Putting a label on a domestically made product to the effect that it is imported is a kind of cheating and deception. The scholars are unanimous that cheating is prohibited in Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said in an authentic hadith: “He who cheats us is not one of us (i.e., his faith is incomplete).”

Shedding light on this issue, Sheikh Abdel-Barri Az-Zamzami, a prominent Moroccan Muslim scholar, states: “Mutual goodwill between the seller and the buyer is a condition of lawful trade. Allah, the Almighty says: “O you who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves in vanities: But let there be amongst you Traffic and trade by mutual good-will: Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allah has been to you Most Merciful!” (An-Nisa’: 29) Good will, according to this verse, means that the seller is to receive a good price from the buyer for the goods he is trading in, and likewise the buyer is not to be cheated by the seller in what he is purchasing. In a word, the process of purchase is never to be based on deceit and cheating.

It is prohibited in both the Qur’an and Sunnah to promote a product through swearing by Almighty Allah that such a product is such and such (e.g. of high quality, is imported from such and such country). By doing so, the seller is deceiving the buyer and dishonestly exploiting the sanctity of his solemn oaths.

Allah, the Most High says: “(As for) those who take a small price for the covenant of Allah and their own oaths– surely they shall have no portion in the Hereafter, and Allah will not speak to them, nor will He look upon them on the Day of Resurrection nor will He purify them, and they shall have a painful chastisement.” (Al-`Imran: 77) [This verse describes the formidable end that will befall those who swear falsely by Almighty Allah in order to gain some worldly benefit. In fact, the benefit they gain is ‘a small price’ in the sight of Allah, regardless of its weight in this world.]

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also said: ‘There are three persons with whom Allah will neither speak on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He look towards them, nor will He purify them (from sins), and there will be a tormenting chastisement for them: a person who in the waterless desert has surplus water yet he refuses to give it to a traveler, and a person who sold a commodity to another person in the afternoon and took an oath in the name of Allah that he had bought it at such and such a price and he (the buyer) believed it to be true although it was not, and a person who pledged allegiance to the Imam but for the sake of this world (material gains).’

Based on the above, labeling a domestically-made product as ‘imported from such and such country’ in order to promote it, is a kind of cheating and deceit, and hence, is completely prohibited.”

In the Kuwaiti Encyclopedia of Islamic Jurisprudence we read:

“Jurists agree that cheating in sales is referred to in many hadiths as completely unlawful. For example, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The seller and the buyer have the right to keep or return the goods as long as they have not parted or until they part; and if both the parties spoke the truth and described the defects and qualities (of the goods), then they would be blessed in their transaction, but if they told lies or hid something, then the blessings of their transaction would be lost.’ He (peace and blessings be upon him) also said: ‘He who sells something with a defect without clarifying this defect to the buyer, the wrath of Almighty Allah will descend upon him and the angels will curse him.’ He (peace and blessings be upon him) also said: ‘He who cheats us is not one of us (i.e., his faith is incomplete).’

Hence, in order to abide by the commands of Almighty Allah and protect people’s rights, those in authority are to punish anyone who cheats others.”