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Fatwas / Sales Fatawa / Ruling on selling what is intended to be used for prohibited things.

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We are Muslims from Xian Jing area which is located in south west of China. We live in a small city which is regarded as one of the poorest cities except that Allah all might and glory be to Him blessed us natural mineral wealth in form of precious stones. It is obvious that people who trade in them will be there. Consequently, there are is about twenty thousand or more Muslims who deal in these precious stones. This figure does not include those who benefit from the stone. That being said, we can classify them into three groups: 1. Labor force. These are the ones who drill and excavate the mines for salaries form the mine owners. 2. Middlemen. These are the ones who buy extracted minerals and sells them to transporters. 3. Transporters. These are the ones who buy stones from middleman and sometimes from the miners directly. After having large quantity of stones, they go to other Chinese cities and sell them to non-Muslim sculptors and engravers who use 70% of these stones to carve out anthropomorphic shapes such as Idols, statues and animals. The remaining 30% is used to sculpt non-anthropomorphic shapes such as bangles and rings. With regards to pricing, the stones are classified into categories: 1. Very expensive stones which occupy a very small proportion. These are not used by sculptors, rather they are kept for boasting and showing off. 2. Cheap stones which occupy a very large proportion. These are used by sculptors to carve out anthropomorphic and non-anthropomorphic shapes as mentioned above. I would like to inform you that most of the dealers are good men who are dedicated to spending what they have on charity and assisting the poor. Over and above that, they are adherents of the correct aqeedah. Worthy mentioning is that people who are involved in this trade form the backbone of Muslims’ economy. If Muslims stop practicing this trade, it is certain that it will be taken over by non-Muslims, and consequently the economy of Muslims will weaken. In this case the Muslims won’t be left with any choice but to do nothing towards charity. Now my question is: What is the ruling on this trade and how do Muslims give their alms? If it is prohibited how do they spend the wealth that they earned from this trade? Please may you give us a detailed answer supported by evidence and may you be rewarded.

حكم بيع ما يقصد به المحرم


Praise be to Allah, and may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and his companions.

To proceed:                    

The scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) differed into two opinions with regards to the ruling on selling something meant to be used in a prohibited manner such as selling grapes or juice to the one who makes wine from them or selling wood that will be used to make a cross or statues. There are two views with respect to a case where the seller knows or strongly thinks that his products will be used in an unlawful way:
First: It is unlawful and not permissible. This is the view held by majority of  Malikites, Hanbalites, Shafites in the most correct of  their two pinions, Dhahiriyates and others. They derived this from Allah’s saying: “But do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment.” [al-Maaidah: 2]. They also used other evidences with a similar meaning.
Second: It is permissible. This was said by Ibn al-Mundhir, ‘Ataa’ and al-Thawri. Al-Thawri went on to say: sell what is permissible to whomsoever you like. Abu Hanifa said similar remarks but on condition that the selling does not amount to the meaning of assisting in sin or where sin is not a result of the product itself such as selling what is used in making a prohibited thing although it is detestable to sell what is unlawfully used like selling weapons during times of war. The two companions of Abu Hanifa differed with this view and went on to say that it is absolutely detested. This view was also held by the Shafites. Those who support this view deduced their ruling from the principle that says transactions and sales are permissible as also affirmed by Allah’s saying, “Whereas Allah has permitted trading and forbidden Riba (usury).” [al-Baqarah: 275]. They went on to say: “disobedience is a result of the buyers’ actions.” because the verse says, “Nor shall one burdened soul bear the burden of another.” [al-Israa’: 15], therefore this does not affect the validity and permissibility of the sale.
The preponderate view from the two is the one held by majority of scholars which say that it is impermissible to sell a product to a person who will use the product in an unlawful manner or if there is strong suspicion on that. With regards to deducing the ruling from the principle of permissibility; the response is: the fact that the contract leads to prohibition or assists in prohibition lifts this principle. This is because applying a principle is dependent on the absence of what impedes it. However, what has to be pointed out in this issue is that the severity of the prohibition differs. Thus whatever leads to a prohibited thing which is easily attainable is more prohibited and more serious. It should also be known that it is equally prohibited to help someone to commit a prohibited activity by selling, renting out a thing and so on. Likewise, the prohibition still stands whether the buyer is a Muslim or a disbeliever regardless of whether we say that the non-believers are addressed by the secondary issues of the Shari'h or not because the ruling is linked to the buyer who is addressed by the rulings of the Shari'a.
All what has been said shows that does not differ whether the transaction is concluded in an Islamic country or a non-Islamic country  as it also clarifies that selling the precious stones to a person who uses them to make unlawful things like statues is prohibited whether the statue is meant to be worshiped or not. I know that sustenance is in Allah’s hands and whoever leaves something for the sake of Allah, He will compensate that person with something better. Moreover this does not necessitate leaving the precious stones to the disbelievers if it is possible to take and trade them in a lawful manner.
And Allah knows best.

Your brother,

Dr. Khalid al-Mosleh

12 / 04 / 1425 AH



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