Prohibitions that are taken too lightly
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid
Concealing a product’s faults at the time of sale
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) once passed by a pile of
food that was for sale. He put his hand in it and felt dampness, so he asked,
“What is this, O seller of the food?” He said, “It was rained on, O Messenger of
Allaah.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Why
don’t you put it on top, so that people can see it? Whoever deceives (the
people) is not one of us.” (Reported by Muslim, 1/99).
There are many traders nowadays who do not fear Allaah, and try to conceal
faults by wrapping it in plastic [?], putting faulty produce in the bottom of
the box, using chemicals and the like to make a product look good, or concealing
noises in engines that may indicate a fault - so that when the purchaser brings
a product home, it soon starts to wear out.
traders change expiry dates, or prevent the buyer from examining or trying out a
product. Many of those who sell cars or other types of equipment do not point
out the product’s faults. All of this is haraam, as the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Muslim is the brother of his fellow
Muslim. The Muslim is not permitted to sell to his brother anything which is
faulty without pointing out the faults to him.” (Reported by Ibn Maajah, 2/754;
see also Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6705).
traders even think that their responsibility ends when they tell buyers at an
auction, “I am selling a heap of metal, a heap of metal...” This is a sale in
which there is no blessing, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) said: “The two parties involved in a sale have the choice (to end it -
i.e. the sale is not final) until they part. If both have been truthful and
honest about any faults, the sale will be blessed, but if they have lied and
concealed any faults, the blessing of the sale will be lost.” (Reported by
al-Bukhaari; see al-Fath, 4/328).
Artificially inflating prices
This refers to the practice of artificially inflating the price with no
intention of buying, in order to deceive others, thus pushing them to add more
to the price they are offering. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) said: “Do not artificially inflate prices.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari,
see Fath al-Baari, 10/484). This is undoubtedly a form of deceit, and the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Double-dealing and
cheating will end in Hell.” (See Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth al-Saheehah, 1057). Many
salesmen at auctions and in car salesrooms are earning unclean and haraam income
because of the many haraam things that they do, such as conspiring to
artificially inflate prices and deceive purchasers, or to lower the price of one
of their products, or conversely pretending to be customers and raising the
prices at auctions to deceive and cheat.
Trading after the second call to prayer on Friday
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! When the call
is proclaimed for the salaat (prayer) on the day of Friday (Jumu’ah prayer),
come to the remembrance of Allaah and leave off business (and every other
thing), that is better for you if you did but know!” [al-Jumu’ah 62:9].
Some people continue trading in their stores and in front of the mosque even
after the second call to prayer; those who buy from them also share in their
guilt, even if they only buy a siwaak (natural toothbrush). According to the
soundest opinion, this sale is invalid. Some owners of restaurants, bakeries and
factories force their employees to work at the time of Jumu’ah prayers; even if
this leads to an apparent increase in earnings, they will ultimately be losers
in reality. The employee is obliged to act in accordance with the teaching of
the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “There is no obedience
to a created being if it involves disobedience to Allaah.” (Reported by Imaam
Ahmad, 1/129; Ahmad Shaakir said: its isnaad is saheeh, no. 1065).
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling,
al-ansaab (stone altars for sacrifices to idols, etc.), and al-azlaam (arrows
for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytaan’s handiwork. So
avoid (strictly all) that abomination, in order that you may be successful.”
Gambling was very common during the Jaahiliyyah; in one of the most well-known
forms of gambling, ten people would buy a camel, each paying an equal share,
then they would throw down arrows - a form of drawing lots. Seven people would
win unequal shares and three would be left empty-handed.
Nowadays there are many forms of gambling, including:
lotteries and raffles, in which people pay money to buy numbers, then numbers
are drawn for first prize, second prize, and so on for a variety of prizes. This
is haraam, even when it is supposedly done for charity.
Buying a product which includes something unknown, or paying for a number for a
draw which will decide who gets what.
Another modern form of gambling is insurance, such as life insurance, car
insurance, product insurance, insurance against fire or theft, third party
insurance, comprehensive insurance, and so on. There are so many types of
insurance that some singers even insure their voices!
All of the above are forms of gambling. Nowadays there are even clubs that are
devoted exclusively to gambling, in which there are so-called “green tables”
(roulette tables) just for people to commit this sin. Other forms of gambling
include betting on horse races and other sports, fruit-machines and the like in
amusement centres, and competitions in which the victors win prizes, as a group
of scholars have stated.