Balance as of December 31, 20X4
TABLE 4.7 Al Madani Group Balance Sheet as of December 31, 20X4
TABLE 4.8 Al Madani Group Balance Sheet as of December 31, 20X4
TABLE 4.9 Al Madani Group Value-Added Income Statement for the Year Ended December 31, 20X4
TABLE 4.10 Al Madani Group Statement of Owners' Equity for the Year Ended December 31, 20X4
TABLE 5.1 Differences between Bonds and Sukuk
TABLE 5.2 Financing Cost over 5 Years
TABLE 5.3 Journal Entries
TABLE 5.4 Income Statement of AE
TABLE 5.5 Statement of Financial Position of AE
TABLE 5.6 Journal Entries
TABLE 5.7 Income Statement of AE
TABLE 5.8 Statement of Financial Position of AE
TABLE 6.1 Methods to Determine Zakat Base
TABLE 6.2 Statement of Financial Position
TABLE 6.3 Statement of Financial Position
TABLE 6.4 Calculating Zakatable Base
TABLE 8.1 Journal Entries
TABLE 8.2 Amortisation Table
TABLE 8.3 Present Value of Ordinary Annuity
TABLE 8.4 Amortisation Table
TABLE 8.5 Amortisation Table for comprehensive example under IFRS
FIGURE 4.10 Extracts from 2013 Annual Report of the Mosque Foundation
FIGURE 5.1 Sukuk with SPV
FIGURE 5.2 Sukuk without SPV
FIGURE 5.3 Sukuk without SPV (ijarah)
FIGURE 5.4 Asset-backed and Asset-based sukuk
FIGURE 5.5 Types of sukuk
FIGURE 5.6 Categories of sukuk under IFRS
FIGURE 5.7 Categories of sukuk under AAOIFI
FIGURE 5.8 Disclosure of sukuk
FIGURE 5.9 The process flow
FIGURE 6.1 Computing zakat calculation
FIGURE 7.1 Components of Sharia
FIGURE 7.2 Islamic Financial Contracts
FIGURE 7.3 Structure of a murabaha contract
FIGURE 7.4 Salam and Parallel Salam
FIGURE 7.5 Structure of an Istisna contract – (Project Finance)
FIGURE 7.6 Structure of a Ijara Muntahia BiTamleek (lease to own)
FIGURE 7.7 Structure and pillars of a mudaraba contract
FIGURE 7.8 The structure of a two-tier mudaraba contract
FIGURE 7.9 The structure of musharaka contract
FIGURE 8.1 Use of Financial contracts at Mashreq al Islami Bank for personal financing
FIGURE 8.2 Tawarruq/ commodity murabaha flows for cash financing of customer
FIGURE 8.3 Murabaha to the purchase orderer
FIGURE 8.6 Different cash flows over different time periods
FIGURE 8.7 Cash flow timeline for annuity of $500 for 5 years
FIGURE 8.8 Cash flow over time period
FIGURE 8.9 Illustration 1 using Excel formula
FIGURE 8.10 Excel illustration for Sadiq Al Maghribi
FIGURE 9.1 GRI framework on sustainability
FIGURE 9.2 Islamic CSR reporting model
FIGURE 9.3 The VAS and income statement compared
Table of Contents
NABIL BAYDOUNMALIAH SULAIMANROGER J. WILLETTSHAHUL HAMEED BIN MOHAMED IBRAHIM
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To Allah, His Prophet, his family, and companionsTo the loving memories of our fathersTo our mothers, two of whom had to raise 12 children eachTo our wives/husband, who continue to support us in all our endeavorsTo our kids, who make our lives full of fun
This book is intended to be an introductory text for students studying the principles of Islamic accounting as part of a degree in accounting, business studies, economics, finance, or pursuing a master's degree in Islamic banking and finance. It is also intended for students studying for professional qualifications in Islamic accounting, banking, and finance.
In the past, students interested in these areas of study were obliged to use textbooks that ignore the Islamic perspective on accounting. The Principles of Islamic Accounting text addresses this shortcoming by providing an Islamic interpretation of the basic principles of accounting through to the trial balance, the concepts underlying and the preparation of Islamic financial statements, and accounting in a variety of important contexts, such as sukuk, zakat and Islamic contracting.
Specialized Islamic accounting textbooks are needed because of the unique aspects of accounting that are shaped by the Islamic religion. To a Muslim, religious and economic affairs are considered to be intimately connected. Accounting is more than a technical activity. It is also a cultural activity, and in the culture of Islam, religion plays an important part in the formation of accounting practices.
Religious sources in Islam influence business in specific ways. For example, the Quran specifically requires followers to keep proper records of their indebtedness and the payment of zakat. The latter is an obligatory payment of part of the wealth and income of Muslims to those more in need and can be considered analogous to a form of religious taxation. The Quran also prohibits riba (of which interest on a loan is a specific instance), waste and avarice, and all activities under the heading of unfair trading.
The book starts with a discussion of the Islamic business environment in which accounting takes place, explains how Islamic ethical principles apply to the practice of accounting, and describes the institutions and organisations involved in the production and use of Islamic financial reports.
Accounting concepts and principles provide the foundation of an Islamic accounting system. While Islamic accounting shares many of the principles that make the building blocks of conventional accounting, these principles also have to comply with the Islamic Sharia. Chapter 2 explains the main accounting concepts and their compliance with the Islamic Sharia. It describes the importance of market values in Islamic accounting and explains transactions analysis and the recording, posting, and preparation of a trial balance. Chapter 3 deals with the adjustments that are made to produce an Islamic picture of the results of the accounting entity for the accounting period and its wealth at the accounting end date. Chapter 4 details the process of completing the accounting cycle using the accounting worksheet and the process of closing the accounts, correcting accounting errors, and preparing Islamic financial statements.
Bonds are an important part of the finance industry. However, the Sharia prohibition on receiving and paying interest on debts means that the issuing of bonds is not permitted in Islamic financial markets. Thus, for such markets, special Islamic bonds (sukuk) are issued in place of the bonds seen in non-Islamic financial markets. Sukuk are Sharia compliant because no interest is involved and they seek to avoid uncertainty (gharar). Sukuk provide an alternative to conventional fixed-income securities and are often used to finance developmental and capital expenditures by large corporations. The sukuk is now used as an instrument to manage liquidity in Islamic financial markets. The growth of the sukuk market globally has been rapid, as it provides an avenue for the short- and medium-term placement of funds to investors who want to follow the teachings of Islam. Accounting for sukuk is discussed in Chapter 5.
Chapter 6 deals with accounting for zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam. Every practicing Muslim whose wealth exceeds a certain nisab (minimum amount) is expected to pay zakat, the proceeds of which are distributed to those in need. Zakat leads to moral purification and growth, counteracting greed and balancing the search for profit in commerce.
Accounting is mainly concerned with businesses, and in every civilized society these are operated under a set of laws we loosely term commercial law. These laws prescribe the terms and conditions of various types of business contract and affect accounting practices. They also cover situations where there are no specific contracts between parties but legal responsibilities nevertheless exist, e.g. in the case of the tort law of negligence. Hence, accounting practices vary with the legal system in place. Chapter 7, therefore, deals with Islamic commercial law and how it affects Islamic accounting.
In Chapter 8, the application of Islamic financial contracts to accounting is addressed. In particular, this chapter explains murabaha contract rules in the context of AAOIFI and of IFRS standards to accounting for murabaha.
Finally, Chapter 9 provides an account of corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting from an Islamic perspective. Justice (adalah) and benevolence (ihsan) in Islam are the basic ethos of individuals as well as corporations. While CSR is frequently interpreted from a cost-benefit perspective in the non-Islamic world, in Islam its interpretation is based on the Quran and is of central importance to the ummah (community of believers).
Each chapter contains a set of review questions and numerical exercises designed to help the student achieve the learning objectives set out at the beginning of each chapter. In future editions, we intend to add chapters on Islamic insurance and accounting for banks.
Finally, the authors would like to thank Mr. Jeremy Chia for his patience and accuracy in the preparation of the original manuscript.
Professor Nabil Baydoun (United Arab Emirates) Professor Baydoun is the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at HBMSU in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. He held senior academic positions and staffed key board committees at various institutions in Australia, Honk Kong, New Zealand, and the UAE.
Professor Baydoun has a record of accomplishment of launching innovative projects and building effective teams in large and complex organisations.
Professor Baydoun's teaching interests extend across several areas in accounting and finance. He is supportive of enhanced scholarship and research. His research interests are in international accounting and the impact of culture and religion on accounting and finance.
Dr. Shahul Hameed bin Mohamed Ibrahim (Malaysia) Dr. Shahul is an Associate Professor at Universiti Kuala Lumpur Business School. He was formerly attached to the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) and prior to that, to the Department of Accounting of the International Islamic University Malaysia. He is a Chartered Accountant (Malaysia), a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (UK), and a Chartered Islamic Finance Professional (CIFP). Shahul has published a number of journal articles and conference papers and has delivered talks in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and India. He is also the author of the first textbook on Accounting and Auditing for Islamic financial institutions.
Professor Maliah Sulaiman (Malaysia) Professor Sulaiman, the former Dean of the Kulliyyah of Economics and Management Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA) (UK) and holds a PhD from the University of Otago, New Zealand. She previously served as Visiting Academic at the College of Business and Management, University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates as well as at the School of Accounting, Curtin University of Technology in Australia. She is a board member of the Malaysian Accounting Standards Board (MASB) as well as an executive council member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA). At the international level, she is an expert panel member of ISO 14051 and ISO 14052 on Material Flow Cost Accounting (MFCA). She has published widely and has presented papers at various conferences in Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Professor Roger J. Willett (New Zealand) Professor Willett has a BA in Economics from the University of East Anglia and a PhD from Aberdeen, in the UK. He worked in the UK as a Chartered Accountant with Coopers & Lybrand, prior to his first academic appointment. Prior to being Professor at the Victoria University of Wellington, he previously held positions in the University of Aberdeen and the University of Wales in the UK and the Australian National University and has held professorial appointments at the University of Otago, New Zealand, Queensland University of Technology, the University of Tasmania in Australia, and the University of Wollongong in Dubai. His teaching interests extend across all aspects of the discipline of accountancy. His research interests are economic modelling and theory, accounting measurement, the statistical analysis of accounting numbers, and international accounting.
This book is accompanied by a companion website:
The website includes:
Answers for all the questions given in the book.
After studying this chapter, you should be able to:
Explain the governing principles of commerce and business in Islam.
Describe the history of Islamic accounting.
Explain the relationship between ethics and Islamic accounting.
Explain the Islamic principles affecting financial reporting.
Describe Islamic accounting and list its specialised fields.
Describe the types of business organisations in an Islamic economy.
Islam is one of the three ‘divinely inspired’ religions, the other two being Christianity and Judaism. It is monotheist, with a sacred book, the Qur'an, which calls for belief in God's revelation and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh)1. With regard to business and commerce, this implies a certain type of ethical responsibility and accountability, which this first chapter will discuss. To a Muslim, religious and economic affairs are considered to be intimately connected. Accounting is more than a technical activity. It is a socio-technical activity, and in Islam religion plays an important part in moulding accounting practices.
In Islamic political economy, growth should result in social justice and equitable distribution of power and wealth in the society. The accumulation and monopolisation of wealth for its own sake without regard to its social consequences is considered undesirable, as it may result in social imbalance (Quran 59:7). An Islamic sense of accountability provides a framework within which society can debate matters of equity as an integral part of business affairs.
Religious sources in Islam influence business in specific ways. For example, the Quran specifically requires followers to keep proper records of their indebtedness and the payment of zakat, which is analogous to a form of religious taxation (Quran 9:60). It also prohibits riba (of which interest on a loan is a specific instance), waste and avarice, and all activities under the heading of ‘unfair trading’ (e.g. Quran 2:282; 2:275; 9:34, 35).
In this chapter, we discuss the Islamic environment in which accounting takes place, how Islamic ethical principles apply to the practice of accounting, and the institutions and organisations involved in producing and using Islamic financial reports.
Accounting has been called the language of business. As a process, it consists of rules of measurement and rules of disclosure and reporting. Reporting rules are more affected by cultural and religious values than are measurement rules. In this book Islamic accounting is treated as the language of business in an Islamic society, which is one that follows the principles and laws of the Sharia. In certain respects it is different from accounting practised in non-Islamic societies. Most of the differences relate to the way accounting information is reported, but some also relate to the way transactions are measured. These differences are explained in the first four chapters of this book.
Commerce is afforded an important place in Islam. How commerce should be conducted, what is lawful (halal) and what is prohibited (haram) is laid down in the Islamic Sharia. The strong interest in commerce, and its legitimacy, stem from the fact that the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) was himself a businessman. The Prophet (pbuh) urged His followers to take up trade, farming, and other economic activities. Considerable religious weight is attached in Islam to the principles governing the conduct of businesspeople, including accounting systems and practices.
The governing principles of commerce and business in Islam, derived from the Islamic Sharia, constitute the framework that governs Muslim life. The Sharia is based on two primary sources, the Quran and the Sunnah and a secondary source, jurisprudence, which is a collection of the judgements of Muslim jurists.
The Quran is the most important of the three sources. It is quite specific about certain basic aspects of business life and accounting. We have already mentioned the specific prohibitions on riba and interest. More generally, it requires followers to keep proper records of their indebtedness:
Believers, when you contract a debt for a fixed period, put it in writing. … Let the debtor dictate, not diminishing the sum he owes (Qur'an 2:282).
The second, primary source of guidance is the Sunnah, which contains the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh) as reported by His followers, who sought clarification on various aspects of the Quran, sometimes by observing His behaviour. The secondary source of the Sharia, jurisprudence, consists of the judgements of Muslim jurists on issues not specifically covered by the Quran. Together, these sources make up the Islamic law.
The attitude of Islam toward economic activity is that it is legitimate and beneficial to support oneself and one's family through honest economic activity as long as specific prohibitions in the Quran, such as those described previously, are obeyed. Firms operating in an Islamic business environment are expected to seek a reasonable profit. The generation of profit, however, is not earned at the expense of, or through the exploitation of, others; the welfare of the community is held to be more important than the rights of the owners of businesses.
Accounting entities, especially corporations, may exist for many years. The actual profit that such entities will eventually make over their lifetime is known only to the Almighty. Managers, investors, and other stakeholders with an interest in such accounting entities, however, require information on a regular basis, typically at least once a year. For example, zakat is paid at the end of every year. As a result, companies report the outcome of their operations, profits or losses, and show their financial position, assets and liabilities, at the end of yearly accounting periods based on estimates that will only be known with certainty at a later date, sometimes many years hence.
To this end, firms prepare financial statements for a number of different purposes at the end of every accounting period. One of these purposes, as just noted, is to enable zakat to be calculated and paid. Some have argued that the assessment of zakat is a primary function of Islamic accounting. This is just one example of how the Sharia influences specific accounting practices in Islam. More generally, the Sharia guides the standards used by accountants in their reporting, defines what is true and fair, and ultimately what the principles of good corporate governance and sustainability are.
Accounting is the process of recording the economic events taking place within organisations, classifying recorded information and communicating extracts of these to interested parties in the forms of financial reports. We have already noted that accounting is often referred to as the language of business. Understanding this language is necessary to appreciate if Islamic principles are being followed by preparers of the financial reports. Experience has shown that three different types of financial report are necessary, and usually sufficient if prepared properly, to enable this judgement to be made, based on the financial position and results of operations of accounting entities: a balance sheet, as a statement of financial position; income statements of different types (e.g. a profit and loss account; a value-added statement); and a cash flow statement as a report on periodic performance.
Islamic accounting facilitates the socioeconomic objectives, which underpin the existence of business organisations in Islam. With this in mind, we define Islamic accounting to be the process of recording, classifying, and communicating information about the extent to which Islamic organisations achieve their financial and socioeconomic objectives within the general precepts of the Sharia.
The application of the label ‘Islamic’ to accounting has various interpretations. Islamic accounting can mean, for instance, accounting in countries where Islam is the religion for the majority of the population. Under this interpretation, Islamic accounting would cover accounting in the Middle East, North Africa, much of Sub-Saharan Africa, parts of the Indian subcontinent, a large part of South-East Asia, and parts of the former Soviet Union and the Balkans. Historically, Islamic accounting would also include parts of Spain between the eighth century CE (184H) and fifteenth century CE (905H).
Islamic accounting has a long history. The existence of accounting records to track revenues and expenses dates back to the early Islamic State. It is likely that the bookkeeping principles that underpin modern accounting systems originated in the Muslim world, and that the subsequent development of accounting mechanisms elsewhere was influenced by them. For instance, it has been suggested that Pacioli's Summa reflected earlier accounting developments:
The merchants of Italy and other European countries obtained their first education in the use of sophisticated business methods from their counterparts on the opposite side of the Mediterranean, most of whom were Muslims, although a few were Jews or Christians. (Lieber, 1968, p. 230).
Some research refers to Islamic accounting documents dating back to the end of the eleventh century CE (493H) and the beginning of the twelfth century CE (596H). Found in a Cairo synagogue, they have been interpreted as early versions of what are referred to today as journals containing lists of ‘debits' and ‘credits'. Other studies, using sources from the fourteenth century CE (802H) and early fifteenth century CE (905H), describe governmental accounting systems and practices used during the Islamic State and their reliance on the journal (jaridah) as the main record of transactions. Examples have been discovered of accounting classification systems, including agriculture, construction, and finance sectors, and the role of the ‘reviewer’ (auditor) in the system. Many similarities in the terminology and practices used in early Islamic accounting and those used in medieval Italian accounting have been identified. The role and character of the bookkeeper or accountant – al-kateb – in Islam required being well-versed in the Islamic Sharia, in addition to being technically competent and a respectable and trustworthy individual.
Part of the need for government accounting in the Islamic State was to address the collection and distribution of zakat. The spread of Islam was also an important factor, which explains the use of the Bahi-Khata accounting systems in India before British colonisation. Accounting in India during this period reflected the influence of the previous Muslim Mughal invaders. Scholars have also described government accounting practices, the Risale-i Felekiyye, around 1300 CE (699H) in the area that is now Iran.
Although common objectives may have led to similar recording and processing practices of accounting evolving in the West and in Islam, the detailed application of accounting procedures is influenced by cultural and religious considerations. This requires taking a normative-deductive approach to understanding why the rules of Islamic accounting are as they are. Any measurement and reporting system is by its nature ‘normative’ in the sense that it is designed by people to accomplish some purpose or purposes. In Islam, a major purpose is to adhere to and promote certain ethical principles, consistent with the Sharia. Some of the more important of these are discussed next.
Islam is distinctive among religions in the extent to which its precepts address directly and in detail the ethical conduct of business. Islam is unusual also in the strength of its directives concerning the desirability of community-oriented, as opposed to individualistic behaviour. It advocates the welfare of the group over the individual and the merits of long-term investments in social capital over short-term returns to the individual. This feature of Islam anticipates the emergence in Western social philosophy of a stream of thinking that is critical of open market approaches to economic management that emphasise the bottom line at the expense of other, often more qualitative, aspects of life.
Islamic religious precepts are not hostile to capitalism per se, but rather to certain consequences of its unfettered application, without the constraints imposed by a sense of what is right and wrong, just and unjust, fair and unfair, kind and unkind. Inequalities in wealth are not seen as bad in themselves, but too much inequality is seen as socially destructive. Unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and irreversible damage to the environment are also unacceptable. Although not anti-capitalist, therefore, Islam promotes those things that are often seen to be deficient in capitalism, and this adds another dimension of interest to the study of Islamic accounting. Our discussion of the Islamic precepts of business is both a description of them and, implicitly, an analysis of their compatibility with the latest Western thinking concerning such notions as sustainable human development and ‘ruthless’ growth. There is a moral imperative in the Sharia regarding the undertaking of any economic activity that makes ethics central to Islamic accounting. This differs from the Western attitude toward business ethics, which adopts the rationalist position of a would-be honest individual in a potentially corrupt world.
The Sharia provides a common source from which guidelines on what are considered to be ethical business practices in Islamic accounting can be derived. An important aspect of ethical business practices in Islam is the attitude of mind behind the activities, the intentions of the parties involved. An action cannot merely be ‘seen’ to be good; it must also be accompanied with good intentions.
Islamic ethics rests on its conception of man in relation to self, God, and society. Among the religiously based values and the specific terms describing them that underlie accounting and economic activities in an Islamic environment, the following are some of those referred to throughout this text: adl (justice), amanah (honesty), istislah (community interest), infaq (spending to meet social obligation), iqtisad (moderation in personal spending), and sabr (patience). These values shape the behaviour of the individual Muslim and constitute what is halal in Islam. The opposite of halal is haram (prohibited). What is haram is shaped by negative values such as hirs (greed), iktinaz (hoarding of wealth), zulm (tyranny), and israf (extravagance).
From a conceptual point of view, two approaches are available for the development of a theory about the proper form that Islamic accounting should take: The first is to derive the objectives from the principles of the Islamic Sharia and then consider these objectives in relation to conventional accounting practices. The second is to start with the objectives of conventional accounting and test these against the principles of the Islamic Sharia; those that pass the Sharia principle test will then be accepted. This book takes the former approach. The accounting standards promulgated by AAOIFI take the latter approach. However, as will become apparent, they ultimately lead to the same general form of Islamic accounting.
The unique characteristics of an Islamic society shape much of the conduct of organisations within that society. Organisations are established with the objective of serving both the owners and society at large. All operations should be in accordance with the Islamic Sharia. Unfair trading is prohibited. Transparency between the parties to a transaction is expected. Accountability goes beyond accountability to owners and even society to accountability to God for what is entrusted to each of us as individuals. For Islamic organisations, the Islamic Sharia is the reference point from which all accounting practices are derived and tested.
Several haram issues have been referred to in relation to Islamic accounting. We now discuss these in more detail.
: One of the strongest Islamic rules is that the charging or receipt of interest is strictly forbidden. Wealth should not be used to generate interest. The grounds given for this include reference to the undesirability of the concentration of wealth in the hands of a minority and associated concerns about the possible negative effects of disparities between rich and poor. The Quran (2:275) condemns the practice of riba:
Those that live in riba shall rise up before God like men whom Satan has demented by his touch; for they claim that riba is like trading. But God has permitted trading and forbidden riba.
Interest is forbidden because of its potential for the transfer of risk from a stronger to a weaker party to a transaction. It is considered unfair because possibly more powerful lenders are guaranteed a fixed income while borrowers' returns are uncertain. The prohibition of interest is also partly due to its violation of the principle of social justice that underlies economic activity in Islam. There should be no reward without effort. Riba, in its various forms, is thus believed to lead to a concentration of wealth in the hands of a few rich and economically powerful people, and its prohibition has become the central factor in distinguishing Islamic banking from conventional banking.
The operation of Islamic banks relies on the profit- and loss-sharing concept, which effectively transforms them into equity-based firms. More generally, the implication of the prohibition of riba is that the profit-and loss-sharing concept becomes central to forms of business organisations. Islamic justice implies the sharing of risk and the fair division of gains and losses. Gains and losses are borne equally by the parties involved in business deals. The prohibition of interest aims to encourage money owners to actively contribute to economic activities, promoting the accumulation of wealth through hard work. The Islamic profit- and loss-sharing concept implies a partnership where the provider of capital and the entrepreneur both share the risk and reward of their venture in a format agreed to at the start of their partnership. Wealth should not, of itself, produce a guaranteed income. In an Islamic economy, therefore, the alternatives to interest-bearing instruments are the profit-sharing instruments that incorporate mudaraba (profit-sharing and loss-bearing contracts) and musharaka (equity participation and profit- and loss-sharing contracts) principles.
Profit and the accumulation of wealth:
The accumulation of wealth is acceptable in Islam as long as it is put to uses that result in acceptable forms of economic development. Islam considers the search for lawful earnings, in fact, to be a ‘bounden duty’ (Quran 3:174).
Proper economic development in Islam is growth characterized by equity and justice. It is a community-oriented growth. The secular, Western sense of economic development, in contrast, looks at improving the well-being of the society at large as something that is achieved by the invisible hand of free markets. Distributional considerations are secondary. From an Islamic point of view, successful economic development is perceived as achieving a fair distribution of wealth as well as increased production. In this fundamental respect, the Western approach to economic development is at variance with Islamic teachings.
For this reason, monopolization of wealth is not acceptable in Islam because it results in social imbalance (Quran 59:7). ‘Excessive’ profit is viewed as exploitation. This is unlike the general view in the West, which holds that high profit levels and return on investment indicate efficiency in the use of resources and are a mark of individual success. The intent in Islam is toward moderation and the sharing of wealth with the less fortunate. Individuals are responsible for the well-being of the community. Therefore, wealth should provide benefits that result in the betterment of the community at large. The Quran states (9:34, 35):
Proclaim a woeful punishment to those that hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in God's cause.
Zakat and the Islamic law of inheritance are designed to promote actions consistent with this end.
With respect to the principles that profits and losses and risk are to be shared ‘justly’ and that ‘excessive’ profit is viewed as exploitation, precise guidance as to the meaning of ‘justice’ and ‘excess’ in these contexts is not available, mirroring the problem of defining concepts such as being ‘reasonable' in Western tort law. Defining such concepts is left to the judgement of the individual, their conscience, and their personal relationship with God. Justice in the provision of wages and in the price charged for goods and services are Sharia requirements, where just wages require consideration of such factors as what is required for the wage earner to support their dependents. Fair prices, similarly, reflect the cost of products and a reasonable profit to reward the entrepreneurs for their efforts.
The concept of tawhid, indicating the Islamic idea of oneness with God, is central to the issue of wealth distribution in an Islamic society. It is interpreted to mean the equality of all people in society. The faithful strive to create a society based on tawhid or brotherhood, and to promote unity and social and economic equality.
: The great advantage that a religious code, actually followed, has over a secular one is that it governs thought, intention, and motivation as well as action. The respect for God's laws encourages the believer to exercise ethical judgement and behavior from within, rather than simply following a set of rules laid down in a code of professional conduct. As already noted, the Muslim is taught to believe Islam is built on the pillars of justice (adl) and goodness (ihsan). The Sharia laws and behaviour that Islam strives to realize are directed toward this end.
Stewardship and accountability
: The Islamic Sharia provides the meaning and the way of achieving accountability in a society. As with other religions, the Sharia says that people are individually accountable for their actions during their lives on the Day of Judgement. The rights of private ownership are subordinated to God (Quran 6:165; 57:7). In Islam all resources are made available to individuals in the form of a trust. Individuals are entrusted as vice-regents with what they have been given by God in the form of goods, property, talents, etc. The Quran states, ‘I will create a steward on earth’. The extent to which individuals may use what has been entrusted to them is specified in the Sharia. All possessions are held in a stewardship capacity, and the reward for individuals in the life hereafter is driven by their compliance with Islamic Sharia.
The Islamic principle of khilafa requires individuals to be personally responsible for what is done with the resources entrusted to them, directly or through their organisations. This principle, together with the principle of shura, which requires consultation with those affected by organisations, makes it a duty for managers to take a personal interest in the management of their organisations. Muslim managers are therefore expected to have a hands-on, day-to-day approach to management. The interests of those affected by the operation of the organisation and its decisions are also safeguarded by the Islamic principle of adalah (justice) as well as shura.
Accountability in this context therefore means accountability to the society, or the public at large. In a business enterprise, both management and the providers of capital are seen as being accountable for their actions or inactions, within and outside their organisation. This means that the providers of finance, while benefiting from the use of their capital, keep its use within the rules laid down in the Sharia. In pursuing economic goals, individuals are encouraged, through the principle of tazkiyah, to work for the betterment of the community at large (ummah). Accounting to the community is promoted by the concept of social accountability in Islam.
: The tenet of social accountability in Islam motivates businesspeople to act ethically in their day-to-day activities, and the requirement to consult implies a principle of full disclosure. This is a strict form of transparency, which parallels the rule of utmost good faith required in Western insurance contracts. In these circumstances, the business conduct of followers must be seen to be based on true, just, and fair principles. For instance, information disclosed about companies' activities and their impact on society should be accurate, complete, reliable, and free of bias and reflect equitable treatment of the parties involved. The concept of full disclosure works against window-dressing and creative accounting, and emphasises substance over legal form.
The ethical imperatives outlined here impinge on a correct Islamic accounting and are reflected in the impact of religion on Islamic financial statements. In later chapters, we illustrate these principles by including current value balance sheets and value-added social performance measures in Islamic financial statements.
Current values are more relevant for zakat than are actual costs. Moreover, when estimated accurately, market values contain more information than actual costs about risk and have the incidental advantage that they are consistent with international financial reporting standards and the pronouncement of the main Islamic standard setters.
Performance statements including information about value-added better reflect the social impact of business organisations and avoid the emphasis that the profit and loss account alone places on short-term profit maximization. The income statement is retained because it contains essential information for investors but is balanced by a measure of value-added to emphasise the social benefit of economic activity. These and other more extensive measurements and disclosures regarding the social costs and benefits of business organisations are the subject of later chapters, where we discuss the specific rules that govern how accountants measure, process, and communicate financial information.
In the remainder of this chapter, we describe the different types of users of financial reports; the various types of reports prepared by accountants to serve the purposes of the different users; the professional bodies of accountants that impose technical and professional standards on their members; and the main types of economic entities for which Islamic financial reports are prepared.
There are various stakeholders with interests in Islamic accounting who seek information to assist them in making decisions. When organisations are small, the number of stakeholders is also small and the amount of information demanded is therefore relatively small. As organisations increase in size, the number of stakeholders increases and the demand for information likewise increases. The principles of social accountability and full disclosure require such organisations to provide more extensive reports. Corporate accounting laws in different jurisdictions require different, additional specific disclosures.
The following is a list of the main users of Islamic corporate reports and the types of information they usually seek:
use accounting information in their daily business to manage their accounts, evaluate job prospects, and make investment decisions.
Managers of organisations
use accounting information in their planning, control, and resource allocation functions within their business organisations.
use accounting information to assist them in their investment decision making about the allocation of resources to various investment opportunities and in the regular evaluation of their investment.
Non–interest-based creditors or benevolent loan creditors
use accounting information to assist in assessing the ability of their clients to pay back their loans when due.
Government regulatory agencies
use accounting information to assess compliance with regulations and the social impact of organisations, as well as their public accountability.
use accounting information to assess the accuracy of the computation of zakat by individual Muslims and Islamic businesses.
include employees, who use accounting information in their wage demands; consumer groups; and the general public.
The needs of these users not only differ but also may conflict, making it difficult for an organisation to serve all the needs of all the users at the same time. Important or dominant user groups may determine the type and size of the information provided. Non-Islamic accounting prioritizes investors and creditors over other users of accounting information. For example, the US FASB statement of financial accounting concepts states that the objective of financial statements is to provide information to ‘investors, creditors, and others’. In Islam, in contrast, the ultimate accountability is to Allah for both individual and organisation actions. Taklif, which is ‘responsibility according to capacity', implies that larger organisations have greater accountability to society, and also indicates that the ‘society in general' user group is of greater importance than shareholders and creditors.
User groups can be classified into two types: those within the organisation and those external to the organisation. Two different types of reporting, usually referred to as management accounting and financial accounting, address their respective needs:
involves the production of various types of specific reports for internal management purposes to assist managers in their planning and control activities.
produces general-purpose standardised financial reports for users, including shareholders, creditors, outside investors, the government, and the public at large.
Islamic accounting services include the following.
Sharia auditing is an important service within Islamic accounting and a key pillar of the governance framework of the Sharia. Sharia auditing is an independent service that provides assurance to Muslim stakeholders. The Sharia auditor examines the extent to which organisations and their products and services conform to the requirements of Sharia. According to the Auditing Standard for Islamic Financial Institutions No. 1, the objective of auditing financial statement is to express an opinion as to whether the financial statements are prepared in accordance with the ruling of Sharia principles and published Islamic accounting standards as well as the relevant country-specific accounting standards and practices.
Zakat accounting is concerned with the computation and collection of zakat. Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam; the other four pillars are the testimony of faith, prayer, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime for those who are able. Zakat is paid by all Muslims meeting the conditions for zakat liability. In Saudi Arabia, the collection of zakat is driven by national regulations under the provisions of Royal Decrees, Ministerial Resolutions and Department of Zakat and Income Tax (DZIT) circulars. Zakat is payable by Saudi nationals and nationals of other GCC countries working in the country and by companies that are wholly owned by Saudi and GCC nationals or their equity interest in companies. The payment of zakat in most Muslim countries is left to the individual Muslims. The zakat rate is fixed at 2.5% on the higher of adjusted taxable profits or the zakat base. Islamic States may impose additional taxes beyond zakat to cover essential expenditures, but should keep tax burden equitably distributed.
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