1. There are several ways of purchasing gold and silver. One is that gold could be purchased in exchange for gold or silver in exchange for silver, e.g. a person purchases gold with a gold coin which he has in his possession or silver with a silver coin which he has in his possession. In other words, the item that is being purchased is of the same category as that with which it is being purchased. In such a case, two factors are wajib : (i) the gold or the silver on both sides will have to be equal, (ii) the transaction must be complete before the buyer and the seller can separate, there must be no outstanding amount. If they conduct this transaction contrary to any of these two factors, it will be interest. For example, if you purchase silver with a R1 coin (which is made of silver), you will have to purchase the silver that is equal in weight as that of the R1 coin. If it is more or less than the R1 coin, it will be interest.
Similarly, if you hand over the R1 coin and he does not give you the silver immediately, instead he promises to give it to you after a short while and goes away or, you do not hand over the R1 coin to him and instead you take the silver on credit, then this will also be interest.
2. The second method is that the same category is not found on both sides. Instead, one person has gold while the other has silver. The rule in this regard is that it is not necessary for them to be equal in weight. It is permissible to purchase as much gold as possible with a R1 coin. Similarly, it is permissible to purchase as much silver as possible with a gold coin. However, this transaction will have to be completed before the two can separate. In this case it is also wâjib to abstain from any credit, as mentioned in the previous mas’ala .
3. The market value of silver has risen sharply. In other words, a R1 coin is selling for R1,20 and no one is giving it for R1. Alternatively, a piece of silver jewellery has been exquisitely designed and its weight is equal to 10 R1 coins of silver. However, one cannot purchase it for less than the weight of 12 R1 coins of silver. In order to save yourself from interest, an alternative method is that you should not purchase it with silver coins. Instead, purchase it with money (notes) or normal ordinary coins.
However, you should not purchase the R1 coin with R1,20. If you do so, it will be interest. Similarly, if you wish to purchase R8 worth of silver for R9, pay the person with R7 worth of silver and R2 in cash. In so doing, you will be purchasing R7 worth of silver with R7 worth of silver, and the balance of the silver will actually be paid for with your R2. In short, if you wish to purchase silver with silver always tender less silver than what is actually being purchased and the remainder should be paid in cash (notes or coins).
4. If both the buyer and seller agree, then an easy method will be to add some money on that side where the silver is less in weight.
5. An easier method is that each of them should keep whatever silver he wishes to keep, and the other should keep whatever silver coins he wishes to keep. However, each one should also add some money to his silver or silver coins. He should then say : “I am buying this silver and this money in exchange for these silver coins and this money.” In so doing, they will save themselves from all technicalities.
6. If the price of silver has dropped and one is able to purchase R1.50 worth of silver for R1 (made of silver) and one feels that if he has to purchase R1.50 worth of silver for R1, he will suffer a loss, then the method of avoiding this and also avoiding any interest is that he should include some money (not made of silver) in the price of the silver irrespective of how little it may be, e.g. he purchased R15 worth of silver for R10. In this way, it would be understood that the silver worth R9 was in exchange of the nine silver coins of R1 each whilst the cash (i.e. other coins not made of silver) of R1 was in exchange of the remainder.
7. A person wishes to purchase high quality silver in exchange for his inferior quality silver and is unable to acquire an amount of high quality silver which is equal in weight to his inferior quality silver. In such a case, he should first sell his inferior quality silver for whatever price he may be able to get. Thereafter, he should purchase the high quality silver with the money that he receives. In buying and selling, the rules that have been mentioned above should also be borne in mind.
Alternatively, both the buyer and seller could include some money in both the silver and thereafter undertake the transaction.
8. Most women purchase silver laces, brocades, tassels, etc. from the bazaars. They should also bear the above masâ’il in mind because this is also silver and silver coins are being paid in exchange for these silver items. Even in this case, an easy method will be to include some money on either side and then undertake the transaction.
9. If a person purchases an item which is made of gold or silver and it is such that it is entirely made of gold or entirely made of silver and it does not contain anything else, then the same rule will apply. That is, if a gold item is being purchased with silver or silver coins, or a silver item is being purchased with gold coins, it will be permissible to purchase that item irrespective of the difference in weight. The only factor that they have to worry about is that the transaction must be completed there and then. None of the parties must have any outstanding amount. But if a silver item is being purchased with silver coins or a gold item is being purchased with gold coins, it will be wâjib for them to be equal in weight. If there is any shortfall or extra on either side, the item should be purchased through the above-mentioned methods.
10. The item is such that it has some other metal or stone in addition to the silver. For example, an armlet has been filled with sealing-wax, a stone has been set onto a nose-ring, a stone has been set into a ring, or an armlet has not been filled with sealing-wax but instead it has been beaded with strands of wire (and beads). If these items have been purchased with silver coins, then check the amount of silver they contain. Is the silver in the item which you have purchased equal in weight as that of the silver coins, is it more or is it less? If the silver in the item is definitely less than the weight of your silver coins, this transaction is permissible. If it is equal or more, the transaction will be regarded as interest. In order to save yourself from this interest, the above-mentioned methods should be employed. That is, the silver coins with which you will be paying should be less in value than the silver that the item contains and include some cash in order to fill in the balance. The condition or prerequisite of the entire transaction being carried out at one time (i.e. without any credit on either side) has also to be adhered to in all these masâ’il .