What is The Ruling on Overbooking a Service?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by


As a driving instructor, I double book some slots in case one student cancels.  If no student cancels one or two days before, I rearrange the time of one of the students.  Is this allowed and permissible?

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.


It is not permissible to double book one session nor overbook services which you cannot deliver to all.
Instead, you may suggest to a student that if there is a cancellation, you will inform them of the availability of the slot.  Thereafter, it is their discretion to book the session or decline the offer.
You may shortlist students who are prepared to take lessons at short notice upon cancellations.  They can be offered the available slot and equally have the discretion and prerogative to decline.

The Fiqh (jurisprudence of the answer):

Services in a rental contract are considered legally to be in the ruling of assets (‘ayn)[1].  Thus, each time-slot is in the ruling of an asset.  Just as one an asset cannot be traded twice, a single time slot cannot be sold or booked twice.
Furthermore, It is incorrect to contract services which you do not have the capacity to deliver.
In addition, a forward service (al-‘Ijārah al-Muāfah) is binding based on the view adopted by al-Majallah and its commentaries[2].  Therefore, it cannot be unilaterally cancelled.  It is incorrect for you to cancel a pre-agreed service.  In a double booked service, the person who agreed to the service first has right to the service and not the second contracting party.
Finally, double booking has the potential to lead to dispute.  Agreements and contracts which have a strong potential to lead to dispute are also prohibited in Shariah.

And Allah Ta’ālā Alone Knows Best

Mufti Faraz Adam,

The views and opinions expressed in this answer belong only to the author and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of any institutions to which he may be affiliated.
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[1]  والأجيرُ الخاصّ: مَن يكون العقدُ وارداً على منافعه، ولا يصير منافعه معلومة إلاَّ بذكرِ المدّة أو بذكرِ المسافة، ومنافعه في حكم العين، فإذا صارت مستحقّة بعقد المعاوضة لإنسان لا يتمكّن من إيجابها لغيره بخلاف الأجيرِ المشترك؛ لأنّ المعقودَ عليه فيه هو الوصف الذي يحدث في العين بعمله، فلا يحتاجُ إلى ذكرِ المدّة، ولا يمتنعُ تقبّل مثل ذلك العمل مع غيره؛ لأنّ ما استحقّه الأوّل في حكمِ الدَّين في ذمّته، وهو نظيرُ السَّلَم مع بيع العين، فإن المُسَلَّم فيه لمّا كان ديناً في ذمّته لا يتعذّر عليه بسببه قبولُ السَّلَم من غيره، والبيع لما كان يلاقي العين لا يملك بيعه من غيره بعدما باعه؛ ولهذا كان مشتركاً، والأوّل أجير واحد، وأجير خاصّ. انتهى. (عمدة الرعاية ج 6 ص 572 دار الكتب)

[2]  [ الْمَادَّةُ 440 الْإِجَارَةُ الْمُضَافَةُ]

الْمَادَّةُ 440 :

الْإِجَارَةُ الْمُضَافَةُ صَحِيحَةٌ وَتَلْزَمُ قَبْلَ حُلُولِ وَقْتِهَا.

بِنَاءً عَلَيْهِ لَيْسَ لِأَحَدِ الْعَاقِدَيْنِ فَسْخُ الْإِجَارَةِ بِمُجَرَّدِ قَوْلِهِ: مَا آنَ وَقْتُهَا.

تَصِحُّ الْإِجَارَةُ الْمُضَافَةُ وَتَلْزَمُ قَبْلَ حُلُولِ وَقْتِهَا عَلَى قَوْلٍ؛ لِأَنَّ الْعَقْدَ قَدْ انْعَقَدَ بِحَقِّ الْمُتَعَاقِدَيْنِ وَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ مُنْعَقِدًا بِحَقِّ الْحُكْمِ فَلَوْ كَانَ لِأَحَدِ الْعَاقِدَيْنِ حَقُّ الرُّجُوعِ كَانَ ذَلِكَ مُؤَدِّيًا لِإِبْطَالِ حَقِّ الطَّرَفِ الثَّانِي (الشِّبْلِيُّ) (رَاجِعْ الْمَادَّةَ 82) .

غَيْرَ أَنَّهُ لَا يَلْزَمُ قَبْلَ حُلُولِ ذَلِكَ الْوَقْتِ تَسْلِيمُ الْمَأْجُورِ لِلْمُسْتَأْجِرِ.

اخْتِلَافُ الْفُقَهَاءِ: قَدْ حَصَلَ اخْتِلَافٌ بَيْنَ الْفُقَهَاءِ فِي صِحَّةِ هَذِهِ الْإِجَارَةِ فَقَالَ بَعْضُهُمْ بِجَوَازِهَا وَقَالَ بَعْضُهُمْ بِبُطْلَانِهَا وَالْمَجَلَّةُ عَلَى قَوْلِ الْأَوَّلِ حَسَبَ قَوْلِهَا (صَحِيحَةٌ) وَقَدْ انْقَسَمَ الْقَائِلُونَ بِجَوَازِهَا إلَى قِسْمَيْنِ:

قِسْمٌ يَقُولُ بِعَدَمِ لُزُومِهَا، وَقِسْمٌ يَقُولُ بِلُزُومِهَا.

فَعَلَى الْقَوْلِ بِعَدَمِ اللُّزُومِ إذَا بَاعَ الْمُؤَجِّرُ الْمَأْجُورَ لِآخَرَ قَبْلَ حُلُولِ وَقْتِ الْإِجَارَةِ نَفَذَ الْبَيْعُ وَبَطَلَتْ الْإِجَارَةُ.

وَعَلَى الْقَوْلِ بِاللُّزُومِ لَا يَنْفُذُ الْبَيْعُ وَيَجْرِي فِي الْإِجَارَةِ حُكْمُ الْمَادَّةِ 590 وَالْمَجَلَّةُ هِيَ عَلَى هَذَا الْقَوْلِ حَسَبَ قَوْلِهَا (وَتَلْزَمُ) وَفِي هَذِهِ الْمَادَّةِ حُكْمَانِ:

1 كَوْنُ الْإِضَافَةِ فِي الْإِجَارَةِ صَحِيحَةً وَمُعْتَبَرَةً وَمُتَفَرِّعٌ عَنْ هَذَا الْحُكْمِ الْمَسْأَلَةُ الْآتِيَةُ:

إذَا قَالَ رَجُلٌ لِآخَرَ: اسْتَأْجَرَتْكَ غَدًا لِتَخِيطَ لِي هَذَا الرِّدَاءَ فَخَاطَهُ لَهُ فِي هَذَا الْيَوْمِ؛ فَلَيْسَ لَهُ أُجْرَةٌ؛ لِأَنَّ الْإِضَافَةَ صَحِيحَةٌ فِي الْإِجَارَةِ وَالْوَقْتُ الْمُضَافُ إلَيْهِ لَمْ يَحِلَّ فَيَكُونُ مُتَبَرِّعًا.

2 لُزُومُ الْإِجَارَةِ الْمُضَافَةِ وَيَتَفَرَّعُ عَنْ ذَلِكَ أَنَّهُ لَيْسَ لِأَحَدِ الْعَاقِدَيْنِ فَسْخُ الْإِجَارَةِ أَوْ بَيْعُ الْمَأْجُورِ، أَوْ هِبَتُهُ وَتَسْلِيمُهُ بِمُجَرَّدِ قَوْلِهِ مَا آنَ وَقْتُهَا فَإِذَا بَاعَهُ، أَوْ وَهَبَهُ وَسَلَّمَهُ؛ فَلَا يَنْفُذُ ذَلِكَ فِي حَقِّ الْمُسْتَأْجِرِ (اُنْظُرْ الْمَادَّةَ 590) ؛ لِأَنَّهُ كَمَا مَرَّ فِي شَرْحِ الْمَادَّةِ 114 أَنَّ الْإِجَارَةَ مِنْ الْعُقُودِ اللَّازِمَةِ لِكِلَا الطَّرَفَيْنِ وَإِنْ لَمْ تَكُنْ ثَابِتَةً بِحَقِّ الْمُسْتَأْجِرِ الْآنَ؛ لِأَنَّ ثُبُوتَهَا مُقَرَّرٌ فِي الْآتِي.

كَذَلِكَ لَوْ آجَرَ آخَرُ دَابَّتَهُ لِيَرْكَبَهَا فِي الْغَدِ ثُمَّ آجَرَهَا مِنْ غَيْرِهِ؛ فَلَا يَكُونُ الْإِيجَارُ الثَّانِي مُعْتَبَرًا كَمَا هُوَ مُبَيَّنٌ فِي الْمَادَّةِ 589 أَيْ لِلْمُسْتَأْجِرِ الْأَوَّلِ عِنْدَ حُلُولِ الْوَقْتِ نَقْضُ الْإِجَارَةِ الثَّانِيَةِ. (درر الحكام شرح مجلة الآحكام ج 1 ص 480 ط دار الجيل)

This answer was collected from, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Faraz ibn Adam al-Mahmudi, the student of world renowned Mufti Ebrahim Desai (Hafizahullah).

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