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بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Forbidden Business Transactions

All praise be to Allaah, Lord of the Worlds, and may the peace and blessings be upon the chief of all Messengers and upon his family and all of his Companions. This is a short treatise on the subject of Prohibited types of business transactions, which has been compiled so that the Muslim can avoid them in his daily affairs – so that his earnings can be from the lawful, which Allaah will benefit him with in this life and the next.

Buying and Selling, in itself, are both praiseworthy and necessary, so long as they do not cause harm to one’s worship or cause him to delay performing the prayer in congregation in the masaajid. The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The honest and trustworthy businessman will be with the prophets, martyrs and righteous people.” This means: The businessman who buys and sells while being honest will be with these groups of people on the Day of Judgement.

Buying and selling must be set with religious guidelines, so that the Muslim can avoid falling into forbidden transactions and unlawful forms of earning. The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has forbidden us from certain types of business transactions due to what they contain from sinful means of earning and what is found in them from dangers to mankind and the taking of wealth unjustly. From these types of prohibited transactions are:

(1) When the buying and selling keeps one preoccupied from performing worship:
worship, i.e. they take away from the time of the worship, such as when a person is busy buying and selling and holds back from praying in congregation in the masjid, to the point that he misses it or misses part of it.
This is forbidden. Allaah says: “O you who believe, when the prayer is called for on the Day of Jumu’ah, then rush to the Remembrance of Allaah and leave off the trading (commerce). That is better for you if you did but know. So when the prayer is finished then spread throughout the land and seek from Allaah’s Bounty and remember Allaah much in order that you may be successful.” [Surah Al-Jumu’ah: 9-10] And Allaah says in another ayah: “O you who believe! Do not let you wealth or your children divert you from the Remembrance of Allaah. And whoever does that, then such are the losers.”[Surah Al-Munaafiqoon: 9]. Take note of Allaah’s saying: “…then such are the losers.” He rules upon them that they are losers even though they may be wealthy, having amassed hoards of money – even if they may have many children. This is because their wealth and their children cannot replace what they missed out on from the Remembrance of Allaah. So even if they gain a profit or earn income in this world, they will still be losers in every sense of the word. They can only be profiting in reality if they combine between these two good things. If they were to combine between the seeking of sustenance and the worship of Allaah, by buying and selling when it is time for buying and selling and attending the prayer when it is time for prayer, then they would have combined between the good of this life and the good of the Hereafter.

(2) And from the forbidden types of business is: Selling a forbidden commodity:
 This is because when Allaah makes something forbidden, He also makes taking money for it forbidden, such as when someone sells something that is forbidden to be sold. Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) forbade that dead animals, khamr (i.e. wine), swine and statues be sold So whoever sells dead animals, i.e. meat for which no prescribed Zakaat was given, then he has sold a dead animal and earned unlawful money. This goes the same for selling khamr. What is meant by the word khamr is everything that intoxicates, based on the Prophet’s saying: “Every intoxicant is khamr and every kind of khamr is Haraam (unlawful).”
And he (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) cursed ten people with regard to khamr, as is recorded in the authentic hadeeth: “Verily Allaah cursed khamr – the one who produces it and the one for whom it is produced, the one who sells it and the one who buys it, the one who drinks it and the one who earns from the sale of it, the one who carries it and the one who it is carried to, and the one who serves it.” [Reported by At-Tirmidhee and Ibn Maajah] Khamr is every type of intoxicant regardless of whether it is called khamr or alcoholic beverages or liquor or wine or whiskey. It doesn’t matter if it is called by any of these or other names – changing the name does not change the fact that it is khamr. It has been reported in a hadeeth that: “There will come a people during the Last days that will call khamr by another name and drink it.” Also, what is worse than this is selling narcotics, such as hasheesh and opium, as well as other types of drugs, which are being dealt out to the people in these days. So the one who sells it and deals it is a criminal – in the eyes of the Muslims and in the eyes of the whole world. This is because drugs kill people, so it is like a destructive weapon. Therefore, anyone who sells drugs or distributes it or assists in its distribution – all of them fall under the curse of Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). And taking money from it is from the wickedest of acts and the most detestable of gains. Furthermore, the one who deals drugs deserves to be executed because he is one of those who cause mischief in the land. The same goes for selling cigarettes and qaat (leaves that are chewed in Arabian lands). Cigarettes are harmful and they cause diseases to occur. In fact, all of the characteristics of khubth (wickedness) are gathered together in cigarettes. There is no benefit in smoking in any way whatsoever. Its harms are many. The one with the worst kind of breath, the most despicable appearance and the most burdensome to
accompany out of all people is the one who smokes cigarettes.

(3) Another type of forbidden business is: Selling musical and entertainment instruments in all of their various forms:
 such as stringed instruments and wind instruments or musical appliances and all of the instruments that are used for that purpose, even if they are called by other names such as “technical apparatuses.” So it is Haraam (unlawful) for the Muslim to sell these instruments and appliances because it is an obligation to destroy them and not have any of them remain in the lands of the Muslims.
So if this is the case, how can they be sold? And how can one take money for them? This is from the forbidden acts!

(4) And from the forbidden types of business transactions is: Selling
images (i.e. pictures, statues):
The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) forbade us from selling statues, and what was intended by statues was (all life) images. This is because originally statues are based on image representations, regardless of whether it is representing horses, birds, animals or human beings. Everything that has a spirit (rooh), then selling an
image of it is Haraam, and the money made from it is Haraam. The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) cursed the image-makers and he informed us that they will be the ones with the worst and most severe punishment on the Day of Judgement. Likewise, it is not permissible to sell magazines that are filled with pictures, especially if these magazines contain immoral pictures (i.e. of naked women). This is because along with the fact that they contains pictures, which are forbidden, they also serve as fitnah (temptation) and an incitement towards doing evil acts. This is since when a man looks at a picture of a beautiful girl who is exposing some of her features or she is uncovering some of her body (i.e. naked), then most of the time this will rouse the man’s desires. And these desires will lead this individual to commit lewd and criminal acts. This is exactly what the devils amongst mankind and the jinn hope for by the distribution and sale of these pictures. Also, from a higher perspective, is selling immoral movies (i.e. pornographic films), especially videotapes, which the Muslim communities have poured into the arena of their homes. These movies display images of naked women in them as well as
images of lewd and immoral sexual acts! These movies tempt and incite the young men and women and cause them to be raised upon loving this kind of immorality. Therefore, it is not permissible to sell these kinds of lewd films.
Rather, it is binding upon you to prevent, destroy and distance these films away from the Muslim environments. So anyone who opens a store to sell (or rent) these immoral videotapes, he has in fact opened a place for the disobedience of Allaah to be conducted and he has earned unlawful and illegal money, if he uses it or spends it on his family. Rather, he has opened up a place of fitnah (mischief) and a fortress for the Devil.

(5) And also from the forbidden types of business transactions is Selling Tapes in which are recorded immoral songs, with the voices of male and female singers accompanied by music:
 And these songs consist of words that talk about lust, infatuation and craze for women. So it is forbidden (Haraam) to listen to, record and sell these songs. And taking money for it is considered unlawful earnings and illegal gains, which Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) forbade severely since they spread evil and immorality. And they corrupt one’s manners and transport evil into the homes of the Muslims.

(6) And from the forbidden types of business transactions is Selling something which the buyer will use towards committing Haraam:
 So if the seller knows that the buyer will use the product he is buying to commit some forbidden act, then selling it to him is forbidden and void. This is because you will be assisting him upon sinfulness and transgression, and Allaah says: “And help one another towards piety and fearing of Allaah, and do not help one another towards sinfulness and transgression.” [Surah Al- Maa’idah: 2] So for example, if someone buys grapes or dates for the purpose of making wine from them, or he buys a sword for the purpose of killing Muslims with it or for the purpose of committing highway robbery or to be tyrannical or a troublemaker and so on. Everyone that will use a product against what Allaah has forbidden or will use it in a way Allaah has forbidden,
then selling that product to him is not permissible. This is if one knows for sure that the buyer will do that or he suspects for the most part that he will do that.

(7) And from the forbidden types of business transactions is When a man sells something that he doesn’t own:
  For example, a man goes to a businessman looking for a specific product, but this businessman doesn’t have this specific product. Yet they both agree to a contract (for the sale of the product) and agree on the extent of the price (on the item) presently or in the future. And all the while, the product is not found in the possession of the businessman or the buyer. Then the businessman goes and buys this product and hands it over to the buyer after they already agreed to a price and they made a contract and determined the value as it relates to present terms or in the future. So this kind of business transaction is haraam. Why? Because he sold something he didn’t own and he sold something before gaining possession of it, if the product was specified. As for if the product was not specified and its price was delayed, he actually sold a debt on credit. The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) forbade us from doing that, as was the case when Hakeem bin Hazaam (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) came to him, saying: “O Messenger of Allaah, what if a man comes to me wanting to buy something from me, but I don’t have it. Then I go to the marketplace and buy it for him?” The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Do not sell what you don’t have.” This is a clear cut forbiddance, therefore it is not permissible for a person to sell some specified commodity unless he is in possession of it before making a contract on it, whether he will sell it right there or in the future. It is not permissible to take this matter lightly. So whoever wants to sell something to the people, then he should store the products in his store or in his shop or in a warehouse or in the trunk of his car or in his office, so that he can have the products ready with him. Then if some people who want to buy the products come to him, he can sell it to them directly or at a later time.

(8) And from the forbidden types of business transactions is The ‘Aynah Transaction:
 What is the ‘Aynah Transaction? It is when a product is sold to a person for a deferred price (i.e. a raised price to be paid later), then that same product is bought back from him at current value less than the deferred price for which it was given to him. So when the time comes in which the deferred payment is due, he pays his creditor in full. This is what is known as an Al-‘Aynah Transaction. It is called ‘aynah (i.e. derivate of ‘ayn = same) because the same product that was sold is returned back to its owner. This is Haraam because it is deceiving someone into interest (Ribaa).
In reality, it is as if you are selling dollars at the current price for deferred dollars (i.e. to be given later), which are more than the original amount. And you are just using the product as a device or means to gaining this interest. It is an obligation on you if you are owed money by someone, because you sold him some product for a deferred price that you let him sell it to someone else, or that you let him act freely in the matter – if he wishes he can keep it or if he wishes he can sell it to someone else, if he is in need of the money. The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “When you deal with al-‘aynah transactions and you hold onto the tails of cows and you are pleased with the agriculture, Allaah will send humiliation down upon you. He will not remove it from you until you return back to your Religion.” [Reported by Abu Dawood and it has supporting evidences]

(9) And from the forbidden types of business transactions is An-Najash:
 What is meant by an-Najash is when you display a product for sale in a public auction. Then a person comes and bids up the price of the item, but he doesn’t intend to purchase the item, rather he only wants to raise the price for the customers intending to deceive the buyers. This is the same whether he agreed with the seller to do this or he did it on his own. So whoever bids for a product and he doesn’t want to buy it, rather he only wants to raise its price for the customers, then this person is a Naajish, who has opposed the prohibition of Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Doing this is Haraam, as the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “And do not perform Najash on each other.” So a person who has no desire or need for the item, he should not participate in the auction and not bid
for it. Instead, he should leave the customers, who really desire the item, to outbid each other. Perhaps a person may want to help the seller, and sympathy for the seller overcomes him. So he bids up the price of the item for the purpose of helping the seller – according to his perception. Or perhaps, the seller may agree with a group of his associates to create a crowd around the item for sale in order to draw the people’s attention. These acts are considered from Najash and are Haraam because they are a means of deceiving the Muslims and a way of taking their money unjustly. Also, the scholars of Fiqh have stated that what falls under Najash is when a seller tells his customer: “I bought this item for such and such price”, lying about the
price, so that the buyer may be fooled and buy the item at an increased value. Or it is when the seller says: “I was given this product at this price” or he says: “I received it for this much”, lying about the price. He only wants to fool the customers into bidding the price up to reach this alleged and false price, which he claims he spent for the item. This is from the Najash, which Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) forbade. It is a treachery and deception of the Muslims, and it is lying and disloyalty, for which he will be accountable for before Allaah. So what is obligatory on the seller is that he reveals the truth if the buyer asks him how much he got it for. He must tell him the truth and not say that he attained it for this much money, lying about
the price. What also falls into the definition of An-Najash is if the people of the marketplace or the storeowners agree to not outbid one another when an item is presented for sale, for the purpose of forcing the owner to sell it for a (discounted) cheaper price. So therefore, they are all participating in this act, which is Haraam. And this is from An-Najash. It is also a form of taking the people’s money unjustly.

(10) And from the forbidden types of business transactions is When a Muslim conducts a sale on top of the sale of his brothers:
The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “And none of you should conduct a sale on top of the sale of his (Muslim) brother.” How is this done? It is done, for example, when a person who wants to buy a certain product comes and buys it from one of the businessmen, who gives him the option to finalize the deal in two or three days or more. So in this case, it is not permissible for another businessman to come and interpose, saying to the buyer: “Leave this product. I will give you the same item, even better than it, for a cheaper price.” This is Haraam because he is conducting a sale on top of the sale of his brother. Therefore, so long as he sells him the item and gives him the option (to finalize the deal later), let him obtain it and do not interfere in the deal. If he wishes, he will take the product, and if he wishes, he will cancel the deal. So if he calls off the deal due to his own choice (i.e. not being coerced or influenced), then there is nothing preventing you from selling it to him (now). (On the opposite end) conducting a purchase over his purchase is also Haraam. So if a Muslim comes and buys a product from one of the businessmen for a fixed price and is then given the option for a period of time (to finalize the deal), it is not permissible for another buyer to interfere by going to the businessman or the seller, saying: “I will buy that product from you for a higher price than that person bought it from you.” This is Haraam because these kinds of transactions cause harm to the Muslims and violate their rights and puts hatred into their hearts (for one another). This is since if
a Muslim comes to know that you interfered in his transaction and you were the cause for ruining the deal that was between the two of them, he will be filled with hatred, spite and abhorrence for you. Or perhaps he may even supplicate against you, because you have oppressed him. And Allaah says: “And work with one another upon piety and fear of Allaah. And do not work with one another upon sin and transgression.” [Surah Al-Maa’idah: 2]

(11) And also from the business transactions that are forbidden is:The Deceptive Sale, which is when you deceive your Muslim brother by selling him a product that has defects and you know about these defects yet you do not inform him about them
 So this kind of sale is not permissible and it is from deception, swindling and fraud. It is obligatory on the seller to make these defects clear to the buyer and to let him know about them. But if he fails to inform him about them, then this is from deception and swindling, which Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) forbade in his saying: “The two persons conducting a business transaction are in a state of goodness for as long as they do not separate from one another. So if they
are both honest and open with one another, they are blessed in their transaction. But if they lie and conceal (the truth) from one another, the blessing of their transaction is wiped out.”
So it is obligatory upon us, O servants of Allaah, to be sincere. Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The Religion is sincerity, the religion is sincerity, the religion is sincerity.” They (the Companions) said: “To who O Messenger of Allaah?” He said: “To Allaah, to His Book, to His Messenger, to the Muslim leaders and the Muslim general masses.” So the Muslim must be sincere. What is meant when one is sincere towards something is that he is free or absolved from certain things. So being sincere means being free from cheating (for example). One time the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) passed by a person selling some food in the marketplace who had his food in a pile. So the Prophet (sallAllaahu
‘alayhi wa sallam) put his noble hand inside the pile of food and found some wet portions in the bottom of the pile. So he said: “What is this O owner of the food?” He said: “The sky has affected it” – meaning the rain has affected some of it. So Allaah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Then won’t you make it visible so that the people can see it? Whoever cheats us (i.e. swindles Muslims) is not from us.” This hadeeth is considered one of the fundamental principles in conducting business transactions between the Muslims. So it is not permissible for a Muslim to conceal the defects. If his merchandise has a defect then he must make it visible so that the buyer sees it and is aware of it, and so that he could acquire the item for a price that is appropriate for this defect. He must not acquire the item for the price it would be if it were flawless, for then the seller would be deceiving, cheating, fooling
and swindling, based on the saying of Allaah’s Messenger: “Then won’t you make it visible so that the people can see it? Whoever cheats us is not from us.” So O servants of Allaah! How much of swindling do you see in these days? How many times do you see people placing the defective items in the bottom of the containers and cases while placing the good items on the top – whether vegetables or food items? They purposely put the defective item in the bottom while putting the flawless item on the top. This is trickery, which is done intentionally.

We ask Allaah to pardon and forgive us and you, and that He make our rizq (sustenance) Halaal and that He make our earnings Halaal. And we ask Him to provide us from His vast Bounty. O Allaah suffice us with what You have made Halaal over that which You made Haraam, and (suffice us) with Your Bounty over that of others besides You. And forgive us, have mercy on us and accept our repentance. Verily, You are the One who accepts Repentance, the Bestower of Mercy. And may the peace and blessings of Allaah be on Allaah’s Messenger.

Source: Saalih bin Fawzaan Al-Fawzaan


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