Is the trade of gold online or through an account permissible? A company selling gold created an online system for the bought gold. When the gold is paid and bought, the gold is then credited into the buyer’s account. When one wishes to withdraw the gold, it can be withdrawn from any of their branches. Is this permissible? From what I know, the trade of gold must be an immediate and direct handover. Hope for an explanation.
Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.
All types of trade and muamalat are permissible in syarak, however, there are some permissible trades that one should pay attention to that involves ribawi items (items that are considered as usury if it doesn’t follow the guidelines of syarak) as to not be involved in the sin of usury.
Gold is a ribawi item that we should be cautious in its trade as stated in hadith narrated from ‘Ubadah bin al-Somit RA, where the Prophet Muhammad PBUH said:
الذَّهَبُ بالذَّهَبِ، والْفِضَّةُ بالفِضَّةِ، والْبُرُّ بالبُرِّ، والشَّعِيرُ بالشَّعِيرِ، والتَّمْرُ بالتَّمْرِ، والْمِلْحُ بالمِلْحِ، مِثْلًا بمِثْلٍ، سَواءً بسَواءٍ، يَدًا بيَدٍ، فإذا اخْتَلَفَتْ هذِه الأصْنافُ، فَبِيعُوا كيفَ شِئْتُمْ، إذا كانَ يَدًا بيَدٍ
“Gold is to be paid for with gold, silver with silver, wheat with wheat, barley with barley, dates with dates, and salt with salt, the same quantity for the same quantity and equal for equal, hand to hand (i.e. payment being made on the spot). If these classes differ, sell as you wish as long as payment is made on the spot.” 
The author of the book al-Fiqh al-Manhaji  stated: During the trade that involves two types of items that contains the elements of usury of different types however has the same reason of usury (for example, both are in the form of currency or food), the trade must fulfil two conditions to make the trade valid and free of elements of usury:
- The akad is through lani. The akad is made in cash or immediately, which means the akad doesn’t specify a certain duration for the item to be handover even if the period of time is short.
- The handover of the item must happen at the place of the akad.
In this situation, both items don’t necessarily have to be of the same value. Moreover, it is permissible to sell a mudd of wheat with two mudds of barley, or a gram of gold with five grams of silver.
With this akad, all the process following it is valid. However, it is on the condition that no certain period for the handover or receiving of the item to happen at the time.
The evidence for this case is a hadith from Ubadah RA stated previously:
فَإِذَا اخْتَلَفَتْ هَذِهِ الأَصْنَافُ فَبِيعُوا كَيْفَ شِئْتُمْ إِذَا كَانَ يَدًا بِيَدٍ
“If these classes differ, sell as you wish as long as payment is made on the spot.” 
What is meant by items in this hadith are ribawi items stated in other or similar hadiths. The meaning of the items which classes differ in this hadith is the items used as payment in the trade is not the same as the item sold.
What is meant by “sell as you wish” is you are permitted to do trade with the items and they are not of the same type of items and it is not conditioned for the items to be the same.\According to the above question, in our opinion the ruling of a handover through an account or online is considered as a form of an accepted handover. This follows the decision made by the 96th National Muzakarah Committee Council which convened on 13th – 15th October 2011, discussed the Parameters of Gold Investment and the decision among others are as follows:
“The handover of the sale (gold) must be a physical handover or a muktabar methodology that can replace a physical handover. The muktabar handover of the bought item will have the same effect as a physical handover, which are:
Transferral of dhaman (guarantee responsibility) from the seller to the buyer.
The ability of the buyer to get his bought item at any time without any hindrance.” 
The 11th Majma’ al-Fiqh al-Islami Council for Rabitah al-Alam al-Islami which convened in Mecca on 19th – 26th February 1989H discussed the issue of taqabudh hakiki and hukmi decided that transactional documentation in the form of a receipt and account recors is accepted as one of the forms of a valid taqabudh and is accepted in Islam.
Thus, when the gold has been deposited in the account of the buyer and recorded in the system and receipt, of which the buyer can withdraw it at any given time, withdrawal of the gold according to the quantity according to the akad or contract, then the handover is considered complete. Hence, the trade of gold online is valid if it follows this condition.