Istisna' is generally a long-term contract whereby a party undertakes to manufacture, build or construct assets, with an obligation from the manufacturer or producer to deliver them to the customer upon completion.

In practice, the key advantage of an istisna’ contract is that it can provide flexibility to the customer, where payments can be made in installments linked to project completion, at delivery or after project completion.

In contrast to istisna', for salam contract the payment has to be made in full, in advance.

Istisna' involves: the customer (the buyer); the Islamic bank (the seller); and the manufacturer (in some cases it can also involve sub-contractors), where the buyer can obtain financing from the Islamic bank.