ISLAM & INSURANCE

As the essence of insurance could be seen in the system of mutual help in relation to the custom of blood money under the Arab tribal custom, Muslim jurists generally accepted that the concept of insurance does not contradict with the Shariah. In fact, the principle of compensation and group responsibility was accepted by Islam and the Holy Prophet. Muslim jurists acknowledged that the basis of shared responsibility in the system of `aqila', as practiced between Muslims of Mecca (muhajirin) and Medina (ansar) laid the foundation of mutual insurance.

As a complete religion, the teaching of Islam encompasses the essence of peace, economic well-being and development of the Muslim at the individual, family, social, state and `ummah' levels.

To illustrate the importance of this relationship in a life of a Muslim, Islam calls for the protection of certain basic rights:

  • The right to protect the Religion.
  • The right to protect the life.
  • The right to protect dignity/honor.
  • The right to protect the property.
  • The right to protect the mind.

It is also a generally accepted view that Islamic insurance was first established in the early second century of the Islamic era. This was the time when Muslim Arabs started to expand their trade to India, Malay Archipelago and other countries in Asia. Due to long journeys/voyages, they often had to incur huge losses because of mishaps and misfortunes or robberies along the way. Based on the Islamic principle of mutual help and cooperation in good and virtuous acts, they got together and mutually agreed to contribute to a fund before they started their long journey. The fund was used to compensate anyone in the group who suffered losses through any mishap. In fact the Europeans copied this, which was later known as marine insurance.