Subject : Islam Prohibits Hoarding every Product Needed by Society
Fatwa Number : 3856
Date : 07-03-2024
Classified : Forbidden Sales & Transactions
Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

I trade in food products. However, some traders hoard items because they know that their prices will increase in the near future. What is the ruling of Islam on this?

The Answer :

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

Islam prohibited hoarding as it inflicts harm on the people.

Hoarding is practiced in all commodities that people usually need, especially if withholding them leads to harming and causing hardship for the people. This is the opinion of the Maliki school of thought as well as the view of Abu Yusuf from the Hanafi school. Imam Ibn Rushd al-Jadd, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "His saying that there is no harm in hoarding except for wheat and barley means if that is done at a time when hoarding does not harm people. There is no difference in opinion that it is not permissible to hoard food or anything else at a time when hoarding it harms people and burdens them with higher prices" [Al-Bayan wa al-Tahsil, Vol. 7/P. 360]. Moreover, Imam Al-Kasani, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "Then hoarding is applicable to everything that harms the public, according to Abu Yusuf, whether it is a necessity or not" [Bada'i al-Sana'I, Vol. 5/P. 129].

If hoarding involves the necessities of life, such as food items like wheat and rice, then it is even more prohibited. This is indicated by the saying of the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him: 'Whoever hoards food for forty nights has disobeyed Allah, and Allah will be dissociated from him.' [Narrated by Imam Ahmad]. Due to the harm it causes to people, the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, also said: 'There should be neither harm inflicted nor reciprocated.' [Narrated by Ibn Majah]. Shaykh al-Islam Zakariya al-Ansari, may Allah have mercy on him, stated: "Hoarding is prohibited because it restricts people's access, and it is reported in a hadith: 'No one hoards except a wrongdoer,' meaning a sinner, and it refers to withholding what one has purchased during times of scarcity.' [Asna al-Matalib, Vol. 2/P.37-38]."

The wisdom behind the prohibition of hoarding is to prevent harm from reaching people. For this reason, scholars have classified hoarding among the major sins. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami al-Shafi'i, may Allah have mercy on him, said: 'Hoarding is classified as a major sin due to the explicit warnings mentioned in authentic hadiths, such as being cursed, Allah and His Messenger being dissociated from the hoarder, and the possibility of afflictions like leprosy and bankruptcy, among others... The prohibited hoarding, according to our understanding, is when one withholds what they have purchased during times of scarcity, not for the purpose of saving provisions for themselves, even including necessities like dates and raisins, but with the intention of selling them at a higher price when the need for them intensifies. Al-Ghazali associated provisions with everything that assists in living, such as meat and fruits.' [Al-Zawaajir 'an Iqtiraaf al-Kabaair, Vol. 1/P.389].

Therefore, we urge our brothers, the merchants, to consider the circumstances of the people and to show them compassion. We remind them of the prohibition of causing distress to others and exploiting their needs by withholding goods from them to raise their prices. The Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, said: 'Whoever hoards is indeed a wrongdoer.' [Narrated by Muslim].

In conclusion, it is prohibited for merchants to withhold essential food items and other goods after purchasing them during times of scarcity, intending to sell them at a higher price when the need for them intensifies. And Allah the Almighty knows best.



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