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Ruling on telling people a price other than the price he really paid

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Publication : 14-12-2001

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Question

A person says, “This item cost me such and such,” when in fact it cost him less than that. Rather he wants to increase his profits. There are some who swear by Allah that this is the price they paid. What is the ruling on that?

Answer

Praise be to Allah.

If a person buys a product and offers it for sale, and says, “It cost me such and such” but he is lying by saying that he paid more for it than he really did, then he is doing something that is haraam and is committing a sin. He risks losing the barakah (blessing) of his sale. If he swears by Allah to that effect, then his sin is even greater and the punishment will be more severe. He is included in the warning mentioned in the hadeeth narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh from Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him), in which it says that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There are three whom Allah will not look at on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them, and theirs will be a painful torment.” We said, “Who are they, O Messenger of Allah? For they have indeed failed and are losers.” He said, “The one who reminds others of his favours, the one who lets his lower garment hang below his ankles, and the one who sells his product by swearing false oaths.” (al-Tirmidhi said, this is a saheeh hasan hadeeth). According to another report, “by evil oaths.” And al-Bukhaari, Muslim and others narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: ‘Swearing an oath may sell a product but it destroys the barakah.” 

Al-Bukhaari narrated in his Saheeh (vol 4, p. 316) from ‘Abd-Allah ibn Abi Awfa (may Allah be pleased with him) that a man offered him an item for sale in the market and he swore falsely by Allah that someone else had already made him an offer in order to get a Muslim to buy it.  Then the aayah was revealed (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Verily, those who purchase a small gain at the cost of Allah’s Covenant and their oaths, they shall have no portion in the Hereafter (Paradise). Neither will Allah speak to them nor look at them on the Day of Resurrection nor will He purify them, and they shall have a painful torment” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:77]

Al-Bukhaari and Muslim narrated in their Saheehs that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There are three whom Allah will not look at and will not purify, and theirs will be a painful torment: a man who has extra water but he withholds it from the wayfarer; a man who gives allegiance (bay’ah) to another man (according to one report, to a leader) but he only did so for the purpose of worldly gains, so if he gets what he wants he is loyal to him, otherwise he betrays him; and a man who bargains with another man concerning some product after the time of ‘Asr and he swears (falsely) to him that he has already been offered such and such, and he sells it.”

(al-Bukhari, 124, 160, 376; Muslim, 1/103, no. 108). 

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Source: From Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, vol 13/10