Date : 19-11-2023

Question :

Some people purchase grapes before their ripening, or, sometimes, before their formation, with the aim of obtaining their leaves. Is such transaction permissible?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.


Selling fruits, which are on the trees, before their ripening is not permissible except with the condition of immediate detachment from the tree. Additionally, the fruits should be usable or beneficial in some way. Al-Khatib al-Shirbini, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "It is absolutely impermissible to sell fruits except after their ripening. This is because the Prophet, peace be upon him, prohibited the sale of fruits before their ripening and suitability for use……….However, this becomes permissible after their ripening. As for selling them before ripening, this is neither permissible nor valid, and the sale mentioned in the hadith is valid only if the condition of immediate detachment is met" [Al-Iqna', Vol. 2/P. 289]. Furthermore, selling fruits before their formation is not permissible at all. Imam al-Nawawi, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "It is not permissible to sell what does not exist, like fruits that have not formed. Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, prohibited Gharar sale and 'Gharr', here, refers to what is concealed or hidden in terms of its outcome and consequences" [Al-Majmu', Vol. 9/ P. 257].

If the sale of fruits before ripening is conducted with the mentioned conditions, the buyer is entitled only to the ownership of the fruits and the right to utilize them. This is because he acquires ownership through the contract, and he has no right to benefit from anything else on the tree, such as leaves, branches, or other, unless explicitly included in the contract.

The buyer has the option to purchase both the fruits and the leaves of the tree simultaneously. This is because the tree, being the main entity, is not owned by the buyer, and nothing from its parts is owned by default except what is explicitly exempted and included in the sales contract, such as the fruits (i.e., the sub entity). Sheikh al-Islam al-Taqi al-Subki, may Allah have mercy on him, stated: "The branches are included in the general sale of the tree because they are counted among the parts of the tree. If the branch is dry while the tree is green, the famous view of the Shafie scholars is that it is not included, as the customary practice involves detachment, similar to fruits" [Al-Majmu' Takmilat al-Subki, Vol. 11/P. 330].

Regarding the leaves, if they are beneficial, they are treated similar to fruits, meaning they should not be sold except after their ripening or before ripening with two conditions: detachment (cutting) and being beneficial. Imam al-Khatib al-Shirbini, may Allah have mercy on him, mentioned in the context of mulberry leaves: "It seems that they are not included [in the sale]... and the reason for their exclusion is that they are like fruits from other trees" [Moghni al-Mohtaj, Vol. 2/P. 490]. Abu Is-haq al-Shirazi, as narrated by al-Ruwaini, said: "The intended leaves are like the intended fruits" [Bahr al-Madhhab, Vol. 4/P. 474].

The scholars specified the ripeness of mulberry leaves as their opening up, akin to the opening of the feet of a duck. Sheikh al-Islam Zakariya al-Ansari, may Allah have mercy on him, stated: "The ripening of mulberry leaves is when they open up like the feet of a duck" [Asna al-Matalib, Vol. 2/P. 104]. It is commonly known among people that mulberry leaves are used similar to grape leaves, and there is no significant difference between them except that grape leaves are more widely used.

In conclusion, it is permissible to sell grapes before their ripening with the condition of cutting them from the tree as they can be benefited from. In Arabic, the unripe or sour grapes are called "Hosrom". However, it is not permissible to benefit from the grape leaves in connection to the sold grapes unless there is a specific contract covering both. Additionally, it is permissible to sell grape leaves separately from the grapes because they can be utilized similar to fruits. It is important to consider the condition of their ripeness, such as the opening of the leaves or the condition of being cut from the tree before ripening. And Allah the Almighty knows best.