Sold with a Low Price due to a Forced state

Sold with a Low Price due to a  Forced state

Sold with a Low Price due to a  Forced state: What is the ruling of selling and buying due to a forced state?

We often find cases where land or houses are sold with cheap prices, lower than the market price, because the owner is in a difficult condition: for example his children is admitted in the hospital, or he needs it to pay the school registration fee of his children.

Is it permissible for us to buy that land or house in such condition? Are we included in people who take advantage from other’s misery?

There are several scholarly opinions regarding this matter:

First, the scholar of Hanbali, Maliki, and Shafi’i opinionated that it is hated to buy things from people in destitute, due to several reasons.

Among the reasons is that they believed that the transaction occurred not based on willingness of both sides, Since the owner actually is hard to sell his possession.

عن أَبَي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِىَّ يَقُولُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- « إِنَّمَا الْبَيْعُ عَنْ تَرَاضٍ ».

From Abu Said Al Khudri, the Messenger of Allah said: “Transactions may only be done by mutual consent.” (Narrated by Ibn Maja in hadith no. 2185; it is valid according to Al Albani)

عن أَبُي عَامِرٍ الْمُزَنِىُّ حَدَّثَنَا شَيْخٌ مِنْ بَنِى تَمِيمٍ قَالَ خَطَبَنَا عَلِىٌّ أَوْ قَالَ قَالَ عَلِىٌّ يَأْتِى عَلَى النَّاسِ زَمَانٌ عَضُوضٌ يَعَضُّ الْمُوسِرُ عَلَى مَا فِى يَدَيْهِ – قَالَ وَلَمْ يُؤْمَرْ بِذَلِكَ قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ (وَلاَ تَنْسَوُا الْفَضْلَ بَيْنَكُمْ) وَيَنْهَدُ الأَشْرَارُ وَيُسْتَذَلُّ الأَخْيَارُ وَيُبَايِعُ الْمُضْطَرُّونَ – قَالَ- وَقَدْ نَهَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- عَنْ بَيْعِ الْمُضْطَرِّينَ وَعَنْ بَيْعِ الْغَرَرِ وَعَنْ بَيْعِ الثَّمَرَةِ قَبْلَ أَنْ تُدْرِكَ.

From Abu ‘Amir Al Muzani, a sheikh from Tamim tribe, he told that Ali was delivering sermon -or ‘Ali said, “A time of stinginess will come. That is the time when the rich bite his wealth (do not want to spend their wealth). Whereas they do not ordered to do so, Allah decreed, which can be translated as,” And forget not to act gracefully with one another,” (Q.S. Al-Baqarah/The Cow :237)

This hadith is an evident proof that indicate the forbidden state of transacting with the destitute, but since it’s narrational chain is weak, then it cannot be a valid argument regarding this matter.

Second, in the other hand, scholars of Madzhab Hanafiyy and Imam Ahmad (in one of his opinion) stated that It is forbidden, and the transaction is nullified.

They reasoned with a hadith of Ali Ibn Abi Thalib mentioned above. If indeed the Prophet had prohibited doing transaction with the destitute, then the prohibition itself yields a forbidden and invalid state of that transaction.

But since the hadith is a weak one, their reason is thus rejected.

Third, Sheikh al Islam Ibn Taimiyya said that it is allowed to transact with the destitute. (See: “Majmu’ Fatawa”, 29:249)

His reason to validate such transaction is that there is no imposition in it to do the transaction; and the transaction is done with willingness of the seller. Only he does the transaction because he is forced to sell his property, to relieve his burden, while in fact selling the property is not his only choice. He may still borrow the money he needs to solve his problem.

Another reason that indicates the allowed state of transacting with the destitute is that buying possession of the destitute is a form of kindness to him, and to relieve his difficulties.

Therefore, there are two types of trading or transacting in destitute circumstances:

The destitute circumstance to transact is caused by people or party that forces one to do it. This is the invalid transaction.
The destitute circumstance is caused by the seller is heavily indebted or he should spend a lot of money. Eventually, the person is forced to sell some of his properties with a very low price, due to the urgent condition. Ideally, we shouldn’t transact with such person, instead it is better for us to lend him money until he is able to settle it.

That is the ideal solution, but if in fact it is difficult for us to do it, according to the strongest argument is that we are allowed to buy the property of the destitute, as said by Sheikh al Islam Ibn Taimiyya.

Summarized from book titled “Ighatsah Al-Jumu’”, page  41–45, by Muhammad bin Ba’sus Al-’Umari, Published by Dar Ibn al Jauzi, first edition, Ramadan 1427 H.

Author: Ustadz Aris Munandar, M.P.I.
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