Question: We are businessmen who buy [products] from wholesalers and we sell them piece by piece. Our question is: there are some shoes, socks, and clothing that have a trademark. This trademark symbolizes the goddess of victory according to the Greeks. Is it allowed to sell this product? This is because some people say this trademark is for the quality of the good and we buy and sell it for the quality of the good. Whereas others say if we sell it, then we sell shoes because the trademark will be debased/humiliated.
Shaikh: “By Allah, if there is on the good a symbol [that represents] gods or idols or the likes of that, then it is not allowed for a person, whether it be on shoes or other than shoes, as long as it symbolizes idols. If these are simply suspicions or opinions, then this not considered.
Questioner: On it is a swoosh symbol. It is referred to as ‘Nike’.
Shaikh: In any case, the real issue is not whether the intend of this [symbol] is such and such. This is not necessary. Some people nowadays [say], everything has a cross. Everything is a cross. Every two intersecting lines, they say is a cross. The Iraaqi bucket [used to fetch water], who says this is a cross? The issue of everything being attributed to that which is not correct and prohibiting the people from it, then this is incorrect. However, if it is well-known that this trademark is something evil, then it is not allowed for a person to use this. Likewise the cross. If something has a cross, it is not allowed for a person to buy it or use it. Except if it is rubbed off. Likewise, if the merchandise is rubbed off and something is used to remove [the symbol], then there is no harm.
Questioner: It is well-known that the swoosh symbol is a symbol and name of that of a god. Does it take the same ruling as the cross in that it should be removed and rubbed off?
Shaikh: By Allah, if it comes that this is the creed of some people, then yes. It becomes similar to the cross of the Christians”.
[Sharh Tirmidhi no. 420]
Faisal bin Abdul Qaadir bin Hassan