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Owing money to a company which has been sold to another company

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Muftionline.co.za

Q: A few years back I owed money to a company, a family member who was owing me money undertook to pay it on my behalf in lieu of what he owed me. I have recently found out that this money was never paid by him. On contacting the business they told me it has been bought over by another company but the person I spoke to was unsure whether the company had taken over the debtors book of the company and was of the opinion that they had only bought out the stock holding. I have sent them numerous e-mails trying to establish if this was the case and if so then they provide me with the details of the previous owners so that I may repay this amount. To date I have had no correspondence from them and find myself in a predicament of not knowing where I stand.

I am not sure if I should pay this money over to the new owners or not, technically speaking, in my opinion if they did not take over the debtors book of the previous company then I don’t owe them the money but owe it to the previous owners, however I don’t have any means of contacting them. What should I do in this instance? I would appreciate it if Mufti Saab could please urgently assist me with this query.


A: Try your best to trace the original owners. Perhaps the new management may be able to assist in this regard. Return the amount to the original creditor.

قال والمكفول له بالخيار إن شاء طالب الذي عليه الأصل وإن شاء طالب كفيله لأن الكفالة ضم الذمة إلى الذمة في المطالبة وذلك يقتضي قيام الأول لا البراءة عنه إلا إذا شرط فيه البراءة فحينئذ تنعقد حوالة اعتبارا للمعنى كما أن الحوالة بشرط أن لا يبرأ بها المحيل تكون كفالة ولو طالب أحدهما له أن يطالب الآخر وله أن يطالبهما لأن مقتضاه الضم بخلاف المالك إذا اختار تضمين أحد الغاصبين لأن اختياره أحدهما يتضمن التمليك منه فلا يمكنه التمليك من الثاني أما المطالبة بالكفالة فلا تضمن التمليك فوضح الفرق  (الهداية 3/ 116)

Answered by:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)

This answer was collected from MuftiOnline.co.za, 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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