Are My Financial Transactions Valid Without a Spoken Acceptance?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

If the buyer doesn’t say “I accept it” during a transaction, then is this contract valid?

Answer

Thank you for your question.

Spoken Form

Conducting a financial transaction with a spoken offer and acceptance is valid. Please see the ruling below:

A sale is not valid unless there is a spoken offer (0: by the seller) and spoken acceptance (0: by the buyer). Offer means the statement of the seller or his agent (wakil, def: k17) “I sell it to you” or “I make it yours.” Acceptance means the statement of the buyer or his agent “I buy it” or “I take possession of it” or “I accept.” [The Reliance of the Traveller, p. 377]

‘Urf

A: Regarding mu‘atah, which is giving the seller the price and taking the merchandise without speaking, as when buying something whose cost is well known, Bajuri notes, “Nawawi and a group of scholars have adopted the position that sales conducted by it [A: mu’atah] are valid for all transactions that people consider sales since the determining factor therein is the acceptance of both parties, and there is no decisively authenticated primary text stipulating that it be spoken, so common acknowledgment [‘urf, def: f4.5] is the final criterion [A: as to what legally constitutes acceptance]”
[Hashiyat al-Shaykh Ibrahim al-Bajuri (y5), 1.355).] [The Reliance of the Traveller, p. 378]

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.
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