Friday, April 30, 2021 /1:00PM /
Bukola Akinyele-Yisau for WebTV / Header Image Credit: Ecographics
Businesses run by Muslims have been advised to abide by the Shariah principles of equity and fairness during the Ramadan period and beyond. Mr. Abdullahi AbdulRasaq, Lecturer, Islamic Finance College Ilorin, Kwara State, made this point while speaking on the subject of the "Business of Ramadan- Halal Income & Its Impact".
Referring to the synergy between business and Ramadan, he said the holy month in a Muslim calendar observes the ritual fasting as commanded by God. A month where the revelation of the Quran will serve as a guide for humans.
He highlighted the following as businesses that experience more patronage during the season of Ramadan;
The Food Commodities seller
The Livestock Seller
Travels and Tours
According to him, those businesses experienced high patronage because of the aim of people to cater for themselves satisfactorily in the Holy month for Iftar and Sahoor.
One area of concern for this year's Ramadan is the socio-economic impact of rising inflation in Nigeria with headline inflation at 18.1% for March 2021, with food inflation rising to 22%. The scholar said it was important for sellers to avoid the tendency to manipulate prices of foodstuff, which could lead to consumer exploitation which a contravention of Shariah provisions.
He gave the example of a bag of Rice that was selling for N22,500 before Ramadan but is currently being sold for N28,000 without any increment in VAT, subsidy, or inflation.
He emphasized the fact that according to the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) documented in Hadiths "Whoever fasts during Ramadan would be forgiven all his/her previous sins committed intentionally or unintentionally". This means that persons fasting and observing the holy month should abstain from Riba (Interest) and using it to maximize profit. He highlighted the different types of ethical and unethical profit classes.
He added that "The business of Ramadan is not for people to make millions in a non-permissible way but to do business in a Shariah-compliant way. For instance, people should be able to afford basic food items without being exploited".
He highlighted three areas Muslim businesses should avoid include;
1. Abstinence from Al-Gharar- Uncertainty
2. Abstinence from Gambling
3. Abstinence from making over-sized profit
Looking at Halal income and its impact, AbdulRazaq believed that sellers should be cautious about inflating prices of goods as it is "forbidden" by God. He noted that it was even worse at a time Nigeria is facing socio-economic challenges.
He said God legalizes businesses and wants people of the Islamic faith to be kind to everyone. According to him, Allah legalized profits that are ethical & Halal-based with zero tolerance for unethical profit. Explaining further, AbdulRazaq said many people think giving someone money and collecting interest is only Riba but other aspects are businesses that are not Shariah-compliant and are used to maximize profit. Also, people that sell commodities and decrease the measurement were committing an act of Riba which God considered to be sinful.
Islamic finance aims to distribute wealth to society by being fair to everyone irrespective of class and religion.