Power of Attorney | Islamic Laws by The Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei
Power of Attorney
Q1788. I work as an agent for a company. My paid work involves promoting the companys products and providing after sales service. What is the view about the wages I receive from the company?
A: There is no harm in getting paid for carrying out the duties of the agency provided that the work is legitimate.
Q1789. A person bought some property through the attorney of the owner. After the settlement of the installments, the attorney claimed that he had cancelled the sale and returned the property to its owner. Is the agent justified in his action? And has the buyer the right to demand from him to give him possession of the property?
A: The sale concluded by the attorney on behalf of the proprietor is valid and binding. The sold property should be the buyers and, therefore, handed over to him. The attorney has no right to cancel the agreement and return the property to its owner unless he has the right to do so for one reason or another.
Q1790. As an attorney, a person sold plots of land to a number of people. The landlord agreed with his attorney not to give the buyers the official deeds of the land. After the death of the landlord, his inheritors, although admitting the sale, say that the matter of the fees arising from amending the land deeds is the responsibility of the attorney. Moreover, they are demanding that the attorney pay them the difference in the price arising from the appreciation of these lands. Are they right in their demands?
A: The attorney does not have to bear any expenses arising from the official registration of the title deeds in the buyers names. As for the price of the lands, if it is established that the attorney received it from the buyers and gave it to the landlord, the inheritors have no right to demand the money or the difference arising from the actual higher value of the lands.
Q1791. Is it permissible for the authorized attorney of a given mujtahid to hand over the religious tithes he collects to another mujtahid?
A: The attorney has to pay what he has collected to the person who authorized him to receive such money on his behalf unless he is authorized to hand it over to a third party.
Q1792. I asked my brother to buy a telephone line for me. I gave him the first installment which he paid to the department concerned. I paid further installments personally. My brother, in whose name the telephone line was registered, died. Have my brothers heirs the right to claim the ownership of the telephone line?
A: If your brother bought it on your behalf with the money you gave him as the first installment, it belongs to you and his heirs have no right in it. However, if the department gives it to the person who requested the telephone line and in whose name the telephone line was registered, you have no right in it but you may claim the money you paid.
Q1793. I appointed a person as my attorney and gave him the fee he asked for, but he did not give me a receipt for it. The attorney died before doing the job. Is it permissible for me to demand from his heirs to pay me back my money?
A: In the given case, you can demand what the attorney owed you from his heirs. They are obliged to pay it from his estate.
Q1794. Does the attorney contract become void and null with the death of one of its parties, i.e., the attorney or the principal?
A: It becomes null and void with the death of one of its parties.
Q1795. I was asked to represent the family of a person who was killed in a traffic accident abroad. Is it permissible for me to take travel expenses from the deceaseds estate or should I get it from money that country is going to give the heirs?
A: The party who asked you to be the attorney should pay you, with their own money, the compensation for your work and the related expenses unless you agreed on something else before.
Q1796. In a contract for the power of attorney, it has been mentioned that it is “irrevocable”. Is it the case that once this word is mentioned, the contract for the power of attorney changes from being revocable to being a binding one, rendering the right to revoke it inoperative?
A: A binding power of attorney is one that is made thus by virtue of stipulating a condition to this effect in a binding contract. Therefore, the word, "irrevocable" per se, for rendering power of attorney binding, does not carry weight. So it can be cancelled.
Q1797. Despite the effort and time an attorney spends in going about his work, it may fail to deliver good results. What is the view about the fee given to him? And is it permissible for him to receive it?
A: Neither the validity of the attorneyship, nor the entitlement of the attorney to his fees — equal to what is mentioned / normal — for the work the principal asked the attorney to do is dependent on the desired result unless they have agreed on something else from the beginning.
Q1798. The wording of attorneyship varies according to intents and purposes. Some are couched in general terms and others in specific ones. However, one phrase in particular is a source of misunderstanding between the agent and the principal. It is the one which gives the attorney the power to address all the issues pertaining to the issue of attorneyship. Is it permissible for the attorney to have an absolute right in that regard if his scope of actions is not restricted in any way?
A: It is obligatory for the attorney to act within the bounds set out for him in the deed of attorneyship, be they explicit or apparent. This may be aided by existing textual or circumstantial evidence, including that common practice indicates the contract is linked in some way to some other matters.
Generally speaking, there are different cases in attorneyship:
a) Power of attorney is specific to the property upon which to act or the act itself;
b) it is general in both aspects;
c) only in one aspect, it is general;
d) only as to the act, it is absolute, e.g. the principal says “you are my attorney in the case of my house”;
e) Only as to the property, it is absolute, e.g. the principle says “you are my attorney in selling my property”.
f) It is absolute in both aspects, e.g. the principal says “you are my agent in my property”.
In any of these cases, the attorney should suffice with what is included in general, specific, or absolute wording.
Q1799. A person appointed his wife his as attorney to sell some land and some buildings he owned and to buy with the sale proceeds a residential flat for their young son. However, making use of [abusing] the power of attorney, she was given by her husband, she registered the property in her own name. Is she right in what she has done? After the death of her husband, would the flat belong to the boy or would it be shared among the inheritors?
A: The actions pertaining to selling the land and some buildings, which she took according to the power of attorney given to her by her husband, are both valid and enforceable. Registering the flat in her name per se has no shari consequences, in that if she had bought it with the money of the principal, during his lifetime, for his young son in accordance with the power of attorney, the purchase is both correct and enforceable. Therefore, the flat is his alone.
If she had bought the flat for herself, during the lifetime of her husband, or it was bought for the son after the death of his father, the buying is fuduli.
In the first case, permission of the heirs after the death of the father is not effective because they were not the owners at the time of purchase.
In the second case, should any of the heirs permit the purchase, the transaction would be correct in proportion to the share of person who permitted for her/her son respectively.
Q1800. Someone acted as an attorney in hiring other people to perform certain acts of worship, such as prayer and fasting, on behalf of the deceased. He betrayed the trust, i.e. he did not hire anybody and took the money for himself. Having shown remorse, he wants to pay back his dues. What should he do? Should he hire some people to do the job or return the money to the respective owners at the current rate? Or is he required to return only the amounts he originally received from the people who asked him to do the job? And what is the view if this person himself was hired to do the job, but died before getting it over and done with?
A: If the contract of being attorney has already expired before hiring anybody to perform the prayer and fasting, he should be made to pay compensation equal to the amount of money he received for getting the job done. Otherwise, he has the choice between hiring someone to perform prayer and fasting with the money he received or canceling the contract and returning the money to the owners. In case, there was a change in money value, it is a caution that both parties reach reconciliation.
As for the hired person, if he was hired to do it himself, the contract is automatically cancelled with the death of the person. It would then be obligatory that the money he received be paid back from his estate. If he was hired to do the job or to have it done, he would still be responsible for discharging the work itself. In this case, his inheritors have to hire someone to discharge the work with money set aside from his estate if he has such estate. Otherwise, they do not have to do anything.
Q1801. Some solicitors represent companies in the courts in defending cases filed against the companies by certain quarters or vice versa. If the solicitor has no doubts as to the guilt of the company, is it permissible for them to defend it? If the solicitor fights the case on behalf of the company, while he maintains that the company has no right in these cases, is he going to be responsible for his own actions in cases where the court rules in the companys favor? And would the fee the solicitor received for his work in defending the unfair claim be considered ill gotten and, therefore, Haram to be had?
A: It is not permissible to defend an unfair claim and set out to prove that it is right. The courts judging in favor of the defendant has no effect on the work itself. The fee paid for defending an unfair case is Haram.
Q1802. A person appointed another as his attorney to carry out a particular job and paid him beforehand as stipulated in the contract. Is it shari for the attorney to have the money if he does not do the job?
A: The attorney has the right to get his pay, as called for in the contract, as soon as it is concluded. He has, therefore, the right to demand payment, even before embarking on the job which he was hired to do. However, if he does not do the job described in the attorney deed, so much so that the time for the job/of being attorney expires, the attorney deed is cancelled, in which case he has to return the money to the principal.