Etiquette in Export and Import

Etiquette in Export and Import

Here are several etiquettes to notice and practice, so that our export and import activities do not bring any negative impacts for the muslims.

In the trading world, export and import activities hold a pivotal role. Not even a single country in this world that is free from export and import activities, moreover the countries with majority of its citizen are muslim, and usually categorized as “developing” or “third-world” country. The imported goods usually dominate their market .
Principally, importing goods from heathen countries is alright; that is, as long as it goes accordingly with shari’a rules. The same rule applies for exporting to heathen countries.

Export and import activities, in its primitive form, has been known since the period of ignorance, and even immortalized in chapter Quraish, when Allah reminded the Quraish people of one of the great favors He bestowed upon them, by letting them traded freely to Sham on summer, and to Yemen on winter. All was done securely, because they were the residents of the Holy Land of Mecca that any robber wouldn’t dare to disturb, something that didn’t happen to the other tribes. (See: Tafseer of Qurthuby on chapter Quraysh). Therefore, Allah reminded them of this great favor in His verse: ,

أَوَلَمْنُمَكِّنْلَهُمْحَرَمًاآمِنًايُجْبَىإِلَيْهِثَمَرَاتُكُلِّشَيْءٍرِزْقًامِنْلَدُنَّاوَلَكِنَّأَكْثَرَهُمْلَايَعْلَمُونَ(القصص: 57)

“They say: “If we were to follow this guidance with you, we should be snatched away from our land.” Have We not established for them a secure sanctuary to which fruits of all kinds are brought as a provision from Us? But most of them do not know. ” (Chapter Al Qashash/The Stories:57)

Of course majority of those fruits, or even all of it, came from outside of Mecca. And they obtained it through their journey to Sham and Yemen, beside of fruits that were brought by the pilgrims from all parts of the country. This is one of the example of export and import activities that happened during the period of Ignorance and still applies until today.

However, there are several etiquettes that must be noticed so that our export and import activities do not bring any negative impact for the muslims.

Etiquette in Importing

  1. Choose goods that are really needed to be imported. Avoid importing goods that can be produced locally, so that the local industry is able to grow and there is no dependency towards the imported goods.
  2. As long as it is possible, Choose products that are made by muslims. Intend it as an effort in helping each other in goodness and piety, so that you’ll obtain more rewards.
  3. If you are forced to import product made by disbelievers, don’t import from countries that explicitly show their enmity towards Islam and the muslims. Choose products from “neutral” countries, which aren’t famous for their anti-Islam sentiments, Japan, for example.
  4. If you are forced to import food product of disbelievers, make sure that it doesn’t contain any unlawful substance (pork, blood, or animal that is slaughtered without mentioning Allah’s name). If one says, “Isn’t it lawful for us to consume the slaughtering of people of Scriptures (the jews and christians)?” Then the answer is, yes, but those who still apply the correct rules in slaughtering thus their slaughtering is still lawful for us, are only the jews. As for the majority of christians today, they are liberal people who take no heed of their religious rules anymore. Therefore, do not import slaughtered meat from the heathen countries except until it is certain that the slaughtering process has fulfilled the shari’a criteria.
  5. Pay attention on the function of product that about to be imported. Is it contain any negative impact, or prone to be misused? If the answer is yes, it is better to cancel it, unless you only sell it to people who don’t misuse it, for example, imported weapon.
  6. Don’t import anything that motivate the muslims to imitate the disbelievers.
  7. Avoid any payment that contain element of usury.

Etiquette in Exporting

Export the high quality products so that your reputation as a muslim is maintained. And it may be a factor that attracts the importer to Islam.

Do not export products that could easily be misused, such as when you export weapon and other war equipments (even if it is just a spare part) to the heathen countries, because it is evidently included in helping each other in committing sin and enmity.

Ibn Baththal said, “Trading with anyone from among the disbelievers is permissible. But it is not allowed to sell anything to the kufr harb (i.e., disbelievers who openly confront the muslims) that they could use to exterminate the muslims. Whether it is weapon or other equipment. It is not allowed to sell to them anything that could strengthen them against the muslims,” (See: Syarh Shahih Bukhari, 11/35).

Imam Nawawi also stated similarly in his explanation of Shahih Muslim (11/41), and he added that, “It is also not allowed to sell goods that can be used by the disbelievers in their religious festival.” Which means that even if the exported goods is foodstuff, but it is exported during the wartime between that country and the muslims, it is considered as strengthening them, which is not allowed to do. Likewise, when you export clothes that usually worn by the disbelievers on their festival.

Avoid any kind of payment containing element of usury

Here are some etiquettes to consider concerning export and import activities to and from the heathen countries. And Allah is the bestower of guidance.

Author: Ustadz Sufyan Basweidan, MA (Doctoral Candidate at Islamic University of Medina, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)

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