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)

Measurement and Weight

Islam has attached great importance to weight and measurement in commercial transactions. The Holy Quraan lays special stress: “Fulfill your weight and measure with just balance; this is good and better in interpretation.” (17:35)

The Holy Quraan warns us of the severe punishment that is incurred by violation of the principles. The people of the Prophet Shu’aib (alaihis salaam) were destroyed for this very reason. The Holy Quraan says: “Woe to the defaulters who, when they measure from people, take it with full measure, and when they measure out to them or weigh out for them, decrease. Do not these think that they shall be raised up for a great day?” (83:1-4)

Industry

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Never has anyone eaten a better thing than what he has eaten of the labour of his own hands.” He said: “Verily the purest of what you eat is of your own earnings.” This important pronouncement of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) made in an age quite remote from ours has brought a revolution in the industrial world. What order can be greater than his magnificent utterance that the purest of what we earn is of our own earnings. This led the Emperors and Saints to take up works and live upon their wages. This injunction led the Muslims to invent machineries of works and various ways of workmanship and manufacturing articles and commodities of common and extraordinary use. According to the instruction of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), we should ourselves manufacture these articles and supply our needs therewith.

Agriculture

The people of Madina were mostly agriculturists and those of Mecca tradesmen. Allah’s Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) himself entered into a contract with the people of Khyber that they should manage and cultivate the gardens and lands of Khyber and enjoy in return half of the produce and give the other half to him.

The following rules should be observed in agricultural and horticultural leases:

  1. The ground should be capable of cultivation and gardening.
  2. The contracting parties must be mature and duly qualified.
  3. The terms of lease shall be express.
  4. The parties shall comply as to who is to supply seeds.
  5. Shares of the parties to the produce shall be fixed.
  6. The land shall be delivered to the possession of the cultivator.
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