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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Duties of Creditors

As Islam lays special stress towards satisfaction of debts and loans, it does not forget to regulate the duties of creditors towards debtors. The debtors who are unable to pay should be shown absolute leniency; and in fit cases, the entire debt should be remitted.  The Holy Quraan says: “And if the debtor is in straitness, then let there be postponement until he is in ease, and if you remit it as alms, it is better for you if you know.” (2:280)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Holy Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “There was a man who used to give loan to the people. He used often to say to his son, “When you come to a needy man, grant him remission, so that Allah may remit us (of sins)”. He said that he then met Allah and He granted him pardon.” (Agreed)

Sayyiduna Abul Yassar (radi Allahu anhu) reported: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) saying, “Whoso grants respite to a debtor or grants him remission, Allah will give him shade under His Shade”. (Muslim)

Sayyiduna Abu Qetadah (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoso gives respite to a debtor or grants him remission. Allah will save him from the calamities of the Resurrection Day.” (Muslim)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that a man demanded of Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) for repayment of a loan and was greatly harsh to him. His companions were about to attack him, but he said: “Leave him, as the creditor has got a demand. Buy a camel for him and give it to him.” They said: “We don’t but find senior to it in years.” He said: “They buy it and give it to him, and verily the best of you is he who is the best of you in repayment of loan.” (Agreed)

Manners of Drinking

Sayyiduna Anas (radi Allahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) used to take three breaths in a drink. (Agreed) Muslim added in a narration: He used to say that it is highly thirst removing, most conducive to health and most digestive.

Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn-e-Abbas (radi Allahu anhuma) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) prohibited drinking from the mouth of a skin-carrier. (Agreed)

Sayyiduna Abu Sa’eed Khudri (radi Allahu anhu) reported that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) forbade drinking by upsetting the water-pots. And he added in a narration: ”And its upsetting is to upset its head and then to take drink from it”. (Agreed)

Sayyiduna Anas (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) prohibited a man to drink in a standing posture.  (Muslim)

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Glorious Prophet of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “None of you shall drink standing. Whoever forgets, let him vomit.” (Muslim)

Sayyidah Umm-e-Salmah (radi Allahu anha) reported that the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever drinks in a silver cup, the Hell-Fire will flow in his belly with noise.”(Agreed)

Sayyiduna Hudhaifah (radi Allahu anhu) reported: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) say, “Don’t put on silk and embroidered silk, and drink not in cups of gold and silver, and take no food in plates made thereof, because they are for them (unbeliever) in this world and they are for you in the next world”. (Agreed)

Sayyiduna Ibn-e-Abbas (radi Allahu anhuma) reported that the Holy Prophet of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) forbade to take breath or to give out breath in drinking pot. (Abu Da’ood)

In another narration he reports: The Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: Don’t take drink in one breath like the drinking of camel, but take drink twice or thrice and utter “Bismillah” when you drink and utter “Alhamdu Lillah” when you finish.

EARNING LIVELIHOOD

Almighty Allah sent provisions for men and animals along with their creation in this world. But for His infinite mercy, we would not have at all breathed for a single moment. The Almighty Providence placed everything in this world, which can supply food to animals for their upkeep. The Holy Quraan says: “He provides you from where you do not know.” (65:3)

DIGNITY OF MANUAL LABOUR

All the blessed Prophets of Allah (alaihimus salaam) worked with their own hands for livelihood, because there is no better food than that acquired by one’s manual labour.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: Whoso gives alms of a handful of dates from lawful earnings, verily Allah accepts it with great dignity. Then, He fosters it for its owner just as one of you fosters his chickens, till they become huge like mountains. (Agreed)

Sayyiduna Rafe’ Bin Khadij (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Glorious Prophet of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: Price of a dog is impure, earning of a prostitute is impure, and earning of a cupper is impure. (Muslim)

Sayyiduna Jaabir (radi Allahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: No flesh, which has grown out of unlawful things, has got better claim to Hell Fire.(Darimi) This means that the flesh nourished by unlawful food shall enter Paradise after suffering in Hell for sometime. It does not mean that it will never be able to enter Paradise.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Apostle of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: Whoso seeks the world in a lawful manner abstaining from begging and striving for his family and being sympathetic to his neighbour, he will meet the Almighty Allah (Azzawajal) on the Resurrection Day while his face will be like the moon in full-moon lit night, and whoso seeks the world in a lawful manner, seeking wealth boastfully out of show, he will meet the Almighty Allah (Azzwajal) while He would be wrathful to him. (Bay’haqi)

BEGGING

Islam finds poverty repugnant and does not allow its followers to accept it as a matter of fact, but requires them to take positive action to stamp it out.

Begging is a nuisance for prevention of which the modern societies are trying to promulgate enactment. The Prophet of Islam (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) promulgated the sound policy in this matter, which has baffled the most fertile brains of the world.  He made it unlawful except in case of deserving persons. At the same time he left instructions to the rich not to return a beggar. The Holy Quraan says: “As for a beggar, don’t drive him.” (93:10)

As a general rule, begging is unlawful in Islam for the following reasons:

  1. By begging, a man loses reliance upon Almighty Allah and complains indirectly against Almighty Allah gifts which are interwoven in his very person and all around the universe. Instead of turning to Almighty Allah for assistance and help, he turns towards men. Therefore, The Holy Quraan says: “And He will give him provision from whence he thinks not; and whoever trusts in Allah He is sufficient for him.” (65:3)
  2. By begging, the beggar lowers himself before his fellow creatures and brings himself in contemptible estimation of the people.
  3. By begging, the beggar gives uneasy trouble to one begged. The latter feels annoyance and is put between two horns of a dilemma to pay or not to pay. If alms are paid, there is loss in property, and if not paid, there is loss in fame and fear of Almighty Allah.

Sayyiduna Zubair Bin Awam (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Glorious Prophet Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: That one of you takes his rope and then comes with a load of wood upon his back and sells it is better than to beg of men whether they give or reject him. (Bukhari)

Sayyiduna Qabisah Bin Makhareq (radi Allahu anhu) reported: I became surety for a debt and came to the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) to ask him about it. He said, Wait till Zakaah comes to us, and then we shall order something thereof for you. Then he said, O Dear Qabisah! Surely begging is not lawful except for one of these three reasons  a man who becomes surety for a debt; it then becomes lawful for him to beg till he gets it, after which he shall withhold; a man having met with a misfortune which has ruined his property it is lawful for him to beg till it enables him to get livelihood (or he said means of livelihood); and a man who meets with dire necessity, till three men of understanding of his tribe stand up (and say): Dire necessity afflicted such one- it is lawful for him to beg till he finds means for livelihood. O Qabisah! What is besides these in begging is unlawful and its owner eats unlawful things. (Muslim)

Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn-e-Omar (radi Allahu anhuma) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said while he was on the pulpit speaking about charity and refraining from begging: “The upper hand is better than the lower, and the upper hand is that which gives and the lower is that which begs.” (Agreed)


Sayyiduna Samorah Bin Jundub (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: Whoso begs of men having sufficient means will come on the Resurrection Day with his begging as scratch wounds or bruises on his face. It was questioned: O Messenger of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam)! What is sufficient for him? He said: Fifty Dirhams or their price in gold. (Abu Da’ood, Ibn-e-Majah, Nisai)

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