Ruling on Online Business of E-Book Affiliation in Islam
In the business of e-book affiliation, there happened a high-level of speculation practices. It resembled the multi level marketing business, because the e-book was only a commodity to turn over the money that was paid, by gaining as many as possible downline buyers.
Nowadays, obtaining profit was not exclusively done by the landlords, or rich merchants who owned large storage of goods, companies, or department stores. Even though you didn’t own any storehouse, shop, or company, you could still obtain some profits -even doing it at home.
One of the method fancied by some people these days was the business of e-book affiliation. This kind of business was easy to run, cheap, but it promised to bring considerable amount of profits. It would only need the ability to design a blog or a site, so that many people would visit it, then create link of a site, in the form of banner and the likes. If the person was lucky, some people would buy the offered e-book, and he could gain great amount of profits that would keep on running.
The pattern of e-book Business
Usually, the e-book affiliation business started with you purchasing an e-book from the owner of e-book affiliation business network with certain price. For that purchase, you would get: (1). e-book about a business matter or other thing; (2). Another bonus of e-book; and (3). Right of affiliation.
With the right of affiliation, you were automatically registered as a downline in the system of affiliation business. And if there were any new consumer that bought the e-book based on your recommendation in your site or blog, he would automatically be your downline. The consequence of your status as an up-liner, was that you deserved to get some fees from each of your downline purchasing. And likewise, your downline would get similar rights as you, if his downline did some purchasing. And so on. All run automatically, bearing in mind that the owner of e-book affiliation has created a system that could recognize every visitor that visited his site.
There’s only one thing that was really tempting in the fee sharing system of this e-book affiliation system. That is, if there was a new visitor that bought the e-book through your reference in your site; for this reference, you deserved to get a fee 50% from the price of that e-book. And the more the new buyer that you could lure through your reference, the more the fee that you would get from the selling of those e-books.
The amount of the fee acquired by the member of this e-book affiliation system made most of the members to not prioritizing the quality and usage of the e-book that they bought and referred to. They wanted more of the affiliation right. As for the e-book that was the object of the affiliation, it merely functioned as a bait to lure the potential consumers and new members who were interested to obtain some money from virtual business.
Ruling on e-book Affiliation
Based on the brief explanation about the e-book affiliation business above, we could conclude some points:
E-book affiliation was a kind of commercial contract that consisted of e-book purchasing contract and e-book promotion service trading.
The function of traded e-book was proven to be not as great as its selling value.
It contained a high-level of speculation practice, in which the member paid some amount of money which in fact was not used to get the goods, but the get some more money through the means of promoting the e-book to another person.
If you became the last member of downline, you would certainly be the most disadvantaged victim, since you could only get the e-book, which was often useless. Whereas the wish of getting the fee from down-liner was just a daydreaming. While you were tempted to join the e-book affiliation system because you were hoping to get the fee from the purchasing of your downline. p
If you have learned about these points, you’d surely able to see that the e-book affiliation business through its current system contradicted the shari’a principle in trading. You’d realized that Islam taught its followers to maintain the wealth that Allah bestowed upon them and spend it with measured ways.
Allah the Exalted decreed, which can be translated as, “(The true servants of the Merciful One are) those who are neither extravagant nor niggardly in their spending but keep the golden mean between the two;” (QS. Al-Furqan/The Criterion: 67)
As you could really see, the consumers of e-book affiliation business were sacrificed, thus some of their wealth were taken by the owner of the business through less commendable ways; the owner of the affiliation business sold e-books which actual value and function were small, with a big price. You as a member of the affiliation were willing to buy the e-book because you were tempted by the lure of getting a large amount of fee from re-selling the e-book. If only you knew that you were the last consumer, of course you wouldn’t join the affiliation as a member. Such practices have indeed contradicted the shari’a principle.
“Believers! Do not devour one another’s possessions wrongfully; rather, let there be trading by mutual consent; and do not kill yourselves. Surely Allah is ever Compassionate to you.”(QS. An Nisa’ /The Women: 29)
Based on those considerations, it is rightly that you be wary of such kind of affiliation, and not joining in it so as not to be its victim, and not dragging your brother to be its victim.
Brother, the eagerness to gain profits and have a proper living is something commendable. However, it doesn’t mean that you are allowed to be careless and to justify all sorts of ways. By having this awareness, you’ll be able to behave proportionally, and not only chasing after the profit, but also the lawfulness and blessings of it. May this explanation broaden your horizon, and may Allah open up for you the doors of lawful and blessed sustenances. And Allah knows best.
Author: Ustadz DR. Muhammad Arifin Baderi, MA
Article of www.syaria.com