AL-KAFI #1788: THE RULING OF ACCEPTING COMMISSION FROM A LAWYER

 AlKafi 1788

 

Question:

Assalamualaikum.

I am a lawyer. What is the ruling if I give some amount of money to those who introduce my service to my clients?

Brief Answer:

It is permissible for a lawyer to give commission to those who help him acquiring new clients as mutually agreed.

Detailed Answer:

Generally, the practice of giving certain rewards to those who introduce others’ service to the third party is known as commission. Payment of commission differs according to the mutual agreement agreed upon by both parties. The commission is given if an agent successfully acquires clients for the offered services.

Commission or wage is permissible as long as it does not come from prohibited works. In Islam, the wage is known as ju’alah. According to the book al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, ju’alah is:

هي التزام عوض معلوم على عمل معَّين، معلوم أو مجهول، بمعين أو مجهول. أي يحصل هذا العمل من عامل معين أو مجهول

“Ju’alah (souvenir) is obligating a known reward for a specific task, whether it is known or not, by a known person or not.”

(See Fiqh al-Manhaji 6/161)

The basis of sanctioning the concept of ju’alah is the verse of al-Quran:

قَالُوا نَفْقِدُ صُوَاعَ الْمَلِكِ وَلِمَن جَاءَ بِهِ حِمْلُ بَعِيرٍ وَأَنَا بِهِ زَعِيمٌ

They said, "We are missing the measure of the king. And for he who produces it is [the reward of] a camel's load, and I am responsible for it."

Surah Yusuf (72)

According to Ibn Jarir, the phrase (صواع) means a weighing scale for food according to most ahl al-tafsir. Next, Ibn Jarir explains the context of the verse which refers to whoever found the weighing scale will be rewarded with food weighted one camel. This is stated in his tafsir book:

وقوله: (ولمن جاء له حمل بعير) ، يقول: ‌ولمن ‌جاء ‌بالصواع حمل بعير من الطعام

“The meaning of the phrase (ولمن جاء له حمل بعير) ‘whoever finds it, the reward is food weighted of camel's load’ means whoever finds the weighing scale will be rewarded with food weighted of one camel”

(Refer Tafsir Jami’ al-Bayan 16/177)

While Imam Ibn Kathir in his tafsir states that the phrase (ولمن جاء له حمل بعير) refers to ju’alah while the phrase (وَأَنَا بِهِ زَعِيمٌ) refers to al-dhomanah and al-kafalah in Islam.

(Refer Tafsir Ibnu Kathir 4/401)

Even though the verse is stating on the shari’a of the nation before the coming of Prophet Muhammad PBUH, but there is a source of shari’a which permits it as mentioned in the hadith narrated by Abu Sa’id al-Khudri RA, he said:

انْطَلَقَ نَفَرٌ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي سَفْرَةٍ سَافَرُوهَا حَتَّى نَزَلُوا عَلَى حَىٍّ مِنْ أَحْيَاءِ الْعَرَبِ فَاسْتَضَافُوهُمْ، فَأَبَوْا أَنْ يُضَيِّفُوهُمْ، فَلُدِغَ سَيِّدُ ذَلِكَ الْحَىِّ، فَسَعَوْا لَهُ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ لاَ يَنْفَعُهُ شَىْءٌ، فَقَالَ بَعْضُهُمْ لَوْ أَتَيْتُمْ هَؤُلاَءِ الرَّهْطَ الَّذِينَ نَزَلُوا لَعَلَّهُ أَنْ يَكُونَ عِنْدَ بَعْضِهِمْ شَىْءٌ، فَأَتَوْهُمْ، فَقَالُوا يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّهْطُ، إِنَّ سَيِّدَنَا لُدِغَ، وَسَعَيْنَا لَهُ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ لاَ يَنْفَعُهُ، فَهَلْ عِنْدَ أَحَدٍ مِنْكُمْ مِنْ شَىْءٍ فَقَالَ بَعْضُهُمْ نَعَمْ وَاللَّهِ إِنِّي لأَرْقِي، وَلَكِنْ وَاللَّهِ لَقَدِ اسْتَضَفْنَاكُمْ فَلَمْ تُضِيِّفُونَا، فَمَا أَنَا بِرَاقٍ لَكُمْ حَتَّى تَجْعَلُوا لَنَا جُعْلاً‏.‏ فَصَالَحُوهُمْ عَلَى قَطِيعٍ مِنَ الْغَنَمِ، فَانْطَلَقَ يَتْفِلُ عَلَيْهِ وَيَقْرَأُ ‏)‏الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ‏(‏ فَكَأَنَّمَا نُشِطَ مِنْ عِقَالٍ، فَانْطَلَقَ يَمْشِي وَمَا بِهِ قَلَبَةٌ، قَالَ فَأَوْفَوْهُمْ جُعْلَهُمُ الَّذِي صَالَحُوهُمْ عَلَيْهِ، فَقَالَ بَعْضُهُمُ اقْسِمُوا‏.‏ فَقَالَ الَّذِي رَقَى لاَ تَفْعَلُوا، حَتَّى نَأْتِيَ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَنَذْكُرَ لَهُ الَّذِي كَانَ، فَنَنْظُرَ مَا يَأْمُرُنَا‏.‏ فَقَدِمُوا عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَذَكَرُوا لَهُ، فَقَالَ ‏"‏ وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ أَنَّهَا رُقْيَةٌ ـ ثُمَّ قَالَ ـ قَدْ أَصَبْتُمُ اقْسِمُوا وَاضْرِبُوا لِي مَعَكُمْ سَهْمًا ‏"‏‏.‏ فَضَحِكَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم‏

Some of the companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) went on a journey till they reached some of the 'Arab tribes (at night). They asked the latter to treat them as their guests but they refused. The chief of that tribe was then bitten by a snake (or stung by a scorpion) and they tried their best to cure him but in vain. Some of them said (to the others), "Nothing has benefited him, will you go to the people who resided here at night, it may be that some of them might possess something (as treatment)," They went to the group of the companions (of the Prophet (ﷺ) ) and said, "Our chief has been bitten by a snake (or stung by a scorpion) and we have tried everything but he has not benefited. Have you got anything (useful)?" One of them replied, "Yes, by Allah! I can recite a Ruqya, but as you have refused to accept us as your guests, I will not recite the Ruqya for you unless you fix for us some wages for it." They agree to pay them a flock of sheep. One of them then went and recited (Surat-ul-Fatiha): 'All the praises are for the Lord of the Worlds' and puffed over the chief who became all right as if he was released from a chain, and got up and started walking, showing no signs of sickness. They paid them what they agreed to pay. Some of them (i.e. the companions) then suggested dividing their earnings among themselves, but the one who performed the recitation said, "Do not divide them till we go to the Prophet (ﷺ) and narrate the whole story to him, and wait for his order." So, they went to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) and narrated the story. Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) asked, "How did you come to know that Suratul- Fatiha was recited as Ruqya?" Then he added, "You have done the right thing. Divide (what you have earned) and assign a share for me as well." The Prophet (ﷺ) smiled thereupon.

Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim

According to Sheikh Mustafa al-Bugha, the phrase (جُعْلاً) means reward. (Refer Tahqiq Sahih al-Bukhari by Mustafa al-Bugha 4/454). 

The contract of ju’alah is not a definite contract (a contract which enables one of the people in contract to revoke it without the agreement of the other party like the contract of wakalah), different from the contract of lease which is a definite contract (a contract which does not permit one of the people in contract to revoke it without the agreement of the other party like the contract of lease or sales and purchase). This is stated by al-imam Abu Husain Yahya bin Abu al-Khair Salim al-‘Imrani al-Yamani:

الجعالة عقد غير لازم؛ لأنها عقد على عمل مجهول بعوض، فكانت غير لازمة

“Ju’alah is not a definite contract because it is a contract where the task is unknown with the exchange (wage) which is also not definite”

(See al-Bayan fi Fiqh Mazhab al-Imam al-Syafi’i 7/412)

However, the reward should be determined of its rate from the beginning as stated by Imam al-Nawawi:

ولا تجوز الا بعوض معلوم، لانه عقد معاوضة فلا تجوز بعوض مجهول كالنكاح،

“It is impermissible (the contract of ju’alah) unless it is mentioned of its amount of exchange (reward), then this contract of exchange with reward is impermissible like in nikah contract”

(See al-Majmu' Syarh al-Muhazzab 15/113)

Due to this contract being not definite like stated above, both parties have the right to revoke the contract without mutual agreement. This is mentioned by Imam al-Syirazi in his book:

ويجوز لكل واحد منهما فسخ العقد لأنه عقد على عمل مجهول بعوض فجاز لكل واحد منهما فسخه كالمضاربة

“It is permissible for all parties to revoke the contract because it is a contract of an unknown task to the exchange of reward, so it is permissible for all parties to revoke the contract like the contract of mudharabah”

(See al-Muhazzab fi Fiqh al-Imam al-Syafi’i 2/273)

However, Imam al-Syairazi added, if the contract is revoked, it should be done before the agreed task is done. If the task is already done and the wager revokes the contract, then the worker should be paid reasonably for the task done.

(See al-Muhazzab fi Fiqh al-Imam al-Syafi’i 2/273)

Conclusion

In conclusion, the ruling of a person receiving the wage/ commission from any task is permissible because the action is included under the concept of ju’alah. However, ju’alah shall fit conditions as stated above to avoid any element of injustice between both parties. Wallahu a’lam.


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