Date : 13-09-2017

Question :

What is the Islamic ruling on some traders who resort to cheating by placing non-defective fruits and vegetables on the top of a box while hiding defective ones underneath?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

Islam has commanded traders to be truthful in their business transactions and avoid cheating or deceiving customers since the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Both parties in a business transaction have a right to annul it so long as they have not separated; and if they tell the truth and make everything clear to each other (i.e., the seller and the buyer speak the truth, the seller with regard to what is purchased, and the buyer with regard to the money) they will be blessed in their transaction, but if they conceal anything and lie, the blessing on their transaction will be eliminated."{Related by Bukhari & Muslim}.

Accordingly, showing good fruits and vegetables at the top of the box while concealing defective ones at the bottom is cheating as well as eating up people`s property unjustly, and this is forbidden in Sharia since Allah, The Almighty, said{What means}: " And do not eat up your property among yourselves for vanities, "{Al-Baqarah, 188}. Also, The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, happened to pass by a heap of corn. He thrust his hand in that (heap) and his fingers felt wetness. He said to the owner of that heap of corn, "What is this?" He replied: "O Messenger of Allah! These have been drenched by rainfall." He remarked, "Why did you not place this (the drenched part of the heap) over the corn so that people might see it? He who deceives is not of us.{Muslim}.

In conclusion, we advise traders not to conceal the defect in their commodities, nor place good products on the top while hiding defective ones at the bottom. They should also be truthful in their dealings and give the real price of the commodity so that the buyer can tell the good product from the bad since it was narrated that 'Uqbah bin 'Amir said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) say: 'The Muslim is the brother of another Muslim, and it is not permissible for a Muslim to sell his brother goods in which there is a defect, without pointing that out to him."{Ibn Majah}. And Allah knows the best.