In the name of Allah, the compassionate the merciful
One of my renowned Islamic scholars Dr Bilal Ameena Philips, once said “The belief in the Last Day (Judgement Day) reassures the believers that no matter how successful corrupt people may appear in this life they are ultimately failures”. This must resonate with us to guide what we judge as right or wrong in our lives. Even in the secular constitutions, hoarding is criminal and immoral.
Allah says; “… and let not those who hoard up that which Allah Has bestowed upon them of His bounty think that it is better for them. Nay, it is worse for them. That which they hoard will be their collar on the day of resurrection. God’s is the legacy of the heavens and the earth and God is informed of what you do” Quran 3: 180.
Per Islamic Commercial Law, hoarding essential goods and services for the purposes of profiteering is haram, especially during a time of need. Hoarding normally happens during a crisis or when inflation is rising through the roof. It is also important to note that the purposes of hoarding are to create artificial scarcity of essential goods and services in order to raise prices higher so one can rip off the wealth of innocent people.
We recently witnessed the hoarding of dollars in Ghana by forex traders when the cedi was being shredded by inflation. Allah says “o you who believe do not devour each other’s property by false means, unless it is trade conducted with your mutual consent” (Anisah 4: 28).
Hoarding is avariciousness without mercy. Against this, Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth, and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.” Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1924.
God will not be merciful to hoarders. God will only be merciful to honest traders. The messenger of Allah (SAW) says “The honest and trustworthy merchant will be with the prophets, the truthful and the martyrs” Sunan al-Thirmizi 1209.
The above verses of the Quran, and authentic traditions of the prophet, vividly describe how serious in general this crime is. In an Islamic state, the Al-hisbah (the institution of ombudsman) will order the arrest of these hoarders, release and transport the hoarded goods to the market for the benefit of the general public, and to be sold at a demand and supply price.
This is based on the hadeeth of the prophet (SAW), narrated by Bukhari, Anas ibn Mālik (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: “Support your brother whether he is an oppressor or oppressed.” A man said: “O Messenger of Allah, I should support him if he is oppressed, but how should I support him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet (SAW) said: “Support him by preventing him from practising oppression.”
This means that if one has physical power or constitutional or legitimate power, one must use it against evil lest he or she becomes an accomplice. Yet if one cannot honestly prevent oppression through these means, one cannot be blamed. As Allah exalted be He says: “God does not charge a soul except with that within its capacity”.
In the 40 hadeeth of Imam Anawawi, Abu Saeed Alkhudri, may Allah be pleased with him said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say: “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then let him change it with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith.” (Muslim).
This means changing evil by means of force is the best option among all the options stated by the prophet (SAW). This vehemently goes against some brothers and sisters who continue to perpetuate evil and oppression against innocent people because of what they think they control or possess.
They continue to commit these heinous crimes against people whilst failing to know that whatever harm we do to people in this life it is oppression, but it is nothing like the consequence of that harm coming back on us in the next life.
Hoarding is also oppression. The oppressor will pay back his victims with his good deeds on the day of judgement if his / her victims do not forgive them.
In Sahih Muslim 2581, Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (SAW) as saying, do you know who is poor? They (the Companions of the Holy Prophet) (SAW) said: A poor man amongst us is one who has neither dirham with him nor wealth. He (the Holy Prophet) said: The poor of my Umma would be he who would come on the Day of Resurrection with prayers and fasts and Zakat but (he would find himself bankrupt on that day as he would have exhausted his funds of virtues) since he hurled abuses upon others, brought calamity against others and unlawfully consumed the wealth of others and shed the blood of others and beat others, and his virtues would be credited to the account of one (who suffered at his hand). And if his good deeds fall short to clear the account, then their sins would be entered in (his account) and he would be thrown in the Hell-Fire.
Those who support oppression have also been warned by Allah exalted be He. Quran (11: 113) states “And do not incline toward those who do wrong, lest you be touched by the Fire, and you would not have other than God any protectors; then you would not be helped”. The supplication of Musah alayhi salam also admonishes us against supporting oppression, Allah exalted be He says “He said, “My Lord, for the favour You bestowed upon me, I will never be an assistant to the criminals” Quran (28: 17).
In a secular state, hoarding is illegal, attracting hefty punishment from the state. Law enforcement agencies may be contracted by the state to arrest hoarders and release the essential goods to the market and sold at market price, for the benefit of the public.
Oppression, suppression, evil, and slandering of innocent people are all part of (zulum) no matter who commits them. And they are the exact opposite of what Allah and the prophets and the believers stand for. No one can win a war with God. Be warned! And Allah knows best!
YAHAYA ILIASU MUSTAPHA
The writer is an Islamic Banking and Finance patron and advocate in Ghana.
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