Rebate on Earlier Payment

Sometimes the debtor wants to pay earlier than the specified date. In this case he wants to earn a discount on the agreed deferred price. Is it permissible to allow him a rebate for his earlier payment? This question has been discussed by the classical jurists in detail. The issue is known in the Islamic legal literature as: give discount and receive soon. Some earlier jurists have held this arrangement as permissible, but the majority of the Muslim jurists, including the four recognized schools of Islamic jurisprudence do not allow it, if the discount is held to be a condition for earlier payment.


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The view of those who allow this arrangement is based on a hadith in which Abdullah ibn Abbas is reported to have said that when the Jews belonging to the tribe of Banu Nadir were banished from Madinah (because of their conspiracies) some people came to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and said, “You have ordered them to be expelled, but some people owe them some debts which have not yet matured.” Thereupon the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said to them (i.e., the Jews who were the creditors)

Give discount and receive (your debts) soon.

The majority of the Muslim jurists, however, does not accept this hadith as authentic. Even Imam al-Baihaqi, who has reported this hadith in his book, has expressly admitted that this is a weak narration.

Even if the hadith is held to be authentic, the exile of Banu Nadir was in the second year after hijrah, when riba was not yet prohibited.

Moreover, al-Waqidi has mentioned that Banu Nadir used to advance usurious loans. Therefore, the arrangement allowed by the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was that the creditors forego the interest and the debtors pay the principal sooner. Al-Waqidi has narrated that Sallam ibn Abi Huqaiq, a Jew of Banu Nadir, had advanced eighty dinars to Usaid ibn Hudayr payable after one year with an addition of 40 dinars. Thus, Usaid owed him 120 dinars after one year. After this arrangement, he paid the principal amount of 80 dinars and Sallam withdrew from the rest.

For these reasons, the majority of the jurists hold that if the earlier payment is conditioned with discount, it is not permissible. However, if this is not taken to be a condition for earlier payment, and the creditor gives a rebate voluntarily on his own, it is permissible.

The same view is taken by the Islamic Fiqh Academy in its annual session.

It means that in a murabahah transaction effected by an Islamic bank or financial institution, no such rebate can be stipulated in the agreement, nor can the client claim it as his right. However, if the bank or a financial institution gives him a rebate on its own, it is not objectionable, especially where the client is a needy person. For example, if a poor farmer has purchased a tractor or agricultural inputs on the basis of murabahah, the bank should give him a voluntary discount.

 

Source: Republished with the kind permission of Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani.