Online buisness, Halal or Haram?

12 Aug 2018 Ref-No#: 876

Assalam o Alaikum

I had questions regarding the boundaries laid out by Islam regarding online buisnesses. Even though their are various opinions out there, its always safe and the right thing to ask the people who prioritize Shariah before anything else whose decisions arent influenced by any personal motives but are in accordance to what the Quran and Sunnah have to say about the issue. It is for this reason im writing this mail.

Ive been researching alot recently about the various ways to earn income from home online. The two methods that ive found are quite popular and dont require any upfront cost are affiliate marketing and dropshipping.
Dropshipping is a controversial topic on the internet and their are mixed views as to wheather its halal or not. Those that are against it quote the hadith of Holy Prophet (pbuh) as a proof in which he prohibited Hakim ibm Hazim of selling things that are not in your possession or things you dont own. However, the counterargument here is that in dropshipping, you might not “physically” own the product(s) youre selling but you still do own them since youre purchasing them from a store at a wholesale price. That is to say, you still have the ownership rights and can do whatever you will with the product(s) you purchase. The only difference here is that instead of shipping the products to your home or workplace etc and then shipping it to the customer, you ship it directly to the customer. Now the alternative to this system ive found on the internet is a form of buisness dealing called Salam. There are rules and regulations of practicing Salam as well and so it all just gets too confusing.
Here’s a link to an article ive read about dropshipping that goes in favor of declaring dropshipping as a halal form of earning income.

Drop Shipping in Islam: Is it halal?

The above article does make sense but its not written by an islamic scholar which is what concerns me. Its for this reason i want to ask what exactly is the halal way of setting up an e-commerce store and earning via dropshipping. I want to know the specifics and the boundaries i must limit myself to and the things i should avoid.
Finally, i also wanted to know as to how one can earn halal income through affiliate marketing. In particular, i wanted to know wheather it is halal for me to recommend products to others that ive not used myself but just to solely rely on user reviews and ratings.
If not, what is the alternative here. One that fulfils the rules laid out by the Shariah and is in correspondence with the Quran and Sunnah

JazakAllah☺

PS:- In the abovementioned methods of online earning, ive assumed that the products im selling are all halal. However, i would really appreciate if i could be told what products to avoid just in case.

Answer

Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

1) Our illustrious teacher, Shaykh Mufti Ebrahim Desai, also passes Fatwaa in accordance to what is mentioned in that link. Thus, drop shipping can be regarded as a Salam, and will have to fulfill all the conditions stated.

2) Affiliate marketing is permissible, as long as you are not directing towards anything Haram.

References

وَأَمَّا نَهْيُهُ عَنْ بَيْعِ مَا لَمْ يَقْبِضْ يَعْنِي فِي الْمَنْقُولَاتِ، وَأَمَّا نَهْيُهُ عَنْ بَيْعِ مَا لَيْسَ عِنْدَهُ فَهُوَ أَنْ يَبِيعَ مَا لَيْسَ فِي مِلْكِهِ، ثُمَّ مَلَكَهُ بِوَجْهٍ مِنْ الْوُجُوهِ فَإِنَّهُ لَا يَجُوزُ إلَّا فِي السَّلَمِ فَإِنَّهُ رُخِّصَ فِيهِ (الجوهرة النيرة – (1/203)

قال في رد المحتار: “قَالَ فِي التتارخانية: وَفِي الدَّلَّالِ وَالسِّمْسَارِ يَجِبُ أَجْرُ الْمِثْلِ، وَمَا تَوَاضَعُوا عَلَيْهِ أَنَّ فِي كُلِّ عَشَرَةِ دَنَانِيرَ كَذَا فَذَاكَ حَرَامٌ عَلَيْهِمْ. وَفِي الْحَاوِي: سُئِلَ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ سَلَمَةَ عَنْ أُجْرَةِ السِّمْسَارِ، فَقَالَ: أَرْجُو أَنَّهُ لَا بَأْسَ بِهِ وَإِنْ كَانَ فِي الْأَصْلِ فَاسِدًا لِكَثْرَةِ التَّعَامُلِ وَكَثِيرٌ مِنْ هَذَا غَيْرُ جَائِزٍ، فَجَوَّزُوهُ لِحَاجَةِ النَّاسِ إلَيْهِ كَدُخُولِ الْحَمَّامِ وَعَنْهُ قَالَ: رَأَيْتُ ابْنَ شُجَاعٍ يُقَاطِعُ نَسَّاجًا يَنْسِجُ لَهُ ثِيَابًا فِي كُلِّ سَنَةٍ” (رد المحتار – 6 / 63)