A Muslim Entrepreneur
Islam is a noble religion, that strongly urges it’s followers to posses noble manners, since manners are yielded from straight beliefs and correct ways of worshipping according to the guidance set by the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-. It also reflects the sign of self-perfection of a muslim. Moreover, it may position one on the highest degree in the eyes of human being. What indicate these was the praise of Allah the Exalted to His messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- due to his benevolent manners. Allah the Exalted decreed, which can be translated as,
“and you are certainly on the most exalted standard of moral excellence. “ (QS. Al-Qalam: 4)
Every individual of muslim entrepreneur should be committed to practice the manners of Islam, since by practicing it, Allah will help them by softening the hearts of His other slaves as the way to bestow upon him His provision. And it wont be happening without His permission.
The article below will discuss globally several basic Islamic manners that must be owned by every one of muslim entrepreneur.
First: Honesty, Honesty, is the main characteristic and manner of a muslim which is valued very high among the society. A muslim entrepreneur should hold firm this noble manner, and apply it on every affairs he is involved in. Allah the Exalted decreed:
“Believers, fear Allah and speak the truth: Allah will set your deeds right for you and will forgive you your sins. Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has achieved a great triumph.” (QS. Al-Ahzaab: 70-71)
In one of his saying, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said:
“Be truhtful, since it will lead to piety. And piety will lead to Paradise. And one who always try being truthful and be accustomed to it, will be written as a truthful man in Allah’s side.” (Narrated by Bukhari in hadith no. 5743 and Muslim no.2607).
Among the honest traits in business is when a merchant committed to give explicit explanation about his goods to the consumers during the buying process, so that the consumer would be content and satisfied in buying it, and such way will invoke blessings of Allah the Exalted. Besides, such merchant will be heightened in degree in Paradise, to the degree of the prophets, the truthful, and the martyrs. From Abu sa’id al Khudri -may Allah be pleased with him-, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said:
“An honest merchant will be gathered with the prophets, the truthful, and the martyrs.” (Narrated by At Tirmidhi, hadith no. 1130)
From Hakim Ibn Hizam, from the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- , he said:
“Two persons engaged in a trading transaction might choose, as long as they hadn’t separated. If both of them were honest and explaining in details (the condition of their merchandise, -ed) , Allah would bless their trade. And if they were lying and hiding something, then Allah would mock and would not bless their trade.” (Narrated by Bukhari, no. 1973 and Muslim no.1532).
Second: Trustworthy. And it is compulsory for every muslim entrepreneur to possess this beautiful quality, so that he will be trusted by men around him.
Anas Ibn Malik- may Allah be pleased with him- said: “The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- never advised us, but saying,
‘It’s not considered as faithful, a man who couldn’t be trusted, and it’s not considered as a believer, one who couldn’t keep his promise.” (Narrated by Ahmad, in hadith no. 12406. Shuhaib al Arnauth said, ‘It is a good hadith.’)
Before his emigration to Medina, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- has been titled as a trusted man. When his time to emigrate got closer, he asked the son of his uncle, Ali ibnu Abi Thalib to return all entrusted goods of the Quraish that they entrusted to him, even though they casted him out from his homeland.
Among the form of being trustworthy in business is by measuring and weighing the merchandises in exact numbers, without reducing it, to prevent the loss of the buyer. Allah the Exalted declared:
” and give full measures and weight with justice,” (QS. Al-An’aam/The Cattle: 152)
And Allah the Exalted also revealed:
“but weigh things equitably and skimp not in the balance. “ (QS. Ar-Rahmaan: 9)
And Allah the Exalted also decreed,
“Woe to the stinters; those who, when they take from others by measure, take their full share; but who, when they measure or weigh for others, give less than their due. Do they not realize that they will be raised to life on a Great Day, a Day when mankind will stand before the Lord of the Universe?” (QS. Al-Muthaffifiin: 1-6)
It is narrated from Abdullah Ibn Umar -may Allah be pleased with him-, that he said: “Once the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- met us and said,
‘O Emigrants, there are five things with which you will be tested, and I seek refuge with Allah lest you live to see them: Immorality never appears among a people to such an extent that they commit it openly, but plagues and diseases that were never known among the predecessors will spread among them. They do not cheat in weights and measures but they will be stricken with famine, severe calamity and the oppression of their rulers. They do not withhold the zakat of their wealth, but rain will be withheld from the sky, and were it not for the animals, no rain would fall on them. They do not break their covenant with Allah and His Messenger, but Allah will enable their enemies to overpower them and take some of what is in their hands. Unless their leaders rule according to the Book of Allah and seek all good from that which Allah has revealed, Allah will cause them to fight one another.”‘ ( Sahih, narrated by Ibn Maja, hadith no. 4155 )
Among the meaning of being trustworthy is when a merchant revealed the defect of the goods that he sold to the buyer -if it has a defect in it.
It was narrated that whenever Jarir al Bajali -may Allah be pleased with him- wanted to sell his goods, he would examine his goods closely before selling it. After that he would separate some from some, and said, “If you want, you may buy these goods. If not, then leave it.” The buyer said, “May Allah have mercy on you. Indeed, if you do this, your goods wont be sold out. ” He replied, “Indeed, we have pledged to the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- to advise one another with our muslim brothers. ” (Narrated by Ath Thabrani in hadith no. 2447)
From Uqba Ibn Amir -may Allah be pleased with him- he said,
“I heard the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said, “A muslim is a brother of other muslim. He is not permitted to sell a flawed stuff to his brother without revealing the flaw. ” (Narrated by Ibn Maja, no. 14291)
Basically, offering goods to others to buy without revealing it’s defect would not add one’s provision. The wealth wont increase with treachery, nor will it decrease with honesty. One penny that Allah blessed upon, which probably become the source of one’s happiness in this world and in Hereafter, is far better than millions that escaped Allah’s blessing, which might destroy it’s owner, in this world and in Hereafter.
An intelligent man knows that the rewards in Hereafter is the true and everlasting, and it is far better compared to the worldly rewards, even the world. The worldly reward lasts as long as the age of the man, whereas one’s transgression and sin will last forever. And the source of goodness all lie on the religious salvation.
Third: Being tolerant. Tolerance is the opener of the door of provision, and a way to achieve a prosperous, secure living. Among the benefits of being tolerant is one will be at ease in doing transaction, interaction among men, and Allah will hasten the circulation of his capital. The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,
“Allah will bestow his graces upon one who is being tolerant in selling, in buying, and in collecting debt.” (Narrated by Bukhari in hadith no. 1970)
Among the meaning of tolerance is by making easy for people in the transaction process. A muslim, as a seller, would not increase the price of his merchandise above the normal limit, because he knew that such practice would do harm to his muslim brothers and narrow their living.
Also included in the meaning of tolerance is when a muslim entrepreneur, as a seller, agreed to accept the request of return of his goods, or allowed a buyer who wanted to return the goods that he has bought. He allowed it because he realized that a buyer would not ask for return unless he felt disappointed and disadvantaged by it. a muslim entrepreneur should not let himself disadvantage his brothers. And what must be done is trying to ameliorate the problems and difficulties of his brothers, by which he would obtain big rewards.
From Abu Huraira, -may Allah be pleased with him-, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,
“Whoever alleviate the difficulties of Muslim brother, Allah will relieve his troubles in this world and the hereafter.” (Narrated by Muslim in hadith no. 2699)
Among the meaning of tolerance is when a muslim businessman strived to settle his debt. He did not want to be with those who consume other people’s wealth unlawfully. He would work hard to settle his debts on it’s due time.
From Abu Huraira -may Allah be pleased with him-, ” It is narrated that there was a man who lent a one year old camel to the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-. He then came to collect it by a little force. The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said (to his companions, -ed), ‘(Find a one year old camel, ed) and give him his right.” They searched for a one year old camel, but didn’t find it. Then the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said again (to his companions, -ed), “‘(Find a one year old camel, ed) and give him his right.” Then the creditor said, “You have settled your debt, may Allah fulfill His promise to you.” The Messenger of Allah then said,
“”Indeed the best among you is the best in fulfilling their rights.” (Narrated by Al Bukhari no.2182).
If a businessman found it hard to repay his debt, he shouldn’t give much reasons, but keep intending to settle it.
It is mentioned in a narration that the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,
“`There is no Muslim who takes out a loan and Allah knows that he intends to pay it back, but Allah will pay it back for him in this world.’ ’’ (Narrated by Ibn Maja no. 2408, Ath-Thabrani no.19558, and Ahmad no.26859 without the words ‘in this world’. Sheikh Shuhaib al Arnauth said, “It is a valid hadith based on several supporting hadith.)
And another meaning of tolerance is when a muslim entrepreneur made it easy to the troubled debtor. He tried to still be nice to them. Once in a time, he would give a postponement of the due time, or abolish half of the debt.
The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,
“Whoever wants to be saved from the punishment on the Day of Resurrection, then he should ease the burden on those who have difficulty or clearing debts. ” (Narrated by Muslim)
Fourth: Keeping the promises. Islam strongly advises it’s followers always to keep their promises, and every kind of commitments they’ve made. Allah decreed,
” Believers! Honour your bonds! All grazing beasts of the flock are permitted to you except those which are recited to you hereinafter; but you are not allowed to hunt in the state of ihram (the state of Pilgrim Sanctity). Indeed Allah decrees as He wills.” (QS. Al-Maa-idah/The Table Spread: 1)
And He also decreed, “And fulfill the covenant, for you will be called to account regarding the covenant.” (QS. Al-Isra’/The Night Journey: 34).
Islam has firmly taught every one of it’s followers to keep their promises, as long as the promises were in accordance with Islamic values. It is proven as Islam advised every muslim to find various modes of tautsiq (to establish confidentiality), including by writings. Allah the Exalted declared,
“Believers! Whenever you contract a debt from one another for a known term, commit it to writing.” (QS. Al-Baqarah/The Cow: 282)
Allah also declared,
“Do not show slackness in writing down the transaction, whether small or large, along with the term of its payment.” (QS. Al-Baqarah/The Cow: 282)
Also regarding the mortgage (ar Rahn) as Allah decreed,
“And if you are on a journey and do not find a scribe to write the document then resort to taking pledges in hand. But if any of you trusts another, let him who is trusted, fulfil the trust and fear Allah, his Lord. And do not conceal what you have witnessed, for whoever conceals it, his heart is sinful. Allah has full knowledge of all that you do.” (QS. Al-Baqarah/The Cow: 283)
Or by guarantee (adh dhoman), as Allah decreed.
“The officials said: “We have lost the king’s cup.” (And their chief added): “He who brings it shall have a camel-load of provisions, I guarantee that.” (QS. Yusuf: 72)
Hence, confirming the agreement and writing it down, taking witnesses over it, and asking for a guarantee to keep it, are important steps to maintain the transaction processes and fulfillment of rights. Those matters are also useful in closing the chance of feud and clashes between persons. Allah has given an exception on the cash trading, which usually needs fast and easy transaction. Allah decreed:
“If it be a matter of buying and selling on the spot, it is not blameworthy if you do not write it down;” (QS. Al-Baqarah/The Cow: 282)
Fifth, avoiding the business of goods or services that are forbidden in shari’a. It means that, a muslim entrepreneur should only start a business of things that are good and legal according to Allah The Exalted. Allah declared:
“Say (O Muhammad): “Who has forbidden the adornment which Allah has brought forth for His creatures or the good things from among the means of sustenance?” Say: “These are for the enjoyment of the believers in this world, and shall be exclusively theirs on the Day of Resurrection.” Thus do We clearly expound Our revelations for those who have knowledge.” (QS. Al-A’raaf: 32)
Allah also decreed:
“(O Messenger), say to them: “The bad things and the good things are not equal, even though the abundance of the bad things might make you pleased with them. People of understanding, beware of disobeying Allah; maybe you will attain true success.” (QS. Al Maa-idah: 100)
Based on that verse, it is concluded that every single muslim entrepreneur should interact only in the good and lawful range of business. They are not allowed to build a business of things that Allah has forbidden to them, such as alcoholic beverages, drugs, statues (pictures of living creature), musical instruments, and the like (we have written about several types of unlawful business in Pengusaha Muslim Magazine second editio, volume 1/February 2010, under the title of “Bisnis Pembawa Petaka’ (Businesses that Causes Calamity)”, pages 40-42. Please re read it for details).
Sixth, do not devour others’ possession wrongfully. Islam keenly urges it’s followers to work, in order to pursue their provisions in legal ways, the ways that Allah pleases. And contrary to that, Islam strongly forbids it’s followers to devour other people’s possessions wrongfully. Allah the Exalted decreed:
“Believers! Do not devour one another’s possessions wrongfully; rather, let there be trading by mutual consent; and do not kill yourselves. Surely Allah is ever Compassionate to you.” (QS. An Nisaa’: 29)
Among what included in consuming others’ wealth in a wrong way are the followings:
Usury, trickery, gambling, stocking, monopoly, unhealthy competition, and the likes (regarding the threat for committing usury, the rulings and forms of gambling, and stocking of goods has been discussed in the magazine of Pengusaha Muslim, 2nd edition, volume 1/February 2010. As for the unhealthy business competition, is discussed in this edition, under the motivation rubric. Please read and comprehend it.)
Source: Magazine of Pengusaha Muslim Indonesia (The Muslim Entrepreneur)
Written by: Ustadz Muhammad Wasitho, Lc
Article of www.syaria.com