The underlying cause/illah in the six rabawi items mentioned in the hadith of the Prophet (s.a.w)

Qiyas is rational doctrine whereby the hukm from the original case will be extended to the new case because the latter has the same underlying cause (‘illah) as the former. The new and ever growing problems faced in legal matters made it imperative for using Qiyas, thus keeping Shariah dynamic without losing out its basic values.

In the case of Riba al fadl, Qiyas has to be used in order to find out if the prohibition is only limited to the six commodities mentioned in the hadeeth or can it be extended to apply to other commodities as well. Let us briefly study how the scholars of the four major schools of thought have used Qiyas to identify the illah in the hadeeth.

English Translation:
Ubadah b. al-Samit (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: gold in exchange of gold, and silver in exchange of silver, and wheat in exchange of wheat, and barley in exchange of barley, and dates in exchange of dates, and salt in exchange of salt; like for like, equal for equal, be exchanged hand to hand. If the genus differs then sell as you wish if exchange is made hand to hand.

The illah
Simply put, the hadith prohibits the uneven and/or deferred trading of particular commodities. If this recommendation is not upheld, the transaction would amount to riba-al-fadl which is forbidden in Islam.

  1. In the view of the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence, the ‘illah of prohibition in the case of the six mentioned commodities that are being exchanged for their like is:

        a. Weight

        b. Volume

          Meaning all these six goods are sold by either weight or volume. Therefore all those commodities, which have weight or volume and are being exchanged, with the same commodity will...