Takaful (Arabic: التكافل, sometimes translated as "solidarity" or mutual guarantee) is a co-operative system of reimbursement or repayment in case of loss, organized as an Islamic or sharia compliant alternative to conventional insurance, which Takaful proponents believe contains forbidden riba (usury) and gharar(excessive uncertainty).
Under takaful people and companies concerned about hazards make regular contributions ("donations") to be reimbursed or repaid to members in the event of loss, and managed on their behalf by a takaful operator. Like other Islamic finance products, Takaful is grounded in Islamic Muamalat (commercial and civil acts or dealings branch of Islamic law).
By the end of 2011, the takaful industry had grown to $12 billion "contributions" and is forecast to reach $20 billion by 2017.The movement has been praised as providing "superior alternatives" to insurance that "reinvigorate human capital, emphasize personal dignity, community self-help, and economic self-development"; but also criticized as having "dwindled" in scope to an industry of "conventional insurance with Arabic terminology and language of contract.
Theoretically, takaful is perceived as cooperative or mutual insurance, where members contribute a certain sum of money to a common pool. The purpose of this system is not profits, but to uphold the principle of "bear ye one another's burden". The principles of takaful are as follows:
Policyholders cooperate among themselves for their common good.
Policyholders contributions are considered as donations to the fund (pool)
Every policyholder pays his subscription to help those who need assistance.
Losses are divided and liabilities spread according to the community pooling system.
Uncertainty is eliminated concerning subscription and compensation.
It does not derive advantage at the cost of others.
Muslims scholar have "hardly any difference of opinion" on "the need for managing, redeeming and mitigating general, business and life risks covered by the insurance business."
But whether conventional insurance is forbidden (haram) is dispute