Transaction of Al-Muzaabanah (i.e. the selling of fresh dates for dried old dates by measure, and the selling of fresh grapes for dried grapes by measure)

All perfect praise be to Allaah Alone and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger, the trustworthy, and upon his family and companions and whoever follows them in truth until the Day of Resurrection.

We have previously discussed in the past episodes some types of the trade transactions in the pre-Islamic era that Islam came with prohibiting them for the ignorance, uncertainty, consuming the property of Muslim unjustly that they include. Also, because they lead in most cases to disputes and quarrels between the seller and the buyer.

In this episode, we will speak about another type of trade transactions that Islam has prohibited for the uncertainty and ignorance that it implies and because it, in many cases, leads to disputes and quarrels and consuming the property of people unjustly, and thus causes envy among Muslims while they are commanded to like for their fellow Muslims all goodness that they like for themselves and hate for their follow Muslims all forms of evil that they hate for themselves. This is the transaction of Al-Muzaabanah.

Imam Al-Bukhaari, may Allaah have mercy upon him, reported that ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with them said: “The Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, forbade Al-Muzaabanah; and Al-Muzaabanah is the selling of fresh dates for dried old dates by measure, and the selling of fresh grapes for dried grapes by measure.” (Reported in Saheeh Al-Bukhaari, the Book of Sales and Trade, Chapter: The selling of dried grapes for dried grapes and meals for meals, no. 2171 and Saheeh Muslim, no. 1542)

It was also narrated that ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with them, said: “The Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, forbade Al-Muzaabanah; and Al-Muzaabanah is the selling of fresh fruit (without measuring it) for something by measure on the basis that if that thing turns to be more than the fruit, the increase would be for the seller of the fruit, and if it turns to be less, that would be of his lot.” Narrated Ibn ‘Umar from Zayd ibn Thaabit that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, allowed the selling of the fruits on the trees after estimation (when they are ripe).” [Reported in Saheeh Al-Bukhaari, no. 2173]

It was also narrated that ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with them said: “The Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, forbade Al-Muzaabanah; and Al-Muzaabanah means the selling of fresh dates (on the trees) for dried dates by measure and also the selling of fresh grapes for dried grapes by measure.” [Reported in Saheeh Al-Bukhaari, no. 2173]

It was narrated that Sa‘eed ibn Al-Musayyib, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, forbade the transaction of Al-Muzaabanah and Al-Muhaaqalah. Al-Muzaabanah means that fresh dates on the trees should be sold against dry dates. Al-Muhaaqalah implies that the wheat in the ear should be sold against the wheat and getting the land on rent for the wheat (produced in it).” [Reported in Saheeh Muslim, no. 1539]

Ibn Hajar, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said in Al-Fat-h: “His saying: “The chapter of the transaction of Al-Muzaabanah that linguistically taken from the Arabic word Az-Zabn that means the strong pushing. That is because every one of the two parties of the sale wants to push the other away from his right or because if one of them is harmed or deceived by the sale, he seeks to cancel it while the other seeks to push him to go on in completing it.”

In Sharee‘ah terminology it means the selling of fresh dates for dried old dates, and the selling of fresh grapes for dried grapes. This is the real meaning of Al-Muzaabanah.

Imam Ash-Shaafi‘i, may Allaah have mercy upon him, included all of this in the selling of unknown (item) for unknown (price), or for known item which implies Riba (i.e. interest, usury, etc.). He also added: “As for the one who said I will guarantee to you your heap for twenty Saa‘s (i.e. a volumetric measure approximately equal to 2.7 litres) for example, and whatever increases is for me and whatever decreases, it would be of my lot, then it is a form of gambling not Al-Muzaabanah.

I (i.e. Ibn Hajar) said: “However, it was stated previously in the chapter of the selling of dried grapes for dried grapes and meals for meals from the route of Ayuob from Naafi‘ from Ib ‘Umar: “…and Al-Muzaabanah is the selling of fresh fruit (without measuring it) for something by measure on the basis that if that thing turns to be more than the fruit, the increase would be for the seller of the fruit, and if it turns to be less, that would be of his lot. Then, it is proved that the cases of Al-Muzaabanah also include such case of gambling. It is not necessary because it is gambling not to be called Muzaabanah.”

Amongst the other forms of Al- Muzaabanah is the selling of field of corn for corn by measure. It was narrated from the route of ‘Ubayd Allaah ibn ‘Umar from Naafi‘i that that the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, forbade Al-Muzaabanah, i. e. buying of fresh dates (on) the trees for dry dates by measure, and the buying of grapes for raisins by measure and the selling of field of corn for corn by measure.

Imam Maalik, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “The explanation of Al-Muzaabanah is that it is buying something whose number, weight and measure is not known with something whose number, weight or measure is known, whether it is from the matters in which implies Riba or not. The reason behind prohibiting it is the gambling and uncertainty it implies.

Secondly, Al-Muhaaqalah:

Ibn ‘Abdel Al-Barr said: “Imam Maalik, may Allaah have mercy upon him, view that the linguistic meaning of Al-Muzaabanah which is the strong pushing that includes gambling and risk.

Some of them explained Al-Muzaabanah as selling fruits before becoming ripe or good. It is really a mistake because difference between them is quite clear from the first Hadeeth in this chapter. It was said that it is like Al-Muzaara‘ah on a part and it was said that it is something unlike this. Its explanation stated in the Hadeeths of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, is more appropriate to be adopted.

Ibn ‘Abdel Al-Barr, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “Muslim scholars hold different opinions regarding: Does this include all what is not permissible to be sold except what is sold for the same commodity and thus it is not permissible in it to sell a measured item for unmeasured one nor unmeasured item for unmeasured one? The Majority of Muslim scholars are of the opinion of that it includes both of them. There is another opinion states that it is related only to palm-tree and grapes. Allaah Knows best.

According to the opinion of the majority of Muslim scholars, it is not permissible to sell the dried grains for that still in their ears. That is because selling the dried grains for that still in their ears is Al-Muhaaqalah (which the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, prohibited). Ibn Hajar, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said in Al-Fat-h: “Abu ‘Ubayd said, Al-Muhaaqalah is to sell food in its ears for the wheat that is taken from the field. Al-Layth said, the field refers to the plants when they grow up but have not become strong yet. What is prohibited to be sold is the plant before becoming strong enough. It was also said it is the selling of fruits before becoming ripe. It was also said it is the selling of the dates that are on the date-palm for dried dates. Imam Maalik, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: ‘It is the renting of land for wheat or for measured food or bread. The well known opinion is that the Muhaaqalah means renting the land for some of what grows in it.”

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