The Precepts of Ju‘¡lah
2246. Ju‘¡lah is a contract wherein a person offers to give a specific amount in return for a task that is performed for him. For example, such a person may declare that whoever (or he may specify a particular person) locates his lost property, he will give him ten dollars, or—for example—he will give him half of the lost property.
The one who makes such a declaration is known as the j¡‘il or the offeror, and the one who performs the task is known as the ‘¡mil or the worker. There are various differences between a ju‘¡lah contract and a contract to hire (ij¡rah). Amongst these differences is that upon the realization of a contract to hire, the hired person is responsible and must complete the specified task. In return, the one who has hired him owes him the wages. However, in a ju‘¡lah, even though the worker may be a specific person, he has the right to abstain from performing the task, and in return the offeror does not owe him anything until he completes it. In addition, the validity of a contract to hire is dependent upon the other party’s acceptance, whilst it is not so in a ju‘¡lah.
2247. The offeror must be a sane and b¡ligh person, and should make the offer of his own volition and should not be wrongfully coerced into making the offer. He should also be permitted according to the shari’a to dispose of the property that belongs to him. Hence, the ju‘¡lah formed by a feeble-minded person (a person who wastes his property on futile ventures) or a person who has been interdicted by the ¦¡kim al-shar’yy from disposing of his wealth due to bankruptcy, is not valid.
2248. The task that the offeror requests to be performed for him should not be futile, prohibited, or an obligatory task that—according to the shari’a—must be performed free of charge. Therefore, if a person declares that he will offer ten dollars to whoever wanders into a dark area in the middle of the night, or consumes wine, or offers his obligatory prayers, the ju‘¡lah will not be in order.
2249. If a person specifies the property that he will be giving, such as stating that he will give this wheat to whoever locates his horse, it will not be necessary for him to specify the source of the wheat or its value. Similarly, if he does not specify the property, such as stating that he will give ten kilograms of wheat to whoever locates his horse, the ju‘¡lah will nonetheless be valid. However, the highly emphasized precaution is that its characteristics should be specified completely.
2250. If the offeror does not specify a particular wage for the task, such as a case where he offers to give some money to whoever locates his child, and does not specify its amount, then if someone performs the task, the offeror must give him a wage that is equivalent to the value of his work in the eyes of the people.
2251. If a worker accomplishes the task prior to the formation of the contract, or does so after its formation with the intention of not taking any money, he reserves no right to claim any wages.
2252. The offeror may retract his offer before the worker has started to perform the task.
2253. If the offeror wishes to retract his offer after the worker has started to perform the task, it will be problematic.
2254. The worker can choose to leave the task unaccomplished. However, if doing so inflicts a loss on the offeror, he must complete it. For example, if the offeror states that he will grant a particular amount to whoever operates on his eyes, and a surgeon starts operating on his eyes, then if the conditions are such that should the surgeon leave the operation uncompleted, it would lead to the offeror having a defective eye, he must complete operating on his eye. In such a case, should the surgeon leave the operation uncompleted, not only will he reserve no right over the offeror, he will also bear the responsibility for the damage and the defect.
2255. If the worker leaves the task incomplete, and the task is of a nature that it contains no benefit for the offeror until it is completed, such as locating a horse, the worker cannot claim any wages. The same will apply if the offeror offers the wages for completing the task, such as a case wherein he states that he will offer ten dollars to whoever stitches his clothes. However, if what he intends is to give an amount of money proportional to the amount of work that is completed, he must give the worker the wages for the amount of work that he has completed. However, the precaution in this case is that they should satisfy each other through a compromise settlement.