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Fatwas / Sales Fatawa / Difference between al-Salam (advance payment) and interest

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Question

Under the chapter of interest, our esteemed scholars have mentioned that if the reason for interest differs, it is permissible to transact unalike commodities without swapping. They deduced this from the Messenger of Allah’s (peace be on him) saying: “He said (to them), "Whoever pays in advance the price of a thing to be delivered later should pay it for a specified measure at specified weight for a specified period.” The scholars defined salam (advance payment) as: A contract according to which the price of a clearly defined item is paid in advance at the place of concluding the contract. However, this definition was questioned and questions were raised as to why the scholars permitted the sale to occur without the exchange of the price yet the definition says, " A contract according to which the price of a clearly defined item is paid in advance at the place of concluding the contract.”?

الفرق بين السلم والربا

Answer

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

To proceed:

Swapping which makes a contract free from interest is that which is done between contracting parties. For example if gold is sold for gold then each contracting party should get what has been agreed to on the contract, likewise  if dates are sold for wheat the seller should get the wheat whereas the buyer gets the dates. However, with regards to al-salam; the price is the only thing that is handed over so that it does not end up becoming like selling a debt for a debt.

Your brother,

Dr. Khalid al-Mosleh

16 / 08 / 1425 AH


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