Will a black marketer be resurrected together with killers?

The Details of the Question

- I have heard that those who engage in black marketing, profiteering and monopoly will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment together with killers. Is there such a hadith?
- Are there any verses and hadiths regarding the issue?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Terms such as black marketing, profiteering, and monopoly are expressed with the term ihtikar.

A hadith narration regarding the issue is as follows:

“Those who commit ihtikar and killers will be resurrected in the same way on the Day of Judgment...”(1)

It is not permissible to commit ihtikar, that is, to raise prices by causing a shortage in the market. If such a shortage is caused in something that Muslims need, the person who does it will be resurrected in the same place with killers on the Day of Judgment, as it is stated in the hadith.

Ihtikar in the Quran

There is no Quranic verse that directly prohibits ihtikar. However, there is no doubt that the verses that prohibit making unjust gains (2) include ihtikar because black marketing, profiteering and monopoly are a great oppression committed in many ways against both the people who are in the position of consuming and the merchants who are adversely affected by the market conditions.

After Almighty Allah prohibits the wrongful devouring of goods in the chapter of an-Nisa, He excludes trade based on mutual consent from it. (3) Although the decrees of contracts are based on the declaration of will as a necessity of acting based on appearance, the main property of contracts is mutual consent as Islamic law scholars state. (4)

As a matter of fact, the Prophet (pbuh) states that it is not halal to take someone’s property unless there is consent in the heart. (5)

It is clear that no one would show consent to buying something by paying more than the normal price. Nobody will accept it unless they have to. In this respect, it is clear that even if the validity of the contract made with a person who commits ihtikar is determined as a result of the observance of the terms of the contract, he will be held responsible in the hereafter.

On the other hand, when Elmalılı Hamdi Yazır interpreted the verse “Qarun was doubtless, of the people of Moses; but he acted insolently towards them” (6), he stated the following: Pharaoh was an important symbol in political oppression and tyranny, and Qarun was an important symbol in financial tyranny and ihtikar; he also pointed out that the story of Karun was a story of a profiteering capitalist.

Elmalılı explained the phrase فَبَغٰى عَلَيْهِمْ declaring that Qarun committed cruelty and injustice against his people as follows: “He committed ihtikar, did not pay zakah and rebelled against Musa (Moses).” (7)

Some tafsir scholars state that one of the interpretations of the word “ilhad (profanity)” in the verse “and any whose purpose therein (Masjid al-Haram) is profanity or wrong-doing - them will We cause to taste of a most Grievous Penalty.”(8) is ihtikar committed in Makkah. (9)

In fact, the statement “Committing ihtikar in food items is oppression and injustice (ilhad) done there” (10) in the hadith narrated by Abu Dawud also supports this meaning.

Therefore, based on the statements of the Messenger of Allah, it can be said that ihtikar is one of the meanings implied by that statement.

Besides, Almighty Allah’s warning that the fire of hell will summon a person who collects goods and wealth and piles them on top of one another (11) also poses a threat to profiteers. For, what he does is no different from the person mentioned in this verse; a profiteer collects goods only for his own benefit and does not care about the needy.

Finally, we can say that the verse “In order that it (property) may not (merely) make a circuit between the wealthy among you” (12) in the chapter of al-Hashr prohibits ihtikar indirectly. For, the main purpose of the black marketer is to increase the prices by keeping and stocking any goods that people need or by collecting them from the market, and then to put the goods they have on the market at a higher price.

However, the verse above orders believers to spread wealth and prosperity to all layers of the people.

Ihtikar in the Sunnah

The prohibition of ihtikar, which is not directly mentioned in the Quran, is mentioned a lot in the statements of the Prophet (pbuh). Attention is attracted to the bad ending of the profiteers who harm society by forming artificial shortage in the market, exploit people’s needs and regard every means as legitimate in order to earn more; and it is emphasized how immoral ihtikar is in the eyes of Allah and His Messenger. (13)

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) attracted attention to the fact that those who commit ihtikar indulge themselves in sin and disobedience by saying “Only a sinner commits ihtikar (black marketing, profiteering and monopoly and rebellion).” (14)

After stating that the word خَاطِئ in the hadith, as it is also expressed by lexicologists, means disobedience and sin, Imam Nawawi says that this expression clearly indicates that ihtikar is haram. (15)

The bad intention of the black marketer is included in the following narration by Ahmed b. Hanbal:

“He who commits ihtikar and wants the prices to increase for Muslims by doing so is definitely a sinner.” (16)

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) expresses what a great sin ihtikar is with the following remarkable statement:

“Even if a person who has committed ihtikar spends all his wealth together with his profit, it will not be an expiation for his sin of ihtikar.” (17)

There are also been narrations stating that the sadaqah (charity) of a person who commits ihtikar will not be accepted. (18)

Imam Ghazali narrates the following incident regarding the issue:

A person from the predecessors sent a ship full of wheat from the city of Wasit to Basra and told his deputy there to sell the wheat immediately on the day it reaches Basra, without delaying it to the next day. However, the arrival of the wheat to the city coincided with the time of cheapness; they told the man that his profit would be doubled if he kept the wheat for a week. He sold the wheat after keeping it for a weak and doubled the profit.

When he wrote the owner about what had happened, he received the following letter as a response:

“Oh man! We were content with little profit for the safety of our piety but you acted contrarily to our word. We do not like to make a double profit in return for the loss of anything from our religion. You have indeed committed a serious crime against us. Therefore, distribute all of the money to the poor of Basra as soon as you receive this letter. I wish I could avoid the sin of profiteering by giving away all of this money to charity; If only I could get rid of the sin, let alone receiving any thawabs!” (19)

In another hadith narrated from the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) regarding the issue, the comparison of a merchant who brings goods to bazaars and markets from distant countries or abroad is compared as follows and a profiteer who stocks the goods he gets from the market is expressed as follows:

“The one who brings goods from outside is provided with sustenance. The one who profiteers is cursed.” (20)

In a similar hadith narrated by Hakim, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stopped by a man who was selling food at a lower price than the market price, and asked him, “Do you sell goods cheaper than our prices in our market?” The man said, “Yes.” Thereupon, the Prophet asked again, “Do you do it for a little profit in order to get your reward from Allah?” The man said, “Yes.”

Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) made the following important explanation regarding the issue:

“Glad tidings for you! The one who brings goods to our market is definitely like the one who makes jihad in the way of Allah. The person who commits profiteering in our market is like the one who denies the Book of Allah.” (21)

In addition, Muslims are warned in the hadiths against ihtikar as the bad ending that profiteers will suffer both in this world and in the hereafter. The hadith “If a person stocks the food of Muslims and does not put them on the market, Allah will expose him to leprosy and bankruptcy” (22) reported by Ibn Majah explains how a black marketer, profiteer, and monopolist will be punished when they are still in the world; its penalty in the hereafter is expressed as follows in another hadith:

“If a person wants to make something more expensive for Muslims by interfering with the price, it becomes a right for Allah to throw him into Hell with his head down.” (23)

The loss of a person who commits profiteering is expressed as follows in another hadith:

“If a person stocks food items for forty days and does not put them on the market, he will have deviated from the covenant of Allah, and Allah will keep away from him.” (24)

The following explanation of Kamil Miras regarding the hadith above is significant:

“Since the profiteer violates his promise to Allah by committing that disgusting deed, it is stated in the hadith that he distances himself from Allah. Since Allah’s keeping away from him is a penalty, it has been postponed. The hadith above includes the biggest threat related to ihtikar and the meaning of the verse ‘Fulfil your covenant with Me as I fulfil My Covenant with you’ (25).” (26)

The following narration describes the bad mood of the black marketer:

“What an evil slave the black marketer is. If Allah makes prices cheaper, he will be annoyed; if He raises them, he will become happy.” (27)

After reporting the narrations about ihtikar, Ibn Hajar al-Haytami states that ihtikar is one of the major sins acting upon the fact that there are severe threats in the hadiths such as cursing the one who profiteers, his suffering from leprosy, his being punished for bankruptcy, and his being away from the protection of Allah and His Messenger. According to him, some of the narrations regarding the issue clearly indicate that ihtikar is a major sin. (28)

Footnotes:

1) Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Ali b. Hajar al-Haytami, az-Zawajir an Iqtirafil-Kabair, Darul-Fikr, 1987, I, 389.
2) See al-Baqara, 2/188; an-Nisa, 4/161; al-A’raf, 7/85.
3) an-Nisa, 4/161.
4) Hayrettin Karaman, Mukayeseli İslâm Hukuku, İz Yayıncılık, İstanbul, 2003, II, 63.
5) Ali b. Umar b. Ahmad ad-Daraqutni, as-Sunan, thq. Shuayb Arnawut, Beirut: Muassasatur-Risala, 2004, III, 424 (2885); Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, thq. Shuayb Arnawut, Muassasatur-Risala, 1999, XXXIV, 299 (20695).
6) al-Qasas, 28/76.
7) Elmalılı Hamdi Yazır, Hak Dini Kur’an Dili, Eser Neşriyat, nd. V, 3755.
8) al-Hajj, 22/25.
9) Fakhruddin Muhammad b. Umar ar-Razi, Mafatihul-Ghayb, Beirut: Darul-Kutubil-Ilmiyya, 2000, XXIII, 23; Muhammad b. Yusuf Abu Hayyan al-Andulusi, al-Bahrul-Muhit, thq. Muhammad Jamil, Beirut: Darul-Fikr, 1420, VII, 500.
10) Abu Dawud, Manasik 89.
11) al-Maarij, 70/17-18.
12) al-Hashr, 59/7.
13) Kâmil Miras makes the following explanation regarding the issue: “The profiteers trying to gain wealth through the food and life of humanity in the most troublesome times of humanity, that is, trying to attain happiness through the grief of people, are the most terrible people of humanity; therefore, the religion of Islam has waged the greatest war against them. Many hadiths aim to save people from this unjust gain.” (Kâmil Miras, Sahih-i Buhârî Muhtasarı Tecrid-i Sarih Tercemesi ve Şerhi, Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı Yayınları, Ankara, 1984, 7th impression, VI, 450)
14) Muslim, Musaqah 130; Abu Dawud, Buyu’ 47; Tirmidhi, Buyu’ 40). Another version of the hadith is as follows: He who commits ihtikar is a sinner. (Muslim, Musaqah 129)
15) Abu Zakariyya Yahya b. Sharaf b. Nuri an-Nawawi, al-Minhaj Sharhu Sahihi Muslim, Beirut: Daru Ihyait-Turathil-Arabi, 1392, XI, 43.
16) Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, XIV, 265.
17) Abu Bakr Abdullah b. Muhammad b. Abi Shayba, al-Musannaf, thq. Muhammad Awwama, Jidda: Shirkatu Daril-Qibla, 2006, X, 578; Abu Bakr Ahmad b. al-Husayn b. Ali al-Bayhaki, Shuabul-Iman, Beirut: Darul-Kutubil-Ilmiyya, 1410, VI, 103.
18) see. Ali al-Muttaqi, Kanzul-Ummal fi Sunanil-Aqwali wal-Ahwal, Muassasatur-Risala,1981, 5th impression, IV, 99-100.
19) Abu Hamid Muhammad b. Muhammad al-Ghazzali, al-Ihyau Ulumid-Din, Beirut: Darul-Ma’rifa, II, 73. 
20) Ibn Majah, Tijarat 12.
21) Abu Abdullah Muhammad b. Abdullah al-Hakim an-Nisaburi, al-Mustadrak alas-Sahihayn, thq. Mustafa Abdulqadir Ata, Beirut: Darul-Kutubil-Ilmiyya, 1990, II, 15.
22) Ibn Majah, Tijarat 6; Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, I, 284).
23) Hakim, al-Mustadrak, II, 15; Abu Bakr Ahmad b. al-Husayn b. Ali al-Bayhaqi, as-Sunanul-Kubra, Haydarabad: Dairatul-Maarifil-Osmania, 1344, VI, 30; Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, XXXIII, 426.
24) Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, VIII, 481; Hakim, al-Mustadrak, II, 14; Ibn Abi Shayba, al-Musannaf, IV, 302 (20396).
25) al-Baqara, 2/40.
26) Kamil Miras, Tajrid, VI, 449.
27) Sulayman b. Ahmad b. Ayyub Abul-Qasim at-Tabarani, al-Mu’jamul-Kabir, Cairo: Maktabatu Ibn Taymiyya, 1994, XX, 95; Bayhaqi, Shuabul-Iman, XIII, 511.
28) Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Ali b. Hajar al-Haytami, az-Zawajir an Iqtirafil-Kabair, Darul-Fikr, 1987, I, 389; For detailed information, see Yüksel Çayıroğlu, İslâm Hukukuna Göre İhtikâr Yasağı, Dicle Üniversitesi İlahiyat Fakültesi Dergisi, Vol. 17, issue 2, 2015, pp. 315-370.

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