Selling something that is non-existent at the time of the sale

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Q: I sell eggs and I keep my stock at my parents shop. Once a staff had taken the wrong products for my parents shop. It was brought to my attention a while later. As the products were more expensive, I had discounted them when sending the invoice although the goods had been used already.

Is this permissible or should I change something? We have a set price list but they were not purchasing that particular product so they were not aware of the price.


A: In order for a sale to be valid, it is necessary that the goods be existent at the time of the sale. In this case, since the eggs which they have already sold are non-existent, it is not permissible for you to sell them those eggs.The shar’ee ruling in this case is that they should compensate you for selling your eggs. The law pertaining to compensation is that if an identical item is found for the thing they had taken (e.g. eggs), then they should compensate you with the identical item. If the thing they had taken does not have anything that is identical to it (e.g. a sheep), the value of the thing taken will have to be given. Hence, in this case they should compensate you with the same amount of eggs they had taken. If they made any profit on the eggs they sold, the profits will have to be given in charity.

And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.


Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)

This answer was collected from, where the questions have been answered by Mufti Zakaria Makada (Hafizahullah), who is currently a senior lecturer in the science of Hadith and Fiqh at Madrasah Ta’leemuddeen, Isipingo Beach, South Africa.

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