Thursday, January 13, 2005

Conditions for the sales contract to be valid

Conditions of validity pertaining to the contract parties

Each party must be sane, but it is not necessary to have reached puberty.

There must be two parties bound by the contract

  • The exception here is the case of a father buying and selling to his minor child - provided that the price is not out of the market range in the child’s disfavor. This is because the father will not usually act against the best interest of the child, and for this it is allowed just like it is allowed to deal with an orphan in a way that makes him better off, as established by the Quran (6, 152).

    (ولا تقربوا مال اليتيم إلا بالتي هي أحسن)

  • The trustee of a child, unlike the father, can only do this if it is clearly in the benefit of the child. If it is clearly in the benefit of the child, it is allowed based on him being the child’s father’s chosen caretaker.
  • A person cannot be agent for both the buyer and the seller at the same time, because he is himself bound by rights and obligations through the contract. He would end up being deliverer and receiver, as well as demander and demanded at the same time, which is contradictory.
  • A person can be a mere messenger for both parties in the contract, because he is merely a communication instrument and is not tied to any right or obligations through the contract. An agent in a marriage contract is in reality a mere messenger, because he has no rights or obligations tied to the marriage contract.

Conditions of validity pertaining to the contract text itself

The content of the bid (the affirmation of the option to buy or sell) and its acceptance must be the same.

  • If someone gave a bid to buy two horses for USD 3000, then it would be invalid if the seller accepted the bid by saying, "I have accepted for this one," while pointing at one of the two horses.

Conditions of validity pertaining the place of the contract

Bid and acceptance must happen in the same place/session (covered earlier in the section on the verbal sales transaction).

  • If the acceptor is not present, but hears about it later and says “I accept”, then this is invalid.
  • If the bid is done by a messenger or writing, and the receiver accepts without changing the place he is in when receiving, then the contract is valid.

Conditions of validity pertaining to what is exchanged in the contract

It must be existing.

The reason is that the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank), as related by Muslim “forbade selling risk” (i.e. it is not whether it will be or not).
  • It is not allowed to sell a baby animal while in the womb, because it is merely on the verge of existence.
  • It is not valid to sell milk while it is still in the cow.
  • It is not valid to sell fruits before they appear.
  • It is not valid to sell semen of stallions (or rent for this purpose).
  • It is not valid to sell the juice of a fruit, or the flower of wheat, because it is not existing at point of sale.
  • It is valid, however, to sell grains, seeds and nuts in their shells, because they exist already as is without any treatment.
  • It is invalid if someone sold glass as diamonds, because diamonds are of a different kind than glass, so they were non-existent.
  • It is likewise invalid if one sells something of the same kind, but the description is widely different from actual, such as selling a green cloth saying it is black.

It must be considered valuable property in Islam.

Property as islamically defined is something that a sane human being is inclined towards and people expend and protect out of desire for it and a reluctance to give away according to norms. The hanafi scholars added that it must be storeable for later use. Valuable means that it is allowed to use according to Islam. Examples of things that aren’t valuable property:
  • An un-slaughtered dead animal. However its bones, hair, feathers, tanned leather can be sold after treatement.
  • Blood.
  • Human bodyparts, such as hair.
  • Pigs.
  • Wine.
  • Bees without their hive.
  • Silkworms without silk.
  • Animal excrements, unless the soil content is more than 50%.
  • Musical instruments if they can’t be used for anything other than playing them.
  • If property and non-property was in the same deal, then the contract is invalid, even if all were separately priced.

It must be owned.

One cannot sell grass from public land, fish in the ocean and the like.

It must be owned by the actual seller

This is the case whether it is the seller who conducts the contract or someone conducts it for him. This is because the Prophet forbade "selling what one does not own" (Tirmithiyy). The exception here is a transaction called "salam" where several strict conditions makes the transaction as if the transaction is from hand to hand. The salam transaction will be covered later.

The seller must be able to deliver the goods.

  • It is invalid to sell a bird in the sky, even if one owns it.
  • It is invalid to sell fish in the water.
  • It is invalid to sell milk still in the cow, as indicated in hadith (Tabaraaniyy - Al-Awsat) and because it seaps so one cannot separate what was sold from newly produced milk.
  • It is invalid to sell wool on a sheep's back as indicated in hadith (Tabaraaniyy - Al-Awsat) and because it continuously grows, so one cannot tell what part was sold. However, selling the branches on trees is allowed because they do not grow from the bottom out.
  • It is invalid to sell debt, because one is not able to deliver what has not been collected, and the time and ability to collect are both unknown. The exception here is if the debtor is the other party.
  • It is invalid to sell the goods of a salam transaction (where the good was non-existent at the time of transaction and delivery was set for a specific date in the future) is invalid.
  • It is invalid to sell what is in the hands of another injustly if one is unable to collect it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The sales contract by mutual exchange

It is allowed to perform a sales contract by giving and taking the prices and items being exchanged. This is because the definition of a sale is to exchange something desireable for something desireable. The proof of this is that the words "trade", "buy" and "sell" is used in the Quran simply to mean "exchange" such "buying deviance for guidance" (2,16).

The sales contract by mutual exchange takes effect when one of the parties receives his part of the deal, whether it is a price or a good.

Copyright claims are invalid

Is Copyright Property?

Since most will agree that selling a book or the like on the conditions that one cannot photocopy it or some other restriction on benefitting from it, the adherents of the western innovations or copyright and patent laws have instead claimed that Copyright is intellectual property, not physical property. They say that when you buy a book, CD, or other copyrighted material, you have purchased a physical copy of something that another owns the intellectual copyrights to. According to them, you have the ownership-based right to use this physical copy as you wish.

The answer to this claim is that, since the physical copy is mine, then I will take this physical book, copy it physically and sell another physical book. I am selling the physical book, not the "intellectual property." In Islam, when you buy a physical property you can use it as you please for halal purposes. If you say, "I sell you this book on the condition that you don't copy it" you have added a condition to benefit the seller which restricts the rights of the buyer to benefit from it. This is not valid, as knowledgeable people admit. It does not change anything to apply the label "intellectual copyright", because it is a benefit of the entity no matter what you call it. What is a right other than a right to benefit, i.e. other than the benefit itself when it comes down to it?

If you admit they are the benefit, then how can the ownership of the benefit be restricted? This is not something that is naturally required by the salescontract, so it must therefore be invalid. The argument should end here, but since the idea of ideas being property have been brought up, lets examine it:

Copying books is allowed by consensus

Muslims have been selling books for centuries without anyone ever claiming "copyright." This means that copying a book you have bought is lawful by "consensus by action." (اجماع فعلي) It is also clear that this is not something invented by muslims, nor has it even today become part of peoples customs (عرف). That is why, even in the west, copyright laws are only followed when there is significant threat of vigorous and expensive law enforcement practices. Since this is true for books, then it is also true that muslims have never considered ideas to be property.

The same is true for any goods sold, it is invalid to say: "I sell you this on the condition that you don't make something like it to sell." Since there is no scholar in history that has claimed that this is a valid condition, then there is consensus on this as well.

The idea of restricting copyrights is a bad innovation from the west

Can you show me even one example where a muslim has claimed intellectual copyright, and saleability of it, in the history of this ummah before this idea was imported from the west? Isn't it clear that this idea came from the west, and that it is a innovation in non-muslim law then attempted imported to islamic law? This alone should be enough to reject it. Nobody spoke of this until the west invented it.

The idea of intellectual property as ownership is anti-innovation and harmful to society

The original idea behind copyright and patent laws was to give inventors a short period of monopoly. Not for the sake of the producer, but to give an incentive for innovation that would benefit consumers. Of course, this is not what actually happened, because corporate lobbying has used these laws simply to extend their monopoly power.

In reality however, the argument that periods of copyright increase the amount of innovation in society can be countered by saying that:

  • Restricting copyrights and patents lets the innovator relax instead of continuing to push ahead to stay on top of the competition.
  • It prevents other innovative people from using the innovation to make something better still.
  • Competition is enough incentive for innovation. Businessmen are forced to innovate by competition.
  • Patents might restrict the use of the idea for others, even though they might have thought of it before the one who registered it as his. This is unfair to say the least.
Patent and copyright laws cause an incredible legal mess in the west (mainly for the benefit of the rich and resourceful) something islam has always been free from. For example, do you know that British Telecom is now claiming to have a patent on hyperlinks? Apparently they have in mind taxing internet users based on this. Or that has claimed its "one-click" patent, whereby the company has patented the idea of purchasing items with a single mouse click. Another crazy one is when companies are expected to start copyrighting the human genome that was recently mapped out. Aren't these laws just a symbol of greed and selfishness? These things are happening as a result of being consistent in applying the idea of ideas being owned.

In the New Yorker, The Talk Of The Town, Issue of 2003-07-14 and 21, Posted 2003-07-07, James Surowiecki said:

"Now the first thing someone with a good notion does is press the government to protect it. Priceline patented its reverse-auction method for selling cut-rate airline tickets. I.B.M. patented a method for keeping track of people waiting in line for the bathroom. Last month, Netflix, a company that runs an online DVD-rental subscription service, got a patent covering, among other things, the way its customers request titles and the way it sends out DVDs. And eBay is now in court appealing a verdict that it infringed on a Virginia man’s patent. The crime? Selling auctioned items at a fixed price. What gall.

For most of American history, it was next to impossible to get a patent on what the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office called “a mere method of doing business.” A business method was considered to be an idea—selling newspapers in the streets, delivering packages overnight—and ideas of this sort were not patentable. But in July, 1998, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit did away with that principle. The case, State Street v. Signature Financial, involved software that Signature had written to enable it to administer mutual funds more efficiently. But the court’s language was broad enough to embrace any business process (as long as it was new and “nonobvious” and had a “useful, concrete, and tangible result”). The gates opened, and in the past five years thousands of business-method patents have been granted. One inventive soul won a patent for a system of using pictures to train janitors. Another got one for describing a way to cut hair with both hands."

Is this sort of madness in the best interest of the muslims?

Ideas as property is not analogous to ownership as known in Islam

If I read the sentence in a article, does this mean I cannot use a sentence of his without asking the author? If you say I can, then how does this fit with the idea of ownership? Where are you going to set the quantitative limit? Based on what islamic evidence? How are you going to do all this without contradicting the Prophet's sayings:

وذروا الناس يرزق الله بعضهم من بعض من اشترط شرطا ليس في كتاب الله فليس له وإن شرط مائة مرة

Which could be translated as: "Leave the people alone, Allah gives them their sustenance by them dealing with one another" and "The one who put a condition that is not in Allah's book does not get it, even if he set the condition a hundred times."

Moreover, no private property can be established in Islam without evidence to show that Islamic law treats it as such. This is because the things on earth are for orginally created for all, so noone can make a claim to own anything without a proper islamic legal proof of this being so:

خلق لكم ما في الأرض جميعا

The first thing one needs to do to establish the right for ownership is to define what is to be owned. How would you define intellectual property? How would you differ one such intellectual property from another? The only way that ideas get a shared, external, observable form is through words. Does anybody own the words used in a book? If not, how can they then claim ownership of the whole? If you say he owns the combination/ sequence, then I say I substitute one of the words and the sequence is no longer his--which renders any intellectual property laws meaningless.

Another problem is that new ideas are usually just combinations of old ideas from somewhere else. Once again -- how can one own something one does not own the parts of? This does not fit the concept of ownership in Islam at all. Also, even in the west it is not the idea that gets protection, it is the expression of it in tangible form. If you express the same idea differently then it is not counted as infringement -- such as Microsofts copy of Apple's operating system's "look and feel." Although this seems, from the quotes above, to be changing now.

Finally, it is obvious that the ideas and words in a book are the benefit of the book, and the benefits of a thing belongs to the owner. This benefit then, belongs to the questions surrounding rent, and this has already been widely covered by the scholars through the ages.

Problems with legal enforcement

Copyright laws are a vague, something Islamic law is clear of. Once the ruling is know, then the Muslim judge has firm criteria to go by. In contrast, take a look at this author said as follows:


Copying is Theft - and other legal myths By Mark Rasch, SecurityFocus Posted: 28/07/2003 at 13:39 GMT

The U.S. Constitution permits Congress "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." Under intensive lobbying by the movie, publishing and recording industries, Congress has nudged that "limited" time from the original 17 years in 1789, to the publisher's life plus 75 years today -- a time limit that the U.S. Supreme Court recently approved.

For this "limited" time, Copyright law essentially grants the author the exclusive rights to copy or reproduce the work, make derivative works, distribute copies of the work (sell, give away, lease or license), and to perform the work, and, of course, to keep others from doing the same.

The law recognizes that many uses of copyrighted works -- even without the permission of the copyright holder -- are not an infringement. While there is no "right" as such to make a fair use, the making of such a use is not an infringement.

Thus, if you make copies for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, it is not an infringement of the copyright, even if the copyright holder does not want you to do so.

This isn't black and white, of course. In deciding whether a use is fair or not, courts will consider a number of factors: Did you make the copies for commercial purposes? Does the copy deprive the copyright holder of revenues? Did you copy all, or substantially all, of the work, or just a small portion? The less of the work copied, the less commercial and the less impact on the copyrighted work, the more likely it is to be considered "fair."

------------------------------end quote------------------------------

It is clear from the above and what preceded it that defining intellectual property and how it is established is a complicated mess. Let me ask some quasi-rhetorical questions regarding legal and economic consequences of copyright laws:

Copyrights and patents have a limited timespan in the west, or are your going to go all the way with your analogy of ownership, or follow western footprints in this by setting arbitrary timelimits?

If you are not going to restrict the periods, isn't this going to put a brutal stop to innovation in society? If you are not, then how is this analogous to ownership?

If somebody claimed to own an idea, how would a judge handle this? What if somebody disputed his claim?

If I read the sentence in an article, does this mean I cannot use a sentence of his without asking the author? Isn't this an enormous burden to put on the intellectual activity of muslims? Does muslims need more restrictions on their intellectual and cultural lives?

If the idea of intellectual property neither has an anology in islamic law, nor a textual basis, nor a basis in consensus, how are you going to derive the rules? How are you going to avoid mixing in the philosophy and methodology of man-made law? More importantly, who is the mujtahid doing this?

Some of those who claim scholarship argue that "owning a something does not necessarily give you the right to make another copy of it. A simple example they give is money. If I have a US$100 bill, I have the ownership-based right to use it as I wish. However, I do not have the legal right to make "copies" of the US$100 bill, as most of us would reasonably agree."

The answer to this fallacious argument is that copying USD bills would be haram if it is for the purpose of forgery (cheating,) which is another issue all together. That is why copying a dollar bill on on a regular sheet of paper wouldn't be haram at all. In any case, this has absolutely nothing to do with whether an idea can be owned.

They also argue that the danger of breaking copyright laws is clear: you would be wronging others, and the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, "Wrongs are darknesses on the Day of Judgement." The warnings against wronging others are frequent in the Qur'an and Sunnah.

The answer is that you haven't shown that breaking copyright laws is wrongdoing. What is really dangerous is to claim to be haram what is not haram by an ijma3 that is as clear as it gets.


For those associated with the hanafi school, here is a quote to think about from the book "Badaa'i^ Al-Sanaa'i^" in the section on the conditions for sound sales transactions:

The permissability of renting has been established in spite of analogy (which says it should not be allowed) due to peoples use of it in their dealings, so it is not allowed to rent something that is not normally rented.... For this reason it is not allowed to rent books and the like, and there is no rent due if someone did it.

بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع ؛ كتاب البيوع ؛ فصل في شرائط الصحة في البيوع: الإجارة ... جوازها ثبت على خلاف القياس لتعامل الناس فما لم يتعاملوا فيه لا تصح فيه الإجارة ؛ ولهذا لم تصح ... إجارة الكتب للقراءة ونحو ذلك حتى لم تجب الأجرة

So the Hanafi school considers the ideas in a book "benefit", not property, and he even does not allow the renting of it, let alone the sale of it as property.

Moreover, if it really was property, then how can you buy a book and the conditional right to the so called intellectual property in the same contract? Wouldn't this be two contracts in one? Like the buying the fruits on a tree on the condition that they will be left on the tree?

Finally, how can someone claim to invent an entirely new section of fiqh when he is not a mujtahid? Or has western law and legal philosophy become an acceptable substitute for Thaahir al- Riwaayah?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Jesus, the prophet of Islam


God, the only Creator, named Allah in Arabic, sent many messengers to humankind as a mercy. He sent them all to teach people the correct and acceptable way to worship Him. All the prophets of Allah, the first of whom was Adam and the last of whom is Muhammad, came with one Religion--Islam, one creed--the belief in the Oneness of Allah. They all taught that Allah is attributed with attributes of completeness and perfection and that He does not resemble any of His creations. They taught humankind what Allah orders us to do and what to refrain from in this life. They taught that there is a Judgment Day in which each one of us will be judged according how we performed our obligations and avoided prohibitions. None of them taught their followers what contradicts the belief in the Oneness of Allah. Each one of them ordered their followers to believe in the rest of the prophets.

Imam al-Bukhariyy related that Prophet Muhammad, may Allah raise his rank, said:


أنا أولى الناس ‏بابن مريم ‏والأنبياء أولاد ‏علات ‏ليس بيني وبينه نبي

It means: “I am the closest to the Son of Maryam. The prophets are like brothers from the same father (i.e. belief system) with different mothers (i.e. rules and practices). There was no other prophet between us.”

Allah sent Prophet Jesus as the last messenger before Prophet Muhammad. He was one of the five highest-ranking messengers of Allah - those most patient. He was Jesus, the son of Maryam, the daughter of ^Imran, from the "Sons of Israel" (Prophet Jacob). Prophet Jesus, as all the prophets, was truthful in what he conveyed from Allah. Today we follow the religious rules revealed to Prophet Muhammad, however, Muslims respect, love, and believe in Jesus and in his prophethood. To disbelieve in or disrespect Jesus in any way is blasphemy.

Mary, the mother of Jesus

Mary (Maryam in Arabic), the mother of Jesus, was a pious Muslim woman from the offspring of Israel during the time of Prophet Zakariyya. Prophet Zakariyya was a prophet of Allah that taught people to follow the religious rules revealed to Prophet Moses. In the Qur'an there is a block of text (called suurah in Arabic) named Maryam (Mary). This suurah talks about Mary: her birth, her pregnancy, the birth of Prophet Jesus, and other events of her life.

Mary’s mother conceived and delivered Mary when she was an old woman, at an age when women are usually unable to have babies. One-day Mary's mother saw a bird feeding its young and she longed for a baby herself. She asked Allah to bless her with a child and vowed that she would make him a servant for the Holy House in Jerusalem, dedicated to worship, because she thought the child would be male. Allah answered her supplication and Mary's mother conceived and delivered a baby girl. She named her "Maryam" and asked Allah to protect her and her offspring from evil.

Since Mary's father had died, Prophet Zakariyya (who was the husband of Mary's sister) became Mary's guardian. Maryam learned her religious knowledge from him. She grew up as a righteous, pure, and pious Muslim woman, worshipping Allah and making great efforts to obey Him. Before she turned fourteen (14) years old, Maryam was a waliyyah (a very pious woman with a special status - a muslim saint). She became the best of the women in the world. It is mentioned in the Qur'an that the angels said Allah chose Mary and preferred her over the other women of the world. (Al ^Imran, 42-43).

The birth of Jesus

Ibn Jareer al-Tabaree and other narrators told that Mary once ran out of water. She asked her cousin to go with her to get some. He declined, saying he had what he needed for that day, so Mary went to get water alone. There, she found Gabriel (Jibriil), whom Allah had sent to her in the shape of a man. Thinking he was a human who might harm her, she asked Allah for protection from him. Gabriel told her, "I am the Messenger of your Lord to you. I was sent to give you a pious child who is free of sin." Mary told him, "How could I have a son? I have no husband, and I am neither an adulteress nor a fornicator." Gabriel told her, "Creating a son without a father is an easy matter to Allah. Allah will make him a sign for humans and an indication of the Power of Allah. He will send him as a mercy from Him and an endowment to the one who follows him and believes in him. Creating him is a matter that Allah has willed and destined, so it will not be prevented or changed."

Gabriel blew the soul of Jesus into Mary. The soul entered her womb, and she became pregnant with Jesus, peace be upon him. There is a difference of opinion as to the term of her pregnancy, some said nine months, some said eight, and some said other than that.

Whatever the period, when the signs of pregnancy became apparent on her, her cousin Yusuf, the carpenter, was disturbed. He did not know how to interpret this matter; he knew how pious she was, yet he could see the signs of pregnancy. So he decided to open the subject with her. He asked her, "Tell me, would plants grow without seeds? Would trees grow without rainfall? Would there be a child without a male?" To all these questions Mary answered, "Yes." Then she asked him, "Did you not know that Allah made the plants emerge without seeds the day He created them? Did you not know Allah created the trees the first time without rain? Did you not know Allah created Adam and Eve (Hawwaa’) without a father or a mother?" Yusuf knew all these things, and when she responded in this way, he felt assured of her innocence and that this was an extraordinary event given to her by Allah.

When the signs of her pregnancy became apparent, Mary left her people. The pangs of birth led her to the trunk of a dead palm tree. Out of her shyness, and fearing that people would accuse her of having done something wrong, she wished she was dead and forgotten. Gabriel called her to comfort her, and said that Allah made a small river run under her from which she could drink, and that if she would shake the trunk of the dead palm tree next to her, it would turn green and moist dates would fall down from which she could eat and take nourishment. Gabriel also told her that when she faces her people with her newborn son, she should tell anyone who questions her about him, that she had made a vow not to talk to any human that day. That day, Maryam gave birth to her son, Jesus, peace be upon him.

Forty (40) days later she carried Jesus back to her people. They accused her of fornication. In response, Maryam pointed to her son, meaning that they should talk to him. They were angered by this and thought she was mocking them by asking them to address a 40-day old baby in a cradle. At that moment, Allah made Jesus speak. He said: ‏‏

قَالَ إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي نَبِيًّا 30 وَجَعَلَنِي مُبارَكًا أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُ وَأَوْصانِي بِالصَّلاةِ وَالزَّكاةِ مَا دُمْتُ حَيًّا 31 وَبَرًّا بِوالِدَتِي وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْنِي جَبَّارًا شَقِيًّا 32 وَالسَّلامُ عَلَيَّ يَوْمَ وُلِدتُّ وَيَوْمَ أَمُوتُ وَيَوْمَ أُبْعَثُ حَيًّا33

which are verses 30-33 of Surat Maryam and mean: [I am a slave of Allah. He will reveal the Book to me and make me a prophet. He blessed me wherever I am. In the rules revealed to me there will be a special attention given to Prayers and Zakat. Allah predestined that I will be kind to my mother and not a tyrant with a bad ending. Peace was upon me the day I was born. Peace will be upon me on the day I will die and on the day I am raised alive again.]

When Mary’s people heard that, they refrained from harming her or Prophet Zakariyya, to whom they had made ugly accusations. After Jesus spoke these words, he did not speak again until he became at an age when children normally speak. Jesus’ speech from the cradle was a preparation and a sign of his coming prophethood, when he would call the people to believe in only one god and that Jesus is His the prophet and messenger. Note that the first words he spoke were, "I am a slave of Allah."

The early life of Prophet Jesus

Lady Mary took Jesus to Egypt where they stayed for a period of time. Then they returned to the countries of Levant--to a city known as an-Nasirah. Jesus, peace be upon him, studied the Torah and memorized it. He spoke Syriac, the language of the people of Palestine at that time, and the language in which the Heavenly Book, called the Injeel, was revealed to him. He was a pious worshipper of Allah, following the rules of the Torah revealed to Prophet Moses.

Jesus' revelation and entry into prophethood

Allah sent the Revelation of Prophethood to Jesus when he was thirty years old. Allah revealed to him new laws that unprescribed some of the laws revealed to Prophet Moses. Prophet Jesus conveyed the revelation to the people and called them to believe in his message.

Prophet Jesus, like all the prophets of Allah, performed miracles as a proof to his prophethood. Many of Prophet Jesus’ miracles were in curing illnesses, since the people he addressed were famous for being knowledgeable in the field of medicine. Prophet Jesus cured those with seemingly incurable illnesses. Prophet Jesus once cured a man inflicted with leprosy. In another incident, he put his noble hand on the face of a man who was born blind and cured his sight. In yet another instance, Prophet Jesus supplicated to Allah to bring back to life a dead person who was being carried to the burial place, and Allah brought him back to life.

Prophet Jesus had other kinds of miracles also, such as when he formed the shape of bats from clay and they would fly away. One of the miracles of Jesus is mentioned in the Qur'an in Surat al-Ma'idah, Verses 112-114, which tells us that Prophet Jesus and his followers once reached a place where there was not enough food for them all. The students of Jesus requested him to ask Allah for food that would come down to them from the sky. Jesus made supplication to Allah and the angels brought down food in front of the eyes of the people. Hundreds of people ate from that food, and there was no sign that the food had diminished in quantity. This miracle increased the belief of the believers. The blasphemers however, claimed that Jesus had performer sorcery on their eyes.

After his revelation, Prophet Jesus lived on earth for about three years. He used to travel to different places calling people to the proper worship of Allah. He was so detached from worldly matters that he did not worry about not having a house to return to at night. He used to sleep wherever the night fell upon him; whether he was in an open field or in a sheltered place. He wore clothing made out of unwoven wool. He ate raw plants, without desiring to cook them. He neither married nor had children.

The Injiil

Jesus received a Heavenly Book, the Injiil, which contained the Shari^ah, (rules of the Religion) revealed to him. In it was the prohibition from associating partners with Allah, and from consuming usurious gain (riba), pig meat, blood, or meat of animals not slaughtered properly. It contained the order to perform the Prayer (with bowing and prostration) twice a day. It had the order to fast (but in another month than Ramadan), and the order to perform ritual purification (taharah). Prophet Jesus came with a Shari^ah that permitted some of the things which had been forbidden upon the children of Israel in the Torah. Although what is called "The Bible" today contains some true stories of Prophet Jesus, it does not contain the true Injiil which was revealed to him.

The ascension of Prophet Jesus

When Prophet Jesus was 33 years old, the blasphemers among the offspring of Israel plotted to kill him, but Allah saved him from their harm. Ibn Abi Hatim and an-Nasa'iyy narrated from the route of Ibn ^Abbas that he said:

Prophet Jesus was in session with twelve of his elite companions in a house. He told them that among them were those who would blaspheme in the future. Then he asked them, "Who among you would want to be made to look like me, be killed in my place, and be my companion in Paradise." The youngest among them stood up and said, "Me." Prophet Jesus told him to sit, then repeated the same question. Again, the same young man said, "Me." Again, Prophet Jesus told him to sit, and again he asked the same question. When the same young man volunteered for the third time, Prophet Jesus received the Revelation that this young man was the one who would be made to look like him and killed in his place. Prophet Jesus was raised to the sky from an opening in the ceiling of the house. When the Jews came after Prophet Jesus, they saw the young man that Allah had made look like Jesus. They took him, thinking he was Prophet Jesus, and crucified him.

It should be noted here that there are two widespread false stories about this matter. In one, it is claimed that one of Jesus’ students was paid a great sum of money to lead the Jews to him, however Allah made this person look like Jesus so he was taken instead and crucified. In another, it is said that the person killed in place of Jesus was the leader of the Jews. Both of these stories are false. After Prophet Jesus was raised to the sky, his nation lived following his guidance, teaching, and methodology for two hundred (200) years. However, the nation of Prophet Jesus did not remain steadfast to Islam. Three hundred (300) years after Prophet Jesus was raised to the sky, the followers of those who had perverted his teachings became very numerous. At the same time, those who were truly following the Religion of Islam were few and weak. After some five hundred (500) years, none of the believing Muslims of Jesus’ nation were left. When Prophet Muhammad received his revelation, he was the only Muslim among the people on earth.

Prophet Jesus' future descent to earth

Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, is still alive and residing in the second of the seven skies, preoccupied with worship. He will descend to earth before the Day of Judgment and his descent will be one of the great signs of the last days. Prophet Muhammad informed us that Jesus will descend to earth at a place on the eastern side of Damascus, with his hands on the wings of two angels. He will meet a group of Muslims getting ready to perform the Prayer, with the Mahdiyy as their Imam. The Mahdiyy will ask Prophet Jesus to lead them in that prayer, however, Jesus will ask the Mahdiyy to lead them--as a sign that Prophet Jesus will rule according to the rules revealed to Prophet Muhammad. After this one time, Jesus will lead the people in prayers because he has a higher status than the Mahdiyy.

After he descends, Prophet Jesus will rule the earth with the Shari^ah of Prophet Muhammad, the Shari^ah Muslims are ordered to follow until the Judgment Day. He will break the crosses, kill the pigs, and abolish the jizyah (compulsory payment by the People of the Book to the Muslim state), because in the rules of Prophet Muhammad the jizyah is only applicable until the descent of Jesus. He will kill the Dajjal, an ugly, evil blasphemer who claims to be God, and who misleads many people into blasphemy. Prophet Jesus will perform Hajj-pilgrimage and travel to visit the grave of the Prophet to salute him, and to greet him by saying, "As-salamu ^alaykum ya rasul Allah", as narrated by Abu Dawud at-Tayalisiyy and others.

During his time, the people of Ya'juj and Ma'juj will appear and cause great destruction to the earth and devastation to the Muslims. Prophet Jesus will take the believers to Mount at-Tur to ask Allah to relieve them from those people. Allah will answer their supplication and destroy the people of Ya'juj and Ma'juj. After that, Prophet Jesus will rule the Muslims and there will be a time when peace, comfort, and safety will prevail. Prophet Jesus will live for forty (40) years on earth after his return. He will marry and have children. He will die and be buried. ^Adullah Ibn Salam said, "It is written in the original Torah that Prophet Jesus will be buried next to Prophet Muhammad" (in the chamber of Lady ^A'ishah.)

Final remarks

Prophet Jesus was a messenger of Allah. He had a revelation to teach the religion of Islam and to call people to worship Allah, their Creator. Muslims believe in his prophethood and in his truthfulness in conveying that message. Prophet Jesus is alive now, living in the second heaven, worshipping Allah. He will return to earth before the Day of Judgment and will rule the Muslims with the Shari^ah of Prophet Muhammad. May peace be upon this respected, honored and beloved Messenger of Allah.

Praise be to Allah, and Allah knows best. ‏‏

وَالسَّلامُ عَلَيَّ يَوْمَ وُلِدتُّ وَيَوْمَ أَمُوتُ وَيَوْمَ أُبْعَثُ حَيًّا 33

Verse #33 of Surat Maryam means: [Peace was on me the day I was born. Peace will be on me on the day I will die and on the day I am raised alive again.]

Commentary on why it is blasphemy to say that Allah has a son

The essential meaning of the word "son" is something begotten - something that is generated out of something else. In other words, if someone said that Allah has a son, then he is saying that Allah multiplies or divides, and this contradicts the belief that Allah is one. This again leads to worshipping other than Allah.

The word "son" also contradicts the concept of ownership; it would be absurd to say that someone "owns" his "son". Something can't be someone's son and personal property at the same time. In other words, to say that Allah has a son is to deny that he has absolute ownership of all created things. That is why it is blasphemous to say that Allah has a son, even as a figure of speech. Muslims must believe that Allah is the true owner of everything, because He is their Creator.

As shown above, the concept of having a son is incompatible with the concept of believing in one Creator. That is why one cannot logically claim that the Creator has a son. It is like saying 2+2=5, which is a lie and has no possible meaning. That is why muslims must believe that it is impossible that Allah should have a son; it has nothing to do with ability, because it is nonsensical and illogical. If someone asks, "Can Allah have a son?" it is as if they are saying "can the number 3 be 4?", thus the correct way of answering this is to say that "It is impossible that Allah should have a son."

Note that it is blashpemy to say that Allah "can" have a son, because this is to deny Allah's attribute of godhood - being the Creator and absolute owner of everything. However, it is also blashpemy to say that He is "unable" to have a son, because this is to insult Allah's power. The correct expression is to say that it is "impossible that Allah should have a son" or "absurd to claim that Allah could have a son". Having a son has nothing to do with being the Creator, and therefore is not related to Allah's attribute of power.

Avoiding Kufr (blasphemy)/ Riddah (apostasy)

Kufr is any saying, deed or belief that denies, disrespects or makes fun of God, the Prophets, the Angels, the Quran or the Islamic religion. Deny means to say or believe anything that contradicts what our beloved prophet Muhammad taught. Committing Kufr causes one to be a non-Muslim (kaafir), even if one was previously a Muslim. Kufr after being Muslim is called riddah (apostasy).

Important basic beliefs and what denies them

Every Muslim must believe that Allah's existence does not have a beginning and that everything else has a beginning.

Allah said in the Quran that He created everything, and Prophet Muhammad (may Allah raise his rank) said that "Allah existed and there was nothing else".
  • Saying or believing that any of Allah's attributes has a beginning, is kufr, because this would mean that He is part creator and part brought into existence.
  • Saying or believing that Allah is in a place or location is kufr, because place has a beginning, and therefore everything in it must also have a beginning. Allah existed before place and He still exists without it. Moreover, Allah said that the Jews committed kufr by their worship of the gold calf, pointing out that it is a body.
  • Saying or believing that God is united with His creation, or physically enters created things, such as the sky or a body is kufr.
  • It is kufr to say or believe that Allah changes, because changes are series of events and all events have a beginning.
  • Important note: we neither say that Allah is in place nor say that He is outside place. We say that He exists without a place.
  • Important note: Allah is not attributed with change, because all change has a beginning. Rather, we believe that Allah's attributes are without a beginning or an end.
  • Important note: Although created things become existent and annihilated in sequence, Allah's act of creating them is not sequential. Rather, we believe that Allah's attributes are without a beginning or an end.
  • Important note: To understand that one cannot know the reality of Allah attributes is to understand the Islamic belief in Allah; one must not think about the self of Allah, but rather think about created things instead.

Every Muslim must believe that Allah does not resemble His creation.

Allah said in the Quran that He does not resemble anything.
  • Saying of believing something that contradicts this belief is kufr, such as believing that Allah is in a place, or that He has a shape or travels distances. This is because being in a place is the attribute of created things, and because place itself is a creation, so Allah does not need it.
  • To say that "Allah is like so and so" is kufr, because this is drawing a resemblance.
  • Important rule: Allah is different from anything you imagine in your mind.
  • Important rule: Allah is not attributed with a where or a how.

Every Muslim must believe that Allah is attributed with self sufficiency.

  • Saying or believing that Allah needs something is kufr.
  • Saying or believing God has a partner is kufr; having a partner means needing agreement.

Every Muslim must believe that Allah is attributed with onenness, i.e. He does not have a partner or a part or an equal.

  • Saying or believing that Allah has a rival, child, part or a partner is kufr.
  • Saying or believing that Allah has a mother or a wife is kufr.
  • Calling Allah "father" is kufr.
  • Saying or believing that anything other than Allah deserves worship is kufr.
  • Saying or believing that Allah has limbs or bodyparts such an ear or an eye is kufr.
  • Saying or believing that anyone or anything has a similarity to Allah or His attributes is kufr.

Every Muslim must believe that Allah has the power to create anything.

  • To say or believe that anything other than Allah can create is kufr.
  • To say or believe that Allah does not have the ability to do something is kufr.
  • Believing that anyone other than God has the power to create, such as believing that humans create their own actions is kufr.

Every Muslim must believe that Allah is attributed with a Will, that everything is predestined and that there is a wisdom in all of Allah's actions.

  • To say or believe that Allah does something unwise or unjust is kufr.
  • It is kufr to say or believe that Allah's will changes.

Every Muslim must believe that Allah knows, hears and sees everything. They must also believe that His Knowledge, Hearing and Seeing is not like ours; it has nothing to do with instruments, such as an ear or an eye or a brain. They are eternal attributes of Allah that do not have a beginning or an end.

  • To say or believe that Allah does not know something is kufr.
  • To believe that Allah sees with an eye or hears with an ear is kufr, because Allah is One, without a partner or a part.

Every Muslim must believe that Allah is attributed with life, but that His life does not have a beginning or an end, and does not resemble our life.

  • To believe or say that Allah's life is in a body or soul is kufr, because this is the life of created things.

Every Muslim must believe that Allah has the attribute of speech (Kalaam), and that His speech is not like ours; it is not sound, letters or language; it does not depend on traveling through a medium such as air; it does not resonate in our ear; it has no beginning and no end; it is not sequential.

  • Important rule: The (the revealed book of the Quran) refers to Allah’s attribute of speech, just as the utterance of Allah’s name “Allah” refers to Allah. In Arabic the word "Quran" refers to both Allah's attribute of speech and the book.
  • Everything that has a beginning needs a Creator, because it was brought into existence.

Every Muslim must believe that Allah's attributes are attributes of absolute perfection.

  • Saying or believing that Allah has attributes of imperfection: flaws, weaknesses, boundaries, needs or limits (such as body, location, size, shape, or distance.) is kufr.
  • Saying or believing that Allah changes is kufr. Changing or developing implies a need to do so. In addition, something that changes becomes more or less perfect, and Allah is attributed with complete perfection.
  • Believing it is possible for God to have a child is kufr; having a child is a created attribute indicating need, physical existence, multiplication, etc. Such a belief also denies the Creator’s absolute ownership of all created things.

Every Muslim must believe that prophets are examples of human perfection and are models for us to follow.

  • Saying or believing that it is possible for prophets (even before prophethood) to lie, cheat or betray, or to be cowards, stupid, mean, ill mannered, unattractive or to have an illness that makes an onlooker feel disgusted is kufr.
  • Saying or believing that it is possible for prophets (even before prophethood) to commit kufr, large sins, or small sins that show meanness is kufr.
  • Saying or believing that it is possible for prophets (even before prophethood) to be mean, such as contemplating adultery or fornication is kufr. This is insulting a prophet.

Other examples of kufr sayings and beliefs

  • If someone says that there is a Prophet after the Prophet Muhammad, this is kufr.
  • It is kufr to say it is acceptable for someone to follow a religion other than Islam.
  • It is kufr to believe that any prophet, such as Jesus or Moses taught the beliefs of another religion than Islam. All prophets taught the beliefs of Islam.
  • Cussing, insulting or making fun of God, a prophet, a revealed book, the Islamic religion or any of its rules is kufr. Neither ignorance, nor anger is an excuse in this.

Deeds that are Kufr

Any deed or action that denies, disrespects or makes fun of God, the Prophets, the Angels, the Quran or the Islamic religion is Kufr, such as:
  • Throwing the Quran, or the written name of God, in the trash; this is an insult.
  • Wearing a cross believing it is all right to do so. This is Kufr because the cross is the sign of another religion, and God only accepts Islam.
  • Prostrating (kneeling on the ground placing his forehead on the ground) to the sun or fire, or another object. If someone does a prostration to a human to worship him, then he has committed Kufr. If it is not done to worship him, however, then it is not Kufr, but it is forbidden.
  • Committing a sin, such as adultery, stealing or leaving an obligatory prayer is not kufr unless one believes it is OK to do so.

Important rules regarding Kufr

  • It is important to know and not to confuse an actual belief with a thought that crosses one's mind. Satan (the Devil) can bring thoughts to our mind, which are Kufr. If this should happen we need to reject the thought in our heart and fight to get rid of it. As long as we fight it and do not believe it, we are Muslim. However, if someone believes soemthing that is Kufr he becomes a kaafir. Satan often tries to bring such thoughts to Muslims.
  • It is very important when mentioning kufr stated by someone else to mention that it was that person who made the statement, either directly before or after you mention the statement. If someone repeats kufr, or writes kufr without relating it to those who said it, it causes him to leave Islam, whether he believes the Kufr or not.
  • If someone was talking about statements that Christians make in order to show how ignorant they are, and he was mentioning the following statement, he needs to say, "Christians say that Jesus is the son of God." If the speaker does not use something like the phrase, "Christians say," either before or after the rest of the statement, in order to relate it to someone else, then the speaker has left Islam, even if he does not believe the statement.
  • To help someone commit kufr is kufr.
  • To be happy with someone's kufr is kufr.

Some of the effects caused by committing riddah

If a Muslim committed apostasy, then his fasting would be interrupted if he was fasting, the meat of his slaughter forbidden to eat, his marriage contract void and any attempt at worship invalid. All his previous goods deeds have been lost, even if he returns to Islam later. He must return to Islam immediately.

How to return to Islam after committing riddah

If someone commits kufr, he is required to immediately say "I firmly believe that no one and nothing deserves to be worshipped except God, and Muhammad is His Prophet and Messenger," with the intent in his heart to become Muslim and to leave anything that contradicts that belief, loud enough to hear himself, with the intent in his heart to become Muslim, leave that kufr and never repeat it again. This is how one returns to Islam (becomes Muslim again). One is required to feel sorry for having committed kufr.

When saying kufr does not cause one to leave Islam

There are 3 occasions under which if someone says kufr he does not leave Islam:
  1. If someone has a slip of the tongue, i.e. he is trying to say something that is not kufr, but by a slip of the tongue, he says something else that is kufr, he does not leave Islam.
  2. If someone is not sane or is not conscious of what he is saying, and he commits kufr, he does not leave Islam.
  3. If someone is directly and immediately threatened with loss of life, limb or the like unless he says something kufr. For example, if someone was threatened with being killed if he did not curse God, he has the option to refuse, be killed and die martyr, or curse God, on the condition that he hates this before he does it, while he is doing it, and after he did it.

Ignorance is NOT an excuse in kufr pertaining to the attributes of Allah or the attributes of the prophets, or the fact that Islam is the only correct religion. However, if someone was new to Islam, or lived far away from Islamic scholars, then he does not fall out of Islam if he thinks something forbidden to be permitted or vice versa, such as adultery.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Allah's attributes of power and will

Allah has the attribute of power

  • Allah has the power to do whatever He wills.
  • God has power over everything in this world (world here means all creation.)
  • God's power is related to those things which are possible to the sound intellect, even those things which are not currently in existence.
  • God’s power is not related to the impossible propositions; that which cannot ever be. The impossible usually refers to contradictions in terms; such as if someone said that Allah is attributed with attributes of completeness and perfection and then said that He has a limit. The terms "comleteness" and "perfection" are incompatible with having a limit, so it cannot ever be that Allah has a limit.
  • Impossible propositions refer to things that cannot ever be, so they are not really “things”, but mere verbal absurdities.
  • An important concept here is to understand that Muslims must believe that Allah is clear of any imperfection, need, limit or weakness. This MUST be so, because the one who created this cosmos cannot possibly be limited in any way. In other words, it is impossible that Allah is attributed with imperfection, such as:
    • to need something; needing is to be incomplete.
    • to resemble a creation; everything about a creation needs a creator.
    • to have a partner; having a partner implies needing agreement.
    • to have a child; having a child is a created attribute indicating need, physical existence, etc.
    • to have attributes that change or develop; changing or developing implies a need to do so.
    • to have a body, shape or form, because these are all limited and have boundaries, which is an imperfection.
    • to have a limb; only creatures have limbs, and implies a need for instruments. In addition limbs need space..
    • to have a beginning or an end; anything with a beginning needs a creator and anything with an end is weak.
    • to have a changing will; this implies indecisiveness.
    • to be ignorant of something.
    • to die; anything susceptible to death is weak.
    • to be in a place; anything in a place is bounded by it.
  • It is impossible for Allah to resemble His creation, because all creation and everything that happens to it needs a creator.
  • If someone says that Allah can have a son, then he is saying that it is possible for Allah to be weak, because being attributed with the possibility of weakness is a weakness. This is obvious kufr (blasphemy – something that makes one a non-muslim).
  • If someone says that Allah is unable to have a son then he commits kufr because he has attributed to Allah inability. Impossible things have nothing to do with ability. To clarify, without intending similitude: it would be absurd to describe a stone by saying “it can’t speak very well”, because speaking is not related to being a stone.
  • Muslims believe Allah is attributed only with complete perfection, meaning that it is impossible for Him to be attributed with imperfection.

Allah has the attribute of will

  • Allah has the attribute of will. What Allah wills, will be, what Allah does not will, will not be.
  • Something can only exist, if Allah wills for it to exist.
  • God's will does not have a beginning or an end.
  • God's will does not change.
  • Everything is predestined.
  • Allah wills for things to exist, but does not need anything

To rely on Allah means:

  • To believe that the Creator of all causes and their effects is Allah.
  • To work on the apparent causes of what one wants, but not rely on them in one's heart.
  • To ask Allah for the result one is after.

The verbal sales contract

A sale in Islam is defined as exchanging something desired for something desired. This happens by verbal contract when the affirmation of the option to buy or sell (or bid) is followed by the counterpart's acceptance while the option remains. The two statements could be in past or present tense. Examples are:

1. Both bid and acceptance are in past tense, e.g.: Bid to buy: "I have bought this car for USD 1000." Acceptance: "I have accepted."

2. Both bid and acceptance are in present tense (provided that the intention is to affirm and accept, not haggling,) e.g.: Bid to buy: "I buy this car for USD 1000." Acceptance: "I accept."

3. The bid or the acceptance is in one tense and the other in another tense, e.g.: Bid: "I buy this car for USD 1000." Acceptance: "I have accepted." Bid: "I have bought this car for USD 1000." Acceptance: "I accept."

Imperatives (orders) and questions are not considered valid as affirmations, such as, "Sell me this car for USD 1000!", "Do you sell me this car for USD 1000?", and "Buy this car for 1000!" These statements are part of the bargaining process, and are not contractually binding. In marriage contracts, unlike in buying and selling, orders are considered affirmations, such as if someone said "Marry me for a dowry of USD 5000!" and the other answered, "I hereby accept your marriage." This is because haggling is not normally part of the marriage process.

If one of the parties makes an affirmation (bid) to buy or sell, then the counterpart has the option to accept during the contract session, as long as the bidder does not withdraw his affirmation (bid). This is based on the hadith of Tirmithiy that "the buyer and seller have the option as long as they did not depart from each other."

The contract session lasts as long as the two parties remain in their place and they do not engage in unrelated conversation. If they are walking together, then there must be no moment of silence between affirmation (bid) and acceptance.

If affirmation (bid) is followed by acceptance in the contract session, then there is no option to withdraw the bid or acceptance, even in the same session. This is because in the Quran (5, 1) we are ordered to remain faithful to our contracts:

"يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَوْفُواْ بِالْعُقُود"

Introduction to buying and selling transactions

One of the greatest ways to worship Allah is to make sure that one's trading transactions are islamically sound. This is because it requires struggling hard against one's natural desires, and because it is mentioned in hadith that the honest tradesperson dies a martyr. It has been said that the meaning of renouncement of this world, is to ensure that all one's income is permitted.

On the on other hand, one of the fastest ways to drown in sin, is to engage in transactions without having studied what Islam says about them. A saying has been narrated from Umar which means that "noone trades in our markets, unless he is understands how to do transactions soundly. Otherwise he will commit ribaa." From this we know that sound business dealings is something that must be learned, especially because the linguistic meaning of "riba" in Arabic is "addition", and there is not doubt that some types of addition in transactions are allowed, such as profit.

Definition of the sales transaction

A sale in Islam is defined as exchanging something desired for something desired. A sales transaction has happened if this definition is met. The exchange can be either physical or by a verbal contract. The latter happens when the affirmation of the option to buy or sell is followed by the counterpart's acceptance while the option remains.

Kinds of Sales Transactions

There are several kinds of sales transactions and they can be divided according to several criteria.

Kinds according to their Islamic judgement:

  1. Correct. This one meets all conditions for the transaction to be without any sin.
  2. Contingent. This transaction is valid, but contigent upon som later event to take effect, such as someone's approval.
  3. Corrupt. This transaction is a sale in that it meets its definition, but an islamically forbidden element is related to the contract.
  4. Invalid. This transaction is not a sale at all because its definition was not met.

Kinds according to what is bought and sold:

  1. Object for object, or barter.
  2. Object for debt. This means selling an object for a price. The price can be absolute, i.e. gold, silver or going currency. The price could also be relative; sold by weight or volume, or by unit count and is of consistent quality.
  3. Debt for object, or "salam" in Arabic. In this, the buyer pays for something that the seller does not yet possess.
  4. Debt for debt, or "sarf" in Arabic. This is the trade of currencies, gold and silver.

Kinds according to the purchase and sales price:

The most common is the haggler's price. This is the price that the two parties agree upon without regard to the purchase price of the seller.

However, sometimes there is an agreed relation between the two prices. These kinds of relationships are 4:
  1. Al-Wadhii^ah: The price is set lower than the original price by a certain amount.
  2. Al-Tawliah: The price is set equal.
  3. Al-Ishtiraak: The price is set equal for part of the goods.
  4. Al-MuraabaHah: The price is set higher by a certain amount.

Ribaa ("usury")

Linguistic Definition of the Arabic word "ribaa":

"an increase"

Islamic Definition:

Something extra taken without anything in its exchange (according to Islamic legal standards) as a condition for one of the parties in a transaction of property for property.

Its judgment:

Prohibited, and one of the large sins.

The warning against ribaa

Allah threatened those who take ribaa with war and those who deny its prohibition with eternal torment. The Prophet (may Allah raise his rank) cursed those who give it, receive it, record it, or bear witness to it.

The wisdom in its prohibition:

  1. It leads to taking the property of Muslims, which has sanctity, without something in exchange.
  2. Riba lets a person make money without producing anything, which reduces efforts in the production of goods and services.
  3. Prohibiting ribaa makes it easy for people to give loans out of charity.
  4. Ribaa often traps the debtor in a vicious circle of higher loans and interest.
… and Allah knows best.

Ribaa can be said to be of at least 4 kinds:

  1. Obvious ribaa:
    1. Taking a loan with interest in exchange for a delayed return of the loan. This is the ribaa of the jaahiliyyah mentioned in the Quran. The interest taken is for the time of the loan, and time cannot be sold in Islam; it is an extra without anything in its exchange.
    • A similar type of ribaa is taking a loan on the condition of any benefit to the lender.

  2. Ribaa of something extra in sales:
    1. Selling things that are sold by weight or volume and of the same kind with a difference in weight or volume or a delay in delivery (or specification). E.g. salt for salt, or cow's milk for cow's milk.
    2. Selling gold for gold, silver for silver, or currency for the same kind of currency with a difference in amount or without physically exchanging the goods before leaving the place of transaction. It has been related from Umar "if the other party jumps before exchanging, jump with him."
    3. Note that things sold by piece or area are not of the type of property that cannot be sold with uneven amounts. It is allowed to sell 2 cloths for 1 cloth or 2 eggs for 1 egg.

  3. Ribaa of credit in sales:
    1. Selling things that are of the same kind with a delay in delivery (or specification). E.g. one may sell a cow for 2 cows; a cloth for 2 cloths; an egg for 2 eggs, but without delaying delivery or specification.
    2. Selling something that is sold by weight for something of another kind that is also sold by weight with a delay in delivery (or specification). E.g. If selling sugar for salt, one may have a difference in weight between the two, but no delay in delivery or specification.
    3. Selling something that is sold by volume for something of another kind that is also sold by volume with a delay in delivery (or specification). E.g. cow's milk for goat's milk.

  4. Ribaa of corrupt or invalid sales-transactions: This is a large chapter of Islamic jurisprudence that needs separate treatment under buying and selling.