Islamic finance
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Islamic finance

Well-informed advice which reflects current trends is what can be expected from our Islamic banking and finance team. Our familiarity with Shari’a scholars, Islamic law, and Islamic finance as well as our role in cutting-edge matters has earned us our reputation as a leading service in this advancing and demanding sector.
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Our lawyers are familiar with Islamic financing principles and structures, including the use of an Adl (collateral agent-stakeholder) in transactions, and contracts such as Ijara (lease), Ijara Wa’iqtina (lease purchase), Istisna’a (contract of construction or manufacture), Mudaraba (capital and services partnership), Murabaha (cost plus profit sale contract) and Tawarruq (purchase of a commodity on credit at a higher price).

We provide legal services to a wide range of domestic and multinational institutions as well as family offices in all phases of Islamic corporate and financing transactions. We have designed, developed, and documented Islamic structures for a variety of transactions including:

Real estate

We represent buyers and sellers in one-off Islamic acquisition, development, and refinancing transactions. Our experts have been involved in some of the first standardised residential and commercial mortgage products along Islamic lines in both the UK and the US.

Sukuk and structured finance

Our attorneys lead workshops on Sukuk issuances before government bodies and regulatory authorities.

Private equity and funds

Our offices represent fund sponsors in the establishment of real estate, equipment leasing, and alternative investment fund vehicles. We have significant experience with leveraged acquisitions as well as growth equity investments and represent Islamic investors as well as targeted businesses and therefore are well-acquainted with the particular legal issues which require careful attention from a Shari’a perspective.

Asset finance

We have a thorough understanding of the application of Islamic structures and assist with a broad range of assets, including aviation, rail and shipping.


Our award winning dispute resolution team have particular expertise in Islamic finance meaning we have a thorough understanding of pitfalls to avoid, making us ideally placed to represent clients when disputes occur.

Restructuring of a US$45 million Islamic finance structured facility 

Advised a Middle Eastern investment bank in respect of the restructuring of a US$45 million Islamic finance structured facility secured against 14 offshore support vessels operating in West Africa, including the taking of an equity position in the group. 

UAE-based bank 

Advising on the provision of subordinated financing under a Murabaha structure to a Middle Eastern leasing company for the purchase of a new Boeing 777 on lease to Emirates. 

Renewable energy fund

Advised on the establishment of a Shari’a compliant fund investing in renewable energy assets. 

UK property developer

Advised the developer on a commodity Murabaha financing for a central London investment property.

DIFC based bank

Advised a DIFC based bank on their participation in an international Islamic finance transaction and their compliance under DFSA regulations.

Middle East finance company

Advised on the finance of the acquisition of shares in an English company involving a mix of compliant and non-compliant investment structures in England and Luxembourg.

US$650 million project financing

Advising a Middle Eastern bank on a US$650 million facility for the construction of an aluminium plant in Bahrain. 

Seera Investment Bank

Secondary buy-out of BWA Water Additives by this Bahrain-based bank, using an innovative Shari’a compliant structure which was voted Deal of The Year by the Financial Times.


Advised on the establishment of a Shari’a compliant US$80 million fund targeting shipping and related projects. This was only the second Shari’a compliant fund established by a Western law firm.

First Energy Bank (FEB) of Bahrain and Novus Aviation 

Advised on the 12-year leasing to Malaysian Airlines of an Airbus A330. The deal involved a mixture of Islamic equity and commercial debt financing.


Rustum Shah Partner and head of Islamic finance

T:  +971 4 407 3903
M:  +971 50 552 5408 Email Rustum | Vcard Office:  Dubai

© Stephenson Harwood LLP 2016. Any reference to Stephenson Harwood in this document means Stephenson Harwood LLP and/or its affiliated undertakings. Any reference to a partner is used to refer to a member of Stephenson Harwood LLP.