Internet Purchases

By Mufti Taqi Usmani

Q.) My sheikh, Nuh Keller, has said, "If you want to know what your sheikh says about an economics issue, he says whatever Mufti Taqi Usmani says." So, I would like to know what Mufti Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) says about Internet transactions. I have not found any discussion by him regarding such transactions, which are an extremely pressing issue in today's world. Are such transactions halal? There is no majlis. There is high risk of being cheated. Are there other concerns which may jeopardize the validity of such transactions? [Mostafa Azzam. Amman, Jordan.]

A.) Buying and selling through Internet is not impermissible in itself. However, all the basic conditions for a valid sale must be present. Therefore, one cannot sell what he does not own and possess. If you have purchased some shares or any commodity through the Internet you cannot sell it unless you have taken its delivery in a manner that its risk has been transferred to you. After you have taken delivery you can sell it at any price you agree with your purchaser even though it is through the Internet.