Is it obligatory to write all transactions
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
May Allah reward you and your team for the pain taken for the benefit of Muslim brothers.
I wanted to check with you in the light of Hadiths: We have a tradition in our city that one buys foodstuffs and other general items from a departmental store and an unwritten understanding with the shop-owner is that the amount for all purchases will be made at the end of each month, for the total cost of the stuffs purchased. Is this permissible, or we need to have a written agreement or we cannot have such transactions?
Your response will be most appreciated.
(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)
Is it obligatory to write all transactions
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verses 282-283:
282 O ye who believe! When ye deal with each other in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time reduce them to writing. Let a scribe write down faithfully as between the parties: let not the scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught him so let him write. Let him who incurs the liability dictate but let him fear his Lord Allah and not diminish aught of what he owes. If the party liable is mentally deficient or weak or unable himself to dictate let his guardian dictate faithfully. And get two witnesses out of your own men and if there are not two men then a man and two women such as ye choose for witnesses so that if one of them errs the other can remind her. The witnesses should not refuse when they are called on (for evidence). Disdain not to reduce to writing (your contract) for a future period whether it be small or big: it is juster in the sight of Allah more suitable as evidence, and more convenient to prevent doubts among yourselves; but if it be a transaction which ye carry out on the spot among yourselves there is no blame on you if ye reduce it not to writing. But take witnesses whenever ye make a commercial contract; and let neither scribe nor witness suffer harm. If ye do (such harm) it would be wickedness in you. So fear Allah; for it is Allah that teaches you. And Allah is well acquainted with all things.
283 If ye are on a journey and cannot find a scribe, a pledge with possession (may serve the purpose). And if one of you deposits a thing on trust with another, let the trustee (faithfully) discharge his trust and let him fear his Lord. Conceal not evidence; for whoever conceals it his heart is tainted with sin. And Allah knoweth all that ye do.
If the transaction or loan is a one-off situation, it would be best and more righteous in the sight of Allah Subhanah that it is documented. But if the transaction is something that is done on a regular basis, the Merciful Lord has allowed and given permission to the believers to carry on the transaction without documentation.
Your Question: Is this permissible, or we need to have a written agreement or we cannot have such transactions?
If the transaction with the shop-owner is done on a regular basis, there is absolutely no harm if it is documented or not documented. It is only natural that the shop-owner would document and keep a record of the transactions, and if one trusts the shop-owner to be honest and truthful, a verbal agreement between the shop-owner and the customer that the bills will be settled at the end of the month would more than suffice.
A believers word should be as good as his bond; and it is the duty and responsibility of the believer to make sure he settles the outstanding dues with the shop-owner on the agreed times.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,