What is the decree on opening a store on the websites and the money paid based on sales?

The Details of the Question

- What is the decree on opening a store on the websites that are considered as marketplaces to sell things online and the money paid to those marketplaces based on sales?
- Is this money, which is regarded as commission, considered only as rent and advertising cost? Is it not a halal way of earning?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

In the religion of Islam, what is essential in trade is to do business based on halal goods.

Therefore, if the goods subject to trade are halal and there are no practices that will mean interest in the transaction - even if the supplier company has a product that is not legitimate according to the religion of Islam - the halal and legitimate sales and the profits obtained in this way are halal.

However, it would be more appropriate to prefer a supplier that does not include haram products in its product catalog, even if it is internet marketing, so as not to indirectly support a supplier that also markets products that are religiously haram.

We would like to make the following explanation regarding e-commerce practicess:

Islam regards no harm in buying and selling a legitimate (not religiously prohibited) product or service in accordance with the commercial principles it imposed. As a rule, there is no religious obstacle to e-commerce, that is, traditional commerce to be carried out on the web or through mobile applications, provided that such commercial activities are carried out according to the decrees of the relevant general / specific official legislation. Current e-commerce practices are as follows:  

1. E-commerce based on direct selling:

There is no religious objection to manufacturers/suppliers selling their goods directly through e-commerce, in cash, in installments or by credit card, and shipping them directly to the customer’s address.

2. E-commerce based on marketing:

There is no religious objection to an individual or commercial organization making an agreement with the manufacturer/supplier to act as an intermediary in the sale of their goods, and to receive a certain commission charge from the seller and/or buyer in return for the intermediation. There is no religious objection to e-commerce platforms marketing products belonging to manufacturers/suppliers in cash or in installments or by credit card, and sending those products directly to the customer’s address.

3. E-commerce through dropshipping (without stock) method:

It is not permissible for intermediaries (e-commerce platforms) to offer a product that they do not own, without making any sales or marketing agreements with the suppliers, and then purchase it from the manufacturers/suppliers and send it to the customer as it means the sale of something that is not owned.

As a matter of fact, according to the narrations reported from the Prophet (pbuh), a person is not allowed to sell something that he does not own, even if he buys it from the market later and delivers it to the buyer. (Muwatta, Buyu’, 45; Abu Dawud, Ijarah, 34; Tirmidhi, Buyu, 19; Ibn Majah, Tijarat, 20)

Therefore, it is not permissible to market the products of the suppliers without stock through e-commerce method without purchasing them or being authorized for sale by the suppliers.

4. E-commerce based on the principle of delivering the purchased goods to the customer without receiving them:

If e-commerce platforms (intermediaries) sell the products they buy from manufacturers/suppliers to their customers in cash or in installments and ask the manufacturer/supplier companies to send those products directly to the customer’s address without receiving them (qabl al-qabd), such a sale is not permissible for movable goods according to Hanafis (Mawsili, Ikhtiyar, II, 15), for all property according to Shafi’i madhhab (Shirbini, Mughnil-Muhtaj, II, 82, 236; IV, 707)

According to the Malikis, it is permissible related to the products except ribawi (that are sold by weight and measure) food items (Ibn Rushd, Bidayatul-Mujtahid, II, 144); according to the famous view of Hanbalis, it is permissible for all kinds of goods that do not necessitate immediate delivery. (Ibn Qudama, Mughni, VI, 188-189)

Since such sales have become customary today, there is no harm in acting according to the views that regard them permissible. What matters regarding the issue is that the producers or consumers must not be harmed due to the destruction of goods, deception, cheating, etc.

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