Friday, September 20, 2013

Q&A: Ahkam Related to Buying and Selling

Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
We know that it's not permissible to buy gold for silver or any other different types except hand to hand, and it's not permissible to buy it with debt. Moreover, we buy some times salt or bread with debt, so is this forbidden or not? Please clarify and may Allah bless you.
Your brother Abu Ali from Palestine

Wa Alaikum Assalam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu
1. Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
»الذهب بالذهب، والفضة بالفضة، والبُر بالبُر، والشعير بالشعير، والتمر بالتمر، والملح بالملح مثلاً بمثل سواءً بسواء يداً بيد. فإذا اختلفت هذه الأصناف فبيعوا كيف شئتم إذا كان يداً بيد«
"Gold for gold, and silver for silver, and wheat for wheat, and barley for barley, and dates for dates, and salt for salt, equal for equal, equal in weight, and hand to hand (on the spot), If these types differed then sell as you desire as long as it is hand to hand (on the spot)." Narrated by Ubada Ibn us-Samit (ra) on the authority of Bukhari and Muslim.
The text of the Hadith is clear when there is a difference in these usurious types, that selling is however you want, which means that buying some thing for its similarity is not a condition but selling hand to hand is a condition. The word "types" was mentioned general for all the usurious types, all of the six, and nothing is excluded except with another text. Because there is no other text, the ruling is the permissibility of buying wheat for barley, or wheat for gold, or barley for silver, or dates for salt, or dates for gold, or salt for silver, etc... Even if the exchange values and the prices differ, it should be hand to hand and not debt. What applies to gold and silver applies also to banknotes because of the common (cash) reason, which means using it for cost and wages.
2. An exception from (hand to hand selling of the usurious types) was mentioned in case of giving security when buying the four types "wheat, barley, salt, and dates" in cash.
وذلك لحديث مسلم عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رضي الله عنها، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: اشْتَرَى مِنْ يَهُودِيٍّ طَعَامًا إِلَى أَجَلٍ، وَرَهَنَهُ دِرْعًا لَهُ مِنْ حَدِيدٍ
On the authority of Muslim, narrated by A'isha (ra) that: "The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم bought some foodstuff from a Jew on credit and gave his iron armor to him as a security."
This Hadith means that the messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم bought food in debt but with giving security. Their food, at that time, was from the usurious types, as in the Hadith:
الطعام بالطعام مثلاً بمثل وكان طعامنا يومئذٍ الشعير
"Foodstuff for foodstuff equal for equal, and our food on that day was barley." Narrated by Mu'amar Ibn Abdullah on the authority of Ahmad and Muslim.
For that it is permissible that the four usurious types are bought by debt, if some thing is given as a security to the seller until the buyer gets its price.
3. If the borrower and debtor trust each other, then there is no need for anything to be kept as a security. The evidence for that is the saying of Allah سبحانه وتعالى:
وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ وَلَمْ تَجِدُوا كَاتِبًا فَرِهَانٌ مَقْبُوضَةٌ ۖ فَإِنْ أَمِنَ بَعْضُكُمْ بَعْضًا فَلْيُؤَدِّ الَّذِي اؤْتُمِنَ أَمَانَتَهُ وَلْيَتَّقِ اللَّهَ رَبَّهُ ۗ وَلَا تَكْتُمُوا الشَّهَادَةَ ۚ وَمَنْ يَكْتُمْهَا فَإِنَّهُ آثِمٌ قَلْبُهُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ عَلِيمٌ
"If you are on a journey and cannot find a writer, something can be left as a security. If you leave things on trust with one another the one who is trusted must deliver up his trust and have taqwa of Allah his Lord. Do not conceal testimony. If someone does conceal it, his heart commits a crime. Allah knows what you do."
(Al-Baqara, 2:283)
This noble Ayah shows that security in debt while traveling is gotten rid of, if the borrower and the debtor trust each other. This is applicable to the security when buying by debt one of the four usurious types "wheat, barley, salt, and dates", as Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:
فَإِنْ أَمِنَ بَعْضُكُمْ بَعْضًا فَلْيُؤَدِّ الَّذِي اؤْتُمِنَ أَمَانَتَهُ
"If you leave things on trust with one another the one who is trusted must deliver up his trust."
(Al-Baqara, 2:283)
And it is clear that security in this case can be removed.
4. Then it's permissible to buy the four usurious types, البر والشعير والتمر والملح "wheat, barley, salt, and dates", cash by debt with security until the debt is paid, or without security if they trust each other. Because this needs proof and authentication, and the borrower and debtor should know each other well and trust each other; and this is not attained always, so for the Muslim not to approach Haram, it is better for him not to buy these usurious types by debt unless he is sure and certain that they trust each other. If each of the seller and the buyer is satisfied with that, then buying these types by debt is permissible, which means that salt that you have asked for buying it by debt is permissible, if the noble Ayah is achieved:
فَإِنْ أَمِنَ بَعْضُكُمْ بَعْضًا
"If you leave things on trust with one another"
(Al-Baqara, 2:283)
5. For the knowledge, it was mentioned in the explanation of Sahih al-Bukhari for Ibn Battal in the chapter of buying food for a predetermined time "scholars agree that it's permissible to buy food with known price to a predetermined time."
Also, it was mentioned in the book of Fiqh for the four schools written by al-Jaziri about buying the usurious types:"if one of the exchanged is cash and the other is food, it is fine to postpone it."
It was mentioned in "al-Mughni" written by Ibn al-Qayyem, while he is talking about the prohibition of selling the four types with each other by debt... He said: "in contrary to selling for dirhams or any other weighted type for a later time, then it has to be done like that."
Your brother Ata' bin Khalil Abu al-Rashtah
22 Shawwal 1434 AH
29 August 2013 CE

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