Subject : Islamic Ruling on Subscription in Exchange for Maintenance
Fatwa Number : 3807
Date : 21-09-2023
Classified : Leasing
Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

Is it permissible to have an annual subscription for cars in exchange for periodic maintenance and repair throughout the year?

The Answer :

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.

The maintenance contract is an agreement between two parties in which one party undertakes to regularly inspect the devices and machinery covered by the contract at specified intervals to ensure they function without interruption or deficiency. They also commit to repairing any faulty parts or replacing damaged components with new ones. The Shariah-compliant classification of a maintenance contract is that it constitutes hire of people (Ijarat Ashkhas). This is because the worker is obligated to perform periodic repair and inspection work in exchange for an agreed-upon fee.

The maintenance contract may not be free from the element of uncertainty (Gharar) because equipment or machinery covered by the contract may or may not develop faults or deficiencies. However, this uncertainty is generally considered to be minor and socially acceptable, as the primary intention of both parties in the contract is to achieve mutual benefit. Contemporary customs have come to view maintenance contracts as an essential part of the services that contribute to the functioning of the economy. They fall within the category of essential needs that people cannot do without easily. Therefore, the presence of minor uncertainty in such contracts is forgiven in Islamic jurisprudence, comparing them to lease contracts (Ijara) and commission or reward (Ja'ala) where some level of uncertainty is also forgiven.

Imam Nawawi, may Allah have mercy on him, stated: "The basic principle is that a transaction involving Gharar (uncertainty) is invalid... What is meant here is a type of uncertainty that is apparent and can be avoided. As for something that necessity demands and cannot be avoided, like the foundation of a house... then selling it is valid by consensus." [Al-Majmoo' Sharh Al-Muhadhdhab, Vol. 9, Page 258].

The Islamic Fiqh Council issued Resolution No. (103) (11/6) regarding the maintenance contract and some of what was mentioned in it is:

"Firstly: The maintenance contract is a newly established and independent contract that is subject to the general rules of contracts. Its nature and ruling vary depending on its form. In essence, it is a commutative contract in which one party undertakes to inspect and repair, on a periodic or emergency basis, a machine or any other item in exchange for a specified compensation. In this contract, the maintainer may be obligated to provide labor only or both labor and parts.

Secondly: The maintenance contract has various forms, some of which indicate its ruling, and these forms include:

1-A maintenance contract not associated with another contract, in which the maintainer commits to providing only labor, or with the provision of minor parts that are not typically accounted for by the contracting parties. This contract is adapted as a permissible lease for work, provided that the work and compensation are specified.

2-A maintenance contract not associated with another contract, in which the maintainer commits to providing the labor, and the owner commits to providing the parts. The ruling on this form is similar to the first form."

In conclusion, there is no problem in entering into an annual subscription for car maintenance, as long as the work and the fees are clearly specified. The maintenance company is responsible for maintenance and regular monitoring of the vehicle, while the vehicle owner is responsible for paying the fees and the cost of parts as per the agreement between them. And Allah the Almighty knows best.





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