Transaction of Al-‘Araaya

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.

As for the transaction of Al-‘Araaya  that Islam has excluded from the prohibition, it means the selling of fresh dates on the palm-trees after estimation (when they are ripe) for dry dates with a specific measure not for unspecific measure i.e. estimating the amounts of the fresh dates on the palm-trees and their amounts that would be when they become dry and selling such amount (of fresh dates) for the same amount of (dry) dates. Then, it is a process of estimation.

Imam Al-Nawawi, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said in his commentary on Saheeh Muslim:  

As for Al-‘Araaya (sirgular - ‘Ariyyah), it comes from the root of Arabic word Ta‘ari because it is excluded from the ruling that applies to the whole garden. It was said that it named like so because her first owner give it up from among all of his other palm-trees. It was said it also means something other than this. Allaah Knows best.

What makes it different from Al-Muzaabanah is that the selling of Al-Muzaabanah the amount of fresh dates that are on the palm-tree is equal to the dates that are on ground. Here exists the problem of not being the same. That is because the fresh dates have water that makes them bigger than the dried ones. Consequently, there is no similarity. As for Al-‘Araaya, the fresh dates are estimated and counting how the amount can be if they become dry and selling such estimated amount for the dates that are on the ground.

Ibn Al-Munthir, may Allaah have mercy upon him, stated that Kufi scholars believe that the transaction of Al-‘Araaya is abrogated by the prohibited made by the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, regarding selling fresh fruits for dry ones. This is actually something rejected because the one who reported the prohibition of selling fresh dates for dried ones is the one who reported the concession and thus he confirmed both the prohibition and the concession.

The statement of Zayd ibn Thaabith 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 by Imam Al-Bukhaari] indicates that making the concession of selling Al-‘Araaya occurred after prohibiting the selling of fresh dates for the dried ones.

One should know that Muslim scholars stipulated that the transaction of Al-‘Araaya should only occur in what is less than five Awsuq (singular: Wasaq which means sixty Saa 's) for Imam Al-Bukhaari, may Allaah have mercy upon him, and other narrated that Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, allowed the sale of the dates of ‘Araaya provided they were about five Awsuq (singular: Wasaq which means sixty Saa's) or less (in amount).” [Reported in Saheh Al-Bukhaari, no. 2190]

Imam An-Nawawi, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “Wasaq is an Arabic word means brings different things together. It is a standard measure that equals sixty Saa's. As for the Saa‘, it is a volumetric measure approximately equals to five and one-third pounds according to Iraqi measure.

Imam Ibn Hajar, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said in his commentary on this Hadeeth: “The statement of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, provided they were about five Awsuq (singular: Wasaq which means sixty Saa's) or less (in amount) indicates that the narrator is not sure. Imam Muslim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, pointed out in his report that the doubt comes from Daawood ibn Al-Husayn. Those who made the transaction of Al-‘Araaya permissible based their opinion on this number and prohibited what goes beyond it. They held different opinions regarding the permissibility of the transaction of Al-‘Araaya in five Awsuq due to the doubt stated. Only Maaliki and Ash-Shaafi‘ scholars held such different opinions. The most preponderant opinion of Maaliki scholars is the permissibility of conducting it in the five Awsuq and what is less than them. As for Shaafi‘i scholars, the preponderant opinion is the permissibility of conducting it in less than the five and prohibited in the five and it is also the opinion of Hanbali and Thaahiri  scholars. The reason behind prohibition is that the basic ruling is prohibition and the transaction of Al-‘Araaya is only a concession and thus it is applied in the way in which it is permissible and whatever doubt occurs in it should be canceled. The reason behind disagreement is that did the prohibition of the transaction of Al-Muzaabanah come first and then the concession occurred in the transaction of Al-‘Araaya, or the prohibition of the transaction of Al-Muzaabanah accompanied with the concession of the transaction of Al-‘Araaya? According to the first possibility, it is not permissible to conduct it (i.e. the transaction of Al-‘Araaya) in the five Awsuq due to having doubt regarding abrogating the prohibition. According to the second possibility, it is permissible due to having doubt in the amount of prohibition.

Imam An-Nawawi, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said in his commentary on Saheeh Muslim: “Muslim scholars have agreed on the prohibition of selling the fresh dates for the dried one in other than the transaction of Al-‘Araaya and that it is Riba (i.e. usury, interest, etc.). They also have agreed unanimously on prohibiting the selling of fresh grapes for dried grapes. They also have agreed unanimously on prohibiting selling the wheat in their ears for only wheat (without ears) which is Al-Muhaalaqah that is derived from the Arabic word Al-Haql which is the field whether, according to all of them, the fresh dates and grapes are on the trees or not.”

Abu Haneefah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “If it is cut off, then it will be permissible to sell it for similar amounts of the dried ones. As for the Al-‘Araaya, the estimator should say, if such fresh dates that are on it become dried, only three Awsuq, for example, will be saved from them, thus one will sell it to him for three Awsuq of dried dates and exchange is to made in the session of concluding the contact. The buyer will deliver the dried dates and the seller of fresh dates will deliver the fresh dates, and this is permissible in less than five Awsuq and it will not be permissible in what is more than five Awsuq. As for its permissibility regarding five Awsuq, Ash-Shaafi‘i have two opinions regarding it. The preponderant opinion is that it is not permissible because the basic principle is the prohibition of selling dried dates for fresh ones and Al-‘Araaya was made only a concession. Also, the narrator had doubt regarding the five Awsuq or less than them and thus it is obligatory to adopt certainty which is less than five Awsuq while five Awsuq remained prohibited.

Imam An-Nawawi, may Allaah have mercy upon him, also said: “The most correct answer is that it is permissible for the poor and rich and it is not permissible in other than the fresh dates and grapes among the fruits. There is a second weak opinion that is related to the poor and a third that it is not related to fresh dates and grapes. This is the opinion of Ash-Shaafi‘i in detail regarding Al-‘Araaya. It is the same opinion adopted by Ahmed and others while Maalik and Abu Haneefah interpreted it in another way and the apparent meanings of the Hadeeths reject their interpretation.

We ask Allaah The Almighty to provide us a good understanding in His religion for He, the Most Exalted, is able to do all of such things. Peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon his family and all of his companions.

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