Items sold by measurement or counting


Economics, Part 5-Principles of Business / Monday, June 7th, 2010

1. The following rules apply to items that are not sold by weight, but sold either by measurement or counting. If a particular type of item is exchanged for the same type of item, e.g. guavas are exchanged for guavas, or oranges are exchanged for oranges, or a fabric is exchanged for similar fabric, then in all these cases it is not  a prerequisite for both the items to be equal. It is permissible to have some difference. However, it is wâjib for the transaction to be executed there and then.

If the item that is being exchanged is different from the other item, e.g. guavas are exchanged for oranges, wheat is exchanged for guavas or a fine fabric is exchanged for a coarse fabric, this will be permissible under all circumstances. It is not wâjib for both the items to be equal nor is it wâjib to execute the transaction there and then (i.e. it is permissible to take, for example, the guavas now and give the oranges later on).

Additional points

1. The essence of this entire explanation is that apart from gold and silver, if the same item is on either side and it is sold by weight, e.g. wheat in exchange for wheat or gram in exchange for gram, then it is wâjib for them to be equal in weight and it is also wâjib for the entire transaction to be executed there and then.

If the same item is found on either side but it is not sold by weight, e.g. guavas in exchange for guavas, oranges in exchange for oranges or fabric in exchange for a similar fabric or, there are different items on either side but both are sold by weight, e.g. wheat in exchange for gram or gram in exchange for rice, then in both these cases it is not wâjib for them to be equal in weight. A difference in weight is permitted. However, it is wâjib to execute the entire transaction there and then.

Where both these factors are not found, i.e. the items are different on either side and both of them are not sold by weight, then in such a case a difference is permitted and it is also not wâjib to execute the entire transaction there and then.

For example, exchanging guavas for oranges. Understand these masâ’il well.

2. A utensil made of china was exchanged for another such utensil of a different quality. Alternatively, a utensil made of china was exchanged for an enamelled copper utensil. Equality in these items is not wâjib . It is also permissible to give one such item in exchange for two such items. Similarly, it is permissible to give one needle in exchange for several needles. However, if there are copper utensils on either side or enamelled copper utensils on either side, then in such a case, the transaction will have to be executed there and then. But if the type is different, e.g. a utensil made of china in exchange for an enamelled copper utensil, then even this prerequisite is not wâjib .

3. Your neighbour comes to you and tells you  :   “Give me the rotis which you have made with one kilo of flour because a few visitors have come to my house. In return for these rotis , you can take a kilo or one and quarter kilos of flour or wheat.

Alternatively, give me these rotis now and later you can take the flour or wheat from me.” This is permissible.

4. When sending your servant or maid to purchase an item, explain to them carefully as to how they should conduct these transactions. It should not occur that they purchase something in an incorrect manner which would involve an interest transaction whereby you and all your children eat that item and are thereby caught up in eating something harâm . The sin of all those whom you feed from such food, e.g. your husband, your guests, etc. will fall on your shoulders.

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