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Ruling 2100

The commodity that is sold and the thing that is taken as payment in exchange for it must fulfil the following five conditions [in order for the transaction to be valid]:
 

  1. the amount must be known, either by weight, measure, number, or other similar method;
  2. the person must be able to hand over the item, otherwise the transaction is not valid unless he sells the thing with something else that he can hand over, in which case the transaction is valid. However, if the buyer can acquire the thing that he has bought even though the seller is unable to hand it over to him, the transaction is valid. For example, if someone sells a horse that has run away and the buyer is able to find it, there is no problem with the transaction; it is valid and there is no need to include something that he can deliver;
  3. the particulars of the commodity and the payment in exchange must be known. ‘Particulars’ here are those things that have an effect on one’s decision concerning the transaction [as opposed to inconsequential things];
  4. there must not be any other right attached to the commodity or the payment in exchange in that once it ceases to be owned by the owner, he no longer has any right over it;
  5. the commodity itself must be sold, not its usufruct. Therefore, if, for example, someone sells the usufruct of a house, the transaction is not valid. However, in the event that the buyer offers the usufruct of his own property instead of money, there is no problem; for example, he buys a rug from someone and in exchange he gives him the usufruct of his house for a year.

 
The rulings pertaining to these conditions will be explained below.