Maliks Muwatta Book 31, Hadith Number 89.
Malik related to me from Yahya ibn Said from Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad ibn Amr ibn Hazm from Umar ibn Abdal-Aziz from Abu Bakr ibn Abd ar-Rahman ibn al-Harith ibn Hisham from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “If anyone goes bankrupt, and a man finds his own property intact with him, he is more entitled to it than anyone else.”
Malik spoke about a man who sold a man wares, and the buyer went bankrupt. He said, “The seller takes whatever of his goods he finds. If the buyer has sold some of them and distributed them, the seller of the wares is more entitled to them than the creditors. What the buyer has distributed does not prevent the seller from taking whatever of it he finds. It is the seller’s right if he has received any of the price from the buyer and he wants to return it to take what he finds of his wares, and in what he does not find, he is like the creditors.”
Malik spoke about some one who bought spun wool or a plot of land, and then did some work on it, like building a house on the plot of land or weaving the spun wool into cloth. Then he went bankrupt after he had bought it, and the original owner of the plot said, “I will take the plot and whatever structure is on it.” Malik said, “That structure is not his. However, the plot and what is in it that the buyer has improved is appraised. Then one sees what the price of the plot is and how much of that value is the price of the structure. They are partners in that. The owner of the plot has as much as his portion, and the creditors have the amount of the portion of the structure.”
Malik said, “The explanation of that is that the value of it all is fifteen hundred dirhams. The value of the plot is five hundred dirhams, and the value of the building is one thousand dirhams. The owner of the plot has a third, and the creditors have two-thirds.”
Malik said, “It is like that with spinning and other things of the same nature in these circumstances and the buyer has a debt which he cannot pay. This is the behaviour in such cases.”
Malik said, “As for goods which have been sold and which the buyer does not improve, but those goods sell well and have gone up in price, so their owner wants them and the creditors also want to seize them, then the creditors choose between giving the owner of the goods the price for which he sold them and not giving him any loss and surrendering his goods to him.
“If the price of the goods has gone down, the one who sold them has a choice. If he likes, he can take his goods and he has no claim to any of his debtor’s property, and that is his right. If he likes, he can be one of the creditors and take a portion of his due and not take his goods. That is up to him.”
Malik said about someone who bought a slave-girl or animal and she gave birth in his possession and the buyer went bankrupt, “The slave-girl or the animal and the offspring belong to the seller unless the creditors desire it. In that case they give him his complete due and they take it.”