Ruling on Selling Gold and Silver for Cheques

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
There is a wholesaler of silver jewels who usually accepts payments by cheques of different dates, as is customary in the market. What`s the ruling of Sharia on this?

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

Gold, silver and circulated currency are items in which usury is likely to happen. Therefore, Sharia has set up conditions for selling each against the other, and it is incumbent upon the seller and the buyer to take these conditions into consideration to avoid Riba(usury/interest). The conditions are: The amounts must be the same, payment isn`t delayed until after the meeting and the exchange must be made in the same meeting as the contract is made. This is provided that the exchanged items are of the same kind. Al-Imam Al-Shirbini(May Allah have mercy on him) said, "It isn`t permissible to sell gold for silver or silver for silver, save under three conditions: The amounts are the same, payment isn`t delayed until after the meeting and the exchange is made in the same meeting as the contract is."{Al-Eqnaa` Fi Alfath Abi Shojaa`, (2/279)}.

When items aren`t of the same kind, such as gold for silver or for a circulated currency, the exchange must be made in the same meeting as the contract is. However, sameness of kind isn`t a condition. This is based on the Hadith in which the Prophet said, " Gold is to be paid for by gold, silver by silver, wheat by wheat, barley by barley, dates by dates, and salt by salt, like for like and equal for equal, payment being made hand to hand. If these classes differ, then sell as you wish if payment is made hand to hand."{Related by Muslim}.

Accordingly, it isn`t permissible to sell gold or silver for deferred cheques because payment isn`t being made hand to hand. However, if the cheques were due and certified, then it is permissible to buy gold and silver for them, because it is considered implicit payment that substitutes real payment. Resolution No. (1410-1990), entitled "Payment: New Forms and their Rulings", by the International Islamic Fiqh Assembly, sixth rotation, stated, "One form of implicit payment considerable in Sharia is receiving a covered cheque which is cashable in the stated currency upon its due date and seizure by the bank."

Certification of a cheque means seizing a sum. For example, the payer goes to the bank and requests seizing that sum in favor of the payee(beneficiary). So, no one else can cash it and this equates implicit payment. And Allah knows best.

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

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