Laws of trade

Mufti Abu Muhammad ‘Ali Asghar Attari Madani

Ruling on selling something after the Azaan of Jumu’ah

Question: What do the scholars of Islam and the Muftis of the mighty Shari’ah say regarding the following matter: What is the ruling regarding a person, who has already offered the Jumu’ah Salah, purchasing something from a shopkeeper who has not yet offered Jumu’ah Salah, while the Azaan has already taken place in the Masjid that the shopkeeper will offer Jumu’ah in?

اَلْجَوَابُ بِعَوْنِ الْمَلِکِ الْوَھَّابِ اَللّٰھُمَّ ھِدَایَةَ الْحَقِّ وَالصَّوَابِ

Answer: Even though the buyer has already offered Jumu’ah, however, in the aforementioned scenario, it is not permissible for the shopkeeper to sell any goods, and endeavor for Jumu’ah has become Wajib upon him. Therefore, purchasing anything from him is to aid him in committing a sin, and it is not permissible to do so.

وَاللہُ اَعْلَمُ  عَزَّوَجَلَّ  وَ رَسُوْلُہٗ اَعْلَم  صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم

Ruling on the shopkeeper keeping the reward received from a product himself

Question: What do the scholars of Islam and the Muftis of the mighty Shari’ah say regarding the following matter: Sometimes, companies give some extras with certain products, for example, ketchup, jam, custard sachets, etc., which the company gives to the customer as part of a scheme. We remove these sachets and sell them in our shop. Is it permissible for us to do this?

اَلْجَوَابُ بِعَوْنِ الْمَلِکِ الْوَھَّابِ اَللّٰھُمَّ ھِدَایَةَ الْحَقِّ وَالصَّوَابِ

Answer: It is from the foundational principles of trading that when a person purchases a thing, he becomes the owner of the said thing, and he may make use of that thing as he wishes, in any permissible manner; he is not answerable to the seller for this. For example, a person purchased a house and the house was transferred to his name, the seller cannot now force the buyer to rent out that house to his relative, or to sell it back to him when he sells it, because once the buying and selling has concluded, then both of them have become disengaged. The purchaser is now not bound by such rights.

If we were to observe it in the light of this principle, then the ruling becomes clear that if a shopkeeper receives a product that comes with an extra attached and the shopkeeper has purchased that product, then that extra thing is also included within the buying, and that thing will come into the possession of the buyer. It is now not necessary upon him to give that extra to any customer that purchases that product from him. If he does not give that extra to a customer, he will not be guilty of any Shar’i wrongdoing.

However, if it is viewed through the lens of trading ethics, then there are certain marketing tools that are beneficial for the shopkeeper if he adheres to them. Whenever a company launches a gift scheme, they publicise it widely, so that, by means of the gift scheme, the customer comes to them instead of going to another company, and the company’s sales increase through this. If the shopkeeper does not give that extra to the customer, the company’s sales will not increase and that product will not sell as well, and the shopkeeper will not make as much profit either.

However, if he gives that extra to the customer in accordance to the scheme, not only will the company’s sales increase, but the shopkeeper himself will also benefit, because his income will increase, and the purpose behind the company launching that scheme will also be fulfilled. Therefore, it is a requirement of trade ethics that the product should be given to the customer in the same state that it is received from the company; there is also benefit for trading in this.

Note: In this answer, the extra thing that is bundled together with the main thing is generally known as a ‘gift’, however, in terms of Fiqh, this is considered as part of the product. Therefore, if one knows that such-and-such thing is for such-and-such amount, the intention will be that both things are being purchased together, and when the extra gift is not included in the sale, the product will consist of one item.

وَاللہُ اَعْلَمُ  عَزَّوَجَلَّ  وَ رَسُوْلُہٗ اَعْلَم  صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم

What is the ruling on selling dung and excrement?

Question: What do the scholars of Islam and the Muftis of the mighty Shari’ah say regarding the following matter: What is the ruling on buying/selling dung and excrement?

اَلْجَوَابُ بِعَوْنِ الْمَلِکِ الْوَھَّابِ اَللّٰھُمَّ ھِدَایَةَ الْحَقِّ وَالصَّوَابِ

Answer: The buying/selling of dung is valid. However, it is not permissible to sell human excrement, but if it is mixed with soil or ash, such that they become dominant, then it will be permissible to sell this also. Sadr-ush-Shari’ah رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states the following: ‘It is forbidden to sell human excrement, but the selling of dung is not prohibited. If soil or ash is mixed with human excrement and becomes dominant, just as soil becomes dominant in manure, then it will be permissible to sell it and it will also be permissible to utilise it, for example, by placing it in the fields.’ (Bahar-e-Shari’at, vol. 3, p. 478)

وَاللہُ اَعْلَمُ  عَزَّوَجَلَّ  وَ رَسُوْلُہٗ اَعْلَم  صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم

What is the ruling on dying dust tea with the colour used to dye leather?

Question: What do the scholars of Islam and the Muftis of the mighty Shari’ah say regarding the following matter: We have a business in dust tea and we dye dust tea with the colour used to dye leather, and then sell it to wholesalers and retailers. Sometimes, we have to bribe the officials of the relevant sector also. The question is that, is it permissible to run the business according to the abovementioned method, and is it permissible to buy and sell dust tea?

اَلْجَوَابُ بِعَوْنِ الْمَلِکِ الْوَھَّابِ اَللّٰھُمَّ ھِدَایَةَ الْحَقِّ وَالصَّوَابِ

Answer: It is not permissible in Shari’ah for you to dye the dust tea with the colour used to dye leather; as it entails deception and causing harm to other Muslims; in addition, this is a crime according to the law. It is Haraam to offer a bribe for an unlawful matter. Make sincere repentance from deceiving others and giving bribes.

وَاللہُ اَعْلَمُ  عَزَّوَجَلَّ  وَ رَسُوْلُہٗ اَعْلَم  صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم

Is commission-based work wrong?

Question: What do the scholars of Islam and the Muftis of the mighty Shari’ah say regarding the following matter: The word ‘commission’ is generally associated with offering and taking bribes, but is there any Halal situation in this regards?

اَلْجَوَابُ بِعَوْنِ الْمَلِکِ الْوَھَّابِ اَللّٰھُمَّ ھِدَایَةَ الْحَقِّ وَالصَّوَابِ

Answer: If a certain word is used in various situations, then it is important to keep its intended meaning in every situation in mind; for example, the word Haraam is sometimes used for an illegitimate child and sometimes for Masjid-e-Haraam, however, the situation and context determines the intended meaning there. Commission-based work and brokering is a means of livelihood where one provides a service through his efforts, and as long as the requirements of Shari’ah are fulfilled, this means of earning a livelihood is Halal. Moreover, this means of earning an income has been around for centuries, and none of the scholars of Islam have declared it to be Haraam. Nevertheless, merely referring to bribery as commission will not cause bribery to become Halal, rather, it will remain Haraam.

وَاللہُ اَعْلَمُ عَزَّوَجَلَّ وَ رَسُوْلُہٗ اَعْلَم صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم

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