I want to sell a car and put it on sale on the internet. The car received a response from a person who is interested to buy it through a website. After some discussion and haggling, we agreed with a certain price and without paying any deposit he booked the car. However, due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) we decided to only proceed with the sale after it ends.
However, recently one of my neighbours expressed his desire to buy it. He is able to pay for it right away and I can easily hand the car over to him. Furthermore, he agreed to buy it at the original price which is higher than the price that I have offered to the first buyer.
My question is, is it permissible for me to sell the car to my neighbour although initially, I’ve agreed to sell it to the first buyer?
Hope for an explanation on this matter. Thank you.
Waalaikumussalam wrm. wbt.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Basically, Allah SWT prohibits the Muslim ummah from eating from the property of others wrongfully and trade is based on mutual consent. Allah SWT states:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَأْكُلُوا أَمْوَالَكُم بَيْنَكُم بِالْبَاطِلِ إِلَّا أَن تَكُونَ تِجَارَةً عَن تَرَاضٍ مِّنكُمْ ۚ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ بِكُمْ رَحِيمًا
“O you who have believed, do not consume one another's wealth unjustly but only [in lawful] business by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.”
Surah al-Nisa (29)
Likewise, in any akad, a person should fulfil all the conditions agreed except if the condition prohibits a halal matter or permit a prohibited matter. This is in accordance with a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:
وَالْمُسْلِمُوْنَ عَلَى شُُرُوْطِهِمْ إِلاَّ شَرْطًا حَرَّمَ حَلاَلاً أَوْ أَحَلَّ حَرَامًا
" And the Muslims will be held to their conditions, except the conditions that make the lawful unlawful, or the unlawful lawful."
Sunan al-Tirmizi (1352)
When a certain item has been sold or agreed to be sold to someone, then someone else is impermissible to sell the same item on the sale of his brother as long as it is in the duration of khiyar. The Prophet PBUH said:
لَا يَبِيعُ بَعْضُكُمْ عَلَى بَيْعِ أَخِيهِ
" The person should not purchase in opposition to his brother."
Sahih al-Bukhari (2139) and Sahih Muslim (1413)
In another narration, the Prophet PBUH said:
لَا يَخْطُبُ الرَّجُلُ عَلَى خِطْبَةِ أَخِيهِ وَلَا يَسُومُ عَلَى سَوْمِ أَخِيهِ
“he must not offer a price for a thing for which his brother had already offered a price,”
Sahih Muslim (1408 g)
This matter is the same with the act of a person buying something on the purchase of another. Imam al-Nawawi said it is haram to buy on the purchase of another, such as when a person says to a seller, ‘cancel the akad, I will buy it with a higher price,’ or other similar statements.
As for the meaning of al-saum (السوم) in the hadith, when an owner of an item and a buyer have both agreed in a certain trade but have yet to complete it, then it is haram for another person to say, ‘sell it to me,’ it is haram if the price for it has been agreed upon. (Refer al-Minhaj Syarh Sahih al-Muslim, 10/158)
However, if it still happens by which it is sold to another buyer, then the majority of scholars stated that the akad of the trade is valid, although it is haram and the people involved are sinful. (Refer al-Mausu'ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, 9: 217)
The reason or wisdom for the prohibition is to avoid feud, enmity and vengeance among the Muslim ummah as a result of this act.
According to the above discussion, we would like to conclude that selling an item that was booked to another buyer is haram. If it is still sold to the other buyer, then the trade is valid although both the seller and buyer is sinful because they had hurt and acted wrongfully towards the first buyer who had booked the item.
In situations such as this, it is best to first ask permission from the first buyer and discuss it with him before selling it to another person. This is due to the fact that as Muslims we should fulfil the condition and promise we have made. Allah SWT states:
وَأَوْفُوا بِالْعَهْدِ ۖ إِنَّ الْعَهْدَ كَانَ مَسْئُولًا
“And fulfil [every] commitment. Indeed, the commitment is ever [that about which one will be] questioned.”
Surah al-Isra’ (34)
May Allah SWT give us sahih understanding in fulfilling His commandments as well as grant us taufiq and hidayah to perform worship sincerely for Him. Amin.