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Discounted Fee Structure

Question

A person has two options when paying school fees 

1. Pay the full amount (11 600) before 28 February and receive R600 reduction 

2. Pay monthly and receive no reduction 

Is the first payment structure permissible? 

Answer

From the question posed to us it seems that the school offers two options for payment of fees. The first is a short-term credit option and the second is a long-term credit option. The parent has the option of either choosing the short-term credit option of paying R11 600 (with a R600.00 discount if paid timeously) which must be paid by the 28th of Feb, or pay in fixed monthly instalments over 12 months but the fees will then be R11 600.00 without any discount. If the parent chooses a particular option and thereafter concludes the transaction, then that particular option which was chosen by the parent will be applicable and effective if the school consents and approves of it. 

For example, if a parent chooses option ‘one’ whereby the parent is required to pay R11 000.00 (due to the discount offered) then the fee of R11 000.00 will be applicable. If (after choosing option one) the parent for some reason delays in payment and ends up paying over 12 months, then too he will only be liable to only pay R11 000.00 and nothing more. He cannot be penalized for late payment as any amount over and above the principal debt of R11 000.00 is tantamount to interest. 

جب متعاقدین   مجلس عقدمیں کسی قیمت پر اتفاق کرکے بیع منعقد کرلیں تو بیع تام ہوجاتی  ہے اور مشتری حسب معاہدہ نقد یا ادھار ثمن کی ادائگی کا ذمہ دار ہوتا  ہے ، ۔۔۔۔اگر معاملہ ادھار ہو تو مشتری چاہے وقت مقرر سے پہلے ثمن ادا کرے یا کسی شرعی عذر کی بنا پر مقررہ وقت کے بعد ، بہر حال وہی ثمن پورا پورا ادا کرےگا جو بوقت عقد  طے ہوا ہو – میعاد مقرر سے قبل ادائگی کی صورت میں مشتری ثمن میں کمی کے مطالبہ کا حقدار نہیں اور اس کے بعد ادائگی کی صورت میں بائع ثمن پر زیادتی طلب کرنے کا حق دار نہیں – فتاوی عثمانیہ ص۱۲۴ ج۷

Similarly, if a parent chooses option ‘two’ then the parent will be required to pay an amount of R11 600 over 12 months. If after choosing this option, the school is prepared to discount the fees on condition that the parent pays the school in a shorter period then this is not permitted, as the discount offered is in lieu of time, which is not permitted. 

ولو كان له ألفٌ مؤجلة فصالحه على خمسمائةٍ حالةٍ لم يجز )اللباب في شرح الكتاب – كتاب الصلح)

ولو كان له ألف مؤجلة فصالحه) عنها على خمسمائة حالة لم يجز، لأن المعجل خير من المؤجل، وهو غير مستحق بالعقد؛ فيكون التعجيل بإزاء ما حط عنه وذلك اعتياض عن الأجل، فلم يجز (الهداية ص251 ج3)

However, if the parent had initially chosen a longer payment option and then paid the school before the due time of payment and the school voluntarily affords a discount from their side (without any stipulated conditions) then there is no harm in doing so. Such a discount is valid and in order.  

حط البائع مقدارا من الثمن المسمى بعد العقد صحيح ومعتبر (شرح المجلة 256)

In conclusion, the first payment structure is permissible with the proviso that this option is chosen at the time of concluding the agreement. We hope this clarifies the issue. 

Checked and Approved By:

Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

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