INTRODUCTION TO BUSINESS ETIQUETTES IN ISLAM
Business Etiquettes in Islam are the first thing when it comes to doing business as ‘business’ was one of the most beloved things for Prophet MUHAMMAD (S.A.W.). If we study Islam and all the Prophets deeply, almost all the Prophets used to do certain kinds of Business. Eg. Hazrat Hud (A.S.) is deemed as the father of Prophets, Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S.) was the Prophet who owned many sheep, cattle, and livestock. Hazrat Isa (A.S.) was a carpenter. Our very beloved Prophet MUHAMMAD (S.A.W.) himself used to be a trader and was a successful merchant as well. He used to deal with all the clients with honesty and love. The reason why MUHAMMAD (S.A.W.) was called the Al-Amin (the Trustworthy) was because of his utmost adherence to the truth and honesty.
One of the sayings of Prophet MUHAMMAD (S.A.W.) was,
“There is a Barakah (Blessing of ALLAH) in Tijarat (Business)”
Also, many companions of the Prophet were indulged in the trade business and also used to do the Dawah at the same time. Hazrat Khadija (R.A.) was one of the most successful Businesswomen of her time who followed the Shari’ah and dealt everything with truth and honesty. The Women of today’s era need to learn from Hazrat Khadija on how one can live under the Shariah and do Tijarah (Business) at the same time.
Thus, Business and Entrepreneurship have a big place in Islam and thus for a practicing Muslim, it is essential to follow the proper ethics as was followed by Prophet MUHAMMAD (S.A.W.) and according to the rules prescribed in Qur’an.
STANDARDS SET BY ISLAM FOR ANY BUSINESS
As we all know, Islam is a complete code of conduct and a way of life. Therefore, the rules, commandments, and guidelines given in Qur’an and as prescribed in the Sahih Hadith are meant for every purpose, be it the personal life, married life, politics, or business. Islam covers every domain of human life and as business is also one of the domains that Islam covers, the following etiquettes and guidelines need to be followed by every individual who has any kind of Business.
Starting the Business with Halal Money is one of the business etiquettes in Islam
The Believer must consider that before starting any business, there should be no involvement of any Haram earning. The Interest offered by the bank to the respective account holder also comes under the category of Haram earning. Also, some countries provide insurance and “Fixed Deposit” policies in which the interest adds up every year and increases to a huge sum of money. This kind of money is haram and the business could not be started from this. As long as the money involved in the establishment of any Business is Haram, the Barakah (blessings) of ALLAH will not be showered on the seller (trader).
It was narrated from ‘Aishah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘The best (most pure) food a man consumes is that which he has earned himself, and his child (and his child’s wealth) is part of his earnings.”
– Sunan Ibn Majah (2137)
Thus, one of the main etiquettes to start a business is to start it with Halal (Legit) money earned from Hard work.
Giving equal shares to the Business partners at the right time is also one of the Business Etiquettes in Islam
Many Businesses have a large group of people who invests in the business together for the share of the profit. The Profit earned must be honestly shared among the business partners.
Never lie or conceal anything about the Product
Whatever the product one is selling in a business, a true believer of Islam must never lie about the product. If the product is faulty or has some defect, the product must immediately be eliminated from the stock and replaced with the right one. The seller must not conceal anything as the blessing of the transaction gets vanished.
Hakim b. Hizam reported God’s Messenger as saying, “Both parties in a business transaction have a right to annul it so long as they have not separated; and if they tell the truth and make everything clear they will be blessed in their transaction, but if they conceal anything and lie, the blessing on their transaction will be blotted out.”
– (Bukhari and Muslim.)
– Mishkat al-Masabih 2802
Showing Generosity to the buyer
Generosity and the right conduct is always preferred and liked in every business. Not only does it give an edge to the running business, but it also raises the respect and status of the believer in the eye of the buyer and the courtyard of ALLAH (S.W.T.).
Thus, a believer must always show generosity towards every buyer. A buyer badly in need of a product facing financial difficulties must be offered the product at a suitable price range. In addition, the seller could also offer an extra amount of products to the buyer as a gesture of help and generosity. If a buyer asks for the loan and promises the payment later, then if necessary, the loan without any interest (Riba) could be offered to the seller.
The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) has promised blessings to the trader (Businessmen) who is generous towards the public.
عن جابر -رضي الله عنه-: أن رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قال: «رحِم الله رَجُلا سَمْحَا إذا باع، وإذا اشترى، وإذا اقْتَضَى».
Jābir (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: “May Allah have mercy on a man who is lenient when he sells, and when he buys, and when he demands back his money.”
– Sahih Al Bukhari (3716)
Never do dishonesty in weighing the Product and setting the scales with Justice
The Qur’an has strict commandments for the traders who weigh less and show dishonesty in the business transactions.
وَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلْوَزْنَ بِٱلْقِسْطِ وَلَا تُخْسِرُوا۟ ٱلْمِيزَانَ
And establish weight in justice and do not make deficient the balance.
– Al Qur’an (Ch55, v9)
Weighing and selling something less than the original Quantity is one of the biggest sins. Thus, the scales need to be rightly balanced and the seller must sell his product/services with honesty. The seller could also offer an extra amount of the product or extra service, as this will be counted as an act of generosity highly rewarded by ALLAH (S.W.T.).
Business, whether it be selling garments, food items, or any product, acting under the scales of Shariah is necessary for every believer. Islam as a religion is known for its honesty and justice, and the same is expected by the Muslim to deliver when he/she starts a business/trade. For the trader/business person who is just, there are the glad tidings as promised by the Messenger of ALLAH (S.W.T.) i.e. Prophet MUHAMMAD (S.A.W.). The messenger of ALLAH (S.W.T.) has said that the honest and trustworthy Muslim merchant will be standing with the Prophets and the Martyrs on the day of Resurrection. What else could be the greater reward than this! Moreover, the business that runs under the principles of Shariah attracts the barakah (blessings) of ALLAH (S.W.T.) and flourishes at a high pace.
Thus, the guidelines set by the shariah for setting up any business must be given the top priority, as this ‘Dunya’ is a temporary place to live, while ‘Aakhirah’ is permanent.