Deception in Financial Dealings
Mawlana Abdul Rahman Attari Madani
The pious servants of Allah observed Islamic social values and demonstrated the highest levels of honesty in their financial dealings. From our beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and the Companions to later righteous saints and scholars, the luminaries of this Ummah engaged in business, buying and selling, and other financial transactions, but always in accordance with Allah’s saying:
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَاۡکُلُوۡۤا اَمۡوَالَکُمۡ بَیۡنَکُمۡ بِالۡبَاطِلِ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ تَکُوۡنَ تِجَارَۃً عَنۡ تَرَاضٍ مِّنۡکُمۡ
“O believers! Do not unfairly consume the wealth of each other, except that it is a trade by your mutual agreement.”
Deception is Unlawful
Imam Ibn Ḥajar al-Makkī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه explains, “Allah has ordained in this verse that trade is only permissible if both parties are pleased with the transaction, and this is only possible when the deal is free from tampering and deception.”
Whilst elaborating on the principle behind deception being impermissible, he adds, “Be they buyer or seller, if whoever possesses goods is aware of a defect in their item the likes of which would stop the other party buying if they knew (this is then considered deception, which is unlawful).”
The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, “Whoever deceives us is not from us.”
Commentary of this hadith
Deception is a serious offence with grave outcomes. At worst, it can erode one’s faith and remove him from the Ummah, as alluded by the beloved Prophet’s words “not from us.” Deception itself is an evil, throwing perpetrators in dangerous conditions with the potential of causing one to lose faith.
Wretched state of traders
Ibn Ḥajar al-Makkīرَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه notes:
By assessing traders and people of other professions, you will realise that they are deceitful, for they conceal defects ˹in goods˺, commit treachery, and lie. We have observed in relation to our matter, they are like two people who have swords and are battling with each other. The moment any of them can kill the other, they will do so instantly. This is the same situation with the traders. If somehow, they gain ascendancy, one intends to take all the assets of the other in any way possible, permissible or impermissible, leaving the other destitute. When any of them achieves this, he feels immense happiness within his heart and rejoices at the fact that he became victorious due to deception. (In reality) He gained success like a dog who acquires the corpse of a dead animal, and devours it till nothing remains.
May Allah protect us from treachery, deception and lying! May He allow us to conduct business with honesty and trustworthiness!
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ خاتَمِ النَّبِیّیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم
 Al-Quran, 4:29
 Zawajir, vol. 1, p. 520
 Zawajir, vol. 1, p. 517
 Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim: 283
 Zawajir, vol. 1, p. 522
 Zawajir, vol. 1, p. 518