Answered by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari
Please clarify a few points for me on the same topic. According to your message it seems that if you buy something which has been ordered either from a catalogue or was out of stock or something it would be unlawful..?? also if you make a sales deal with someone for say your car or furniture and fix a future date for delivery because you are moving on that date or some other convenience that sale is also invalid?? is there no leverage here for any situation??
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
You have slightly misunderstood the ruling with regards to the prohibition of attributing a sale to a future date.
The meaning of “attributing a sale to a future date” is that, the seller and purchaser of a particular commodity both agree on a deal, determine the price, etc, but set another date in the future in which the actual sale will take place.
For example, I agree to sell my car to you on the 1st of January for £5000 and you agree to purchase it. However, we fix another date (1st of February, for example) for the actual sale to take place. In other words, neither does the delivery of the car take place nor is any money given on the 1st of January but the deal is concluded and the price is fixed in a way that there is no turning back or changing the price.
However, if we only promised one another on the 1st of January for the sale and purchase of the car, and that the sale will be executed on the 1st of February, then this will be permissible and not considered to be attributing a sale to a future date.
The difference between the two situations is that, in the first case, the offer and acceptance (ijab & qabul) are conducted on the 1st of January, and also the price is agreed upon and fixed. However, in the second situation, only a promise of buying and selling takes place, thus on the 1st of February, a whole new deal based on fresh offer and acceptance will take place. The price will also be negotiated, thus if one party refuses to go ahead with the deal, or disagrees with the price fixed, then he will not be compelled to do so. Although, morally he will be obliged, for one is required to fulfil the promise one makes.
Thus, if a deal is conducted but the delivery of the commodity is deferred, then this does not fall in to the category of attributing a sale to a future date. What is unlawful is that you agree to defer both the commodity and the price. If the price or commodity is instant, but due to some circumstance, you are not able to deliver it, then this will also not fall into the category of a future sale.
In conclusion, a sale attributed to a future date is, when both the commodity and price are conditioned to be delivered at a later date in the future.
And Allah knows best
Darul Iftaa, Leicester, UK