According to the Cambridge Dictionary, counterfeit literally means “made to look like the original of something, usually for dishonest or illegal purposes”; in other words, fake goods or forgeries. Not only that, but the forfeiture of counterfeit goods is also a criminal offense. The UK government describes counterfeit goods as:
(a) goods which, or the packaging of which, bears a sign identical to or likely to be mistaken for a registered trademark,
(b) material bearing such a sign and intended to be used for labelling or packaging goods, as a business paper in relation to goods, or for advertising goods, or
(c) articles specifically designed or adapted for making copies of such a sign
Essentially, if a business has a trademark or copyright, it is illegal to make fake copies of it or to buy and sell such products.
In addition to breaking the law, manufacturing, buying and selling counterfeit goods is very dangerous from an Islamic perspective, as it is related to lying and unfair business practices. Imam Afdal Feroz, who has been an Imam and Khateeb for over 30 years, and who famously came up with the idea of Iftar Day, has clearly explained this matter.
In his Twitter post [above] which discusses the issue of counterfeit goods, Imam Afdal Feroz specifically mentions My Salat Mat, and describes how buying and selling counterfeit goods is completely un-Islamic. Imam Feroz explains the hadith that states that there are three types of people Allah who will not look at on the Day of Judgement or forgive them, one of whom is the person who tells lies to sell their product. Importantly, he also points out that buying counterfeit products is encouraging such behaviour.
The company ‘My Salah Mat‘, which brother Afdal Feroz mentioned, has been battling a Chinese counterfeit company for over a year now.
For some context, My Salah Mat is a touch-sensitive, interactive prayer mat with pre-recorded keys about prayer times, how to make wudu, how to recite surahs and duas and much more. It could also teach children the various bodily movements and positions of salah and what to say during them.
What My Salah Mat and the Fake product have in common are the electronic sensors within the mat, the major difference is My Salah Mat uses Waterproof and fireproof material whilst the fakes do not…resulting in a fake product which is extremely dangerous for children to use.
They recently shared an open letter [See below] sharing some information about the Fake prayer mat.
Therefore, we have released an open letter on these counterfeit My Salat Mats and hope you will take the time to read it.
This led us to interview the owner of My Salah Mat, Mr. Kamal Ali. He is the inventor and designer of the electronic My Salah Mat.
What have you been doing to combat counterfeit products?
Initially, when our product started gaining more attention and interest worldwide, counterfeit sellers would imitate our product using very low quality and cheap materials and selling them for much cheaper. These are products that pose fatal threats to children because they do not follow international safety standards. They copied everything from the design, the colours, the logo, etc. We located the types of factories that were selling them and we found that they were listing them on Alibaba, AliExpress…all companies were based in China. We actually then contacted these sellers because we are registered and got these fake products taken off the websites. As this was happening, we would see that more fake product listings were being added to these sites. As you can imagine It’s been quite a stressful 7 months. We’re not at a point where these sellers have actually started directly contacting our suppliers.
What we’ve been doing is we’ve got these companies blocked on selling platforms like AliExpress, Alibaba, Amazon, eBay, among others. We also started taking legal action against companies who have not provided us with documents stating that they were not going to continue selling these counterfeits. So, we actually send these fraud companies a legal letter for them to sign and send back to say that they will stop selling these counterfeit products. We’ve also informed our followers to be careful.
How are these fake products harming your company and your consumers?
These products are made from very cheap and harmful materials. The way we designed the original material is in a way that would be 100% safe for children to use because our end goal is to help young Muslim children become better Muslims at the end of the day. However, these counterfeit sellers don’t really care, all they care about is making money you know?. They didn’t use fire-resistant or waterproof material, there’s an electric current running through the whole mat and they also use fabric material so it’s very dangerous for children to use. We have already found customers coming to us and complaining that the product they bought has broken down, and we then find out it’s a fake product. The customers are shocked! If customers didn’t come in and complain they would think that we’re just selling very cheap products. Also, god forbid one day one of these fake mats cause some sort of psychical harm, this could ruin our company as well as cause unwanted harm. We work very hard to produce high quality, safe products for our customers and these fake product sellers don’t and this will have a huge negative impact on us.
Which countries can these dangerous fakes be found in?
The main countries seem to be UAE, Saudi Arabia, in Europe, the Netherlands, Belgium, Indonesia and Malaysia. Unfortunately, there are companies buying these fakes all over the world. I’m sure we’ve also found dangerous fakes in Singapore and India.
Do you think consumers have a role in expanding the Chinese Counterfeit Factories reach? If so how, and what can they do to help?
When consumers and wholesalers knowingly buy fake products, they are definitely contributing to this sector. This is an Islamic product, so knowingly doing this is haram. They have stolen the rights from the owner and started selling it. If they become aware then they should definitely contact us and inform their friends and family. By doing this they will definitely help.
Why do you think there are so many companies out there creating counterfeit replicas of My Salah Mat?
My Salah Mat Masha’Allah has become a well-known brand and a desirable product, it’s really become something parents wants for their child. So, these counterfeit sellers see money and profit in this situation, so instead of buying from the original inventor and manufacturer they want to cut corners and make it for cheaper and its cheaper because they haven’t used the proper material and gone through the proper testing. . We have spent thousands of dollars on our marketing, our content has gone viral. And they want a piece of that I guess and that’s completely immoral.
In the Islamic perspective, it is haram or impermissible to buy and sell counterfeit goods as they falsely hold the original trademark therefore this kind of transaction involves deception, lies, and taking money in unjust ways.
Thank you Kamal, Inventor of My Salah Mat, for these insightful words. May Allah accept your prayers and facilitate our children learning in a safe and effective way, Ameen.
How to avoid fake products:
- Unrealistic discounts. If you see a product giving a 70% to 80% discount then there is a high chance it could be fake.
- Flimsy packaging. It’s no doubt that good brands spend a lot on their product packaging, if a product feels cheap, or substandard plastic is being used then those are more signs it could be a fake product.
- Grammar/spelling mistakes. You must have seen product naming “Hewlett” instead of “Hewlet” or “Soober” instead of Sooper. Fake products will usually have a different letter or two.
- Quality. Fake products use tacky plastic, fake leather, cheap glass, or poor-quality fabric.
- Fake logos. You can recognize a fake logo because it will always have a missing element or incorrect spelling when compared to the original.
- Contact details. If you don’t see any legit contact details, then that is another strong sign it could be fake.
A good thing to do is to contact the official pages/website of the brand you are trying to purchase if you are unsure about a specific reseller and ask them to send you a list of trust sources.
How to spot an Original My Salah Mat
You can buy Original My Salah Mat by visiting this link.