Lying about identity to market product online
Fatwa No: 332536

  • Fatwa Date:17-9-2016 - Thul-Hijjah 15, 1437
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Question

What is the ruling on affiliate marketing on the Internet? Sometimes, people use a fake ID to market their product. For example, I do not live in Qatar, but I create a Facebook account and put my country name as Qatar in order to target Qatari people to buy my product online. Is this kind of marketing halal or haram?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

Marketing a product for its producer directly or on the internet is considered commission-based brokerage (Ji‘aalah) like the one mentioned in the verse: {We are missing the measure of the king. And for he who produces it is (the reward of) a camel's load, and I am responsible for it.} [Quran 12:72] Hence, there is no religious impediment to taking a commission for marketing the product of another person provided that the product is lawful in order to not cooperate with a sinner in promoting his sin; Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.} [Quran 5:2]

As for submitting false information, it is impermissible because it involves cheating and lying, especially given that many people may have a good reason for wanting to know such information and rely on it in taking the decision to engage in a business transaction or not. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “Both parties in a business transaction have a right to annul it so long as they have not separated; and if they tell the truth and make everything clear to each other, then they will be blessed in their transaction, but if they conceal anything and lie, then the blessing of their transaction will be eliminated.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Allaah knows best.

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