The rise of commercial centers (Problems and Solutions)
Competition is in full swing in the society which involves following the latest news regarding markets, consumer products and the newest fashions and brands. These are drilled into our minds through advertisements by fascinating people for offers of sales and clearance discounts. We are in the era of plazas hypermarkets and malls, all of which refers to the large scale shopping complexes that are ubiquitous in the urban society. The reason behind increasing the number of commercial complexes is consumerism and huge investment in markets by major companies. These present latest technologies and they serve all needs and tastes due to huge capacities. They are suitable for leisure activities, meeting places for families, source of recreation for elders, and due to aggressive advertisement campaigns and promotion of products people shop from them. These brands also carry an element of deception by depicting that their product is same like other famous products, a common practice in electronic markets.
Meaning of Market: Linguistically it refers to the area wherein sale occurs. Terminologically it is the place wherein trade occurs, regardless if it is specified geographically.
Shopping complexes are from the signs of the hour: This refers to the minor sign of the hour so that people realize its closeness and remember hereafter and to mention that these signs have distracted people from hereafter.
i. As for closeness of Markets: Abu Hurairah R.A said that Prophet (PBUH) said that “The hour will not come until the markets are close to one another”. Markets are close in way of quick knowledge about prices, speed of travelling from market to market and their closeness in changing prices together.
Markets in Islam:
i. Markets are the most hated places to Allah: As they are places of cheating, fraud, deception, usury, false oaths and turning away from Allah.
ii. Commotion of Markets: According to An Nawawi, commotion of the markets refers to mixing that occurs therein as well as disputes, raises of voices, noises and trails that it contains.
iii. Prophet (PBUH) was not found in the markets: Prophet (PBUH) use to go markets rarely and never raises his voice in dispute.
iv. Markets are a distraction, even if they have some worldly benefits for the Muslims: Umer R.A considered it distraction the time he had spend for trade as he missed that time and couldn’t spend with Prophet (PBUH).
v. Western Style Shopping: it is based on creating a demand and attracting customers. These are at prominent places and occupy big space. They provide facilities and services to customers. These have recreational places and amusement areas for children. For these reason people love to spend time in these places. They spend on advertisement and catch their customers through optically attracting them.
vi. Other ways that these complexes emulate the western-style of shopping are: mentally convincing the customer that they need a product and by selling it on sale.
Shopping Centers from Inside:
What happens inside these markets?
In it many reprehensible things that contradict Islam happens.
First: Economic Corruptions:
i. Igniting shopping mania: It is the place where everyone gathers regardless of age, gender cast and creed. So there are big demands and teeming crowds in these places and they spend hundreds of dollars and waste resources.
ii. Turning society into a consumer society: wealth is leaking from the concept of investment to the concept of consumerism which leads people to take loans and spend irrationally.
iii. Enticing the consumer: malls are used by poor class as well along with the richest and banks help them. It attracts them through price reductions, discounts, creating an appeal, variety, quantity and a system of advertising for the product. They announce sales and display products attractively.
iv. Women purchasers: women enjoy their leisure time by doing shopping. Shopaholics tie women to spending and depicts that overspending is exclusively a women phenomenon. Other reasons for this obsession of buying things are past deprivation, stingy guardians and fear of gathering wealth by the husbands.
v. Unrealistic pricing: in these malls, prices are very exorbitant so people came there for leisure instead of buying.
vi. Closing down small stores: the big shopping malls are constant threat for small stores and down its business 75% almost.
vii. False advertising in many of their brochures and advertisements: these complexes utilize false advertising.
Second: Religious and Moral Corruptions:
i. Wasting time: these complexes are the places where people waste their time.
ii. Missing Prayers: missing prayers due to wasting time in shopping malls.
iii. Violations against Honor: Placing double mirrors in dressing, changing rooms to capture the images of females to sell them for money.
iv. Adorning one, making sexual advances and mixing: commercial complexes are leisure areas for sinners. They flier, try to create illegal relationships, contact opposite sex through Bluetooth or directly talking to them and offering them, it increases the rates of dates and also married and elderly man are involved in these vulgar activities. The reason of all this is free time, bad company, religious weakness, shamelessness, absence of parental authority, lack of accountability, media effects and giving advanced technology to youngsters without mentioning Islamic etiquettes and boundaries. Lastly, people who enjoined good and forbid evil are very few at these places. Females are also responsible for this when they wear fashionable clothes, donor wear hijab, use perfumes and do makeup to attract males.
v. The harm of video game halls in the shopping complexes on children and teenagers: these have negative effect on them as they see images like killing someone, beating, snatching guns and running from police.
vi. Selling forbidden products: selling products, clothes with animate images are impermissible. Gold ornaments for men are also not allowed.
vii. Selling women clothes that are forbidden: Sellers should sell the clothes which can be lawfully used.
viii. Female Mannequins: these are not allowed and contradicting Islamic values as well as has negative impact on males and females as they disliked it.
Legislative maxims for commercial advertisements: Advertisements should not harm others, should not be deceptive, should not be about haram things, should not be against Islam or Muslims, should not consists of images of animate beings, should not have female appearance or her body parts, should not be little others products and should be real.
Rulings of promotional prices (marketing incentives):
These are incentives which urges consumer to buy a products. These are:
i. Gifts: which are given equally to everyone is permissible. Like buy cotton of milk and get a glass. If the gifts are conditional like collect parts of sticker and then get a gift, it’s not permissible. It is prohibited as it is gambling. Risk sale in Islamic finance is also not allowed as it is deception and wastage of resources.
ii. Promotional competitions: these are competitions to attract the buyers to the particular market. The competition which is unconditional and for everyone, it is permissible and but if a buying is the condition to enter the competition then it is not allowed. Some said it is allowed but with the conditions that price of item must remain original and buyer must not buy the item to earn the reward.
iii. Discounts: According to majority, it is allowed.
iv. Warranty: It is legal.
First: Advice for those who frequent shopping complexes:
i. Be keen in building mosques in the middle of the complexes.
ii. Be keen in enjoining good and forbidding evils.
iii. Be aware of the owners of the stores and their transactions.
iv. Encourage Islamic bookshops etc to invest in these markets.
v. Prevent mixing as much as possible.
Second: Advice for those who own and work in the store:
i. Learn jurisprudential rulings and everything related to their business.
ii. Shopping complexes should coincide with Islamic teachings.
iii. Fulfill pacts and contracts.
iv. Fulfilling weights and measure and warning against falsifying them.
v. Prevention of selling forbidden things.
These include, risk transaction, selling before owning, cheating and fraud.
vi. Beware of selling anything that is disputed, such as products that are stolen or usurped.
vii. Kindness in buying and selling.
viii. Do not be lenient in conversing with females.
Third: Advice for security guards: They should be sincere, cooperate with authorities and a role model for co-workers.
Fourth: Advice for callers to Allah, and those good people who enjoin good and forbid evil: They should be patient, do actions with wisdom, and apologize for mistakes, give out beneficial Islamic pamphlets, open the doors for females to enter in Da’wah activities, speak courteously, give good admonishment, clarify the evidence who contradicts you, give gifts for Da’wah, be wise while reprimanding against evils,
Fifth: Advice to males who frequent the markets and shops: Muslims should go to markets for fulfilling needs only. In markets, remember Allah Almighty continuously and mention the supplication for entering markets. A person should abandon disputes and stubbornness, don’t harm others and should give greetings of peace to others. He should lower his gaze. Honor of the Muslims should be preserved. One should avoid extravagance and wastage of resources.
Sixth: Advices to women who frequent the markets and shop: Women should be the character of modesty. She should not remain out of the house frequently but if she went out, she should be in Hijab, without beautification and perfumes, should go to the market with male members and she should avoid talking to salesman unnecessarily. She should not involve in bargaining and she should be very conscious and alert while doing shopping.
Seventh: Advice for guardians: Guardians should not send their females to markets alone, they should be conscious about their females’ dressing and way of talking in the bazaars.
Eighth: General advice for all shoppers: They should not spend important time like nights of Ramadan in shopping, don’t shop while you are angry, don’t be extravagant, prioritize your needs on your wants, and make a list before going to markets and save most of your time.
Women only markets: Women only markets are very vital now a day. Mix markets creates number of problems for females while women only markets give them ease and relaxation while shopping. Many countries have women only markets which do not allow men entering the place who are above ten years. At these places, women police force should be appointed. These stores should be supervised by the righteous women, women should be watched and their actions should be observed and heedless man should be kept away from market area.
The condition of the pious predecessors in the markets: Allah says about them that their trades didn’t busy them away from remembrance of Allah. They used to avoid going to the markets and if they went, they remain busy in remembrance of Allah. They remember hereafter while passing through markets and would cry for heedless people. The wealth should be earned to spend in the way of Allah and to be given in charity.
Hisbah in the markets: A Muhtasib should be aware of his duties, he should enjoin good and forbidden evils, he should order people to offer prayers, maintain the trust, sincerity, cheating in scales and cheating in production etc.
Should the woman who beautifies herself be advised? Relatives should do this duty and if some when else do then there is a chance of temptation. He can do but while following Islamic etiquettes.
Conclusion: The book should be read with the intention of practicing the commands of Allah the Almighty, His messenger (PBUH), footsteps of Companions (R.A) of Prophet (PBUH) and all the righteous. It provides us guidelines regarding the market mania today and how men and women should behave in this regard respectively. It not only tells about the evils of huge shopping complexes but also provide us with remedies and solutions derived from the lives of Salaf (R.A).