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We want to start a business together; do we have to split the profits equally?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

I and a few friends of mine have planned to start an engineering consulting firm together. We have planned for two roles:
1) As a consultant general. Meaning of consultant: Consultants are individuals that typically work for themselves but may also be associated with a consulting firm. They, for a fee, give advice or provide a service in a field of specialized knowledge or training. The consultants can work alone or with the clients’ staff. So as a firm we will get money from them and provide technical support to them (out sourcing).

2) As a consult staffing company: a company that provides consultants to the clients (like manpower consulting). This is particularly common in the technology sector. Consultants are often called contractors in the technology sector in reference to their employment contract. When a client demands their need for manpower, we will select a few people or take an interview of them and make them work for that client under our name. Then that client will send us the payment.

Our doubt is; we are from different areas. So how should we share the profit and loss amongst ourselves? One of my friends is doing design, and the other is handling the manpower. If the one handling the manpower gets more income than the one who does the design, do we have to share it amongst ourselves equally or can we have some percentage of sharing? Please advise us what to do.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

The type of contract that you and your friends hope to implement is called شركة الابدان (shirkatul abdaan. This is when two or more people decide to work together without any capital (no money invested from either party) and agree to split the profits between them according to the agreement they make (can be equal or different percentages). It will be permissible whether the craft/ line of work is the same or different. And it will also be permissible whether the partners are from different places or the same place. [1]


وَأَمَّا شَرِكَةُ الصَّنَائِعِ ) وَتُسَمَّى شَرِكَةَ الْأَبْدَانِ وَشَرِكَةَ الْأَعْمَالِ وَشَرِكَةَ التَّقَبُّلِ .

( قَوْلُهُ : فَالْخَيَّاطَانِ وَالصَّبَّاغَانِ يَشْتَرِكَانِ عَلَى أَنْ يَتَقَبَّلَا الْأَعْمَالَ وَيَكُونَ الْكَسْبُ بَيْنَهُمَا فَيَجُوزَ ذَلِكَ ) وَسَوَاءٌ اتَّفَقَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ ، أَوْ اخْتَلَفَتْ فَالشَّرِكَةُ جَائِزَةٌ كَالْخَيَّاطَيْنِ ، وَالْإِسْكَافَيْنِ ، أَوْ أَحَدُهُمَا خَيَّاطٌ ، وَالْآخَرُ إسْكَافٌ ، أَوْ صَبَّاغٌ .

( الجوهرة النيرة شرح مختصر القدوري)


We recommend that you have a contract drawn up that clearly states the terms and conditions of the contract and the allotted profits etc, and you should keep the following Hadith-e- Qudsi in mind:


يقول الله تعالى : أنا ثالث الشريكين ، ما لم يخن أحدهما صاحبه . فإذا خان خرجت من بينهما


Finally, Allah the Almighty says: ‘I am the third of two partners as long as they don’t deceive each other. Then when they deceive each other, I leave them.’

(Abu Dawud, Dare Qutni, Mustadrak)

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mawlana Saanwal ibn Muhammad,

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

[1] (القدوري /الفقه الإسلامي وأدلته)

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This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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