Online Store Selling Products Not in Stock
Fatwa No: 431413

  • Fatwa Date:5-11-2020 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 20, 1442
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Question

If I have an online store where I don't have the products in stock but when the customer orders a product, I send the customer's address to the supplier and they ship it from to the customer. I know this method is haram.But if I make a proper agreement with the supplier and ask them about the estimated date of delivery, and I mention that date of delivery in my store (eg:estimated delivery in 7-10 days) and I also specify about the product to my customer. Does this come under salam transaction?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

If you are selling a product that is described but not specific [i.e. not seen by the customer] and a deadline for delivery is specified, then it is a Salam sale that is valid on the condition that the price is immediately paid in the contract meeting.

The Kuwaiti Fiqh Encyclopedia reads: “The Hanafi, the Ash-Shaafi'i, and the Hanbali Schools of jurisprudence, held that it is a condition that the capital (money) of the Salam sale be handed over in the meeting of the contract.” [End of quote]

Immediate payment of the price in the meeting of the contract occurs if one deposits the money in the account or by bank transfer; the resolution of the Islamic Fiqh Council reads:

Among the forms of virtual possession [of the money] which are religiously considered, is when a person deposits an amount of money in the customer’s account directly or by a bank remittance.” [End of quote]

If it is difficult to fulfill the conditions of the Salam sale, and you want to render the transaction valid, then you either be an agent for the seller in the sale for a known fee, or that you only promise to the buyer and then you buy the product and then sell it to him.

[The definition of Salam sale: a contract according to which the price of a clearly defined item is paid in advance at the time of concluding the contract, and the item is delivered at a later time.]

For more benefit on the definition, conditions, and rulings of the Salam Sale contract, please refer to Fataawa 11368, 27508, and 378148.

Allah knows best.

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