Public Lecture by Katarzyna Sidło
Working in sales, medieval Muslim style. A short history of some of the most controversial commutative contracts in Islamic economics
Bayʿsalam/salaf – as sale of an object with a future delivery and on-spot payment – is arguably one of the most curious ones among commutative contracts deemed ḥalāl in Islamic economics. Being a sale of an object not in the possession of the seller—more often than not due to its nonexistence at the time when the contract is being concluded—and with the resulting uncertainty over their ability to deliver the subject-matter, the transaction should theoretically be forbidden under the rules governing gharar (exorbitant risk/uncertainty)sales. However, most scholars consider salam contract permissible on account of a ḥadīth, according to which it was allowed by the Prophet himself, as well as the belief that in this particular case “the requirements of law yielded (rakhkhasa) in face of the people’s need for it”( al-Sarakhsi, al-Mabsut, vol. 9). Against this background, during the talk I will trace the provenience of bayʿsalam and explore the collective thought process that led to its establishment as one of the core Islamic financial contracts.