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Ruling on Trading with Coupons

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
A provident fund of one company deducts a percentage from employees` salaries in addition to a percentage from the company itself, then purchases coupons from stores and gas stations, and sells them to employees for cash or in installments, adding a certain percentage as a profit. What is the ruling of Sharia on that?

Answer:
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds; and may his blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions. Buying and selling those coupons isn`t permissible because the commodity itself isn`t known, and this is called Jihalah(ignorance) sale, as indicated by Al-Khateeb Ash-shirbini who said, "It is a condition in sale that the contracting parties know the item being traded "{Moghni Al-Mohtajj 2/352}. Also, Islamic Sharia has forbidden selling an item before possessing it for Ibn Abbas(May Allah be pleased with them) reported that the Prophet(PBUH) said, " Whoever buys food, let him not sell it until he has taken full possession of it"{Related by Bukhari&Muslim}. It is feared that the above transaction is a kind of usury. And Allah knows best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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