Islam suggest all Muslims to seek sustenance for their life through various methods possible such as business, trading goods, and securing a steady job. Trading is a business that particularly suggest by Islam, as it has been done by the Muslim ancestors, as well as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). But to run a halal trading requires help from the Holy Quran and the Hadith, so that the business will be getting the blessing and pleasure from Allah SWT, both in the world and the Hereafter.
Among the rules in trading and economic in Islam is the monopoly or ikhtikar. There are many definition of ikhtikar. According to Imam Muhammad bin Ali Ash Syaukani, ikhtikar is a n act of stockpiling load or retaining them on shoulder from circulation goods. There are also another definition of monopoly is hoarding the goods in the society so that the price will go up. The trader earn a huge profit but much disadvantage to the society itself.
The act of ikhtikar or monopoly is strongly prohibited in Islam. The prohibition of monopoly in Islam comes from Hadith by the Prophet (peace be upon him).
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Prohibition of Monopoly in Islam in Hadith
The Prophet said,
“Whoever withholds food (in order to raise its price), has certainly erred!” – Muslim
In another Hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, regarding of prohibition of monopoly in Islam,
“Whoever strives to increase the cost (of products) for Muslims, Allah, the Exalted, will seat him in the center of the Fire on the Day of Resurrection.” – Ahmad and Al Haakim.
It is indeed suggested in Islam to do business in trading, but monopoly is considered haraam because of the dirty strategy. Holding the goods, keeping it secret from the society in order to gain huge advantage by increasing the price is not a right thing to do.
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In another hadith, Mu;aath (may Allah be pleased with him), said that he heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying,
“What an evil person is the one who withholds! If Allah causes the prices to drop, he would be saddened, and if He causes them to climb, he would be excited.” – Al Bayhaqi
Made during the trading periods in Mecca and Medina, there are also other hadith that prohibited buying goods from the trade caravans before it even reaches the city, or selling goods to the persons who are unfamiliar with the market. Those were included as monopolistic, and it may cause negative impacts to the economic as a whole.
Wisdom Behind the Prohibition of Monopoly in Islam
Indeed, Allah knows what human doesn’t. There are good wisdom behind the prohibition of monopoly. As said by Yahya an Nawawi (may Allah be pleased with him),
“The wisdom behind prohibiting monopolistic practices is to prevent the harm that would befall people as a result. Scholars are in agreement that if a person possesses items that people are in dire need of, and they can not find anyone else to supply it, he is to be forced to sell it in order to lessen the harm and remove difficulty from people.”
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Areas Where Monopoly Includes
So in what areas did monopoly includes? It is not specified in certain areas. As long as the economic activities inflicts harm on people, making it difficult for them with the intention, it is included as monopoly.
As said by Imam Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him),
“Monopoly occurs in everything, including food products, jute, woolen or safflower products and the like; whatever, if withheld, would harm people, the withholder should be prevented from so doing, but if he is not harming (consumers) or their commerce, there is nothing wrong with it.”
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More Prohibition of Monopoly in Islam
Here are more on the prohibition of monopoly:
- No limitation to the prohibition of monopoly. It is general, not limited to only food products or animals.
- The Prophet (peace be upon him), said the prohibition regarding the monopoly is made because monopoly can harm society
Monopoly in Nowadays Situation
Here are the example of monopoly. It can be distinctively defined by certain types, since there are many of them. But there are also some examples that could be taken:
- Monopoly in the production process of a product, whether it’s by group or individually. With the purpose of controlling the pricing, competitive production, and supply.
- Monopoly in the certain trades or services. When a group monopolizing the whole process and prevent others from providing the same services. Meanwhile the society is in high need of the service.
So those are the explanation about prohibition of monopoly in Islam. As it has clearly prohibited in Islam, it’s better for us Muslim to avoid any practice of monopoly in our lives. Even though we gain huge amount of money from it, the huge sins will be come along as well.