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The concept of takaful (Islamic insurance) was first introduced in Malaysia in 1985 when the first takaful operator was established to fulfill the need of the general public to be protected based on the Islamic principles. The legal basis for the establishment of takaful operators was the Takaful Act which came into effect in 1984.

Insurance as a concept does not contradict the practices and requirements of Syariah. In essence, insurance is synonymous to a system of mutual help. However, Muslim jurists are of the opinion that the operation of conventional insurance does not conform to the rules and requirements of Syariah as it involves the elements of uncertainty (Gharar) in the contract of insurance, gambling (Maisir) as the consequences of the presence of uncertainty and interest (riba) in its investment activities.

Takaful is an insurance concept in Syariah whereby a group of participants mutually agree among themselves to guarantee each other against defined loss or damage that may inflict upon any of them by contributing as tabarru’ or donation in the takaful funds. It emphasizes unity and co-operation among participants. Takaful is not a new concept as it had been practised by the Muhajirin of Mecca and the Ansar of Medina following the hijra of the Prophet over 1400 years ago.

Tabarru’ is the agreement by a participant to relinquish as donation, a certain proportion of the takaful contribution that he agrees or undertakes to pay, thus enabling him to fulfill his obligation of mutual help and joint guarantee should any of his fellow participants suffer a defined loss. The concept of tabarru’ eliminates the element of uncertainty in the takaful contract. The sharing of profit or surplus that may emerge from the operations of takaful is made only after the obligation of assisting the fellow participants has been fulfilled. Thus, the operation of takaful may be envisaged as a profit sharing business venture between the takaful operator and the individual members of a group of participants.

Takaful operations are regulated and supervised by BNM since 1988 with the appointment of the BNM Governor as the Director-General of Takaful. In October 1995, the ASEAN Takaful Group (ATG), a grouping of takaful operators in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore was formed to enhance mutual co-operation and to facilitate the exchange of business among takaful operators in ASEAN. In 1997, the Malaysian takaful industry to a leap forward with the formation of ASEAN Retakaful International (L) Ltd. (ARIL) as an offshore retakaful company in Labuan. The establishment of ARIL was to create a vehicle for more dynamic retakaful exchanges among ATG members and providing additional retakaful capacity for further reduce their dependence on conventional reinsurance.



The takaful business carried on by the Malaysian takaful operators are broadly divided into family takaful business (Islamic "life" insurance) and general takaful business (Islamic general insurance).

Family Takaful Business

In general, a family takaful plan is a combination of long-term investment and mutual financial assistance scheme.

The objectives of this plan are: -

    *  to save regularly over a fixed period of time;

    *  to earn investment returns in accordance with Islamic principles;

    *  to obtain coverage in the event of death prior to maturity from a mutual aid scheme.


Each contribution paid by the participant is divided and credited into two separate accounts, namely: -

     * The Participants' Special Account (PSA)A certain proportion of the contribution is credited into the PSA on the basis of tabarru'. The amount depends on the age of the participant and the cover period.

    * The Participants' Account (PA)The balance goes into the PA which is meant for savings and investments only.


Examples of covers available under family takaful business are as follows:-

    *  Individual family takaful plans;

    *  Takaful mortgage plans;

    *  Takaful plans for education;

    *  Group takaful plans;

    *  Health/Medical takaful.


 General Takaful Business

The general takaful scheme is purely for mutual financial help on a short-term basis, usually 12 months to compensate its participants for any material loss, damage or destruction that any of them might suffer arising from a misfortune that might inflict upon his properties or belongings. The contribution that a participant pays into the general takaful fund is wholly on the basis of tabarru'. If at the end of the period of takaful, there is a net surplus in the general takaful fund, the same shall be shared between the participant and the operator in accordance with the principle of al-Mudharabah, provided that the participant has not incurred any claim and/or not received any benefits under the general takaful certificate.

The various types of general takaful scheme provided by the takaful operators include: -

    *   Fire Takaful Scheme;

    *   Motor Takaful Scheme;

    *   Accident/Miscellaneous Takaful Scheme;

    *   Marine Takaful Scheme;

    *   Engineering Takaful Scheme.

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