Appointing a person as a wakîl (representative)

Bahishti Zewar, Economics, Fiqh, Part 5-Principles of Business / Saturday, June 12th, 2010

1. Just as a person has the power to carry out a certain work on his own, he also has the choice of appointing someone to carry out that task on his behalf. This is applicable in buying and selling transactions, taking or giving on rent, getting married, etc. For example, sending the domestic servant to the market to purchase something, selling something through her, sending her to hire a car, taxi, etc. The person who is appointed for such a task is known as a wakîl (representative or proxy) in the Sharî‘ah. If you send the domestic servant or labourer to purchase something for you from the market, he will be your wakîl.

2. You sent the domestic servant to purchase meat. She purchased the meat on credit. The butcher cannot demand the money for the meat from you. He will have to ask the domestic servant who will in turn ask you for the money. Similarly, if you ask your domestic servant to sell a certain item for you, you do not have the right to ask or demand the money from the person who purchased the item. He will pay the money to the person from whom he purchased the item (in this case, your domestic servant). But if he comes and gives the money to you, it will be permissible. What this means is that if he refuses to give the money to you, you cannot force him to do so.

3. You sent your worker to purchase something and he brought it. He has the right to refuse to hand over the item to you until you give him the money for it. This is irrespective of whether he paid for it with his own money or whether he has not paid for it as yet. However, if he purchased it on credit on the promise that he will pay within five or ten days, then he cannot ask you for the money before the stipulated number of days.

4. You asked your domestic servant to purchase one kilo of meat. She comes home with one and half kilos. It is not wajib for you to accept the one and half kilos. If you do not take it, she will have to take the half kilo.

5. You asked a person to go and purchase a certain goat from a certain person for R200. This wakîl cannot go and purchase that goat at that price for himself. In other words, when you ask the wakîl to purchase something specifically for you, it is not permissible for him to purchase that very item for himself. However, if he purchases it at a price more than what you had specified, it will be permissible for him to purchase it for himself. But if you did not specify any price, it will in no way be permissible for him to purchase it for himself.

6. You did not specify any particular goat. You merely asked him to purchase a goat for you. It will be permissible for him to purchase a goat for himself as well. He can purchase whichever one he wishes to purchase for himself, and whichever one he wishes for you. If he purchases it with the intention that he is purchasing it for himself, it will be his. If he purchases it with the intention that he is purchasing it for you, it will be yours. And if he purchases it with your money, it will be yours irrespective of what intention he makes when purchasing it.

7. He purchased a goat for you. However, before he could give it to you, it died or got stolen. In such a case, you will have to give him the money for that goat. If you tell him that he had purchased that goat for himself, then your money will be lost if you had already given him the money. But if you hadn’t given him the money and he comes to you now to ask for the money, then if you are able to take an oath that he had purchased the goat for himself, then his goat will be lost. And if you are unable to take an oath, you will have to accept his word.

8. The labourer or domestic servant purchased an item for you at a high price. If the price is slightly higher than the normal market value, you will have to take the item and give the money for it. But if the price is extremely high to such an extent that no one can quote such a high price, it is not wajib on you to accept it. If you do not accept it, he will have to take it.

9. You gave an item to a person to sell. It is not permissible for this person to purchase the item for himself and give the money to you. Similarly, if you ask a person to purchase an item for you, he cannot bring his own item and sell it to you. If he wishes to sell his item to you, or purchase your item for himself, he must clearly state so by saying: “This is my item, you can purchase it from me” or “I will purchase this item from you.” It is not permissible to do so without clearly stating this.

10. You sent the domestic servant to purchase goat meat. She comes back with beef. You have the choice of either accepting it or rejecting it. Similarly, if you send her to purchase potatoes and she comes back with bhindi (lady’s fingers – a vegetable) or anything else, it is not necessary for you to accept it. If you reject it, she will have to take it.

11. You asked her to purchase something worth R1 and she comes with R2 worth. You have the right to take R1 worth and give the extra back to her.

12. You sent two persons to purchase a certain item. It will be necessary for both of them to be present when purchasing the item. It is not permissible for only one person to purchase the item. If only one person purchases it, the validity of the transaction will be dependent on you. If you accept it, it will be valid.

13. You asked a person to purchase a goat, a cow or something else for you. This person did not purchase it himself but sent someone else. It will not be wâjib for you to accept what this third person purchases. You can accept it or reject it. However, if he himself purchases it for you, you will have to take it.

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