Question and Answers: Ruling for Trade Mediator (Broker and Intermediary)
Below is the answer for question about the ruling for trade mediator, asked by brother Endy Prasetya through the mailing list, answered by Ustadz (Chaplain) Dr. Muhammad Arifin Badri, M.A. – advisor for Indonesian Muslim Entrepreneur Community.
All praises be to Allah, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his companions.
Question no. 1
Is mediator (in general) a lawful occupation? What actually the role of mediator according to sharia?
Mediator/intermediary/pander in trading can either be lawful or unlawful. Thus it a must to differ between the lawful and the unlawful, and a general answer is not permitted in such case.
To have a little insight about the ruling for intermediary, I will mention briefly about it’s details.
The Unlawful Intermediary
There are several intermediaries that are forbidden in Islam, such as:
Becoming a mediator/a pander to sell the goods brought by the villagers to the market/town, is not allowed in Islam.
This ruling is based on a hadith narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas -may Allah be pleased with him- as follows:
“A town dweller should not sell the goods of a desert dweller on behalf of the latter.” I asked Ibn ‘Abbâs, “What is the meaning of: ‘No town dweller should sell (or buy) on behalf of a desert dweller?”’ Ibn ‘Abbâs -may Allah be pleased with him- said, “It means he should not become his broker.” (Muttafaqun ‘alayh)
At traditional markets, usually there are brokers who offer the villager to carry their goods to be sold in the market/town, hence they will get a fine price, and the broker will receive some wages according to their (the goods owner and the broker) agreement in advance.