Friday, June 24, 2005

Shari'ah - A lifestyle
(Post 3)

Previously we mentioned that Islam has five branches, equally important and weighty in the sight of Allah Ta'ala.

  • Aqaaid (Belief)
  • A'maal (actions)
  • Mu'aamalaat (transactions)
  • Akhlaaq (moral character)
  • Husn-e-Mu'aashirat (social conduct)

    From Amongst these five branches of Islam, the first two have already been mentioned.

    The four branches of Islam are linked in one way or another; Mu'aamalaat (transactions), Akhlaaq (moral character) and Husn-e-Mu'aashirat (social conduct) are all classed as A'maal (actions). We can also say that Akhlaaq (moral character) is present in our Mu'aamalaat (transactions) and Husn-e-Mu'aashirat (social conduct), or that a part of Husn-e-Mu'aashirat (social conduct) is the way we carry out our Mu'aamalaat (transactions).

    Simply put, Islam in order for us to discharge the duties and responsibilities of each of the above branch we have to ensure that we take into account the other mentioned branches.

    Mu'aamalaat (transactions)

    It is a widespread rumour and accusation that Islam was spread through the sword. However, if one studies that lives of the Prophets and the Sahaaba, then it will be apparent that the message of Islam is contrary to that. In reality, it is the teachings of Islam and the moral character of the followers of this religion that brought people to accept Islam, even if it meant leaving their families. One such incident occurred with the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam himself:

    It is mentioned by Hadhrat Ali Radhi Allahu Anhu told that:

    Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam owed some dinars to so-and-so, a Jewish doctor, who demanded payment from the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. When he Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam told him, "I have nothing to give you, O Jew," the Jew replied by saying, "I will not leave you, Muhammad, till you pay me."

    Allah's Messenger said, "I shall sit with you then" and did so. Allah's Messenger Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam prayed the noon, afternoon, sunset, night and morning prayers, and his Companions Radhi Allahu Anhumwere threatening and menacing the man, Allah's Messenger Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam being aware of what they were doing. Then they said, " Messenger of Allah, is a Jew keeping you in restraint?" To which he replied, "My Lord has prevented me from practising injustice with one whom a covenant has been made, or anyone else."

    Then when the day was advanced, the Jew said, "I testify that there is no diety but Allah; I testify that you are Allah's Messenger; and half of my property will be devoted to Allah's path. I swear by Allah that my only purpose in treating you as I have done was that I might consider the description of you given in the Taurah : Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, whose birth place is in Makkah, whose place of migration is in Taiba, and whose kingdom is in Syria; he is not harsh or rough, or loud voiced in the streets, and he is not characterised by coarseness or lewd speech.

    I testify that there is no diety but Allah, and I testify that you are Allah's Messenger. Give a decision about this property of mine according to what Allah has shown you."

    This Hadeeth shows the patience and justice of the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. If he Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam wished, he could have refused to pay the Jew, and his doing so would be correct, this is because the Jew had demanded the money before the due date. Nevertheless, our beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam attended to him and treated him in the highest of manners.

    The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam was sent to guide mankind as a whole, he was not sent to guide one nation or one group of people and therefore it was vital for him to undertake methods in which he could spread this religion of Islam with the means available at that time.

    This is one reason why we see in the books of History and Ahadeeth that the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam used to encourage trade within one's land and other lands. When the Sahaaba Radhi Allahu Anhum would travel they would take their goods and necessities of travels, but along with these materialistic objects would travel their faith, teachings and the religion of Islam. Their method of trading was honest and fair, they would disclose any defect in the objects they were selling and they would price the products with justice. The method of trade practiced by the Sahaaba became famous and well known, they were praised and respected within the lands they travelled to and the Sahaaba would never let a chance pass by without spreading the word of Islam, be it through words or mere actions.

    There are numerous Ahadeeth which encourage trade and truthful tradesman:

    It is reported that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has stated:

    "No one has ever eaten better food than he who eats as a result of the labour of his hands..."
    [Saheeh al-Bukahri]

    "The truthful and trusty merchant is associated with the Prophets, the truthful and the martyrs."
    [Sunan Tirmidhi]

    "God shows mercy to a man who is kind when he sells, when he buys and when he makes a claim."
    [Saheeh al-Bukhari]

    "The merchants will be raised up on the day of Resurrection as evildoers, except those who fear Allah, are honest and speak the truth."
    [Sunan Tirmidhi & Sunan Ibn Maajah]

    The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam himself was a tradesman and he travelled to Syria under the employment of Hadhrat Khadijah Radhi Allahu Anha. It was for his honesty and principles in trade that she marriage with him. He was truthful and honest in all his actions, and thus he received the titles "Al- Sadiq" (truthful) and "Al- Amin" (faithful) by the people of Makkah Mukarramah even before Prophethood.

    Many Ahadeeth have come from which the benevolence and strength of our Beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam's word is prominently learnt, one such Hadeeth is as follows:

    Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Abi Hamza Radhi Allahu Anhu has reported that he entered into a transaction with Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam but, without finalizing the details, suddenly had to leave for urgent work, promising that he would soon return to settle the terms. Hadhrat Abdullah Radhi Allahu Anhu forgot the unfinished transaction, remembering after three days he returned to the original place of transaction to find the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam still awaiting his return. No sign of annoyance could be learnt from the blessed Prophet's Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam face. The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said softly, "You have caused me much pain. I have been waiting for you since three days."

    Islam is a complete religion, it teaches us how to trade, whom we should trade with and the manners that should be adopted in trade. Such an honour is extended towards a truthful merchant that he will be with the Prophets and the truthful people on the Day of Judgement. On the contrary, a person who does not abide by the teachings of the Shari'ah is classed as an evil doer and sinner. Hadhrat Aisha Radhi Allahu Anha reported Allah's Messenger Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam as saying:

    "The most desirable of things you eat come from what you earn, and your children come from what you earn."
    [Sunan Tirmidhi]

    If we eat Halaal the up bringing of our children will be Halaal and we can then expect them to tread on the path of Islam and follow the teachings of Islam, but if we nurture our children on Haraam income, then can we expect them to follow the straight path? Who is to blame?

    Just as how the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam told us to trade and taught us the etiquettes of trading, in the same way he forbade business in many things which themselves are unlawful and also in many forms of business because of the presence of unlawful elements.

    Accordingly, to Abu Dhar Radhi Allahu Anhu, the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said:

    "There are three to whom Allah will not speak on the Day of Resurrection, at whom He will not look and whom He will not purify, and they will have a punishment." Abu Dhar Radhi Allahu Anhu said, "They are the losers and disappointed... who are they, Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam?" He Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam replied that one of them would be "he who produces a ready sale of a commodity by false swearing of Allah's name."
    [Saheeh Muslim]

    In the same manner, all connection with interest has been forbidden by the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam.

    Hadhrat Jabir Radhi Allahu Anhu said:

    "Allah's Messenger cursed the one who accepted interest, the one who paid it, the one who recorded it, and the two witnesses to it, saying they were all alike."
    [Saheeh Muslim]

    It is necessary that we look into our lives and assess our monetary dealings. Can we say that we know the rulings and teachings of Islam regarding trade and tradesmen? Can we, without doubt, say that our transactions are valid in the Islamic Law?

    If not then we too should start studying the teachings of Islam regarding business. It is necessary and obligatory for us to acquire the knowledge that applies upon us.

    May Allah accept all our dealings and safeguard us from the blameworthy transactions. May He ensure that all our dealings are lawful and give us Barakah in our trade. Aameen.
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