Charging for extra persons who attend a catered wedding

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by


Assalamu alaikum,

We provide a buffet style catering service for weddings, and charge per person. We normally cook extra food in the same pots for our staff and other helpers.

If someone placed an order for 50 people, and ended up bringing 75 people, do they have to pay for the extra 25 people, or does all the food in the pots belong to them? Are they allowed to take away leftover food?  Please advise on what to do.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

The norm in a buffet is that an individual pays for the food that shall be consumed and not the food that is cooked. In principle, all the cooked food in a buffet does not belong to the customer, unless this has been pre agreed.

Accordingly, if it was agreed that food should be cooked for 50 people who shall attend the meal and the specific amount of food to be cooked was not agreed upon, the payment of food shall be due per head/person. Any extra person who attends the meal shall have to be paid for. Hence, if 75 people were invited by the customer, he/she will have to pay for 75 people and not 50. All leftover food shall belong to the caterer.[i]

N.B. This answer applies to this specific query and should not be applied in general to all catering/buffet queries. We request caterers to seek Islamic guidance on what matters to agree upon when concluding a transaction with clients.


And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best


Mufti Nabeel Valli.

Darul Iftaa Mahmudiyyah
Lusaka, Zambia

[i]  بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع (5/ 3)

وَقَدْ قَالَ – عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ -: «لَا تَجْتَمِعُ أُمَّتِي عَلَى ضَلَالَةٍ» وَقَالَ – عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ -: «مَا رَآهُ الْمُسْلِمُونَ حَسَنًا؛ فَهُوَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ حَسَنٌ، وَمَا رَآهُ الْمُسْلِمُونَ قَبِيحًا؛ فَهُوَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ قَبِيحٌ» وَالْقِيَاسُ يُتْرَكُ بِالْإِجْمَاعِ، وَلِهَذَا تُرِكَ الْقِيَاسُ فِي دُخُولِ الْحَمَّامِ بِالْأَجْرِ، مِنْ غَيْرِ بَيَانِ الْمُدَّةِ، وَمِقْدَارِ الْمَاءِ الَّذِي يُسْتَعْمَلُ، وَفِي قَطْعِهِ الشَّارِبَ لِلسِّقَاءِ، مِنْ غَيْرِ بَيَانِ قَدْرِ الْمَشْرُوبِ، وَفِي شِرَاءِ الْبَقْلِ، وَهَذِهِ الْمُحَقَّرَاتُ كَذَا هَذَا؛ وَلِأَنَّ الْحَاجَةَ تَدْعُو إلَيْهِ؛


المحيط البرهاني في الفقه النعماني (7/ 135)

 وتعامل الناس من غير نكير (ولا) رد من علماء كل عصر حجة يترك بها القياس ويخص بها الأثر، ألا ترى أن دخول الحمام بأجر جائز استحساناً لتعامل الناس من غير نكير من علماء كل عصر وإن كان القياس يأبى جوازه؛ لأن مدة ما يمكث في الحمام وقدر ما يستعمل من الماء مجهول. وكذلك لو قال لسقاء: أعطني شربة ماء بفلس جاز ذلك لتعامل الناس فيه من غير نكير ورد من علماء كل عصر، وإن كان القياس يأبى جوازه فكذلك هذا


فقه البيوع (1/388)

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