Trade (Business) is the Sunnah of blessed Prophets of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), and when done honestly and fairly, it can be a form of devotion to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa).
Prophetic teaching provides us guidance in every aspect of life, and business / trading is no exception. Islam, the divine religion prescribed by Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) through His Last and Final Prophet, Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam), gives us a complete framework for conducting business fairly, justly, and ethically. These teachings are not just for Muslims; anyone who believes in fair trade and moral values is encouraged to uphold and promote at least following Islamic principles:
1- Trade in lawfully permitted items
A person should only conduct business in sectors lawfully permitted in Islam. For example, one must not trade alcoholic beverages, tobacco, pork, obscene goods or services, Ribaa (Interest / Usury) based transactions, etc. Different modern researches and studies have also concluded the harm such things inflict upon the society as a whole, to a country’s economy, and to the taxpayers.
2- Honesty and trustworthiness
Muslims are particularly known to be honest people when it comes to trading and business dealings. While Islam has strong guidance on being honest and upholding integrity in all aspects of life, there is extra emphasis on these qualities in business as the stakes are higher. Importance of these qualities can be summed up in the following wordings of our Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam):
التَّاجِرُ الصَّدُوقُ الْأَمِينُ مَعَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ
“”The honest and trustworthy merchant will be with the prophets, the truthful, and the martyrs. (Tirmizi)
3- Treat employees and colleagues with dignity
An imperative rule of Islamic business is the good treatment of employees along with timely payments of salary and wages. All employees should be treated equally, with respect and dignity. The importance of this quality can be judged by the following words of our Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam):
قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى ثَلاَثَةٌ أَنَا خَصْمُهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ رَجُلٌ أَعْطَى بِي ثُمَّ غَدَرَ، وَرَجُلٌ بَاعَ حُرًّا فَأَكَلَ ثَمَنَهُ، وَرَجُلٌ اسْتَأْجَرَ أَجِيرًا فَاسْتَوْفَى مِنْهُ وَلَمْ يُعْطِهِ أَجْرَهُ
“Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) said: ‘I will be an opponent to three types of people on the Day of Resurrection. (1) One who makes a covenant in My Name, but proves treacherous (2) One who sells a free person and eats his price, and (3) One who employs a laborer and takes full work from him but does not pay him for his labor’.” (Bukhari)
4- No deception and fraudulent behavior
Cheating is strictly prohibited in Islam. This principle ensures that we not only act with honor in our dealings but respect those we’re conducting business with.
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَأْكُلُوا أَمْوَالَكُمْ بَيْنَكُمْ بِالْبَاطِلِ إِلَّا أَنْ تَكُونَ تِجَارَةً عَنْ تَرَاضٍ [النساء: 29]
“O you who believe! Do not devour each other‘s wealth by false means, unless it is trade conducted with your mutual consent.” (An-Nisaa 4:29)
The Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) said:
مَنْ غَشَّ فَلَيْسَ مِنِّ
"He who deceives is not of me (is not my follower).” (Muslim)
5- Spend more in Sadaqah (Charity)
The Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam) frequently advised his followers to give Sadaqah (Charity). The Prophet (SallAllaho ‘Alaihe WaSallam), especially instructed businessmen to give Sadaqah to compensate mis-dealings, if occur during transactions by mistake.
May Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) bless all Muslims with strong faith, purity of heart, good manners, and understanding of the true meaning of all teachings of the Quraan and Hadeeth. Aameen!