What is Islamic Banking?

Islamic Banking is commercial activity that is compatible with Islamic Sharia (Fiqh Al Muamalaat). The most important objective of Islamic banking is to promote honesty, justice and fairness in running business.

What is Sohar Islamic?

Sohar Islamic is the window for Islamic banking services in Bank Sohar; which is responsible for developing Islamic banking products offered to customers looking for Islamic banking product and services.

When was Sohar Islamic established and how many branches does it have?

Sohar Islamic was founded in 2013 and started its operation on 13/05/2013 through its first branch in the city of Sohar at Falaj Al Qabail. It currently consists of a network of 5 branches and its headquarters are in Muscat (Al Ghoubrah). The remaining branches are in Sohar, Nizwa, Salalah and one recently opened in Al Koudh. We would like to expand to all the states and governorates of the Sultanate.

How does Sohar Islamic provide banking services compatible with Islamic Sharia?

The work of Sohar Islamic is under constant supervision of its Sharia Supervisory Board as well as the bank’s Internal Sharia Reviewer, to ensure that all banking services are carried out in accordance with Islamic Law.

The Sharia Supervisory Board work independently and monitor all the banking operations and continuously oversee the development of all Islamic banking services.

What is the Sharia?

Sharia means the path based on principles revealed from Allah which are included in the Quran and Sunnah (the words, actions or affirmation of the Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him). These principles govern and regulate different aspects of life in society to preserve the five life necessities which are: Religion, Self, Mind, Progeny and Wealth as well as taking care of the renewal of hardship where necessary such as in lending, Murabaha, Mudharaba, Musharaka, Salam, Wakala and other transactions that people carry out. Hence the Sharia is a complete and adequate solution for all that may be need by humans in all times and places.

What are the Sources of Sharia?

The Sharia is derived from the following four sources:

  • Holy Quran
  • Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him)
  • Consensus
  • Qiyaas
  • Ijtihad based on the views of religious scholars on contemporary issues which are based on rationale and deep analysis
What is Fatwa?

Fatwa is the opinion of a person or a group of people qualified to issue judgment on the sources of Sharia mentioned above.

What is the difference between Islamic and Conventional Finance?

The most important difference is the prohibition of Riba (interest), ambiguity and injustice in conducting commercial transactions. Islamic banking activity must be compatible with the principles of Islamic Sharia and avoid the prohibition of immoral activities such as gambling and alcohol, etc.

What is Sharia Supervision?

Sharia Supervision is the management’s endeavour in the Islamic bank to ensure that all transactions carried out by the institution are compliant with the rules of the Sharia.

What is Sharia Supervision Board?

It is an independent body of specialized jurists, experts in Islamic jurisprudence and jurisprudence of commercial transactions. They are responsible for directing, advising, and supervising the activities of Islamic financial institutions, in order to ensure compliance with the rules and principles of Islamic Sharia. The fatwas and laws of the Sharia Supervisory Board must be followed by Islamic financial institutions.

How can a conventional bank be allowed to offer Islamic banking?

Sharia scholars have discussed this issue and allowed traditional financial institutions to offer Islamic products / services, on the condition that the Islamic assets / liabilities / revenues and expenses of the Bank's business, accounts and activities are fully segregated and supervised by a Sharia Supervisory Board. Sohar Islamic has appointed a Sharia Supervisory Board and established a special department to manage the business and monitor the Bank’s operations to meet the terms of these requirements. A section for internal sharia audit has been setup and employees have been given specialized training and certified in the field of Islamic banking products and services.

How can I be sure that all products offered by Sohar Islamic are Sharia compliant?

All products and services provided by Sohar Islamic have been approved by the Sharia Supervisory Board, which includes leading Sharia scholars at international and local level. The Sharia Supervisory Board has prepared fatwas for each product before it is available to customers, and customers have the right to review any of these fatwas through the bank’s relations sharia officer or through the website.

Why did Sohar Islamic choose an independent brand from Bank Sohar?

Muslims are increasingly looking for financial products that are compatible with their religious beliefs. Bank Sohar understands the needs of the local communities. Sohar Islamic has responded to the desire of Muslim customers who are looking for Islamic products and services that are completely separate from the normal products and services of the Bank. It is also a strict requirement of the Central Bank of Oman.

What are the positive characteristics of Sohar Islamic services and products and how do they differ from other providers of Islamic financial services?

At Sohar Islamic, we always seek to provide financial solutions that meet the needs of our customers. And Islamic banking offers solutions that combine our financial expertise with your own values. Customers can now enjoy a unique banking experience without compromising Islamic principles.

Has Sharia Supervisory Board approved all products?

Yes, all products and services provided by Sohar Islamic have been approved by the Sharia Supervisory Board. Furthermore, we have an Internal Sharia Reviewer at the bank who reviews transactions on behalf of the Sharia board to ensure that all the commercial activities of Sohar Islamic are not in conflict with the provisions of Sharia law.

Is Sohar Islamic allowed to use the capital of Bank Sohar?

The Sharia Supervisory Board agreed that Sohar Islamic will use the capital from Bank Sohar as a Qard Hasan for Sharia-compliant financing, with funds being used only in Islamic assets. In our case, the capital from Bank Sohar is given as a Qard Hasan to help strengthen the concept of Islamic banking and help Muslims across the Sultanate to meet their financial needs in accordance with the principles of Islamic Sharia. It is a well-thought-out view of the Sharia Supervisory Board at Sohar Islamic, that Sohar Islamic products are continuously compliant with Sharia.

What is Riba?

Riba is the payment or interest on loans or deposits for any amount large or small. Riba is prohibited by the Quran and Sunnah, regardless of whether a loan is taken for the purpose of consumption or business. Moreover, in today’s business, Riba comes in other forms such as the penalty imposed on delay of a debt repayment, the discounting of commercial paper, the sale of debt and other receivables.

Why Islam has prohibited Riba?

Islam aims at the administration of justice between the financier and the owner of the project: the financier should not receive any benefit without taking any action or risk. Islam does not recognize money as a commodity of intrinsic value and thus cannot guarantee profit returns that emanate from a loan. Sharia requires funding to be accompanied by work and management to justify returns.

The economic and social objectives of the Islamic economy lies outside the functions of the Sharia Supervisory Board, but provides the framework that enables participants to understand the Islamic rationale and avoid prohibitions such as Riba.

Does Sohar Islamic really apply Sharia?

Since its inception, Islamic banks have adhered to the provisions of Islamic Sharia in all their banking and investment transactions. Therefore, there is a need for the existence of a Sharia Compliance Department in Islamic banks. The main task of Sharia supervision is to ensure the implementation of fatwas and rulings issued by the Sharia Supervisory Board and to ensure that execution is in line with the fatwas. The Sharia Compliance Department should submit its reports and observations to the Sharia Supervisory Board and to the Bank’s management. All praises to Allah Almighty that Sohar Islamic is committed to these principles and seeks to implement all transactions and financial activities in light of the Quran and Sunnah.

What is your response to those who say that your work is similar to the work of other banks?

It is true that Islamic banks compete with traditional banks, however Islamic banks use contracts and terms that are permissible in the Sharia. The fact that financially, our objectives are similar to the objectives of conventional banks, but does not mean that we copy them in their transactions.

What are the differences between Sohar Islamic and conventional banks?

Here are the main differences between Sohar Islamic and any conventional bank:

In terms of role:

Traditional Bank: Acts as an intermediary between savers / depositors and investors.

Sohar Islamic: Does not merely act as an intermediary, but acts either as a buyer, seller or investor

In terms of money:

Traditional bank: Money is a commodity that is sold or leased.

Sohar Islamic: Money is a medium of exchange rather than a commodity.

In terms of medium of exchange

Traditional Bank: Borrowing and lending at interest.

Sohar Islamic: Financing on the basis of risk / reward and receiving a return on the basis of the obligations it undertakes.

In terms of funding

Traditional Bank: Lends on interest.

Sohar Islamic: Financings are given on the principle of profit and loss.

What is the difference between the interest system and the profit system?

The interest system gives a return to the depositor regardless of any activity with the deposit. In the profit system, the deposit is invested by Sohar Islamic on behalf of the customer and the shareholders. The return is "profit" distributed between depositors and the bank. Commercial banks grant loans against fixed interest without taking any risk, while Islamic banks bear risks with the customer and share profit and loss.

What are the products and services offered by Sohar Islamic for individuals?

Sohar Islamic offers a series of financial solutions aimed at individuals and investors such as: current account service, savings accounts, term deposits, vehicle financing, mortgage finance, personal finance, commodity finance, etc.

What are the products and services offered by Sohar Islamic for companies and institutions?

Sohar Islamic offers a series of financial solutions targeting companies and institutions and High Net Worth investors. Examples include short term project finance, long term project financing, documentary credit. Sohar Islamic Bank has "Relationship Managers" who design products and services that meet the needs and demands of companies. Sohar Islamic by it financing of companies, caters to customers’ needs and competes in the local market.

How is profit made on saving accounts or fixed term deposit accounts at Sohar Islamic? What price and in which currency are profits paid?

Sohar Islamic invests funds deposited in accordance with the requirements of Islamic law, and every month, when profits are realized, they are distributed and deposited in saving accounts in the same currency.

What is the difference between a mortgage loans offered by commercial banks or the purchase of a dwelling under the "Ijara" product Ijara Muntahia Bittamleek from Sohar Islamic?

There are several fundamental differences. Commercial banks, you would borrow money to buy a home and you would have to return the money after a period of a few years and pay interest on the money borrowed. This in the Sharia is known as Riba. In Islamic financing, Sohar Islamic buys the house from the owner, rents it to you and you would pay the rent in installments as agreed throughout the ijara tenor.

What is Murabaha for purchase order?

There are a number of types of sale contract in Islamic law. Murabaha is one of them. The seller must tell the buyer about the actual cost of the asset or commodity and the margin of profit to be added to the price, and profit margin can either be a percentage of the cost of the commodity or a lump sum as agreed between the buyer and seller at the time of conclusion of the Murabaha sale agreement.

In Murabaha, the bank is the seller and the customer is the buyer. Based on the promise of the customer, the bank buys the commodity and sells it at a fixed price to the customer. Islamic banks, through Murabaha can finance cars, goods, land or buildings.

What is Mudaraba?

The Mudaraba is a form of participation in an investment. In a Mudaraba contract, the bank, in its capacity as the investor, finances the customer. The bank finances the customer on a specific project after receiving a feasibility study. When profits occur as expected in the feasibility study, they are shared at the ration agreed upon between the parties.

What is Deposit?

Unlike a conventional bank which gives a fixed return on deposits, an Islamic Bank invests a depositor’s money on the basis of an unrestricted Mudaraba, in its capacity as a Mudarib. The profits are divided between the parties at a pre-agreed rate. The contract shall be for a specified period of one month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months or more. At the end of the investment period, the bank calculates the net profit after deducting its expenses.

What is Musharaka and Diminishing Musharaka?

Musharaka is the participation of two or more persons in a project for profit or in the ownership of an asset. The realized profits are shared between the partners on the basis of a pre agreed profit sharing distribution ratio. Any loss is borne in proportion to the capital provided by each partner.

Diminishing Musharaka

Diminishing Musharaka is a partnership between the bank and the customer in a project or an asset with the gradual ownership of either project or asset ending with the customer.

What is the concept of Ijara and Ijara Muntahia Bittamleek?

Ijara means the sale of a specific usufruct for a specified price.

Ijarah Muntahia Bittamleek.

The bank will buy the property from its seller and lease it to the customer. The rent is composed of a fixed and variable component. The fixed component represents the value of the asset and the variable component represents the bank’s profit. Once all the ijara installments have been paid, the asset is sold to the customer by way of a nominal sale.

What is Istisna?

This contract is used in Islamic banks to finance real estate and goods. The bank, in its capacity as a "manufacturer", manufactures the asset according to pre-agreed specifications and hands over the asset to the customer at a specified date in the future. The customer pays future rental payments to the bank for future usufruct of the asset until the asset is handed over to him, wherein the rental payments become actual for the present usufruct.

Are the products and services provided in Sohar Islamic limited to Muslims only?

Sohar Islamic welcomes and offers products and banking services to all customers without discrimination.

What currencies do Sohar Islamic deal with?

Sohar Islamic deals in the implementation of financial transactions in all currencies approved and recognized by the Central Bank of Oman.

How can I open account with Sohar Islamic?

The customer can visit one of Sohar Islamic branches and submit the required documents and open the account.

Can I open a joint account in Sohar Islamic?

Yes, at Sohar Islamic, we open joint accounts. Account activity can be carried out by the account holders, according to the authorization issued by the bank, whether the right to practice alone or together. However, it is not possible to open a joint account with a person under the age of 18 years.

Can I open an account for a minor in Sohar Islamic?

Yes you can open a saving account for a minor under the age of 18 and the account is opened and administered by the guardian.

Are there special restrictions on the movements and withdrawals from saving accounts?

There are no restrictions that hinder the movements and withdrawals of funds from a saving account.

How to apply for Murabaha financing to by a car?

You can apply at any of the bank’s branches.

Should I transfer my salary to the bank to get Murabaha financing “Car purchase”?

Yes, but you may not need to do if you meet certain special conditions.

Can I apply for Goods Murabaha finance?

You can apply at any of the bank’s branches.

Can I get an approval for financing from Sohar Islamic to buy any goods by Murabaha?

Yes, except goods that are forbidden by Sharia or prohibited according to the laws of the Sultanate such as: Alcohol – Pork products – Drugs – Media materials blasphemous – Harmful consumption materials.

Do I own a financed property during the finance period?

In Murabaha financing, you own the property which is mortgaged in favor of the bank until full installment payment is made. In ijara financing, the property only comes into the customer’s ownership at the end of the financing period.

What benefits come to me when i get a finance to purchase of house throw Islamic way?

All products and services offered by Sohar Islamic are prepared according to the Sharia rules and are free from Riba. The contracts governing these services are approved by the Bank’s Sharia Supervisory Board.

If I want to make an early settlement, do I have to pay the remaining amount in full?

Yes, if you want to make an early settlement, you have to pay the remaining amount in full.

Which finance has the longest tenor?

Ijarah financing can be taken for a maximum period of twenty five years.

What is the maximum amount allowed for financing?

The determination of the maximum limit depends on the type of finance required, the guarantees provided and the allowance period.

What is the minimum age required to apply for home financing?

Minimum age for home financing is 18 years for Omani’s and 30 years for expatriates for a maximum period of 25 years.

Do you finance a property under construction?

Yes.

How do I apply for home finance?

You can visit your nearest branches and enquire within.

Can you tell me the benefits and document required to obtain home finance from Sohar Islamic?

Benefits:

  • The repayment period is up to 25 years.
  • Financing up to 80%
  • Special price for the first year
  • There is also a conversion service for a customer’s existing interest based loans.
  • There is no early payment fee after the first third of the financing period.
  • Quick procedures
  • Joint financing facilities / joint account

Documental Requirements:

Omani
ID card

GCC citizens
Passport and ID card

Expertise

  • Residence card and passport with valid visa.
  • Copy of Mulkiya / Krooki
  • Salary certificate issued by company
  • Salary transfer letter issued by company in favor of Sohar Islamic.
OmaniNon Omani
300 OMR750 OMRMinimum Salary
3 Month24 MonthMinimum Duration of Service
18 Years30 YearsMinimum Age
What is the finance amount I can get to buy a car and how much is the monthly installment?

You can find this out easily through our electronic calculator.

Can I get auto finance if I have another financing?

Yes, but the total monthly installments you pay currently and monthly installments of the car should not exceed 50% of your monthly income.

Do I need a driving license to get Murabaha Auto Finance?

You need a valid driving license if you drive the car yourself. However, you can also delegate someone else to drive, if you do not have a driver's license or do not want to drive your own car. It would be preferable to ascertain who is involved in the subject as well.

Does Sohar Islamic deal with all agents in Oman?

Yes, we deal with all agents in Oman and some car showrooms as well.

Can I sell the car during the installment period?

Yes, the car belongs to you. If you decide to sell the car, you should settle your outstanding amount in full.

What are the benefits of getting car financing from Sohar Islamic?

Advantages:

  • Financing up to 80% of the cost.
  • Sharia-compliant financing available for new and used vehicles
  • Funding is available with or without salary transfer
  • Up to 7 years for new cars
  • Up to 5 years used cars
  • Competitive prices
  • Quick procedures
  • Financing is available for all known brands
  • Provide a high funding limit

For required documents:

  • Omanis: ID card
  • Citizens of GCC countries: passport or ID card of the State
  • Arrivals: A valid residence permit and passport

For new cars: Offer of the car in the name of Sohar Islamic

Terms of eligibility for car finance:

OmaniNon Omani
300 OMR400 OMRMinimum Salary
3 Month3 MonthMinimum Duration of Service
18 Years25 YearsMinimum Age
What are the periods / type of deposits that Sohar Islamic deal with?
Saving Account3 Month6 Month1 Year
Can you tell me about the Sharia Board in Sohar Islamic?
Sheikh Azzan Nasser Farfour Amiri(Omani)Chairman of the Sharia Board
Dr. Muddassir Siddiqui(American)Member of the Board
Sheikh Fahad Mohammed Hilal Al Khalili(Omani)Member of the Board
Sheikh Al Mu'tasim Said Al Mawaali(Omani)Member of the Board