General Business Laws

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Q: What is (the definition of) a transaction of sale?
A: It is the exchange of one commodity for another commodity with the (happy) consent of the transactors.

Q: How is a sale contracted?
A: A sale is contracted with offer and acceptances which is effected in the past tense (i.e. the words used for offer and acceptance is to be in the past tense). It will be as though one of the transactors (contractors) is saying: ‘I sold (this article) to you’ and the other is saying: ‘I have bought it from you’.

Q: If one of the transactors stipulates the sale (by making an offer or acceptance), will the sale then be binding upon the other person?
A: A sale is not binding by offer (or acceptance) alone, in fact it will only be binding if both the offer and acceptance are effected. If one of the contracting parties places an offer of sale, then the other has a choice, if he pleases he may accept or reject during that same sitting. If he accepts then the sale will be binding. In the case of acceptance neither of the parties will have a choice (of rescinding the sale).

Q: Why is the acceptance limited to the same sitting?
A: Because if one of the parties places the offer of sale, then he goes away from that place or the other person goes away before the acceptance is made, then the offer of sale will be rendered null and void (invalid).

Q: When the sale has been concluded, does the buyer have any recourse to choice (i.e. is there a possibility of cancelling the sale or returning the goods for some or any other reason)?
A: Yes, he has that choice, if a fault is found on the article that he purchased. If he desires he may return it or he may keep it. Similarly, the buyer has a choice of returning or keeping the article if he had purchased it without seeing it.

Q: Is a credit sale permissible?
A: A sale is permissible with cash or credit, however in a credit sale, the duration (and all terms) of credit must be known at the time of sale.

Q: A person bought goods by indicating towards it, however the quantity of the article was not specified, neither by weight nor measure. Alternatively, two persons traded one type of commodity for another (amongst themselves) without specifying the quantities, but this trade was effected by indication (eg. One says ‘I trade this box of pens for that heap of wheat). Are these two sales valid?
A: Yes both sales are valid. Because the exchange which is indicated towards (either the currency or solid article), does not necessitate a description of its quantity for the permissibility of the sale. Because surely an indication is in itself a means of description.

Q: If a currency is specified, but neither the type nor quantity is given (specified), what is the ruling of this type of sale?
A: If the currency is specified e.g. A person said ‘I bought from you (x Article) in exchange for silver (or gold or dinars or dirhams or rands or wheat), but neither type, nor quantity is specified, then such a sale is invalid. To specify quantity is an inherent condition of any sale. A sale will be valid if one says: ‘I have bought (x article) in exchange for these (x amount) dirhams’, and he specifies the type, eg. Misri (Egyptian) or Shaami (Syrian) dirhams and he specifies the quality, eg. Perfectly minted or imperfect coins.

Q: If a currency is specified, but the description thereof is not, eg. If a person says ‘I have sold for ten dirhams.’ And in that city there are different types (qualities) of dirhams, but all are of the same value. Will the sale be valid in this case if the buyer accepts?
A: If it is like this, then it will be valid. That type (quality) of dirham will apply in this sale which is in general use by the dwellers of that place.

Q: Dirham is specified, but in that place (where sale occurred) there are different types of dirhams of varying value. Will a ruling of the validity of the sale be given in this instance?
A: If the monetary value of the different dirhams differ, then the sale is Faasid (imperfect), unless one specific type of dirham and the quantity is mentioned.

Q: Is the sale of food and grain valid if executed by measure or estimate?
A: The sale of food is valid if done in exchange for dirham, dinar, money or grain. However the sale of food for food (both of same type) will not be valid by estimate, because there is a possibility of Riba (interest).

Q: One person said to another ‘I sold (am selling to you) this container full of wheat’, and the other accepts notwithstanding the fact that he does not know the precise quantity (capacity) of the container when filled. Will this sale be valid?
A: The sale of a specific filled container is valid even though the exact capacity thereof is unknown.

Q: What is the ruling of a sale executed by using a stone of unknown weight as a measure?
A: This too, is valid and permissible.

Q: A person sells a heap of grain stipulating each qafeez (measure of weight) for a dirham. Is such a sale valid?
A: The sale of only one qafeez will be valid in this instance and invalid for the rest, unless the total weight is specified at time of sale.

Q: A person sold a flock of sheep and said ‘Each sheep for a dirham’, What is the ruling in this case?
A: The sale is Faasid with regard to the whole flock.

Q: What is the ruling regarding a person selling cloth in length (a roll of cloth), each length (eg. metre) for a dirham, and the total length is not stated?
A: This sale is neither valid for one length (metre) nor for the entire roll.

Q: What is the ruling regarding the person selling a heap of food, stating that it is a hundred qafeez and it costs a hundred dirhams. Thereafter the buyer finds that it is less than a hundred qafeez?
A: The buyer has a choice. If he wishes he may take this heap for its proportionate value or he may cancel the sale.

Q: What if the heap is more than 100 qafeez?
A: The excess is the sellers.

Q: A person buys cloth accepting it to be 10 metres for ten dirhams, or he buys 100 metre squared land for 100 dirhams. What is the ruling if the buyer finds this cloth or land to be less than what the seller stated it to be?
A: The buyer has a choice. If he wishes he may take it for the full price or he may leave it.

Q: What if he finds it to be more than what was specified?
A The entire commodity will be the buyers for the price agreed upon. The seller has no choice. This applies to land as well.

Q: What is the ruling in this case that the seller says ‘I sold (am selling) this to you – it is a 100 metres for a 100 dirhams, each metre for one dirham.’ Then the buyer finds it to be more or less?
A: If it is less than specified then the buyer has a choice to either take it for the proportionate value or to leave it. If it is more, then he has a choice to either take all for the proportionate value or he may cancel the sale.

Q: If the seller says ‘I sold this bale of cloth to you – it comprises 10 pieces of cloth for a 100 dirharns, each cloth is 10 dirhams.’ Thereafter the bale is found to be more or less than 10 pieces. ‘What is the ruling?
A: If it is less than 10 pieces, then the sale will be valid for the proportionate value. If it is more than 10 pieces then the sale is Faasid.

Q: A person sells a house and does not mention except the house (i.e. no mention of the fixtures, fittings etc.). What is included in this sale?
A: If one sells a house, then the following are included in the sale, even if not mentioned; the courtyard, the structure (walls, roof, doors, windows, etc.), and the keys of the locks.

Q: What is the ruling regarding the sale of that land which has date-palms and other trees?
A: Date-palms and other trees will be included in the sale of land whether specified or not.

Q: What is the ruling if a land is sold whereupon there are plantations (i.e. the land was cultivated), and the cultivation’s are not specified in the sale?
A: Plantations are not included in the sale of land unless specified.

Q: If a date-palm or a tree is sold whilst it has dates or fruits still growing upon it, then who does the fruit belong to?
A: The fruit belongs to the seller, unless the buyer has specified otherwise. It will be said to the seller ’Remove your fruits and hand over the tree to the buyer.’

Q: Is it permissible to sell unripe fruits whilst still on a tree?
A: It is permissible to sell fruit on a tree, whether it has ripened or not. It will be necessary for the buyer to remove the fruits in the same condition (of Sale).

Q: What if a condition is placed to leave the fruit on the tree till it has ripened?
A: This condition will render the sale Faasid.

Q: Fruit is sold whilst upon a tree, but a specific quantity is excluded from the sale. Is this type of sale valid?
A: No.

Q: Is the sale of corn in its ear or beans in its skin valid?
A: This will be valid if sold for a different type of commodity. However, if sold for the same type (eg. Corn for corn), then it will be invalid due to a possibility of Riba.

Q: If a commodity is sold by weight or measure, and this (i.e. the weight or measure) is so excessive that it necessitates the hiring of a person to measure it, then who will be responsible for this expense?
A: The seller.

Q: Someone bought an artide for dinars (gold coins) or dirhams (silver coins) and the seller requires authenticity (and proper evaluation) of these coins. Who will be liable for the fee of the evaluator?
A: The seller.

Q: The currency used in a sale is excessive and necessitates someone to count it. Upon whom is the fee of the counter binding?
A: The buyer.

Q: Is it necessary for the sold article to be handed over (to buyer) first, or is it necessary for the buyer to hand over the exchange (money) first?
A: If the article is sold in exchange for currency, then it will be told to the buyer to hand over the money first, when he has done this then it will be said to the seller to hand over the article of sale.

If one commodity is sold in exchange for another one or one currency is exchanged for another, then it will be said to both the contracting parties to hand over their respective items simultaneously.

Business Laws [Mufti Muhammad Aashiq Illahi, translated by Mufti AH Elias ]