(1,403 words)

(a.), lit. “money-changer”, such persons often functioning as bankers in pre-modern Islam.

In fiḳh [q.v.], ṣarf is a contract of sale ( bayʿ [q.v.]). It applies to currency exchange, originally of gold (dīnārs) to silver (dirhams) and vice-versa. The Ḥadīt̲h̲ provides basic rules for currency exchange, such as that the transaction should be on the spot ( yad an biyad ) [see ribā ]. Among the famous ḥadīt̲h̲ s relating to ṣarf is “Gold for silver is ribā except hand-to-hand” (Mālik, Muwaṭṭaʾ , ṣarf).

Money-changing was an activity apparently engaged in by the earliest Muslims. …

Cite this page
Saeed, Abdullah, “Ṣarrāf”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 18 November 2018 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_8886>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

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