Maulana Abdul Rahman Attari Madani
In today’s day and age, businesses are rife with lies, fraud and the adulteration of goods. People habitually engage in such vices as if there is nothing wrong with them. Whether it be rice or flour, fruits or vegetables, lentils or meat, many products are adulterated. Some examples of the vices found in businesses are mentioned below.
Selling counterfeit products as originals
At times, an item is said to have qualities which it does not have. Buyers are led to believe that items are sold at a higher price due to the qualities falsely attributed to a product. For example, there are many counterfeit products in the market which fraudulent individuals label as original so that they can sell them at a higher price. Sometimes, even the sellers may have never seen the original product themselves. Individuals wishing to buy imported items are sold locally manufactured products whilst being informed that they are imported. Some showrooms have damaged cars that have been resprayed multiple times. The sellers assert that the paint seen on the car is original. At times, they deliberately leave scratch marks lest a potential buyer suspect that it has been resprayed. To convince buyers, some salesmen even advise customers to have the car checked by a local mechanic. However, customers are unaware that the seller already has a prearranged agreement with the mechanic being recommended.
Sometimes, the product of a famous company is highly sought after in the market. And so, counterfeit copies are made and sold with the company’s original label brandished on them. This type of issue is common with cosmetics. As someone who has experience in working in the oil industry, I can inform you that some people are involved in the malpractice of acquiring clean, empty canisters, filling them with oil, packing them and then selling them under the name of a well-known company.
Labelling lower quality products to be of a higher quality
Lower quality products are also sold as being of higher quality. For example, a jeweller may state that an item of 18-carat gold is 22-carat gold and sell it based on the false value. They gain the help of skilled people to fashion false labels stating ‘22-carat gold’. Customers become convinced after seeing these labels and only discover the truth when selling the gold.
Some builders also deceive customers by using low-quality beams, cement, gravel and other such materials. The final product turns out to be different to the drawings initially shown to customers. They may also draw up plans for a large parking area but unjustly use a part of it for other purposes.
Fraud in the mobile industry
A lot of people who sell mobile phone deceive customers. Once, I was visited by someone who used to deal with mobile phones. He informed me that retailers sometimes sell mobiles and claim that they were made in a certain country despite being manufactured elsewhere. Furthermore, they also download software onto a mobile so that it displays specifications which are not actually found in the mobile. For example, a mobile may show that it contains 32GB memory whereas it does not. And if a buyer returns such a phone, the seller deducts 40% from the refund offered.
It has also been observed that despite being aware that some mobiles are faulty, sellers find a way to switch them on and sell them to customers giving the impression that nothing is wrong. Moreover, they sell such phones without any warranty. The mobile stops working after a few days as it was faulty to begin with. When the buyer brings back the phone to the seller, the latter proclaims that the buyer was informed of the phone not having any warranty.
Some people go to a store to sell their mobile phone. They may say that its value is £100, for example. The owner of the store may request a colleague to ascertain the price of the phone. Despite discovering that the mobile is valued at £90, for example, the colleague will inform the store owner in the presence of the customer that the mobile is only worth £60. This normally leads to the owner of the store and the customer negotiating on the price. The store owner may increase his offer slightly and lie by claiming that he is offering a higher price than what the mobile is worth.
At times, some stores sell mobiles at a very high price. If the owner of such a store feels that a potential customer can go to a nearby store and find out how much a certain mobile is worth, the owner may send a worker to follow the customer to the next store. As some store owners have an agreement between them, the worker for the owner of the first store will covertly inform the owner of the second store to tell the customer of the price of a particular mobile to be much higher than usual. This is referred to as ‘fielding’ in slang.
Adulteration of mineral water
According to one study, 52% of the mineral water in Karachi was found to be adulterated. The Ameer of Ahl Al-Sunnah Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Attar Qadiri دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ once stated in a Madani Muzakarah: ‘I also used to drink mineral water before. We would get a gallon and had to pay a little extra the first time, but then we could take the empty gallon to the store for it to be refilled. I convinced myself that the water was indeed mineral water, although every now and then I would feel doubtful as I could smell oil paint. Once, a security guard told me that he used to work in this field and would give gallons of ‘mineral water’ by filling them up with tap water instead.’
Factories of ‘Zam-Zam’ water
Deceit has become so widespread in the world and has no limits. Never mind selling tap water as mineral water, even normal water is being labelled and sold as Zam-Zam water despite this blessed water having a link to our acts of worship. Looking at Zam-Zam water with the intention of performing an act of worship leads to attaining the reward for a year’s worth of worship. In relation to fake Zam-Zam water being sold, note the following newspaper report: ‘Those involved in the adulteration of products have not even spared Zam-Zam water. The police discovered factories producing false Zam-Zam water in Makkah al-Mukarramah. Bottles prepared with fake Zam-Zam water were found at the factory. Five people who ran this factory were arrested. Bottles ready to be sold and other items of packaging were also seized.’ (Daily Jang, 31 May 2017)
Some employees also deceive their employers. They wrongfully adjust their start and end time by being on good terms with their supervisor and stipulate a share of their salary for the supervisor. As for some of those who purchase goods on behalf of their institute, the level of fraud they commit provides them with enough to live comfortably even if they did not receive a salary. The actual bill for their purchases might not be a lot, but by conspiring with store owners, they obtain receipts showing the bill to be higher. At times, such people purchase fake goods and end up ruining their employer’s business.
More examples of common wrongdoings in businesses
* Adding water to the meat of an animal after slaughtering it in order to increase its weight [therefore, increasing the amount that it is sold for].
* Mixing the meat of small and large animals together and selling it.
* Adding colour to factory-farmed eggs to make them appear free-range.
* Mixing colours into red spice.
* Selling clothes by proclaiming that the dye used is actual food colouring.
* Using banned chemicals to quicken the ripening of bananas and mangoes.
* Adding a particular country’s stamp to a product which is not its place of production.
* Selling expired medicines.
* Selling lentils containing colouring that is of low quality or prohibited.
* Mixing the peel of black chickpeas into teabags.
These are but a few examples of the wrongdoings found in markets, as many other things also occur. How can we expect our economy to grow when fraud and deceit are so widespread in our markets? This is something to reflect upon. The people involved in such matters should think about themselves and their children and refrain from ruining their life in the Hereafter. The consequences of such actions in this world lead to illness and loss of wealth; and this is in addition to the punishment of the Hereafter. How can we have forgotten the statement of the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم:مَنْ غَشَّنَا فَلَیْسَ مِنَّا , meaning, ‘The one who deceives is not from us.’ If the Prophet whose Shahadah we recite, who we claim to love and follow was to say, ‘He is not from us’, where will we seek protection?
We pray to Allah Almighty that He allows us to earn lawful income whilst being truthful and honest.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صَلَّی اللہ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم