‘Shufaa’ literally means adding or conjunction. Here it denotes the right of the owner of a property which is in conjunction-that is adjacent—to another property. Haq means right. So, haq-shufaa means right to subsequent purchase of a property adjacent to own from another fresh purchaser. In practice it means a right to dislodge a fresh purchaser and step in his shoes in respect of an adjacent property. In law it means the acquiring of vendor’s (seller’s) property for the price for which the vendor has sold to the other party-vendee.
The right of pre-emption or Shufa is a right to acquire by compulsory purchase, in certain cases, immovable property in preference to all other persons. It is founded on the supposed necessities of a Mohammedan family, arising out of their minute division and inter- division of ancestral property.
The concept of shufaa or pre-emption was developed under Muslim Law with a view to prevent the inconvenience, which may result to families and communities from the introduction of a third party as disagreeable stranger.
Pre-emption is a right to acquire immovable property by purchase from a person to whom the property has been sold earlier. It is the right of a third person called the pre-emptor to step in, when a contract is made for the sale of immovable property, and claim to take the place of the buyer, i.e. to buy the property at the same price and on the same condition as in the first sale contract.
The pre-emption of the Muslim Law does not resemble the pre-emption of the Roman Law but resembles the Retract retch of German Law. That was an institution known to Roman Law and sanctioned an obligatory relation between the vendor and a person determined, binding the vendor to sell to that person if he offered as good conditions as the intended vendee. It arose from a contract and also from the provisions of positive written law. It was protected solely by a personal action, and gave no right of action against the vendee to whom the property had been passed.
In Muslim law it is the right which the owner of an immovable property possesses to acquire by purchase another immovable property which has been sold to another.