4 – This transaction involves cheating, deceiving and tricking people, by showing the product as if that is the purpose of this transaction, when that is not the case, and by enticing them with the idea of large commission which people do not usually earn. This is the kind of deceit that is forbidden in sharee’ah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever deceives us is not one of us.” Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh. And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The two parties to a transaction have the choice, so long as they have not parted. If they are sincere and open in their dealings, the transaction will be blessed for them, but if they lie and conceal anything, the blessing of their transaction will be erased.” Agreed upon.
With regard to the view that this transaction is a kind of brokerage, this is not true. Brokerage is a transaction whereby the broker receives payment in return for selling the product, whereas in network marketing the participant pays a fee in order to market the product. Brokerage means marketing the product in a real sense, unlike network marketing where the real aim is to market the transaction, not the product, so the participant markets to others who will market to others who will market to others and so on, unlike brokerage in which the broker markets the product to those who really want the product. The difference between the two is quite clear.
With regard to the view that the transaction is a kind of gift, this is also not true. Even if we accept that, not every gift is permissible according to sharee’ah. A gift given in return for a loan is riba. Hence ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Salaam said to Abu Burdah (may Allaah be pleased with them both): “You are in a land where riba is widespread among them. If you have some right over a man and he gives you a load of straw or a load of barley or a load of fodder, this is riba.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari in his Saheeh.
Gifts are subject to the rulings on the reason for which they are given. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, concerning the zakaat-collector who came and said: “This is for you and this is what was given to me as a gift”: “Why don’t you sit in the house of your father and mother and see whether you are given any gifts or not?” Agreed upon.
These commissions are only paid for the purpose of joining the network marketing scheme, no matter what names are given to them, whether they are called gifts or anything else. That does not change their nature or the ruling on them in the slightest.
It is worth mentioning that there are companies that have appeared in the market which follow the practices of network marketing or pyramid marketing, such as “Smartest Way”, “Gold Quest” and “Seven Diamonds”. The ruling on these companies is no different from the ruling on the companies mentioned above, even though the products they offer may vary.
And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.