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Real Deal series- wealth and it’s types


Assalama Aleikum,

In continuation with our respected brother & Sheikh Tawfique Chowdhury’s  Real Deal series, we carry on the topic with Wealth & it’s types. Although the notes are pretty straight forward Alhamdulillah, this bit may need reading through a 2nd time just for further clarification Inshallah.

Wealth and its types

Legal definition of wealth:

Anything to which people have an inclination towards, and is permitted in the Shariah.


Anything that is not permissible to benefit from, such as alcohol or dead meat or pork or interest money, then they are not considered a valid commodity in Islam.

There can be many types of rights upon any valid wealth:

  1. The right of the owner: Thus it is not permissible to take the commodity away except by his or her will. It is also for this reason that the punishment for stealing is so severe.
  2. The right of Allah: In effect, all wealth is from the property of Allah. When Allah has allowed us to use his property, then it can only be within the guidelines specified in the Shariah.
  3. The right of the community: This entails putting the greater benefit of the community above individual benefit.

We can look at the types of wealth by way of:

  1. Its nature.
  2. Possibility of ownership of the property.
  3. Its specificity.

  1. A. By way of its nature

Wealth can be either

  • Price or money, this is of two types: Gold & Silver
  • The item that is priced or valued. This of two types: Non-transferable commodity (properties and estates) & transferrable commodity (other than properties)

Benefits of knowing this division

There are numerous benefits from knowing this division:

  • The transferable commodities should be sold off before the non-transferable ones at the time of bankruptcy.
  • The rights of neighbours are to be catered for in non-transferable commodities rather than transferable ones.
  • The scholars have complete consensus about the permissibility of giving a non-transferable commodity as an endowment, however they differed about the permissibility of giving a transferable commodity as an endowment.
  • Pre-emption is to ne respected as far as non-transferable commodities are concerned. There is no such thing for transferable commodities, except if they are jointly owned.

Exchange of wealth

Money for money = Monetary exchange

Money for an item of value = General sale

Item of value for another item of value = Barter

  1. B. By way of possibility of ownership of the property

That which cannot be owned

Such as those properties that have general benefit for all, such as roads, alley paths between properties, wells, bridges etc… as long as the benefit is for all.

That which shouldn’t be owned except by an express reason from the shariah

Such as properties that are endowments for the poor.

That which can be owned

These are all commodities that do not fit into the above two types.

  1. C. By way of its specificity

A commodity that is bought or sold, may be either:

  • Specific
  • Non-specific and remains in one’s liability

Specific commodity

The deal was contracted on a specific commodity. (For example, I will sell you this copy of Sahih Al-Bukhari that I have in my hand.)

Non-specific commodity

The deal was contracted on a commodity that is non-specific that remains a person’s debt or liability. (For example, I will sell you a copy of Sahih Al-Bukhari printed by ….. in the year ….. available in colour…..

What is the benefit of knowing whether the deal has been contracted upon a specific or a non-specific commodity?

The benefit of knowing this, is working out what the solution should be if a defect is found in the product. So, if the defect is found in a product where the deal was contracted on:

  • A specific commodity: Then the seller must return the price that was paid and take back his product from the buyer.
  • A non- specific commodity: Then the seller has the option of either returning the price or giving him another product similar to it in description (that is free of the defect). The buyer cannot force the seller to give his money back. Rather, if the seller wishes to give him another copy of the book, then he is obliged to take it.

Exchange of commodities by way of specificity

A commodity that is specific or non-specific may be bought and sold either one of the two ways:

  • Transfer of the commodity is finalized immediately
  • Transfer of the commodity is finalized at a future time. Until then, it remains on credit.

Inshallah we will posting more notes, so please keep checking our website.

Wassalamu alaykum.

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