ISLAMIC VIEW ON TRADE & COMMERCE

There are no two opinions that the trade and commerce play a very crucial role in the acquisition of wealth. It is next to Jihad, but superior to industry, agriculture and service. Commerce is a harbinger of good news and prosperity and forms the backbone of acquisition of wealth.

The Holy Quraan says: “We have made the day a means of earning livelihood.” (78:11) The Holy Quraan also gives us encouragement to take up business by saying: There is no sin on you to seek wealth from your Lord.

Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Take to trade, because there are nine portions in trade out of ten portions of provisions.” (Ihya-ul-Uloom by Imam Ghazzali – alaihir rahmah)

The Companions of the Glorious Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) carried on maritime and land trade throughout the then known world and thus Arab merchants carried the torch of new light to the darkest corners of the world.  Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) himself carried on trade as an agent of the famous Arab lady, Sayyidah Khadijah (radi Allahu anhu). The major Caliphs, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddique (radi Allahu anhu) was a cloth merchant, while Sayyiduna Omar Farooq (radi Allahu anhu), the Second Caliph of the Islamic Commonwealth carried on corn trade. Sayyiduna Usman Ghani (radi Allahu anhu) had a business in textiles.

Islam laid much stress on honesty in almost all dealings especially in trade and commerce. Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) classed an honest merchant with a Prophet on account of the merchant’s following the Sharee’ah rules in trade, classed him with the truthful on account of his being steadfast to truth, and classed him with a Martyr on account of his fighting with heavy odds in treading the path of virtue and honesty in his profession.

Sayyiduna Jaabir (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “There was a man amongst those who were before you. The Angel came to him to take his breath. He was questioned, “Have you done any good deed?” He replied, “I don’t know.” The Angel said, “Try to remember.”  He said, “I don’t know anything except that I used to carry on business with the people in the world, show kindness to them, give time to the solvent and remit the needy”. Then Allah admitted him in Paradise.” (Agreed)

Sayyiduna Abu Sa’eed (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “The truthful trustworthy merchant will be with the Prophets, Truthful and Martyrs”. (Tirmidi)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Holy Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Oath is a means of bargain for the commodities but a cause of deterioration in blessing.” (Agreed)

Buy and Sale

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported from the Glorious Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) who said: “The two (seller and buyer) must not part away except by mutual consent.” (Abu Da’ood)

Sale is contracted by a declaration and acceptance expressed unequivocally in words or in expressions conveying the same meaning. The acceptance may be deferred until the breaking up of the meeting whether the declaration be made personally or by letter or message. An offer made by the purchaser cannot be restricted by the seller or to any particular parts of the goods. A little deviation from the offer or acceptance will not make the sale complete. A sale may be entered into either for ready money or for payment within a fixed time. Gains may be sold for other gains of different species.

There are four kinds of sale:

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Shares and Stocks

It is certainly permissible to invest one’s money in buying and selling shares, provided that the shares you buy or sell are that of a business, which is permissible to operate. Thus, it is perfectly permissible to own shares in a furniture company, an iron and steel corporation, a supermarket, a travel agency, a computer business, etc. The list is endless.

It is not permissible, however, to own share in a wine company, a brewery, a gambling shop, etc. because all these either sell things that are forbidden or provide services that are also forbidden. That makes any profits earned from such business forbidden to have.

A Bank that operates on the capitalist system of finance belongs to this second category, because much of its operations are interest charging. When you buy shares in a Bank, you are actually owning a portion of that Bank which means you are involved in all its operations, in a way, you are actually helping in all its operation. Therefore, it is forbidden to own shares in a Bank where interest is the basis for most of its transactions

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