Assalamu alaikum. Recently, some very disturbing news made waves across the islamic fashion industry, which has blown up to a full scale scandal. The cause of this chaos is the reported IMFW which was scheduled to hold from Thursday, 21 March, 2014 in Hershey, Philadelphia in the United States. Apparently, this much publicised event was cancelled on the D-day, resulting in unimaginable loss to participants, vendors, press, etc who had all converged for the event. Investigations show that the organizer of the program, Shea Bates, had a criminal record for ‘theft by taking’ prior to her conversion to Islam and runs an organisation called Muslimah Conventions. From reports and eyewitness accounts, the debate as to whether this was a scam or a case of gross incompetency has taken two sides -the accusatory and sympathetic crowd.
These are links to two articles which examine both sides of the issue, as each writer was affected:
On the realities of life and the importance of guarding trust, you could also click here.
It is not in our position to speculate as to what happened without evidence for our words and actions. This is simply a reminder that we maintain caution and adherence to shariah in all our dealings. Also in this post is this submission by Suenu Hujjatullah on the gravity of cheating and deception in Islam.
CHEATING and DECEPTION are characteristics that are beneath a decent person. Intentionally distorting the truth in order to mislead others contradicts the values of honesty, which requires an attitude of sincerity, straightforwardness, and fairness that leaves no room for cheating, lying, trickery, or deceit. There are many texts from the Quran and the Sunnah conveying the meaning that cheating, whether the target be Muslims or non-Muslims, is forbidden.
Being a Muslim should lead one to truthfulness, which means a person should completely avoid cheating and back-stabbing. The Prophet said:“Whoever bears arms against us is not one of us, and whoever cheats us is not one of us.” (Sahih Muslim)
According to another report, the Prophet passed by a pile of food in the market,he put his hand inside it and felt dampness, although the surface was dry. He said:‘
O owner of the food, what is this?’ The man replied, ‘It was damaged by rain O Messenger of Allah.’Then the Prophet said, ‘Why did you not put the rain-damaged food on top so that people could see it! Whoever cheats us is not one of us.” (Sahih Muslim)
Islam is based on purity of feeling, love, sincerity and fulfillment of promises towards everyone. Cheating and deception are alien characters in contrast to the noble character of a true Muslim. There is no room in it for swindlers, double crossers, tricksters, or traitors.
Islam views cheating and deception as heinous sins, a source of shame to the one guilty of committing them,, both in this world and the hereafter. The Prophet (S.A.W) did not merely denounce them by excluding them from the Muslim community in this world, he also announced that on the Day of Judgment every traitor would be raised carrying the flag of his betrayal. A caller will cry out from the vast arena of judgment, pointing to him and drawing attention to him:
Every traitor will have a banner on the Day of Resurrection and it will be said: This is the betrayer of so-and-so.” (Sahih Bukhari)
The shame of traitors — men and women — will be immense. Those who thought that their betrayal had been forgotten will find it right there exposed for the whole world to see on banners raised high held by their own hands!
The Prophet said:
There are three whom I will oppose on the Day of Resurrection: a man who gave his word and then betrayed it; a man who sold a free man into slavery and kept the money; and a man who hired someone, benefited from his labour, then did not pay his wages. (Sahih Bukhari)
One should steer clear of all the various forms of deceit and deception present in today’s society. Cheating is common in examinations, business transactions and between lovers. Placing a made in Thailand label on domestically-made products you made in Mushin to make it seem like imported is fraud. Scamming people through the internet or in any way playing on people’s intelligence to get “Haraam” income (I don’t have to mention how rampant that is in our community). If you find yourself in this category, drop the evil act before Allah’s wrath strikes you. Politicians ridging ballots to win elections and cheating the whole nation. Cheating between spouses and having extra-marital affairs has already turn the order of the day as well. A Muslim should value himself too highly to be among those who cheat or deceive. One might fall in the category of hypocrites about whom the Prophet said:
There are four characteristics, whoever has all of them is a true hypocrite, and whoever has one of them has one of the qualities of a hypocrite until he gives it up: When he is trusted, he betrays; When he speaks, he lies; When he makes a promise, he breaks it; and When he disputes , he resorts to slander. (Sahih Bukhari & Sahih Muslim)
Therefore, a Muslim who has true Islamic sensitivities avoids deceit, cheating, treachery, and lying no matter what benefits or profits such activities might bring him, because Islam considers those guilty of such deeds to be hypocrites.
Allah knows best and may he continue to guide us all. Aameen