Infinity Downline Program: Islamic Perspective & Discussion
I have received an email from one of the leader of Infinity Downline. In this entry, I would like to share my short reply to her email. Even though it is short and unable to cover lot of issues which need to be clarified i.e Shariah related issues, I am still hoping that it could give some additional benefit to the zaharuddin.net's readers.
From: Celya <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thu, March 11, 2010 5:01:07 PM
Subject: Questions on Islamic Perspective
I was just reading your article on facebook entitled "Web saya tutup perik nasi orang". I found it really informative.
hope you don't mind, but i sincerely want to understand the Syariah law as i
have Muslim customers and it is important to me that they feel comfortable, and
that i am being fair.
Would you please consider answering some of my questions? In your article you stated that you would entertain intelligent debate and while i am not here to debate, i am certainly interested in intelligent clarification and understanding from a factual perspective.
to the below..
asal seluruh urusniaga perniagaan dalam apa jua bentuk adalah harus kecuali ada
dalil yang membuktikannya haram.
Apabila telah wujud dalil menunjukkan ia haram serta tiada hujjah balasan konkrit untuk menafikannya, sesuatu urusniaga itu paling pun akan bertukar menjadi syubhat, jika tidak menjadi haram.
Islam mengajar kita agar menjauhi syubhat sebagaimana yang disebut Umar Al-Khattab tadi walaupun terpaksa mengorban 9/10 cara niaga yang mungkin halal."
In the case of Infinity Downline, is this why you referred to the lack of a
clear company identity as being ONE factor for it to be labelled as haram?
Because Muslims cannot be sure who is behind the scene and therefore there
cannot be conviction that it is "safe"?
I receive emails from the company (Multiplex) and they also provide weekly LIVE training on a webinar where we interact with the president itself (the webinar link is http://www.BootcampWebinar.com) The president isn't a CEO of a large corporation, but i think a small company, so it's not a multinational but it has of course gone international due to the power of the internet.)
This morning, we received a mail from Peter Wolfing himself as below (regarding when the library will be updated)
From: "Peter Wolfing" <email@example.com>View contact details
To: "'Morgan TAy'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I have not had time to add more. Just keeping up with the growth is taking all my time. There is way more than what is charged anyway but I will add some soon.
So Peter exists and we are in touch with him weekly at the training webinars, the company exists BUT the thing is that members need to OPT in to receive contact as he sends out emails only to those who allow the company to contact them (unlike many companies that just keep sending emails whether we want it or not). Also, because it is not a large corporation - it is unlikely to be cost effective to set up a branch in malaysia.
My question now is - is this still considered 'gharar' to the Muslim? Meaning uncertain? (please forgive me if my understanding is poor as i am not familiar with the Islamic terms and am only following what i am capable of understanding from reading your articles. please feel free to point out if i am wrong as the purpose of me writing this whole email is to learn)
would this just be a different form of business, and not actually one intended
to deceive? From what Mr. Irfan Khairi explained to me as well, i understand
that this business does not make itself VERY apparent on the website because it
is collecting a database list of emails and it is following the style of many
businesses online now that offer a free ebook or video BEFORE you even know who
they are. After giving the free ebook/video, THEN they introduce themselves. Is
this then 'gharar' and therefore also then not acceptable practice in Islam?
I ask because i teach internet marketing methods and collecting a list is one online marketing method. However, if being 'invisible' while collecting the list is causing it to have a 'haram' elements then of course, i must tell that to my Muslim students.
would then truly appreciate your help on this.
use certain ID products in the library to train my students. Certainly i have
benefitted from it, but of course I understand english and internet marketing
very well. From what i understand ID is haram because MOST people do not want
the products. However, if people join my coaching program (and i already tell
them upfront i provide coaching for internet business BEFORE they sign up), and
i direct them to listen to the specified products as well as provide my own
training materials as part of my program for them, would they still be guilty
of 'haram' as i am still using ID as my platform?
Again, i would so appreciate your help on this as i am not sure anymore if i should advertise my services to Muslims given that I will still be using the ID system for a while as it is the perfect live 'case study' for my students. (When they can start earning an income from implementing the methods i teach, then it is a good indication for me and them that they have benefitted from my program for them.)
The monthly fee is for the online system they get and not the same old products that yes, logically should only be paid for once. I too would be silly to pay for the same products every month. I pay monthly as i want the online system and viability of online storage of all the files i use for my program being easily downloadable from anywhere. I have a student in Sabah and one in Terengganu and having the files online as well as online business system makes it easy for me to deal with faraway clients in terms of registration and payment. And i only pay RM100 a month so i am okay with that.
question is, is this still Riba for my muslim clients? I collect RM100 but for coaching i give plus
of course the fee of the online business facilities they get. Is this
conceptually unacceptable in Islam because most of the other titles in the
library will not be used?
Again, I could set up my own system and compile my own videos and audios, but it was so much cheaper and easier for me when i started coaching to just use the ID registration system plus business tools in it.
now i am unsure if it is okay for my Muslim clients.
Ustaz, I find that your opinions on many other articles are valid and justified and so i am writing to gain clarification.
realise that i of course have a different view of the programme being
non-muslim, but at the end of the day, if i am to have Muslim clients then they
must be comfortable and i certainly do not want to be labelled as culturally
insensitive. Your article on ID raised many doubts and questions so i would
like very much, instead of speculation - to just clarify with you given these
facts about the program that are somewhat different from what you initially
look forward to your reply and thank you very much in advance.
Home Business Consultant
Hi Ms Celya,
Thanks for your email. I'll try to reply in a very simple manner as i really don't have much time to write long explanations.
Generally speaking, i do think that you have got most of my points from my article and response. By scrutinizing some of ID current website, it is realized that the team is currently trying to fix the problem by doubling the promotion of the products rather than the system. May be that way, the program might be appeared as the true selling products program. However, it is still not, at least from my perspective.
In response to your quires, my response will be as the following:-
1) Background of the company & Peter
It has been said that, Multiplex System is responsible of the ID program or scheme and it is regarded as the founder company and also the owner and provider of the products.
My question, what is the website for multiplex system company? Do you have any of the detail about the company such as management of the company, board of directors, audited financial report, license etc. the company is govern under which law and which country?
Is there any legal proof that multiplex system is responsible for any issues regarding ID program? Say that there is a problem with regard to the program i.e. the ID login system vanished, suspended, or the owner fleeing away, so is there any guarantee that multiplex company will always be there and take full responsibility on all the their customer's fund ? If not, where can the participant seek help to? It is not about the company only but also the regulation adn law which regulates them.
That is what i mean by 'gharar' (uncertainty elements which could tantamount to quarrel, argument and coercion). Forwarding Peter Wolfing's very short email is absolutely will prove nothing in that regard. It has to be noted that Bernard Mardoff is million times popular that Peter Wolfing but he is still running a scam business.
I understood that some of the home marketing or internet business need not to have a big premise to run the business. However it is different when it involves lot of people, and lot of people's money, moreover the company is offering and attracting consumers to the commission system which need to be monitored carefully to avoid fraud, cheating etc. The case is totally different from an internet seller or marketer who is selling real asset such as map etc to their clients. There is no commission system and he is the only one who sells and conducts the business. In addition, all the deals are from the type of one off deal. This is obviously not for the ID program.
As i said and you have also quoted it in one of your website, yes, for those who join the program to benefit from the products in a genuine manner and concurrently take advantage of the commission system, it might be permissible (but still depend on other issues) but in reality, the otherwise happened. So in Islam, in order to determine the precise ruling, we will have to focus on the majority of the participants and how the company advertise itself. In many cases both of them are already portraying that their true intention of joining the program or scheme, is to benefit from the commissioning system which as a result will simultaneously evolve as a money game. However the minority might be exempted from the prohibition (but still depend on other issues as well). The same situation applied to the company in which is putting lot of their efforts in promoting the system rather than the products.
Have i seen the products?
Yes I have seen some of the videos and listened to some of the audios. I find it ok and acceptable but to a very small number of people. Therefore I have regarded such products as 'rubbish' although i have to admit that for some quarters they would perceive the products to have value and good information which they might need. However, as i told you, the majority views, and their behaviors and how they treat the products and promote the program will give us clues on how relevant is the product to them, and also whether or not they are 'rubbish'.
It is observed that campaigns and promotions which are made by many of ID participants (and also Login Facebook dapat RM 100) are not giving any attention to the products.
Another issue with regards to the products is that it is unclear whether the products are being sold or leased by monthly payment for access. Some tries to relate the monthly payment fee as a rental whereas other said that the prroduct is being sold. Anyhow, it is noted that many of the products can still be downloaded and saved into your PC. So which one? Is there anywhere this rule is being mentioned in the registration form etc.? All of these are gharar in Islamic point of view.
The regulations are unclear as to whether it is lease by monthly payment or being sold to the customer. If the fees payment are representing a lease payment, why in the world it can be saved and downloaded freely?.
Such unclear term related to the products also convinced me that actually the company has no serious attention on selling or promoting the products. For that reason also they are promoting the products in a bundle. If the products are really good and can be sold or leased and worth for money, the company will absolutely sell or lease them separately as it can bring more profit. However, i am sure that they have no confidence to sell the products and in fact, i am almost sure that most of the people WILL NOT PURCHASE OR LEASE the products if there is NO REVERSE TWO UP SYSTEM in place.
Without the true products, the system is a money game and fall under the category of riba from the Islamic viewpoint. If the products really have their own qualities and are marketable by itself, the commission should also be based on the price if each product and not by way of registration fee or whatever you wanted call it.
From Muslim jurist point of view when :
a) The products have no special qualities
b) The promotion is more toward head hunting and promoting the benefit of the system lot more than the explaination on the benefit of the products
c) Commission is based on the registration or monthly fees and not in accordance to each and every product which has been sold by the participants.
Such program or scheme will still be deemed as money game and Riba, furthermore it would also fall under that category of gambling as well.
As for non Muslim, it is up to them and their belief but for Muslim i am responsible to prevent such scheme, program or whatever you want to call it from spreading to our Muslim brothers and sisters.
In Islam, they are many rules in obtaining wealth; one of them is that you must not gain without putting an equal effort. In some circumstances, profit or gain must be associated to certain type of real business risk. This is to ensure wealth are being created and not transferred. One needs to comprehend this philosophy in order to understand the issue.
Actually i can say that i have plenty of other arguments but i am sorry, for my inability to response or clarify all of the contentious issues with regards to the program as the time is very limited and there is lot of other tasks which need to attend to, finally I hope that this email could clarify something if not everything.
Thanks and best regards,
Zaharuddin Abd Rahman
17 March 2010
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