A pressure faced by a person sometimes encourages him to do irrational or even harmful things. Some time ago, in the beginning of this corona pandemic, we were surprised by an odd phenomenon occurred.
Many people simultaneously went to either minimarket or supermarket to buy stacks of masks and hand-sanitizers. The motives are various. It can be panic-attack or economic motive.
When people buy things much more than what they need, under some terms, it may be categorized as an act of hoarding up. In Islam, it is called ihtikar. The terms include: the things bought are intended to fulfill a-year-need or more or they will be sold again in a high price when there is less supply in market.
It is kind of things that are forbidden in buying and selling. However, it is ironical, though, because Allah orders us to make a living through blessed ways.
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَنفِقُوا۟ مِن طَيِّبَٰتِ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَمِمَّآ أَخْرَجْنَا لَكُم مِّنَ ٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ وَلَا تَيَمَّمُوا۟ ٱلْخَبِيثَ مِنْهُ تُنفِقُونَ وَلَسْتُم بِـَٔاخِذِيهِ إِلَّآ أَن تُغْمِضُوا۟ فِيهِ ۚ وَٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَنِىٌّ حَمِيدٌ“O you who have believed, spend from the good things which you have earned and from that which We have produced for you from the earth. And do not aim toward the defective therefrom, spending [from that] while you would not take it [yourself] except with closed eyes. And know that Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy.” (Al-Baqarah: 267)
From psychological view, hoarding up can be considered as psychological disorder called hoarding disorder. The subjects tend to hoard up stuff they do not actually need for they think it will be useful one day and has sentimental value. They will be worry and angry if the stuffs are thrown away.
The act of hoarding up things is undoubtedly ruled by law. It is explained in article 7 of the Regulation No. 7 of 2004 on Trading. According to this regulation, those who hoard up primary needs and/or important stuffs in certain amount when there is scarcity in market, they will be imprisoned for at most 5 years and fined Rp 50.000.000.000 (fifty billions rupiah) at most.
Hoarding up things is obviously forbidden, both in law and religion point of view. In Islamic law of hoarding up things, as mentioned before, ihtikar is haram if a person buys things, hoard them so that the supply in market is less, and then sell them in a price which is up to him. On the other hand, there is also ihtikar allowed if it does not handicaps others or affects the market price.
The reason of prohibition on hoarding up is of course because this act burdens people. They have to buy things they need in unreasonable price. These things not only refer to primary needs, but all stuffs, whether it is secondary or tertiary needs.
It breaks common rules of trading in Islam. Imam Nawawi rahimahullah, in Syarh Shahih Muslim, explains that hoarding up things is prohibited as it will raise disadvantage for many people. We can search generally other 15 prohibitions of hoarding in Islam.
Furthermore, there are some consequences which will be gained by people who hoard, as explained in Qur’an verses and hadiths discussing the Islamic law of hoarding up things.
- Things They Hoard Will be Waiting for Them in Hellfire
In At-Tawba verse 35, Allah warns people who are fond of hoarding up wealth to satisfy their desire. This wealth will be waiting for them in the hellfire as the witness of what they have done in worldly life. It also will be heated in the fire of Hell to sear their foreheads, flanks, and backs.
يَوْمَ يُحْمَىٰ عَلَيْهَا فِى نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ فَتُكْوَىٰ بِهَا جِبَاهُهُمْ وَجُنُوبُهُمْ وَظُهُورُهُمْ ۖ هَٰذَا مَا كَنَزْتُمْ لِأَنفُسِكُمْ فَذُوقُوا۟ مَا كُنتُمْ تَكْنِزُونَ“The Day when it will be heated in the fire of Hell and seared therewith will be their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, [it will be said], ‘This is what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you used to hoard.” (At-Tawba: 35)
- A Hoarder is a Sinner
Even though there are various kinds of sin, either the small or big one, a hoarder is outspokenly judged in a hadith as a sinner. Whatever the motives are, there is no excuse of the act of hoarding up, especially if the reason is to gain profit. Sin is still sin, and we must know there are a lot of great effects of sin for us.
عَنْ مَعْمَرِ بْنِ أَبِي مَعْمَرٍ، أَحَدِ بَنِي عَدِيِّ بْنِ كَعْبٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ لاَ يَحْتَكِرُ إِلاَّ خَاطِئٌ ” . فَقُلْتُ لِسَعِيدٍ فَإِنَّكَ تَحْتَكِرُ قَالَ وَمَعْمَرٌ كَانَ يَحْتَكِرُ . قَالَ أَبُو دَاوُدَ وَسَأَلْتُ أَحْمَدَ مَا الْحُكْرَةُ قَالَ مَا فِيهِ عَيْشُ النَّاسِ . قَالَ أَبُو دَاوُدَ قَالَ الأَوْزَاعِيُّ الْمُحْتَكِرُ مَنْ يَعْتَرِضُ السُّوقَ .“Narrated Ma’mar bin Abi Ma’mar, one of the children of ‘Adi bin Ka’b: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) as saying, ‘No one withholds goods till their price rises but a sinner.’ I said to Sa’id (bin al-Musayyab), ‘You withhold goods till their price rises.’ He said, ‘Ma’mar used to withhold goods till their price rose.’ Abu Dawud said, ‘I asked Ahmad (bin Hanbal): What is hoarding (hukrah)? He replied: That on which people live.’ Abu Dawud said, ‘Al-Auza’i said: A muhtakir (one who hoards) is one who withholds supply of goods in the market.’” (Muslim)
- Allah Withholds from Hoarders
Since hoarding up things is a sin, Allah will withhold from those who do this harmful act. They have broken the Islamic law and done the thing Allah forbids, so Allah with His Omnipotence punishes them. And in this case is withholding from them what He always gives to obedient worshippers.
عَنْ أَسْمَاءَ، قَالَتْ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ انْفَحِي – أَوِ انْضَحِي أَوْ أَنْفِقِي – وَلاَ تُحْصِي فَيُحْصِيَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكِ وَلاَ تُوعِي فَيُوعِيَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكِ ” .“Asma’ reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying (to her), ‘Spend and do not calculate, (for) Allah would calculate in your case; and do not hoard, otherwise Allah would be withholding from you.’” (Muslim)
- Allah Will Afflict Hoarders with Leprosy and Bankruptcy
Besides withholding, another kind of punishment Allah gives to hoarders is afflicting leprosy and bankruptcy to them. This warning specifically refers to those who hoard food, as it is primary need and everyone needs it also. The wealth people gain through wrong way will be taken back by Allah anytime.
عَنْ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ يَقُولُ “ مَنِ احْتَكَرَ عَلَى الْمُسْلِمِينَ طَعَامَهُمْ ضَرَبَهُ اللَّهُ بِالْجُذَامِ وَالإِفْلاَسِ ” .“It was narrated that ‘Umar bin Khattab said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) says, ‘Whoever hoards food (and keeps it from) the Muslims, Allah will afflict him with leprosy and bankruptcy.’” (Ibn Majah)
The main point of the above explanation is that hoarding up things is judged as forbidden thing in Islam and it can result negative effects to many parties. It is not the wise way to earn a living. When there are still plenty ways of how to increase wealth in Islam in halal way, why should choose the opposite one?