On Shopping Lottery

Among the companies’ strategies to attract the consumers was by providing them some prizes, such as cars, refrigerators, or the like. Every one who bought the company’s products in a certain amount, would be given a coupon written with a question, of which the coupon holder should answer, or a coupon without any question, but the holder should write his identity on it to join the lot. At certain, appointed time, the winner would be drawn through lottery.

Such prizes might be divided into two forms:

First, the prizes were provided from the price of the goods. It meant that the company raised the goods’ price to cover up the fee they spent to buy those prizes. Such prizes were unlawful, because it was considered as gambling. The reason was in fact, the company or the seller as the party who held the lottery burdened the fee to provide prizes on the buyer. Thus, the buyer as the winner-to-be spent out some money to get the prize. In another word, the buyers were unawarely gamble to win the prizes; thus this was all the same with bets in the pure gambling.

Second, the provided prizes didn’t affect the goods’ price. It meant that the price would be just the same, before and after the lottery.

The seller promised the buyer prizes in order to attract them and raise their selling.

The ruling for this second type was debated by the experts in contemporary cases of jurisprudence.

The first opinion in this matter stated that if the intention of the consumers to buy the goods from the supermarket was due to their needs, then it was alright for them. But if they intended to get the prize, then it was unlawful, because such intention would transform their transaction into a transaction with a gambling element inside it, and it fell under the category of lucky-or-unlucky one. This was the opinion of Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Shalih al Uthaymeen.

The second opinion stated that such prizes were totally unlawful, due to several reasons.

First: Determining whether or not there was an addition in price -which means that the prizes were taken from that price gap- was something difficult.

Second: The consumer aim to buy goods was an abstract thing, and difficult to assess, whether he bought the goods because of the prize or not.

Third: such practice would trigger the society to buy stuffs they actually need not of, and it was considered as overspending of money.

Fourth: There was an element of gambling on the seller, because it was possible that the buyer would get the prize whereas the selling target was still underachieved. It meant that the seller gambled by betting the prizes. If his selling target was achieved, he was lucky, but if it wasn’t, then he suffered some losses. Among the scholars who opted for this opinion was The scholars of the Standing Committee (Lajnah Daimah), sheikh Ibn Baz, etc.

The closest opinion to the truth is the first opinion, thus the ruling for such prize is alright, inshaa Allah, bearing in mind that the basic ruling of social an economical engagements are lawful.

The reasons to forbid it, as stated in the second opinion, with the requirements stated in the first opinion were:

A). There should be no price elevation due to the lottery.

B). The buyers buy  goods they need.

If both of these reasons were accomplished, the forbidding reasons then weren’t fulfilled.

(Dr. Khalid al Musyaiqih  in “Al Muamalah al Maliah al Mu’ashirah”)

Author: Ust. Aris Munandar, S.S., M.PI.

Article of www.syaria.com

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