Finding out the price of an item
1. A person closed the palm of his hand and says: “Give me that particular item for whatever money is in my hand.” And it is not known what is in his hand; whether he has dollars, rands, cents, a gold coin; whether he has one, two or many. Such a transaction is not permissible.
2. In a certain city, two different currencies are in vogue. The person will have to inform the seller that he intends buying a particular item with a particular currency. If the person does not inform him and says that he is selling a particular item for a particular price and the buyer says he will take it, then we will have to see which currency is more in use in that place. The currency that is more in use will have to be given as payment. If both the currencies are used equally, the transaction will not be valid and will be fâsid, i.e. imperfect.
3. A person has some money in his hand, he opens his hand, shows it to the seller and asks him to sell him a particular item for all that money. The seller saw the money in his hand and handed over the item but did not know the exact amount of money that was in the buyer’s hand. This transaction is valid. Similarly, if the buyer places a heap of money before the seller on a mat, etc. and the latter agrees to sell him the item for that heap of money, the sale is valid even if he does not know the exact amount kept before him..
In short, once the seller sees the money, it is not necessary to tell him how much money there is. But if he does not see the money with his own eyes, it is necessary to specify the exact amount. A person says: “I will take this item for 10 coins.” If in such a case, he does not specify the total amount of money and the matter is not settled, this transaction will not be valid.
4. A person says:
(a) “Take this item, what is the need to agree on a price? Whatever the price will be, I will collect it from you. How can I take extra from you?”
(b) “You can take this item away. I will find out the price from home and let you know later.”
(c) “Someone else had taken a similar item. You can pay me whatever that person had paid.”
(d) “Pay me whatever you wish, I will not refuse it. I will accept whatever you give me.”
(e) “Find out the price in the bazaar and then pay me whatever the market price is.”
(g) “Go and show this item to a certain person and you can pay me whatever he quotes you.”
The transaction will be invalid in all the above instances. However, if the price of the item is made known at that very place and the cause which had made the transaction invalid is no more found, the transaction will become valid. If the price was made known after there was a change in their places, then the first transaction will be invalid. However, once the price is made known, they can recommence the transaction.
5. There is a particular shopkeeper from whom one orders whatever one needs and the goods are delivered to the person’s home. Today he might order some betel nut, tomorrow he might order some catechu (a vegetable extract eaten with betel leaves), some other day he might order a few coconuts, etc. and when purchasing these items he did not bother to ask about the price and thought to himself that whenever the account comes he will pay whatever he has to pay. Such a transaction is permissible.
Similarly, a person sent a prescription to a chemist requesting for some medicine but did not ask for the price thinking to himself that once he recovers from his sickness he will go and pay whatever he is owing. This is also permissible.
6. A person has got R1 in his hand and says: “I am buying this item for this R1.” He has the choice of giving that same R1 or he could take out another R1 and hand it over to the seller. The only condition is that it must not be counterfeit.
7. A person purchased an item for R1. He has the choice of giving a R1 coin, two 50c coins, five 20c coins, etc. As long as they total R1, the seller cannot refuse to accept that money. However, if the person does not give such coins but gives 1c and 2c coins, the seller has the right to accept or refuse. If he does not wish to accept any coins, the buyer will have to pay in notes.
8. A person sold a writing case or a suitcase. The key for both these items will also be considered to be sold. He cannot charge separately for the key of the writing or suit case nor can he withhold the key.