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Friday Sermon - The Ethics of Trade in Islam


Friday March 18, 2011

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Esteemed Muslims!

Allah the Almighty created all that is in this world and provided it to the service of mankind. At the same time, He granted mankind physical strength and the ability to think. Accordingly, He has also emphasized that mankind will only gain profit in equivalence to the work they set forth. For this reason, Almighty Allah has forbidden deceitfulness and resorting to improper measurement in trade and commerce.

To this end, Almighty Allah says the following in the Holy Qur’an: “Woe to those who give less [than due]; who, when they take a measure from people, take in full -- but if they give by measure or by weight to them, they cause loss. Do they not think that they will be resurrected for a tremendous Day -- the Day when mankind will stand before the Lord of the Worlds?”[1]

The person engaged in trade should never deviate from the path of what is right, and should never swear an oath to mislead a customer. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) said,

 “Those who fool us are not of us,” [2] highlighting the principles of the ethics of trade. He banned unfair competition, forbidding the practice of pretending to be a customer in order to increase the chances of a sale and engaging in the deceitful raising of prices.

He also emphasized that the blessing in relation to a transaction that takes advantage of the customer’s lack of information and disguises the shortcomings of a product is eradicated by Allah. Our beloved Prophet noted that in Islam, it is impermissible to transact a sale while hiding the faults of the product being sold.[3]

Our lofty religion of Islam bans stocking for the purpose of increasing a product’s price, and also forbids the black market. Islam warns Muslims specifically to this end as regards those products which meet our basic needs and whose lack of availability can lead to lulls in trade and social life.

How evil is a black marketer! He is upset when he finds out that prices are decreasing, and is happy when he hears they are increasing.” [4]

Esteemed Believers!

If we think about how we will one day be held to account, for our earnings, our lives and our trade, then we will see that it is not a particularly intelligent choice to satiate an appetite for engaging in the forbidden. Even if we fool the person we are engaging in business with, we cannot fool our Creator; thus, we must be honest and just with one another. May we earn money in a lawful way, without being gripped by the zeal of the worldly, and may we feed our children and families pure and lawful sustenance. Let our essence, our words and our trade be honest at all times. I would like to conclude my khutbah with a hadith of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him: “The truthful and honest tradesman will be with the prophets, truthful persons and martyrs on the Day of Judgment.” [5]



[1] Mutaffifin, verses: 1-6.

[2] Muslim, Iman, pg. 164

[3] Ibn Majah, Trade, 45

[4] Sahih Bukhari

[5] At-Tirmidhi

 

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