The Excellence of Trade
Trade is a noble occupation in Islam. It is proven by the fact that the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- himself was a trader and he praised and prayed for blessing for the honest traders.
The Messenger of Allah was a trader
When he reached 25 years of his age, the Messenger of Allah went to trade to the country of Syam, bringing capital provided by Khadija -may Allah be pleased with her- , who, at that time, was not his wife yet. Ibn Ishaq said, ” At that time, Khadija, daughter of Khuwailid, was a woman entrepreneur with plenty of wealth and honorable position in society. She employed people to run her business with the profit-sharing system thus they also received some profits. Also at that time period, the Quraish people were famous as traders. When Khadjia heard about the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- (who was not yet a Messenger, -ed), about his honesty, trustworthiness, and excellent manners, she sent a messenger to him, to offer him to sell her goods to Syam, accompanied by a youth that was her slave named Maisara. She also offered him special reward that was not offered to other traders. The Messenger of Allah – peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- accepted her offer, and departed to Syam bringing her goods together with Maisara. ” (See: Sirah Ibn Hisyam, 187 – 188, cited from “Ar Rahiqul Makhtum”, 1/51)
The Companions of the Prophet were traders
We might remember the story of ‘Abdurrahman Ibn ‘Auf -may Allah be pleased with him-, about his expertise in trading.
قدِمَ عبدُ الرحمَنِ بنُ عَوفٍ المدينَةَ، فآخَى النبي صلَّى اللهُ عليه وسلَّم بينَهُ وبينَ سعدِ بنِ الرَّبيعِ الأنْصاريِّ فعرَضَ عليهِ أنْ يُناصِفَهُ أهلَهُ ومالَهُ، فقال: عبدُ الرحمَنِ بارَكَ اللَّهُ لك في أهلِكَ ومالكَ دُلَّني علَى السُّوقِ، فرَبِحَ شَيئًا من أَقِطٍ وسَمْنٍ
“When Abdurrahman Ibn Auf came to Medina, the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- united him in brotherhood with Sa’d Ibn Ar Rabi’ Al Anshari. Then Sa’d offered to Abdurrahman woman to marry and wealth to have. But Abdurrahman said, “May Allah bless your family and wealth, but (it is enough for me,-ed) please show me where the market is.” Then he obtained some profits there in the form of aqith and the cumin oil.” (Narrated by Al Bukhari no. 3937)
And many other companions of the Prophet were also traders. Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- was a draper. Umar -may Allah be pleased with him- ever sold wheat and staple foods. ‘Abbas Ibn Abdil Muththalib -may Allah be pleased with him- was a trader. Abu Sufyan – may Allah be pleased with him- sold the udm (a kind of snack consumed with bread). (Cited from “Al Bayan Fi Madzhab Asy Syafi’i”, 5/10)
Hadith to motivate the traders
The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- often praised and motivated the traders. Among his sayings were,
التاجر الصدوق الأمين مع النبيين والصديقين والشهداء
“The honest and trustworthy traders will be resurrected with the Prophets, the honest men, and the martyrs.” (Narrated by Tirmidhi no. 1209, and he said, “It is a good hadith, I don’t any similar hadith except by this redaction.”)
عَنْ رَافِعِ بْنِ خَدِيجٍ قَالَ: قِيلَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَيُّ الْكَسْبِ أَطْيَبُ؟ قَالَ: «عَمَلُ الرَّجُلِ بِيَدِهِ وَكُلُّ بَيْعٍ مَبْرُورٍ»
From Rafi’ Ibn Khadij, he said; a man asked the Prophet, ” O Messenger of Allah, what Job is the best?”. He replied, “A job that one carried out with his own hands, and every decent trading.” (Narrated by Al Baihaqi in “Al Kubra” 5/263, classified as valid hadith by Al Albani in “Silsilah Ash Shahihah” 607)
Likewise, many of the past scholars were also businessmen and traders. Thus, they could live honorable life and independent from others. Once upon a time, when Sufyan ath Thauri was busy taking care of his property, a student came to ask a certain matter to him, whereas he was busy with his trading. Then the man told him his question. Sufyan ath Thauri then said, ‘O you, please be quiet, because I’m concentrating on my dirhams, and I may loose it (suffering losses, -ed).’. He also said,
لو هذه الضيعة لتمندل لي الملوك
“If I lost these dirhams, verily, the kings would pamper me.”
Ayyub As Sikhtiani -may Allah have mercy on him- also said,
الزم سوقك فإنك لا تزال كريماً مالم تحتج إلى أحد
“Be consistent in your trading, because you’ll still be graceful as long as you are independent of others.”
Don’t be an evil trader!
Although there are plenty of excellences possessed by the traders, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- also strongly cautioned the traders. He said,
إِنَّ التُّجَّارَ هُمُ الْفُجَّارُ
“The traders are the evil doing.”
Upon hearing this, the companions were surprised and said, “O Messenger of Allah, has not allowed the trading?” The Messenger of Allah replied,
بَلَى وَلَكِنَّهُمْ يُحَدِّثُونَ فَيَكْذِبُونَ وَيَحْلِفُونَ فَيَأْثَمُونَ
“Indeed, but they often lied in their sayings, and vowed but with false vows.” (Narrated by Ahmad 3/428, classified as valid hadith by Al Albani in “Silsilah Ahadits Shahihah”, 1/707)
What he meant was the evil traders, who committed evil doings in their business. In a book titled “Al Mu’tashar” (1/334), Imam Jamaluddin Al Malathi Al Hanafi (died year 803 H) said, “The Messenger of Allah – peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- dubbed the traders as the evil doers in absolute term due to the fact that it was the majority that happened among the society, it doesn’t mean that that is their condition in general. The Arabs used to express a praise or disapproval in absolute towards a group of people, while what they meant were just a part of them.”
May this article benefits you and happy trading!
Author: Yulian Purnama