Earning and seeking sustenance is one of the emphasized recommended acts, as the Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) said: “Worship has seventy parts, and the best of them is the seeking of lawful sustenance.”
However, one should protect himself from the unlawful directions and be cautious about them, and one cannot do so except by studying the religion and learning the laws of the Sharia. The believer should ask before any action, and he should learn before being entangled.
Ruling 386:It is forbidden to sell wine and all intoxicants, and the price received in lieu of it is unlawful and is regarded as ill-gotten property.
Ruling 387: It is forbidden to sell dead bodies, even if they are tahir based on an obligatory precaution. It is permissible to sell those parts of their bodies which did not possess life, like fur and bones, while it is impermissible to sell an animal without a religious evidence that it is slaughtered in accordance with the Sharia.
Ruling 388: It is forbidden to sell pigs and dogs – other than hunting dogs – as well as monkeys based on an obligatory precaution. It is permissible to sell predatory animals and other animals which are unlawful to eat if their benefit is not restricted to unlawful purposes.
Ruling 389: It is permissible to sell the originally najis things except those which have been mentioned above, if they have a lawful benefit.
Ruling 390: The aforementioned items, even if making earnings from them is unlawful, they are owned by the proprietor; however, he is not allowed to make earnings from them, even if it is through means other than selling, such as leasing it, or making it a reward, etc.
Ruling 391: Those things which have become najis and can be made tahir are permissible to sell, but it is obligatory for the seller to inform the buyer of it being najis if it is something eaten or drunk, or if it is water which is used for taharah.
Ruling 392: It is forbidden to produce and sell tools and objects which have been prepared in its current form for unlawful acts, such as idols, crucifixes, misguiding books, and instruments used for unlawful enjoyments, e.g. music and gambling.
Ruling 393: Cheating is forbidden. Using counterfeit money comes under this category, but it is not obligatory to destroy it.
Ruling 394: It is permissible to buy and sell copies of the Holy Quran, but it is disliked to do so.
Ruling 395: It is forbidden to lease out property for unlawful benefits, such as leasing out a shop for selling wine. Rather, such leasing is void.
Ruling 396: Bribery is forbidden, whether it is paid to influence the decision of a judge or in any other situation, except if saving the right of the payer of the bribe or alleviating injustice against him rests upon it. Although it is lawful to give the bribe in the said case, it is unlawful for the person being bribed to take it.
Ruling 397: It is forbidden to earn money through wagering bets in gambling and the like, except in al-sabq and al-rimayah, as is explained in more detailed books of Islamic law.
Ruling 398: It is permissible to deal in lottery tickets, except if it is actually betting between participants in order for the winner of a random draw to claim the wagered money, in such a way that the money remains in suspension and without owner until the winner of the draw takes ownership of it; in such a situation, it will become unlawful.
Ruling 399: There is no problem with life and accident insurance contracts if they are based on mutual contraction and exchange between the two parties, the insurer and the insured.
Ruling 400: It is permissible to take fees in return for teaching the Holy Quran, and it is best to not stipulate it as a condition. Similarly, it is permissible to take a fee for performing the verbal pronouncements of contracts and Sharia-defined unilateral declarations.
Ruling 401: Leasings on unlawful benefits and hirings for unlawful work are prohibited and void, and so is the case with all kinds of earnings from them; if the transaction is prohibited, it is also void, and that which has been exchanged between the parties is also unlawful, such as the rent for the leaser and the benefit for the lessee.
Ruling 402: It is prohibited for a man to shave his beard, and it is prohibited for a person to make an earning in shaving the beards of others. This is so unless the man fears considerable harm in not having his beard shaved. It is permissible in all cases to shave the cheeks.
Ruling 403: It is forbidden to make a picture of humans and animals, and it is permissible to draw a part of the body, as it is also permissible to create a photographic picture. As for acquiring pictures, it is lawful but disliked, as it is also permissible to buy and sell them as long as it does not involve its manufacture. .
Ruling 404: It is forbidden to print, distribute and circulate books of misguidance and vice if it involves the strengthening of falsehood or if one fears misguidance from it, or the like.
Ruling 405: It is forbidden to report information from the unseen by way of certainty, and it is forbidden to earn by doing so.
Ruling 406: It is forbidden to summon Jinns and spirits if they will harm a believer or if it is done so by means of magic.
The Sale Contract
Ruling 407: The sale takes place by whatever way that indicates that both parties to the contract intend to abide by it, whether it’s verbal, written, by sign, or physical delivery of the items to be exchanged.
Ruling 408: It is a necessary for the validity of the contract that it be completed and discharged, i.e. the contract’s application should not be dependent upon a non-acquired matter at the time of contract. In fact, based on an obligatory precaution, it should not be dependent upon a matter about which it is doubted by either of the parties of the contract whether it is acquired or not. This does not apply to the provisions and conditions within the contract itself.
Ruling 409: It is not necessary that one should address the other directly, or that it be consummated in one meeting or that the offer be immediately followed by acceptance.
Conditions for the Validity of the Contract
(1) The Conditions for the Parties of the Contract
Ruling 410: Both parties should be adult (as per the Sharia), sane, entering into the contract by choice, and that they have the right of disposal over the item being sold or the money being paid, such that one is the owner of it or his agent, or he is given permission to deal with it, or he is a guardian of the owner.
Ruling 411: If somebody sells something without having the right of disposal over it, the sale is valid if it is subsequently followed by the permission of whoever does have the right of disposal over it, as long as the other party remains abiding to the transaction. >
(2) The Conditions for the Items of Exchange
Ruling 412: It is not necessary that both items of exchange (the item being sold and the money paid for it) are material wealth i.e. that which reasonable people would wish to acquire. For example, one can sell insects which reasonable people would not generally wish to have if there is a specific purpose in taking ownership of them.
Ruling 413: The items of exchange must be specified. So the contract that is based on selling one of a number of items is not valid; similarly, the contract that is based on buying something for one of a number of prices is also invalid; for example, the sale of either food or clothes for a specific price or the sale of food for ten dollars or nine euros.
Ruling 414: For the sale contract to be valid, the weight of the sold goods must be known during the sale contract if the item is commonly sold by weight, similarly if it is commonly measured by a specific scale, like a scoop or a bucket, such measurement should be known. As an obligatory precaution the same is the case for the paid price. In fact, as an obligatory precaution, the quantity of both of the exchanged items by their common scales of measurements – such as their weight, volume, number, any other scale or measurement, and observation – as well as their locations, must be known. However, in certain circumstances if something is usually sold without such certain specifications, such a sale is valid in such situations.
Ruling 415: If one knows the quantity of the sold items and the amount of the agreed price, it is not necessary to see them for the contract to be valid. If it is not possible to know the quantity of the item, even by observation – such as milk in the udder – it is permissible to sell it if the soundness of some of it is known. Otherwise, it is necessary to add something specific and known to the sold item so that its sale is valid.
Ruling 416: It is also a condition of the sold goods that the buyer can actually acquire it, so it should not be, for example, lost property or a stray animal. Also, both items in exchange should be free to be disposed with, so it is not permissible to sell an item that is subject to waqf, or an item that is subject to a specific vow (nadhr) and selling it will contravene the vow, or an item that has become associated with somebody else’ rights – like if it is was kept as security against a loan – with the exception of particular circumstances which are mentioned in the detailed books of Islamic law. As for the sale that contravenes an oath (yameen) or a promise (ahd), it is forbidden and expiation (kaffarah) will become obligatory, but the sale itself is valid and effective.
The Right of Withdrawal
Contractual obligations arising out of a sale cannot be annulled except with the agreement of both parties, or by establishing the right of withdrawal for them both or one of them. Such a right is of ten types:
(1) The right of withdrawal at the immediate meeting:
This right is established for both parties as long as they are still physically together after the contract is consummated, and they have not parted.
(2) The right of withdrawal in the sale of animals:
This right has a term of three days, and it is established for the one who has received the animal, as the item being sold or as payment for an item bought.
(3) The right of withdrawal as stipulated:
This is a right which has been stipulated within the contract in favour of the seller or the buyer or both of them.
(4) The right of withdrawal due to inequity:
This right is established for the buyer if he bought an item for a price higher than the market price, or for the seller if he sold it for less than the market price, with the condition that it was by inadvertence and inattention towards it, or that it was agreed that the transaction would be made according to the market price.
(5) The right of withdrawal due to delay:
If the contract did not qualify the sale with time of exchange, it would require the expeditious delivery of the sold item and its receipt. Delay of this for over three days will grant the seller the right of withdrawal if the buyer has delayed in receiving the goods, or to the buyer if the seller has delayed in delivering them. As an obligatory precaution, the same is said for the payment of the goods being sold as well, so the right of withdrawal is not established until three days have passed.
All this is the case if it is not stipulated in the contract that the deadline of delivery is less than three days or in the delay of delivery for more than three days. With such provisions in the contract, it is necessary to abide by them.
Items which perish or are harmed by a delay of a night – such as meat, and some types of vegetables – are excluded from this if the goods and the payment have not been exchanged, as the right of withdrawal in such cases is established at the arrival of the following night, except if provisions are made in the contract contrary to this.
(6) The right of withdrawal by visual inspection:
As mentioned before, it is not necessary to see the two items of exchange if knowledge of their quantity does not depend on it. As for the attributes of the sold goods, if knowledge of them depends on seeing them the sale is valid without seeing them, but the right of withdrawal is established for the one who does not see the goods. Similarly, as an obligatory precaution , the right of withdrawal is also established for the one who did not see the payment made, if knowledge about its attributes depends on seeing it, which is in the form of a particular specific item, rather than general money.
(7) The right of withdrawal for faulty goods:
An item is faulty if it is not as it commonly should be. So, if a person bought a commodity and it was faulty, he has the right to either be satisfied with the transaction as it is, or to return it, provided that he did not know about the fault beforehand. If it is not possible to return it, he has the right to compensation in proportion to the difference in value between the item in sound condition and the item in its current faulty condition.
(8) The right of withdrawal for misrepresentation:
Misrepresenting the integral description of the actual items of exchange will result in the annulling of the contract. However, if a non-integral attribute of the item is misrepresented, and if it was made a condition of the sale that the item will possess such an attribute, the right of withdrawal will be established.
(9) The right of withdrawal for partial exchange:
If the sale is incomplete in some of the sold goods, whether it is due to the sale of such goods not being valid – such as alcohol – or if it is due to the lack of proprietorship over the goods – such as it being under waqf – the buyer will have the right to either annul the whole contract, or to agree to how the exchange stands now – with the sale being incomplete – with the repayment of the portion of the price paid in respect to the part of the goods not delivered. In the latter case – i.e. if the buyer chooses to annul part of the exchange – the seller will then have the right of withdrawal in respect of the remaining part, i.e. he can annul the whole contract.
(10) The right of withdrawal for violating a condition:
Details of this right will follow under the section on the conditions of sale.
Ruling 417: All the aforementioned rights of withdrawal will be inapplicable in the following situations:
(1) If it has been made a condition of the contract of sale that such rights do not apply;
(2) If the rights have been dropped after the contract;
(3) If the contract has been executed and has been affirmed and adhered to, by any way that indicates it, such as dealing with the bought item in a way that does not show that he is thinking of returning it while knowing that he has such a right.
The Conditions in the Contract
A condition in a contract is a part of the contract that must be observed and adhered to if the following provisions are met:
(a) the contract is based on it, by being mentioned explicitly or it is implied by contest;
(b) it does not contravene the Quran or the Sunnah;
(c) it does not negate the purpose of the contract; the contract in its entirety is void if this provision is unmet.
(d) it is possible for the party concerned to abide by it;
Delivery and Receipt
Ruling 418: Each party is required to give to the other party what is due when the other party does so and to allow each other possession in doing so, provided that there is no condition in the sale contract to the contrary. Therefore, if the sold item grows in value before possession is given to the buyer, the growth in value is for the buyer, and if it is damaged the seller is liable. However, if the buyer refuses to take possession while being able to do so, he is liable for the damage.
Ruling 419: It is permissible for the buyer to sell the item before taking possession over it, although it is disliked, with the condition that he sells it for no profit or loss, and that it is not something that is weighed or measured, based on an obligatory precaution. However, these conditions do not apply if one partner is selling his share of the partnership to another partner. As an obligatory precaution, the above applies to the price paid for the bought item in respect to the seller, as well.
Ruling 420: In a sale of gold for silver, or vice-versa, it is necessary to exchange possession together, otherwise the sale is void.
Cash and Deferred Payment
Cash payment refers to payment of the price of an item being bought without deferral or delay, and all sales – which are not qualified by any provisions to the contrary – are based on this.
Deferred payment refers to payment of the price of an item being bought with deferral or delay. In such a case it is necessary that there are terms in the contract that allow this, and that the payment is generic money – rather than any specific items – for which the buyer is liable for.
Ruling 421: There is no limit to the set period of deferment so it can be for a short or a long period, but as an obligatory precaution, it is necessary that the time limit is known and precise. If the buyer makes the payment before the end of the deferral period, the seller is not obligated to take it.
Ruling 422: It is permissible in a sale where payment is deferred to set a higher price – than the normal cash price – due to the delay in payment. However, it is not permissible to allow the deferral of payment a second time for another increase in price, as this will be considered interest. Immediate cash payment for a decrease in the price is permissible, such that the seller will release the buyer of any liability over the remainder of the price.
Ruling 423: A sale contract with a deferred payment is invalid if it is stipulated that the buyer will then sell it back to the seller for a lower price, and – based on an obligatory precaution – vice-versa. In fact, as an obligatory precaution, nothing should be sold with the condition that the buyer sells it back to the seller in any circumstance.
Sale Margins (Musawama, Murabaha, Muwadha’a and Tawliya)
Musawamah refers to a sale in which the price at which the item of sale was bought by the buyer is not taken into consideration in the contract of sale, and this is the most preferred type of sale.
Tawliyah refers to a sale in which the price of the item of sale being sold is the same price at which it was bought by the seller, i.e. the contract is based on the seller breaking even.
Muwadha’ah refers to a sale in which the price of the item of sale being sold is less than the price at which it was bought by the seller, i.e. the contract is based on the seller making a loss.
Murabahah refers to a sale in which the price of the item of sale being sold is more than the price at which it was bought by the seller, i.e. the contract is based on the seller making a profit. For a trade to be considered as murabahah, the increase in the price should be mentioned as a profit as an obligatory precaution. .
Ruling 424: In the latter three types of sales, it is necessary to specify the price at which the item was bought by the seller, as an obligatory precaution. If the seller does not mention it correctly, the sale is valid, but the buyer has the right of withdrawal due to the misrepresentation of the attribute of the item sold to him.
Ruling 425: If the seller bought the sold items for a deferred payment – in the latter three types of sales – it is obligatory for him to inform the buyer of the deferment. If he does not do so, the same deferment will be given to the buyer.
Ruling 426: If the owner of the property specifies a price to a broker (who will sell it on his behalf), and said to him, “Whatever exceeds this price is yours,” this will be permissible, but it is not permissible for the broker to sell the property in a murabaha sale, such that the amount specified by the buyer is regarded as the buying price and anything above that is profit, because he did not buy it from the seller.
Interest is amongst the strongly forbidden things and one of the cardinal offences, and it has been regarded as one of the greatest of the greater sins.
It is divided into two categories:
(1) Interest of loan
(2) Interest of transaction: this occurs when one side of the exchange is greater than the other in quantity, whether the exchange is by a sale or anything else, if the exchange is based on the said addition.
Ruling 427: The prohibition of the second type of interest is based on the following two conditions:
(1) That both sides of exchange should be something weighed or measured. As an obligatory precaution, this also includes items quantified by counting while their attributes are the same, if one side of the exchange is deferred and is greater in number than the side of the exchange to be delivered first.
(2) That both sides of exchange should be of one kind, even if they are different in attribute; it should be noted that wheat and barley are regarded as one kind.
Ruling 428: As an obligatory precaution, it is not permissible to sell meat in exchange for live animals, or vice-versa, whether the meat is of the same type of animal or not.
Ruling 429: It is permissible, although disliked, to sell dried goods in exchange for fresh goods if they are of the same kind and their quantity is the same, like selling raisins for grapes. However, if one is greater than the other in quantity, then it is not permissible.
Ruling 430: In the prohibition of increase (as explained above) it makes no difference whether the increase is of the same type as the rest of the goods of exchange, or whether it’s something else. In fact, this is so, as an obligatory precaution, even if it is labour or an extra condition, such as extra time given for the delivery of one side of the exchange.
Ruling 431: The rules about the prohibition of interest do not apply to transactions between a father and his children (whether they are his sons or daughters), nor between husband and wife, nor between a master and his slave, nor between a Muslim and non-Muslim who is at war with Muslims as long as the addition is for the Muslim.
Ruling 432: It is permissible to deposit money in a private non-Muslim bank if they pay interest to the Muslim, and this is not permissible in respect to private Muslim banks.
Ruling 433: It is permissible to deposit money in government banks - other than that of governments that are not based on religious authority - without the intention of making it a condition that one will receive the interest, and one should deal with it on the basis that it is money whose owner is unknown, i.e. one should receive it with the intention of being on behalf of his Eminence Sayyid Muhammed Saeed Al-Hakim (may Allah prolong his life) and then intend to own it.
Ruling 434: Whoever takes interest in ignorance of its prohibition, and then came to know that it is forbidden and he repented, what he has already taken will be permissible for him, and he must leave what he has not already taken. As for the one who has taken it knowing that it is forbidden, his repentance will not make what he took as interest permissible for him, and he must return it.
Ruling 435: Whoever inherits wealth from somebody who took interest, and if he knows exactly what items they are, he should return them to their rightful owner; if he does not know the rightful owner, it will be regarded as wealth whose owner is unknown. If the interest has become mixed and indistinguishable from the rest of the wealth inherited, it will become lawful for the inheritor, and the deceased will have the burden of the sin.
Advance Payment and Deferred Delivery (Salaf)
Salaf refers to a sale in which the payment is made in advance and the sold goods – which are not particular specified items – will be given later. This will require a provision in the contract.
Ruling 436: This type of sale has a number of conditions:
(1) Specification of the attributes and characteristics of the sold goods in general, in such a way that will not allow any great differences in the items.
(2) The price is paid before the parties part; otherwise, such a contract will not allow for delayed delivery of the sold items. In fact, as an obligatory precaution, the whole sale will become void.
(3) Exact specification of the deferral period of the goods.
(4) That the sale contract itself is valid; e.g. it does not include interest, and it does not involve the sale of gold for silver or vice-versa, and any other matters that will invalidate the contract.
Ruling 437: It is not obligatory on the buyer to accept the goods he has bought before the deferral limit. If the seller is unable to pass possession of the goods before the deferral limit, the buyer has a choice of either voiding the contract or waiting.
The Sale of Fruits, Crops and Vegetation
Ruling 438: If fruit that has not appeared is to be sold, then there are two scenarios:
(1) If the fruit of one year is sold, then something else must be added to the sale for it to be valid as an obligatory precaution.
(2) If the fruit of more than one year is to be sold, then such a sale is valid without the need to add anything to the sale.
Ruling 439: It is disliked to sell fruit before they begin to ripen. The beginning of the ripening of dates is when it begins to become red or yellow, and of grapes is when they become a bunch. The beginning of the ripening of anything other than dates and grapes is when they become edible or usable, as an obligatory precaution.
Ruling 440: It is not permissible to sell the fruit of date palms and the cultivation of wheat crops by anything else from the same, and the same is the case for all other fruits as an obligatory precaution.
Ruling 441: It is permissible for one who has bought fruit to sell it, before or after he gets possession over it, with profit or without it, and the previously mentioned rule in regards to delivery and possession does not apply to them.
Ruling 442: It is permissible to buy the roots of crops before they give fruit; thereafter he will own the fruits when they appear.
Ruling 443: If what is intended in a purchase is fruit, then before the fruits appear its greens cannot be sold, whether they are lathed or picked or sheared. As for after the fruit appear, the pickings, cuttings or shearings can be included.
Ruling 444: Those produce which do not appear, like potatoes and carrots, they can be sold if one knows the production of some of them, and it is best to conciliate on this, and it is permissible to sell their roots in any case.
Ruling 445: It is permissible for one of two partners who own date palms or trees or crops to accept to take the other’s portion of his produce in exchange for a specified amount. If they agree to this, the partner has the right to the specified amount from his co-partner, whether this amount turned out to be greater than the produce or less than it or equal to it. The same ruling applies if the partners involved are more than two.