Is the trending sou sou (gifting circle) permissible?

Question:

salaam. is the gifting circle sou sou thing Halal?  Can we Muslim take part in it?
It works like this:
So basically it’s a 5 week period each week you get paid..

Week 0: Invest $700

Week 1: Receive $5,600
Gift $3,500( to proceed to week 2 )
Take home $2,100

Week 2: Recieve $28,000
Gift $17,500( to proceed to week 3)
Take home $10,500

Week 3: Recieve $140,000
Gift  $42,000( to proceed to week 4)
Take home $98,000

Week 4:  Take home $336,000

•You would be paying 1 person for the next 5 weeks.

•You would be receiving payments from 8 different people.

• The more people you bring would dictate how fast your payouts would be

• Strongly advise that you bring people that you know/ trust

• There are no Admins/ Admin fees. Only kind hearted people who helps out the process.

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

The sou sou or gifting circle you refer to is essentially the outline of a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes in most cases are based on impermissible elements such as gambling, interest, ambiguity, deception and conditional sales.

– Such schemes are not permissible due to the reason that one earns money out of the investment of others without actually laying out any capital or purchase of commodity or in exchange of labour etc.  This falls under the category of ribaa or interest, (money for money).

The Prophet has said, “To take one dirham of interest knowingly is worse than committing adultery 36 times.”

– In principle, if a condition is laid out that the buyer of the commodity must find more customers, as in this scheme, then such transaction is impermissible

– Many people who ‘invested’ in such schemes did not receive their pay outs, or received lesser amounts. This will fall under deception and gambling, both are Haraam.

The Prophet has “forbade deception and uncertainty in transactions.”(Tirmidhi)

Therefore due to the various impermissible factors in such ‘sou sou’ pyramid schemes, it is not permissible for a Muslim to take part in them. Any surplus monies received from them will be Haraam.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Arshad Ali

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)

www.fatwa-tt.com /www.jaamia.net