Commercial Morality

Commercial Morality

The Quraan states: ‘When the (Friday) prayer is complete, disperse through the land and seek the bounty of Allah (through trade or lawful activity.’ The Hadith tells us that ‘The quest of halaal earning is a duty after a duty.’ Thus, seeking a halaal sustenance is a religious obligation second in importance to religious observances like prayer, fasting, etc.

A. Legal Activity
Trade entails dealing with people. The association between buyer and seller must be sustained by:

1. Mutual Consent. ‘O you who believe, do not eat up each other’s property by wrong means except by way of trade based on mutual consent.’ (Quraan)

2. Unimposing Salesmanship. ‘Beware of excessive oaths in trade, it (may help) to secure a deal but will subsequently wipe out blessings.’ (Hadith)

3. Compassion. The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, ‘May Allah show compassion to a man who is lenient when he sells, buys or demands payment.’ (Bukhari)

4. Legal Commodity. A Muslim may only sell items that he himself is allowed to use or consume. Umar radhiallahu anhu found out that a man was selling alcohol. He said, ‘May Allah curse him! Does he not know that Allah’s Messenger sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said: ‘May Allah curse the Jews. Allah had prohibited them from consuming the fat of animals, yet they melted it and sold it.’’ (Bukhari)

B. Justice

1. Hoarding. Ali radhiallahu anhu said: ‘When a man hoards food stuff (refuses to sell) even for a day, in order to gain from a price hike, his heart becomes hard.’

2. Fraud. Uqba radhiallahu anhu said: ‘It is illegal for a person to knowingly sell defective (flawed) merchandise, without informing him (the buyer, of the defect).’ The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said: He who regards the unlawful as lawful, does not believe in the Quraan. Deceit in buying and selling is unlawful.’

3. Monopoly. The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, ‘Whoever monopolizes is a sinner.’

4. Interest. ‘Allah will deprive usury (interest) of all blessings but will give increase for deeds of charity.’ (Quraan)

5. Regulated Prices. Anas radhiallahu anhu says: ‘Once they (the Companions) asked the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam to fix prices. He replied: ‘Allah alone is the regulator of prices; He curtails or provides amply…’

C. Kindness

1. Creditor. The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said: ‘May Allah show mercy to a person who is considerate when he sells, buys or demands payment.’ He also said, ‘There was a trader who dealt in credit. Whenever his debtor was in straitened circumstances, he would say to his employees: ‘Pardon him, perhaps Allah will pardon us.’ (When he died) Allah forgave him.’

2. Debtor. ‘He is best among you who pays his debt in a good manner and clears it before its fixed time…’

3. Employer. The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said: ‘Pay the labourer his wages before his sweat dries.’

4. Employee. ‘O you who believe! Fulfill your contractual obligations.’ (Quraan)

5. Management. The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said: ‘O Abu Zarr. There is no wisdom like sound management, no piety like self -denial and no virtue like good conduct.’

Adapted from Jamiatul Ulama Fordsburg

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