What is the ruling on selling Coffins which are used to bury deceased Non-Muslims?

What is the ruling on selling coffins which are used to bury deceased non-Muslims?

Question 1: What do the scholars of Islam say regarding the following matter: Can one sell coffins which are used to bury deceased non-Muslims or not?

اَلْجَوَابُ بِعَوْنِ الْمَلِکِ الْوَھَّابِ اَللّٰھُمَّ ھِدَایَۃَ الْحَقِّ وَالصَّوَابِ

Answer: Yes, absolutely. One can sell coffins which are used to bury deceased non-Muslims. However, one should not make the intention that he is assisting non-Muslims; rather, he should sell his product and take its price in return. A’la Hadrat, the Imam of the Ahl-us-Sunnah, Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states in Fatawa Razawiyyah, ‘Buying & selling, employing & being employed, giving & receiving gifts alongside [fulfilling] all of their conditions is permissible even with a non-Zimmi[1]; as is buying any product generally which is Mutaqawwim [of value] from a Muslim’s perspective; and selling of any permissible item in which there is no assistance of war and no disrespecting of Islam.’(Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 14, pp. 421)

A’la Hadrat, the Imam of the Ahl-us-Sunnah, the Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه was asked, ‘Is it permissible or not for a Muslim to sell wood to a Hindu who will use it for cremation?’ So, he states in the answer to this, ‘There is no problem in selling the wood لان المعصیةلاتقوم بعینھا (because disobedience is not established by that product itself). However, one should not make the intention of aiding cremation. He should merely sell a product of his and take its price.’(Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 17, pp. 168]

وَاللہُ اَعْلَمُ عَزَّوَجَلَّ وَ رَسُوْلُہٗ اَعْلَم صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم

Answered by: Mufti Abu Muhammad Ali Asghar Attari Madani

If a buying agent buys goods for himself, then what will the method of taking new possession?

Question 2: What do the scholars of Islam say regarding the following matter: Zayd made Bakr his agent in buying a required amount of thread on his behalf. Bakr purchased the required amount of thread, and right now the thread is still in the possession of Bakr. If Bakr wishes to buy the purchased thread from Zayd for himself, then is this permissible? And for this transaction, will he need to take possession again or not? Note: Zayd lives abroad and Bakr finalises matters only over the phone.

اَلْجَوَابُ بِعَوْنِ الْمَلِکِ الْوَھَّابِ اَللّٰھُمَّ ھِدَایَۃَ الْحَقِّ وَالصَّوَابِ

Answer: Yes, absolutely. It is permissible for Bakr to buy that purchased thread from Zayd. However, before the second transaction, Bakr being in possession of the thread cannot substitute for taking possession in the (second) transaction. Rather, after the purchase, Bakr will need to take possession again because the thread that Bakr has is a trust, so Bakr’s possession of it is possession of a trust. When Bakr now buys that thread from Zayd, buying requires the buyer to take the possession of liability, and although the possession of liability can stand in place of the possession of a trust; the possession of a trust cannot stand in place of the possession of liability; and so, taking possession again will now be necessary.

Hence, it is stated in Bahar-e-Shari’at, ‘When the buyer already has possession of the sale item before the sale transaction, then if this possession necessitates liability in the case of the item being destroyed, there is no need to take possession again after the purchase. For example, if the buyer had usurped the item, or he had bought it through an improper [fasid] transaction and then taken possession, and now he purchases it through a valid transaction, then the previous taking of possession is sufficient, and if after the transaction the item is destroyed even before he reaches home, then it is the buyer’s item that has been destroyed. However, if the [initial] possession does not necessitate liability, for example if the item was in the possession of the buyer as a trust, then taking possession again is necessary. This ruling applies everywhere. If both possessions were of the same type i.e. both were possessions of liability or both were possessions of a trust; then one will stand in the place of the other. However, if they were different, then the possession of a liability will stand in place of the possession of a trust; but the possession of a trust will not stand in place of the possession of liability. (Bahar-e-Shari’at, vol. 2, pp. 645)

There are various scenarios for taking possession again

In terms of the case in question, one scenario of a taking possession again is for the thread to be present when Bakr enacts the agreement to buy the thread from Zayd through offer and acceptance. In this case, this presence (of the thread), along with the ability to take possession of the money, will be regarded as a taking possession again, just as it is stated in Fatawa ‘Aalamgiri,

ولو کان فی یدہ عاریة أو ودیعة او رھنا لم یصر قابضا بمجرد العقد الا ان یکون بحضرتہ

Translation: If something was in possession of the buyer with it having been borrowed, entrusted, or pawned, then he will not be regarded as having taken possession [again] just  by the enactment [of the purchase], unless the product is also present at that time with the buyer (in which case taking possession will occur).

(Fatawa Aalamgiri, vol. 3, pp. 23)

The second scenario is when the thread is not present at the time of purchasing at the place where the transaction is taking place; rather, it is somewhere else. In this case, if Bakr is given enough time in which he is able to go and take possession of the thread, it will also be regarded as taking possession again. Just as it is stated in Bada’i Al-Sana’i

’وان کانت ید المشتری ید امانة کید الودیعة والعاریة لایصیر قابضا الا ان یکون بحضرتە اویذھب الی حیث یتمکن من قبضە بالتخلی ‘

Translation: If the buyer has the item with him as a trust, like as a deposit or a borrowed item, then (when purchasing that item) he will not be regarded as having possession of it except if the enactment [of the purchase] takes place in the presence of the product, or if the buyer reaches a place where he is able to take possession of the product by means of it being relinquished for him. [Bada’i Al-Sana’i, vol. 5, pp. 248]

Likewise, it is stated in ‘Inayah,

’ومعنی تجدید القبض ان ینتھی الی موضع فیە العین ویمضی وقت یتمکن فیە من قبضھا‘

Translation: Taking possession again means for him to go to the place where the item is and for such an amount of time to pass in which he is able to take possession of the item. (‘Inayah, vol. 7, pp. 493)

وَاللہُ اَعْلَمُ عَزَّوَجَلَّ وَ رَسُوْلُہٗ اَعْلَم صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم

Answered by: Mufti Abu Muhammad Ali Asghar Attari Madani



[1] [A non-Muslim who is not living in a Muslim governance]

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