An Investigation into the Nature of the Jurisprudential Ruling on an Unknown Object of Sale by Itself



The knowledge of the parties to the transaction (sale) about the quality and quantity of both the object of sale (and the thing which is taken in return for the object sold and the defined price is taken to be the conditions, among others, for the validity or legality of the transaction. In other words, both the object of sale and the price thereof has to be known for both parties and well defined and specified in detail in terms of their quantity (weight, volume, number, …) and quality as well as other involved descriptions of quality and quantity which may have effects on the value of the two exchanged items of commodity. The evidence for the conditions laid down for the valid transaction are as follows: a prophetic hadith that rejects the chance of gain or loss in a transaction, known as hadith-e nafyi gharar, traditions and consensus; the latter, of course, has been subject to controversies. That is, though it is certain that there exits consensus of opinion to the matter in question, the ruling issued on the basis of the prophetic hadith is known to and agreed upon by both the Sunni and Shiite scholars. Hence there would be no consensus on faith in this regard. Therefore, according to Islam, any transaction is considered as valid or legitimate provided that both parties are fully aware of the transaction being carried out, and in case they are ignorant of the object of transaction, i.e., of what they are going to sell or buy, the transaction of this kind is hazardous, and thus invalid and prohibited by the Islamic Law. In the prophetic hadith we read: “the Messenger of Allah [Prophet Muhammad], may peace be upon him, prohibited a transaction that is hazardous.”