There are several ways of purchasing gold and silver. One is that gold could be purchased in exchange for gold or silver in exchange for silver, e.g. a person purchases gold with a gold coin which he has in his possession or silver with a silver coin which he has in his possession. In other words, the item that is being purchased is of the same category as that with which it is being purchased. In such a case, two factors are wajib: (i) the gold or the silver on both sides will have to be equal, (ii) the transaction must be complete before the buyer and the seller can separate, there must be no outstanding amount. If they conduct this transaction contrary to any of these two factors, it will be interest. For example, if you purchase silver with a R1 coin (which is made of silver), you will have to purchase the silver that is equal in weight as that of the R1 coin. If it is more or less than the R1 coin, it will be interest. Similarly, if you hand over the R1 coin and he does not give you the silver immediately, instead he promises to give it to you after a short while and goes away or, you do not hand over the R1 coin to him and instead you take the silver on credit, then this will also be interest.
The second method is that the same category is not found on both sides. Instead, one person has gold while the other has silver. The rule in this regard is that it is not necessary for them to be equal in weight. It is permissible to purchase as much gold as possible with a R1 coin. Similarly, it is permissible to purchase as much silver as possible with a gold coin. However, this transaction will have to be completed before the two can separate. In this case it is also wajib to abstain from any credit, as mentioned in the previous mas’ala.
The market value of silver has risen sharply. In other words, a R1 coin is selling for R1,20 and no one is giving it for R1. Alternatively, a piece of silver jewellery has been exquisitely designed and its weight is equal to 10 R1 coins of silver. However, one cannot purchase it for less than the weight of 12 R1 coins of silver. In order to save yourself from interest, an alternative method is that you should not purchase it with silver coins. Instead, purchase it with money (notes) or normal ordinary coins. However, you should not purchase the R1 coin with R1,20. If you do so, it will be interest. Similarly, if you wish to purchase R8 worth of silver for R9, pay the person with R7 worth of silver and R2 in cash. In so doing, you will be purchasing R7 worth of silver with R7 worth of silver, and the balance of the silver will actually be paid for with your R2. In short, if you wish to purchase silver with silver always tender less silver than what is actually being purchased and the remainder should be paid in cash (notes or coins).
If both the buyer and seller agree, then an easy method will be to add some money on that side where the silver is less in weight.