I want to ask about the Gold Quest Company. This company deals in rare coins. A coin's value might be $800, and the company allows the customer two options, either to pay the value at one time or to pay in installments. It also allows him to market the coin. If he manages to bring ten customers, he receives a 5% commission, and every time he brings more customers, he gets another 5% commission.
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu 'alyhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.
The Hong Kong-based Gold Quest Company has about fifteen branches worldwide. Dubai, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, hosts one of these branches. We have found that this company exercises a type of sale that includes many unlawful practices, including:
* It receives the coin's price in advance and does not deliver the coin to the buyer unless he brings ten other customers who will buy in the same way. If he manages to bring ten customers, the company delivers to him the coin in addition to 5% of the sum paid by the ten. If he fails to bring ten customers, he is entitled to withdraw but he gets back only half of the paid sum of $400.
It is obvious that such a term violates the Sharee'ah because it contradicts the requirements of a contract which entails that the buyer should pay the price and the seller should deliver the commodity. Also, making a sale contingent on bringing ten customers implies a type of risk, particularly that when he wants to withdraw, he does not take the paid amount in full. This implies consuming others' wealth unlawfully.
* Sometimes the company sells these coins in installments. As far as we know, these coins are made of gold. Consequently, selling these coins implies selling a Ribaa (interest)-prone commodity for a different commodity. For this type of sale to be valid under the Sharee'ah, paying the price and delivering the commodity immediately is a condition. Selling in installments is impermissible in this case. In a Hadeeth, the Prophet , said: “If these categories differ, then sell as you wish if payment and commodity are delivered at the same time.”
* Also, the buyer does not pay this money for buying, but he pays in order to obtain 5% as a commission for bringing ten other customers. This is a form of gambling; because he pays a sum of money in exchange for something that may or may not happen.
Consequently, it is impermissible to deal with this company in any way, because its dealings imply gambling, illegal risk, and Ribaa (interest or usury), and all this is prohibited under the Sharee'ah.
Allaah Knows best.