Of hoarding and profiteering in Islam
SINCE the outbreak of corona virus pandemic, there has been dramatic shortage of essential commodities in the markets of our country.
The opportunists, exploiting the opportunity, have resumed hoarding the things of inevitable need in order to create artificial shortage so as to elevate the demand curve and thereby induce ever mounting surge in the price of essentials.
Sadly, even the pandemic that has instilled insurmountable fear among the world populace could not rein our people back from resorting to the malicious practices of hoarding and profiteering.
Unfortunately, the scourges of hoarding and profiteering have deeply entrenched in our society. Highly influential political lords have been found involved in such despicable practices.
These hoarders and profiteers have erected mafias to further their interests. The most deplorable aspect of this activity is that such scum of the earth enjoys cocoon and full backing of the government.
Hoarding is an act to collect things and goods as much as possible and to sell them out when many people are in need of those at a higher price than the market. The purpose is to gain maximum benefit out of it.
In other words, it is also termed as profiteering. It is an axiomatic fact that hoarding is serious offence against humanity and, therefore, our religion Islam, strictly discourages this malevolent practice and equates wit with major sins.
With regard to hoarders, Allah, the omnipotent, says: On the Day when that will be heated in the fire of Hell and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, (and it will be said unto them 🙂 “This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard.” – At Tawba: 35
At another occasion, Allah says in the book of guidance: O you who believe! Verily, there are many of the Ahbar (rabbis) and the Ruhban (monks) who devour the wealth of mankind in falsehood, and hinder (them) from the way of Allah.
And those who hoard up gold and silver and spend them not in the way of Allah announce unto them a painful torment.
Additionally, The Prophet (SAW) said that only sinful people commit to hoarding wealth and goods.
When somebody buying foods from the market, save it for the period of forty days and later sell it back to the market at higher price, it means he has committed a great sin. Even though he gives parts or whole benefit as charity, it will never redeem his sin.
At another place, the Prophet (SAW) said somebody who hoards eatables or other goods for forty days, will be prohibited from entering Jannah.
He will not even be able to perceive the fragrance of it. To add, the fragrance of Jannah reaches at a distance up to five hundred’s years of journey.
Imagine how far a hoarder might be from Jannah. Not only a hoarder would be far from Jannah, the holy Prophet (SAW) said that he would also lose the proximity of Allah, the omnipresent, for Allah would cease his relationship with such person (Hoarder).
Moreover, The Messenger of Allah (SAW) says that he heard from Jibrîl (A.S) that there was a valley in hell with fierce fire blazed in it.
When he asked the caretaker of Hell about those who would be put there, he said that it was for three groups: The hoarders, the drunkards and those who earned commission on unlawful deals. Some traditions have even called the hoarders as “accursed”.
The traditions also say that one night divine retribution descended on Bani Israel. By next morning four groups of people had died: The drummers, the singers, the hoarders and those who ate pork.
It is also recorded in the book of traditions that umar ibn al-Khattab(R.A) reported: The Messenger of Allah, (SAW) said, “Whoever hoards food away from the Muslims, Allah will afflict him with leprosy and poverty.” Sunan Ibn Ma¯jah 2155
However, in certain cases, hoarding is allowed. A person can hoard essential commodities when people do not need those items or if the need arises it is possible for people to fulfill their needs.
It is, further, approved when hoarding is done to fulfill the future needs of one’s family and not with the intention of selling it at a higher price than the prevailing market value.
Other than these peculiar circumstances, it is Harâm(forbidden) and a Greater sin. It is the duty of the Hakim al-Shara(the Ruler) to convince him to sell at reasonable rates.
But if he does not agree, the Hakim al-Shara has the authority to purchase it at moderate rates and sell the food items to the needy people. To sum it up, hoarding, for sure, is the worst crime against humanity and those who perpetrate it are the scum of the earth.
Our religion as well moral and legal code of conduct does not condone such malpractice under all circumstances.
Hence, government should not evince any leniency to hoarders and profiteers and deal will them with an iron hand and make them a horrible example for the generations to come so that our society could purge this loathsome practice of hoarding.
— The writer is contributing columnist, based in Quetta Balochistan.