Hawala Definition

An informal system for transferring money, especially across borders, in which local agents disperse or collect money or goods on behalf of friends, relatives, or other agents without legal protection or supervision, trusting that all remaining obligations will be settled through future transactions.
American Heritage

A long-established, informal system of money transfer from India and the Middle East, still in use by migrant workers.


Origin of Hawala

  • Arabic ḥawāla bill of exchange from ḥāla to change, turn ḥwl in Semitic roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Arabic حوالة (ħawāla, “transfer, trust")

    From Wiktionary

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