From: Imam Malik's Muwatta
Chapter No. 31, Business Transactions
Hadith No: 26
Chapter No. 31, Business Transactions
Hadith No: 26
Malik said, "There is no harm in buying dates from specified trees or a specified orchard or buying milk from specified sheep when the buyer starts to take them as soon as he has payed the price. That is like buying oil from a container. A man buys some of it for a dinar or two and gives his gold and stipulates that it be measured out for him. There is no harm in that. If the container breaks and the oil is wasted, the buyer has his gold back and there is no transaction between them." Malik said, "There is no harm in everything which is taken right away as it is, like fresh milk and fresh picked dates which the buyer can take on a day-to-day basis. If the supply runs out before the buyer has what he has paid for in full, the seller gives him back the portion of the gold that is owed to him, or else the buyer takes other goods from him to the value of what he is owed and which they mutually agree about. The buyer should stay with the seller until he has taken it. It is disapproved of for the seller to leave because the transaction would then come into the forbidden category of a debt for a debt. If a stated time period for payment or delivery enters into the transaction, it is also disapproved. Delay and deferment are not permitted in it, and are only acceptable when it is standard practice on definite terms by which the seller guarantees it to the buyer, but this is not to be from one specific orchard or from any specific ewes." Malik was asked about a man who bought an orchard from another man in which there were various types of palm-trees - excellent ajwa palms, good kabis palms, adhq palms and othertypes. The seller kept aside from the sale the produce of a certain palm of his choice. Malik said, "That is not good because if he does that, and keeps aside, for instance, dates of the ajwa variety whose yield would be 15 sa, and he picks the dates of the kabis in their place, and the yield of their dates is 10 sa or he picks the ajwa which yield 15 sa and leaves the kabis which yield 10 sa, it is as if he bought the ajwa for the kabis making allowances for their difference of quality. This is the same as if a man dealing with a man who has heaps of dates before him - a heap of 15 sa of ajwa, a heap of 10 sa of kabis, and a heap of 12 sa of cadhq, gives the owner of the dates a dinar to let him choose and take whichever of the heaps he likes." Malik said, "That is not good." Malik was asked what a man who bought fresh dates from the owner of an orchard and advanced him a dinar was entitled to if the crop was spoilt. Malik said, "The buyer makes a reckoning with the owner of the orchard and takes what is due to him of the dinar. If the buyer has taken two-thirds of a dinar's worth of dates, he gets back the third of a dinar which is owed him. If the buyer has taken three-quarters of a dinar's worth of dates, then he gets back the quarter which is owed to him, or they come to a mutual agreement, and the buyer takes what is owed him from his dinar from the owner of the orchard in something else of his choosing. If, for instance, he prefers to take dry dates or some other goods, he takes them according to what is due. If he takes dry dates or some other goods, he should stay with him until he has been paid in full." Malik said, "This is the same situation as hiring out a specified riding-camel or hiring out a slave tailor, carpenter or some other kind of worker or letting a house and taking payment in advance for the hire of the slave or the rent of the house or camel. Then an accident happens to what has been hired resulting in death or something else. The owner of the camel, slave or house returns what remains of the rent of the camel, the hire of the slave or the rent of the house to the one who advanced him the money, and the owner reckons what will settle that up in full. If, for instance, he has provided half of what the man paid for, he returns the remaining half of what he advanced, or according to whatever amount is due." Malik said, "Paying in advance for something which is on hand is only good when the buyer takes possession of what he has paid for as soon as he hands over the gold, whether it be slave, camel, or house, or in the case of dates, he starts to pick them as soon as he has paid the money." It is not good that there be any deferment or credit in such a transaction. Malik said, "An example illustrating what is disapproved of in this situation is that, for instance, a man may say that he will pay someone in advance for the use of his camel to ride in the hajj, and the hajj is still some time off, or he may say something similar to that about a slave or a house. When he does that, he only pays the money in advance on the understanding that if he finds the camel to be sound at the time the hire is due to begin, he will take it by virtue of what he has already paid. If an accident, or death, or something happens to the camel, then he will get his money back and the money he paid in advance will be considered as a loan." Malik said, "This is distinct from someone who takes immediate possession of what he rents or hires, so that it does not fall into the category of 'uncertainty,' or disapproved payment in advance. That is following a common practice. An example of that is that a man buys a slave, or slave-girl, and takes possession of them and pays their price. If something happens to them within the period of the year indemnification contract, he takes his gold back from the one from whom he bought it. There is no harm in that. This is the precedent of the sunna in the matter of selling slaves." Malik said, "Someone who rents a specified slave, or hires a specified camel, for a future date, at which time he will take possession of the camel or slave, has not acted properly because he did not take possession of what he rented or hired, nor is he advancing a loan which the person is responsible to pay back."
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