In the name of Allāh, Most Merciful, Bestower of Mercy.
What is the Ruling on Boycotting Jewish Products and Trading with the Non-Muslims in the Current Climate?
There is much discussion in our times involving politically and emotionally charged youth (urged on by the political organisation known as the “Muslim Brotherhood”) eagerly compiling lists of businesses that have links to Jewish companies or to Israel itself, or those who trade with them.
It is claimed that it is haram (forbidden) to trade with these types of companies. In fact, even shopping at supermarkets which stock products produced by Jewish companies is treachery towards Islam and the Muslims of Palestine [or so they claim]. I have dealt with the wider question of boycotting and supporting the Muslims of Palestine in a lecture you can listen to here entitled: “Helping Our Brothers And Sisters In Palestine And The Issue Of Boycotting.” People have claimed for years that it is forbidden to trade with the Jews. So here we look at the view of Imam al-Bukhari (d. 256H, rahimahullah), the author of the famous work commonly known as “Sahih al-Bukhari”. He states in his chapter heading:
بَاب الشِّرَاءِ وَالْبَيْعِ مَعَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ وَأَهْلِ الْحَرْبِ
“Chapter: Buying and Selling with the Mushrikeen (the Pagans) and the Enemies of War.” So after bringing this chapter heading showing the permissibility of buying and selling, he states:
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو النُّعْمَانِ حَدَّثَنَا مُعْتَمِرُ بْنُ سُلَيْمَانَ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنْ أَبِي عُثْمَانَ عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ أَبِي بَكْرٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا قَالَ كُنَّا مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ثُمَّ جَاءَ رَجُلٌ مُشْرِكٌ مُشْعَانٌّ طَوِيلٌ بِغَنَمٍ يَسُوقُهَا فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بَيْعًا أَمْ عَطِيَّةً أَوْ قَالَ أَمْ هِبَةً قَالَ لَا بَلْ بَيْعٌ فَاشْتَرَى مِنْهُ شَاةً
Abdur-Rahmān ibn Abi Bakr (radiyallāhu ʿanhuma) said: We were with the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) when a tall pagan with long matted unkempt hair came driving his sheep. The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked him: “Are those sheep for sale or for gifts?” The pagan replied: “They are for sale.” So the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wassallam) bought one sheep from him. (Bukhāri no. 2216) Ibn Hajr al-Asqalāni (rahimahullah) in his Fat-hul-Bāri explanation of Sahih al-Bukhāri said (vol. 4, pp. 478-479): Ibn Battāl said: “Having dealings and trading with the Kuffār is permissible except that it is not permitted to sell to the enemies of war a product which can be used by them against the Muslims.” In it is a permissibility to buy the merchandise of the disbeliever, and an affirmation that he owns what is in his hand. Also, it is allowed to accept a gift from a non-Muslim.
Individual decisions to withhold trading or purchasing from people who seek to harm Islam, or abuse and oppress Muslims is permissible because that is based upon a sense of righteous indignation, piety (wara’) and seeking nearness to Allah by displaying one’s objection to evil.
However, we are now hearing from some social media influencers that we should also boycott those who refuse to boycott Jewish and/or Israeli businesses! We have even seen ignorant online people calling Muslims to boycott Hajj and Umrah until Saudi Arabia “does something” about Israel!
Shaikh Al-Fawzān on Boycotting Products from the USA on the basis that the USA supports the Jewish military
In the attached audio clip below (from a few years ago), Shaikh Sālih al-Fawzān (hafidhahullāh) was asked concerning what was printed in some newspapers wherein was found a call to boycott US goods on the basis that the USA supports Israel. It was claimed that this verdict was issued by the Scholars, that it is obligatory upon every single Muslim to boycott the purchase of those goods, and that the purchase of any of these products is completely forbidden. Indeed the one who purchases these goods is a person of major sin on the basis that the purchase of these goods aids the Jews in fighting and killing the Muslims. So the Shaikh answered strongly and robustly asking for proof that such a verdict was issued by the scholars. He goes on to say that it is not true that such a fatwa was given. The scholars have not issued verdicts saying the goods of the Americans cannot be purchased and they have not ceased being purchased in the marketplaces of the Muslims. The purchase of these products cannot be prevented unless it is a command given by the ruler, so if the ruler issues such a command forbidding the purchase of products or boycotting certain goods from certain countries, then it is obligatory to obey him in that. As for individuals calling for these boycotts and issuing “fatwas” in that regard, then that is not permitted. Listen here (Arabic):
So this response of the Shaikh shows the ignorance in the many messages and images compiled by Muslims affected by the ideas of Ikhwān Muslimoon (The Muslim Brotherhood) and other political movements―and shared by unsuspecting Muslim men and women through social media who do not know how the state of the ummah can truly be rectified. These protest groups have no religious or political authority to issue rulings and fatwas, so they should refrain from speaking about public matters without knowledge and authority.
It’s time we learned our religion and realised that rectification is achieved by learning and acting upon the Book and Sunnah with the understanding of the early Muslims (Salaf). What has been said above in no way means that we do not care about the Muslims who are suffering and being oppressed in Palestine and elsewhere as I have discussed in this lecture (listen here)
Furthermore: “If a Muslim wants to personally boycott goods and services of companies and businesses about whom it is established and known that they donate for the cause of these Jews who revile Islām and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and kill, harm and abuse Muslims because of their religion, then out of protective jealousy for Islām, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and Muslims, he may choose not to personally buy such goods and services. This is a personal thing and every Muslim is encouraged to adopt such a policy, this is what is indicated in the speech of Shaykh al-Luḥaydān as it relates to merchants, but there is nothing to stop the general Muslim in exercising his protective jealousy out of love, loyalty and aid of the Prophet(صلى الله عليه وسلم).
Note: What Muslims do these days of calling and announcing general, universal boycotts and imposing this upon the generality of Muslim populations, until even calls for boycotting of franchises of well known brands in Muslim countries, where all the proceeds actually benefit the Muslim owners and employees (and who may give charity from these profits to Muslim causes), these types of calls are based on ignorance and lack of comprehension of realities and benefits and harms.” (Read this article by Dr. Abu ʿIyād Amjad Rafiq)
Al-Imām Al-Albāni (rahimahullāh) on Buying from the Jews and Christian in the Current Climate of Conflict
The audio source is here http://www.alalbany.net/2183# followed by a transcript of the audio, so I have translated it for benefit:
السؤال الثاني: شيخنا بما أن الحرب قائمة بيننا وبين اليهود ، هل يجوز شراء من اليهود ، والعمل عندهم في بلد أوروبا ؟.الشيخ: الشراء من اليهود ؟.السائل: نعم ، والعمل عندهم في بلد أوروبا يعني ؟.الشيخ: نحن لا نفرق بين اليهود ، والنصارى من حيث التعامل معهم في تلك البلاد ، مع الكفار والمشركين إذا كانوا ذميين ، أهل ذمة ، يستوطنون بلاد الإسلام فهو أمر معروف جوازه.وكذلك إذا كانوا مسالمين ،غير محاربين أيضاً حكمه هوهو،أما إذا كانوا محاربين ، فلا يجوز التعامل معهم ، سواء كانوا في الأرض التي احتلوها كاليهود في فلسطين ، أو كانوا في أرضهم ، ما داموا أنهم لنا من المحاربين، فلا يجوز التعامل معهم إطلاقاً. أما من كان مسالماً كما قلنا ، فهو على الأصل جائز.
Imām Al-Albāni (rahimahullāh) was asked: “Since there is war between us and the Jews [of Israel], is it permitted to buy from the Jews and to have dealings with them in Europe?”
The Shaikh asks: “Buying from the Jews?”
Questioner: “Yes, and dealing with them in the lands of Europe?”
Imām Al-Albāni: “We do not make a distinction between the Jews and the Christians as it relates to dealings with them in those lands – and with the disbelievers and the idolators from Dhimmees (non-Muslims residing in the Muslim lands under protection) – then it is well known that it is permitted to have dealings with them. Likewise is the case with those who are at peace and not in a state of war. However, if they are at war, then it is not permitted to have dealings with them, regardless of whether it is in the country they have invaded such as the Jews in Palestine, or in their own land – so long as they are at war, it is not permitted at all to have dealings with them. As for those who are at peace as we have stated, then that is upon the origin, which is that it is permissible.”
I made the point in my lecture on the subject, that when affliction strikes, Muslims must refer to the people of knowledge from the Salafi shaikhs and scholars, and not refer to political agitators from the Ikhwān Muslimeen, ignorant protest groups and others (who have no connection to the Sunnah) who write lists of supermarkets and companies that must be abandoned by every Muslim without any recourse to the Scholars of Sunnah and Salafiyyah – the same people who call the masses to come out onto the streets to protest.
Al-ʿAllāmah, Shaikh Dr. Sālih Al-Fawzān on Boycotting and Individual Discretion:
Question: “Noble Shaykh, if we are aware that our leader has not commanded us to boycott Danish products and at the same time he never prohibited us from this. Is it permissible for me personally, in defence of the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wassallam), to boycott their goods, as I know that they will suffer a loss as a result this boycott?”
The noble Scholar answered:
“This issue warrants detail. Firstly, if the leader commands (the people) to boycott (the products) of a certain country, then it is obligatory for everyone to boycott them because this is in their interests, it will harm the enemy and it is obeying the ruler. However, if the leader never commanded (the people to) boycott (these products), then it is at a person’s own discretion. It is his choice whether he chooses to boycott or not.”
Listen to the Arabic audio:
Audio source: Sahab.net, translated on Salafitalk.net
And all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of creation – may the peace and blessings of Allah be the noble Prophet, his family, his Companions and all those who follow his Sunnah until the Last Hour.