Is the business of “SCORE A” halal or haram?
Posted March 30, 2009on:
A reader landed on one of my blogs by googling for “is MLM haram?”
Personally I did not address this issue when I signed up as a distributor. My logic was that:-
– Score A was a product that I was using for my 3 school going children,
– I am very happy with the benefits my family and I are getting from Score A,
– I do not get any money from recruiting distributors alone. I have to sell the product,
– Score A is an educational product and has no elements of anything haram associated with it.
Still, this is an important issue, so I did my own research. The only serious article I found on this topic was by Ustaz Zaharuddin. Ustaz is a lecturer in the International Islamic University, Malaysia and has quite impressive commercial, academic and literary credentials.
In this article, Ustaz did a critical analysis of MLM and presented his views on the issues that make a MLM business non Syariah compliant. This article was obviously hotly debated in the Malaysian blogosphere and attracted a total of 181 comments.
Ustaz Zaharuddin listed 9 attributes that, in his view, would meet the minimum requirements of Syariah. One point seems to be repetitive, so I am listing the rest of the 8 here.
1. The product must be bought with the real purpose of using the product, not just as a ruse to meet the Syariah rules.
2. The product must not be gold or silver.
3. There must be a clear and easily understood commission structure.
4. The commissions must be based on the value of products sold, not on number of recruits alone.
5. There must be no sales targets before commissions are earned.
6. Each upline must put effort on promoting the sales activities of his downline. This is so that there is no income without “effort”.
7. Pyramid schemes are clearly haram.
8. Structuring the marketing plan in joint discussions between upline and downlines.
Score A meets the requirements, except that there may be some doubts cast on items ( 6 ) and ( 8 ).
Item 6 – There should be no income without effort
The promise of earning passive income (income with one time effort only) is one of the biggest advantages of MLM. If our downline grows as we want it to, there might come a time when we might not know the people at the “front line”, so to speak.
My view is that this “front line” were brought into the network by people we know. It was our work in approaching, sponsoring and coaching our downline that resulted in the subsequent downlines. To say that the work of the ultimate downlines have nothing to do with us may not be correct.
Compare this aspect of MLM with other types of passive income. Say,with the work of an author. He or she writes the book once, gets it published and gets royalty from the sales to people not remotely connected.
In fact, I take the stand that the principal reason by so many people fail in their MLM is because they take no effort!
Item ( 8 ) – The Compensation Plan to be arrived at by discussions with our downline
We all know this is not possible. In so many transaction, (even Islamic banking loan agreements) it is often a “take it or leave it” transaction. The opportunity to buy the product and to sign up as a distributor comes with certain terms. It is upon us to explain the details to our prospects before we sign them up.
Of course, some may just gloss over the details and sign up someone. Later the downline realises that what he /she signed up for was not what he thought. This happens in so many areas of life. Buying a car, buying a book, appointing a contractor, signing a contract etc.
Our conscience should guide us in this issue. Can we sincerely look at a mirror and say that we put all the facts of the case, so that the buyer could make an informed judgement? If we did, then the transaction is done in a spirit of musyarakah.
I am not an expert in Islamic commerce. However writing this article reminded me of a Sunnah I have read. I cannot remember the details, but the principles are as listed below.
Our Prophet (pbuh), has this conversation with someone who was being sent off to govern a far off place.
“How will you make your decisions?”
“I’ll use the Holy Quran as my source of guidance”.
“And if it is not in the Holy Quran?”
“Then I’ll use the Sunnah as my source of guidance”
“And if it is not in the Sunnah?”
“Then I’ll use my conscience and make my decision with the thought of Allah SWT.”
This was an answer that pleased our Prophet (pbuh).
This is exactly how I feel now. I am feeling confident that Score A meets the requirements of Syariah and the rezeki that I seek and get from this business is halal upon me, Insya’Allah.
In the meantime, I welcome those of you who are interested, to join me in this business. It’s an exciting business opportunity for Malaysians. It’s a great way to earn part time income, until it overtakes your full time income. Then you can build it into a passive income source.
It’s SCORE A, an online educational portal that now allows everyone to score in their exams!!!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, town, hp number and the best time for me to call you.
Thank you for reading this post.