The Arabic term ijara means “providing services and goods temporarily for a wage.” The ijara contract, as you may guess, involves providing products or services on a lease or rental basis. In the ijara contract, a person or party is given the right to use the object (the usufruct) for a period of time; the owner retains the ownership of the assets.
The ijara contract is similar to a conventional lease in which the owner rents or leases his property or goods to a lessee for a specified number of periods for a fee. For example, the lessee is responsible for normal maintenance, and the lessor is responsible for major maintenance, just as with many conventional lease contracts. However, the following features of ijara differentiate it from a conventional lease:
- The lessor must own the assets for the full lease period.
- If the lessee defaults on payments or delays payments, the lessor can’t charge compound interest.
- The leased asset’s use is specified in the contract.