Conditional refund query

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Question :

I offered to purchase a vehicle (mini 1970’s model) and deposited the purchase amount into the sellers account.

On collection of the vehicle, I realized the vehicle may not be appropriate as my wife would have difficulty driving it.

I proposed to the seller that I’ll take the vehicle subject to my wife confirming she could drive the vehicle; and in the spirit of not compromising  the seller I offered he could keep my money until he sells the vehicle if we decided not to take it.  He agreed and I signed and indicated on the purchase agreement  ‘conditional to evaluation’.    

Later that afternoon my wife verified she would not be able to drive the vehicle and we returned it.

The seller has retained the money until he sells the vehicle as I proposed.

My concern is the matter could remain pending indefinitely as unfortunately no time limit was specified.

The seller is a Muslim and we have mutual respect and good opinion of each other.

Could you please provide some advice or guidance in the Shariah to facilitate an equitable resolution to this awkward situation.

May Allah reward you with Goodness.

WS,

 

Answer:

The nature of your transaction falls under the category of “khiyaar shart” in the Islamic law of business and commerce. That is the buyer or seller may buy or sell an item on this condition that within 3 days the sale will either be confirmed or cancelled. In such an instance, if after 3 days the sale is confirmed the purchaser must pay the seller. However, if the sale is cancelled the seller must return all the monies paid by the seller and the deal will be cancelled.

Therefore, since you had taken the option to review the sale after consulting with your wife, the deal falls under the category of “khiyaar shart”. Your subsequent returning of the car the same day will serve as a cancellation of the deal, hence the seller must refund all amounts paid to him. It is incorrect for him to withhold the deposit until he sells the car.

Since you have a relationship with him we suggest you engage him directly and try to resolve the issue failing which you could seek the intervention of someone close to both of you who could assist in amicably resolving the issue.

 

Darul Iftaa

Madrasah In’aamiyyah

Camperdown

South Africa