Buying locally made US products not permissible
By Waheed Taja,
IslamOnLine(IOL) Damascus Correspondent
July 4, 2002
A prominent Muslim Scholar in Syria said Wednesday, July 3, that
it is not permissible to purchase American products manufactured
in the Arab and Islamic world as long as part of its profits goes
to the mother American company.
Dr. Mohammad Saeed Al-Bouti, head of the Beliefs and Religions
Department in Islamic Law (Shariaa) School, Damascus University,
received a question about the Islamic ruling on purchasing
American products manufactured locally, even if most of the profit
goes to the local owners.
In his fatwa, Al-Bouti said: The American products which
must be boycotted are those whose revenues go to the U.S. such as
American cigarettes and restaurants. There are too many of these
companies in our countries.
He added that these products, which are manufactured in Arab and
Islamic countries by franchise agreements given by American companies,
must not be purchased, because part of its profit goes automatically
to these companies. From these he excluded the products of originally
U.S.-owned companies that have been purchased by Muslims. These,
he said are no longer considered American but could be considered
Boycotting American and Isr**li products are compulsory and
it is the Jihad [struggle] that every Muslim can carry out in face
of the Isr**li aggression and those who support it, said Al-Bouti.
Similar fatwas (Islamic rulings) have been issued in the past by
other Muslim scholars. Dr. Yousef Al-Qaradawi of Egypt said that
the means to support Palestine Muslim brethren is a complete boycott
of the enemies goods.
Each riyal, dirham
etc. used to buy their [U.S., Isr**li]
goods eventually becomes a bullet fired at the hearts of a brother
or a child in Palestine, he said. For this reason, it
is an obligation not to help them. To buy their goods is to support
tyranny, oppression and aggression. Buying goods from them will
strengthen them; our duty is to make them as weak as we can.
American goods, exactly like Isr**li goods, are
forbidden. It is also forbidden to advertise these goods,
Al-Qaradawi added. America today is a second Isr**l. It totally
supports the Zionist entity. The usurper could not do this without
the support of America. Isr**ls unjustifiable
destruction and vandalism of everything has been using American
money, American weapons, and the American veto. America has done
this for decades without suffering the consequences of any punishment
or protests about their oppressive and prejudiced position from
the Islamic world.
Al-Qaradawi added that the time has come for the Islamic Ummah
(people) to say No to America, NO to its
companies, and NO to its goods, which swamp our markets.
If the consumer buying Jewish or American goods is committing a
major sin, surely the merchant buying these goods and acting as
an agent is the greatest sinner, he added. Even if the company works
under a different name, they know they are deceiving people.
Regarding the impact of boycott on Arab economies, Dr. Hussein
Shihata, Professor of Islamic Economy at the School of Commerce,
Al-Azhar University, said that the negative effects may be minimized
with good planning.
When boycotting American and Zionist products, there arises
the need to make a well arranged plan for the boycott to make it
effective, and to minimize its negative effects on us. We should
bear in mind that this is a form of waging economic war on the enemies,
and war always necessitates sacrifice; as we know, there is no achievement
So it is a fact that the boycott has some side effects, but
the losses it will inflict on the enemy will be much greater. Besides,
we must not neglect that, as part of the positive results of the
boycott, people will shift to purchasing local products and services,
and this will result in economic advancement and help in upgrading
In addition, the boycott, in the long run, will help Muslims
depend on their own potentials in manufacturing their needs, thus
creating a form of self-sufficiency.
Another scholar, Dr. Monzer Kahf, a prominent Muslim economist
and counselor, said that despite the fact that McDonald, KFC, Pepsi,
Coca Cola and other American brands operating in the Gulf and most
Arab countries are locally owned and their profits go to local owners,
Muslim and non Muslim alike, these companies are granted franchise
by the American mother companies; hence, they use their products
and systems and pay them either an annual lump sum amount or in
accordance with their sale or a combination of both.
The real problem with these products, he added, is that they are
not only using American products and paying franchise fees, but
they also represent the "American culture."
I think the businessmen who started them in our Muslim countries
have done a grave mistake by importing the 'American way of life'
in place of our traditional hommos [chick peas], fool [beans], shawerma,
falafel/ta'miyyah [mashed beans], kebab [fried meat], booza [traditional
ice cream] and other traditional fast food that you see all over
the Muslim land from Morocco to Malaysia and Indonesia, said
Other Muslim scholars who have also issued fatwas on the boycott
include names like Dr. Fuad Mukhaymar, the late Azharite scholar
and the head of the Sunni Egyptian Institutions in Egypt, and Dr.
As-Sayed Nuh, the prominent Azharite scholar, and professor of Hadith
in Kuwait University.