Concept of consumer protection in Islam
[ April 17, 2015 ]
The Holy Quran is the divine revelation by Allah almighty through angel Gabriel to Muhammad (SAW). Although revealed about fourteen and half centuries ago, It is regarded as the most effective and efficient doctrine of consumer protection. Islam arrived in Sub Continent in 7th century AD and played the most important part in the consumerism of subcontinent.
The effect of Islam and Quran on sub-continent is important because the story of how Islam came to that region tells us a lot about the religion as well. It is told that in 624 AD, one of the disciples of Muhammad (SAW), Malik Bin Deenar, came to Kerala (India) and started trading with locals in a way that was new and welcoming to them, the way trading with honesty, ethics and general concern for consumer. The locals, inspired by Malik Bin Deenar, informed the local king Cheraman Perumal. King summoned Malik Bin Deenar to understand why his practices of trade were different from local traders. In response, Malik Bin Deenar said that he was a follower of Islam and all his honesty and ethics in trade was due to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). According to historians, king Perumal was so impressed by the principles of Islam that he became the first person in subcontinent to convert as a muslim and left for Hajj in holy Makkah. This story demonstrates the emphasis Islam has placed on honesty and ethics in trade and protection of consumers. For a businessperson Islam has emphasized that there is no other way than to satisfy a consumer. He has to satisfy the consumer even if the market forces to drive down the profits. Profit are just the means to keep the business alive, in the end the consumer should always be satisfied. Quran is also very particular about contracts.
It is said in Quran, "The almighty Allah says... O you who believe! Fulfill your contracts".(5:1).The standardization of measurements and weights is also addressed in Quran as "Give full measure when ye measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight; that is the most fitting and the most advantageous in the final determination."(17:35). These days, when it is common practice to artificially manipulate prices, it should be noted that holy Quran does not allow the storage of food and grains over 40 days for the purpose of increasing prices. It is astonishing that holly Quran and Islam addressed the consumer rights about fourteen and half centuries ago and introduced the concepts of standardization and calibration of measures. Contract law was also emphasized in the holly Quran for protection of consumers and accountability of macroeconomic system of a country.
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