Rules regarding Agency (Wakalat)

Fiqh 229-230


  • Wakalat means that a person delegates somebody a task (like concluding a transaction), which he himself had a right to do, so that the other person may perform it on his behalf. For example, one may appoint another person to act as one’s agent for the sale of a house, or for a marriage contract. Since a feeble-minded person does not have right of discretion over his property, he cannot appoint an agent (Wakil) to sell it.
  • In Wakalat, it is not necessary to recite a formal formula. If a person conveys to another person, by conduct, that he has made him his agent and the other person also conducts himself in a way to convey that he has accepted that position, e.g. if he places his property at Wakil’s disposal so that he may sell it on his behalf, and the Wakil takes that property for that purpose, the agency is in order.
  • If a person appoints a person in another city as his agent, and gives him power of attorney, and he accepts it, the agency is in order, even if the power of attorney reaches the agent after some time.
  • The Muwakkil (principal), that is, the person who appoints another person as his Wakil (agent), as well as the Wakil, should be sane, acting on his own volition and authority. And the principal should be baligh, except in cases where a discerning child can act.
  • A person cannot become a Wakil for an act which he cannot perform, or which is haram for him to do. For example, a person who is wearing Ehram for Hajj cannot recite the Nikah as an agent for another person.
  • If a person appoints another person as his agent to perform all his tasks, the agency is in order, but if he appoints him as his agent for performing a task without specifying it, the agency will be void. But if the principal gives an optional task to the agent, like, if he appoints him as a Wakil to either sell his house or give it on rent, that Wakalat will be valid.
  • If a person removes his agent from office, he (the agent) cannot perform the task entrusted to him after the news of his dismissal has reached him. However, if he has already performed the task before the news of his dismissal reaches him, it will be in order.
  • An agent can relinquish the agency even if the principal is absent.
  • An agent cannot appoint another person as agent for the performance of the task entrusted to him, except when the principal has authorized him to engage an agent. In that case, he should strictly act according to the instructions. Hence, if the principal has said to him: “Engage an agent for me”, he should engage an agent for the principal and cannot appoint the agent on his own behalf.
  • If an agent appoints an agent for his principal, with his permission, he cannot remove that agent. And if the first agent dies or the principal dismisses him, the second agency will not be invalidated.
  • If an agent appoints someone as his own agent with the permission of the principal, the principal and the first agent can dismiss that second agent, and if the first agent dies or is removed from office, the second agency becomes invalid.
  • If several persons are engaged as agents for performing a task, and every one of them is allowed to act independently, every one of them can perform that task, and if one of them dies the agency of others is not invalidated. But if, they were told to work jointly, they cannot act independently, and if one of them dies, the agency of others is invalidated.
  • If the agent or the principal dies, the agency becomes invalid. Similarly, if the thing for the disposal of which one his appointed an agent perishes, (for example, the sheep which the agent was entrusted to sell, dies) the agency becomes invalid. And if either of them (i.e. the principal or the agent) becomes insane or unconscious, the agency is invalidated. But if either of them becomes insane or unconscious occasionally, the agency does not become void during such periods, nor after the recovery.
  • If a person appoints someone as agent to perform a task, and promises to give him something for his services, he must give him the promised thing after the completion of the task.
  • If an agent is not careless in looking after the property entrusted to him, nor does he exercise such discretion over it for which permission was not granted, and by chance the property is lost or destroyed, he should not compensate for it.
  • If an agent has been careless about looking after the property entrusted to him, or treated it in a manner which was different from the one allowed by the principal, and consequently the property is lost or destroyed, he is responsible for it. For example, if he is given a dress to sell, and instead he wears it, and it is lost or damaged, he should pay compensation for it.
  • If an agent deals with a property in a manner other than the one for which he has been granted permission, for example, he wears a dress which he has been asked to sell, and then disposes it in the authorized manner, that disposal will be in order.

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