‘Âriyah or Borrowed items


Bahishti Zewar, Fiqh, Part 5-Principles of Business / Saturday, October 16th, 2010

1. You borrowed clothing, jewellery, a bed, utensils, etc. from someone for a few days and told them that you will return them once your need for them is over. The rule with regard to this is the same as that of an amânah. It will be wâjib on you to safeguard these items. If such borrowed items disappear despite your taking all the precautions to safeguard them, then that person cannot demand any compensation from you. In fact, even if you had told that person that if it gets lost you will compensate him, it is not permissible for him to take any compensation. But if you did not safeguard it and it therefore got lost, you will have to pay compensation for it. Furthermore, the owner has the right to take back his item whenever he wishes. It is not permissible for you to refuse to return it to him. If you refuse to hand it over to him despite his asking you to do so and thereafter it gets lost, you will have to pay compensation.

2. If the owner permitted you to utilise the item in a particular manner, you will have to utilise it in that very manner. You cannot use it in any manner contrary to that which he permitted. If you use it in a contrary manner and it gets lost, you will have to pay compensation. For example, a woman lent you her scarf in order to cover your head. Instead, you spread it out on the ground and lied down on it. On account of this it became damaged. She lent you her couch and so many people sat on it that it broke. She lent you a glass utensil and you placed it over the fire and it therefore broke. Alternatively, you used any other item contrary to its normal manner of usage. In all such cases you will have to pay compensation. Similarly, if you borrow an item and have this evil intention in your heart that you will not return it but keep it for yourself, you will have to pay compensation if it disappears.

3. You borrowed an item for a specific number of days. It will be necessary to return it on the expiry of that period. If you do not return it within the specified number of days and it gets lost, you will have to pay compensation.

4. If the owner lent an item and clearly stated that you can use it yourself and also give it to others to utilise, then you have the right to lend it to others. Similarly, if the owner did not clearly state this but your relationship with him is such that you have full conviction that others are permitted to utilise it as well, then the above rule will also apply. If the owner clearly prohibited you from lending it to others or allowing others to utilise it, then under no circumstances will it be permissible for you to give it to others.

If you borrowed an item telling the owner that you will use it and he did not prohibit you from giving it to others nor did he clearly permit you to do so, then check the nature of the item. If it is such that the manner of utilising it is the same and everyone utilises it in the same manner without there being any difference whatsoever, it will be permissible for you to use it and to allow others as well. If the item is such that it is not utilised in the same manner – some people use it in the proper manner while others mishandle it, then it will not be permissible for you to allow others to utilise it.

Similarly, if you borrowed an item telling the owner that a certain relative or friend will use it and the owner did not mention anything about you using it yourself or not using it, then the same rule will apply here as well. That is, if the manner of utilising it is the same, it will be permissible for you to use it. If not, it will not be permissible for you to use it. Only that person in whose name you borrowed it will be permitted to use it.

If you borrowed an item without informing the owner as to who is going to utilise it and the owner did not specify anyone as well, then the rule is that if the manner of utilising it is the same, it will be permissible for you to utilise it and give it to others as well. But if the manner of utilising it is not the same and you already commenced utilising it, it will not be permissible for you to give it to others. If you did not commence utilising it and gave it to someone else, it will not be permissible for you to utilise it. Understand this well.

5. It is not permissible for the parents and others to lend items that belong to their immature children. If they lend it out and it gets lost, they will have to pay compensation. Similarly, if an immature child lends his item on his own accord, it will not be permissible to take it.

6. You borrowed an item from a person. Thereafter, the owner passed away. Once he passes away, it does not become the possession of the borrower. It will therefore not be permissible for you to use it. Similarly, if the borrower passes away, it will not be permissible for his inheritors to use it in any way.

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