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Online Auctions

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by TheMufti.com
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Q. Internet Auctioning – I would like to know of how do possession take place because you pay and don’t have it in your possession and this is not permissible?


A. Most online auctions are central websites that allow multiple people to list their items up for auction on the site. Generally, in this type of auction , the site does not have the items in stock and does not ship items or collect the payments for the items. The individual people who sell items through the site are responsible for everything regarding the sale, with the site acting only as a third-party venue to make the sale possible.

In principle, when a seller makes a proposal to sell an item for a particular price and the buyer accepts the proposal, the deal is concluded. Likewise, if the buyer makes proposal to purchase an item for a particular price and the seller accepts the proposal, the deal will be concluded. The same applies to online auctioning.

However, after the sale is concluded, it is not necessary for the seller to immediately hand over the item to the buyer since it is already the buyer’s property. Rather, the seller could forward the item to the buyer at a later stage.

Note: In order for the above auction to be valid, the seller must have the item in his procession at the time of the auction.

Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ismaeel Bassa

This answer was collected from TheMufti.com, which is a fatwa portal managed by Mufti Ismaeel Bassa from South Africa.

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