Book Review: Financial Transactions in Islamic Jurisprudence

Discussion in 'Bibliophile's Corner' started by sherkhan, Jan 19, 2008.

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  1. sherkhan

    sherkhan Veteran

    Jazak'Allah brother aH

    I had been wanting to inquire about Dr. Zuhayli's translations. I have browsed his 2 volume translation on a number of occasions recently, but given my unfamiliarity with the author's name I decided to defer buying the book. At a glance, the book seemed to make a very objective comparison of rulings under each of the 4 schools of jurisprudence.

    Elsewhere I read on a forum that Dr. Zuhayli was a sympathiser of Abdul Wahhab, hence I was not sure if it would be sensible to pick his work.

    Dr. Zuhayli's homepage is as follows:

    Given my lack of understanding of Arabic, brother aH I would appreciate if you could look up the above link and tell me if Dr. Zuhayli's work is indeed safe from bias and therefore reliable.

    Of late there has been a surge of sharia-compliant financial products. Although all such products are certified by a sharia scholar, given that these scholars are mostly Saudi (or Malaysia) based, their reliability is questionable. A number of muslims have panned the sharia-compliance of these products as dodgy and called the entire Islamic Finance business a huge scam. (check here)
  2. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

  3. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator


    Excerpt of the book from the same Dar el-Fikr site:

    Invalidating the right to void
    1. Dispossession of an item purchased in a defective sale:

    It is well known that the ownership established through a defective sale is not binding, and is best to void. Each party to the contract has the right to void it unilaterally prior to receipt, regardless of the origin of defectiveness. Moreover, they each have the right to void it after receipt if the defectiveness originates in the compensation, e.g. if the price is wine or pork.

    Abu Hanifa and 'Abu Yusuf ruled that each of the parties has the right to void the contract if the defectiveness is not inherent to the compensation, but involves a condition of extra benefit or deferment to an unknown time.

    They thus ruled that the contract is not binding by itself. On the other hand, Muhammad ruled that only the person for whom the extra benefit would accrue has the right to void the contract. His proof is that the person who derives extra benefit from the condition can validate the contract by removing its defective attribute.

    The above mentioned rulings pertain to the defective transaction itself. One may ask whether the right to void the contract is invalidated by subsequent transactions of the buyer following the defective sale. We need to consider this case in some detail:

    1. If the subsequent transaction removes all ownership rights (e.g. sale, gift giving, or freeing of slaves), then the right to void the original defective sale is invalidated. The buyer in the new transaction is liable for the value or a similar object if the object is non-fungible or fungible, respectively.
    The original buyer thus conducted a transaction with an object that is owned by him, and thus the transaction is executed.

    2. If the subsequent transaction removes ownership rights only partially, or if it doesn't remove ownership rights, then:(a) If the subsequent transaction cannot be voided, e.g. stipulating the freedom of a slave after the owner's death, either (i) directly, (ii) by having children with her, or (iii) by agreement that the slave is freed if he or she pays a certain amount of money, then the right of the original seller to void the original contract is invalidated.

    (b) If the subsequent transaction can be voided, e.g. rental or leasing, then the initial sale may be voided. In this case, the original seller has the right to void the subsequent rental, and then void the original sale based on its defectiveness. In this case, even though the rental agreement is binding, it may be voided for a reason, and there is no reason better than the removal of defectiveness.

    - If the original buyer in a defective sale writes the object of that sale into his will, the will is valid, but may be voided during the testator's life. This ruling follows since the will is not binding during the testator's life.

    - If the testator dies prior to voiding of the original defective sale, then the right to void that original sale is dropped. In this case, ownership is transferred to the heir, in the same manner it would have been transferred through a subsequent sale.

    - Note that the right to void is inherited. Thus, if the original buyer in a defective sale dies and is inherited by his heirs, the original seller and the original buyer's heirs have the right to void the original sale.
    In this case, the heirs take the place of the dead person in his right to void that contract. Similarly, the heirs of the original seller have the right upon his death to demand the return of the object of the defective sale.
  4. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    Name of the book: Financial Transactions in Islamic Jurisprudence vol.1 and vol.2

    Translated from Arabic: Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu, vol.5 and vol.6, 1997ed, Dar al-Fikr.

    Author ( Arabic): Dr. Wahbah al-Zuĥaylī

    Translated in English by: Dr. Mahmoud El-Gamal, (Ph.D.)

    Revised by: Dr.Muhammad S. Eissa, (Ph.D.)

    Subject: Islamic Jurisprudence, Fiqh (of all madh’habs)

    Pages – vol.1 : 693

    Pages – vol.2
    : 754

    ISBN Vol.1
    : 1-59239-072-2

    ISBN Vol.2
    : 1-59239-073-0

    Price : about $65/US ; £35/UK

    Financial Transactions in two volumes is a translation of Dr.Zuhayli’s Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuh [corresponding to vol.5 and vol.6, 1997 edition.] If you have an older 1989 edition, this is covered in vol.4 and vol.5.

    It is an excellent translation, but due to the nature of the subject, only a specialist can fully benefit from it. However, even beginners can use it to get acquainted with the terminology and hence be better equipped to understand the rulings/fatawa issued by other scholars. If you are used to Arabic terminology, and indeed Zuhayli’s work in Arabic, it might appear a bit difficult or disorienting as you try to correspond the respective terms in English. Dr. El-Gamal says in the preface:
    “I should caution the uninitiated reader that this English translation is no more accessible than the Arabic original. Islamic jurisprudence is a highly technical field, and jurists have somewhat unorthodox writing styles. In this sense, juristic writings are no more accessible to new readers than any other set of technical writings (in law, science, etc.).”
    But for those of you who are looking for authoritative information on Islamic financial transactions, this is a good reference. If there is anything that seems missing, the comment should be directed to the original because this is, after all a translation. For example, the discussion on modern Islamic Banking, Islamic Bonds and Islamic Finance could do with a more thorough treatment and real life examples.

    Contents page of the book can be found on the Dar al-Fikr site here.

    Dr. El-Gamal has a Ph.D in Economics from the Northwestern University in Illinois. He has served as a professor of Economics in various universities. He has also served as an economist in the IMF. His blog can be found here.

    Dr. Muhammad Eissa, Ph.D. Editorial Consultant, Middle Eastern Texts Initiative. Muhammad S. Eissa is an alumnus of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in Islamic history and civilization.

    Bootnote: Please do not respond to this mail pointing out that Justice Taqi Usmani is mentioned somewhere and hence, and hence; if not, therefore, if so, then; but, etc., etc.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2008

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