Islam teaches us, that our success lies neither in asceticism nor in materialism; we should neither shun nor renounce material life, nor be enslaved and motivated by it. Islam advocates a just balance between the two extremes. It adopts a balanced attitude between the spiritual development of an individual and his material needs.
A Muslim is not only obliged to earn money but is obliged to earn HALÂL money. Rasulullâh Sallallahu alayhi wasallam has said: “The quest for a lawful livelihood is an obligation (like all other) obligations in Islam.” Rasulullâh Sallallahu alayhi wasallam was once seated with the companions in the Masjid, when a stout and strong man passed the Masjid, running towards his business. The companions said: “Alas! For this young man! Had his body and health run in the way of Allah. Rasulullâh Sallallahu alayhi wasallam retorted saying: Do not say this; if this young man runs (to his business) with the object of not depending on others and refraining for begging he is in the path of Allah. If he conducts trade with the view of providing for his weak parents and children, he is in the path of Allah. If he tries to show his wealth out of pride, he is in the way of Shaytaan.
Sayyadina Umar said: “Let none of you refrain from earning livelihood (and simply resort to Dua) saying: O Allah, give me provision. Know for certain that the heaven will not shower rain of gold and silver.” Poverty “can lead to Kufr” warned the Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam. Another Hadith states: “Take to trade, because out of ten divisions of livelihood, nine are in trade.”
Unsound Business Practice – Is it naïve for a Muslim to behave honestly and ethically in a globally competitive environment characterized by such murky undercurrents? Is it naïve for a Muslim to be honest and just in business? Will honesty simply deprive them of the competitive edge over their business rivals? Has honesty become an unsound business? Has it become an unsound business practice to be honest? Is it too costly to be honest? NO! Is the emphatic answer.
Earning a livelihood is not only a duty in Islam, but a great virtue as well. Trade and commerce form an integral part of a Muslims life and are regarded as acts of divine worship. The quest for a living cannot be divorced from religious and moral ethics. Trade cannot be separated from trust in Allah Taaala, the Ultimate Provider.
Criminal Aristocrats – Sadly, we see an increasing number of Muslims caught in the cobweb of fraud and deceit. Some of them highly successful businessman, rich and famous, the criminal aristocrats of our communities. Aristocrats who specialize in B Route Container Diversions! Hijacking Specials! Solvent Liquidations and Free Port Taxation!
Deceit and Fraud – The Noble Quran states: “O you who believe fulfill your covenants!” The Quran calls on all believers to be true to their contractual obligations. Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: “Fulfill the trust of one who has entrusted you and do not be treacherous to one who deceives you.” Another tradition categorically states: “There s no Iman in one who is not trustworthy nor is there religion in who does not keep his promise.”
The Noble Quran states: “O you who believe! Do not devour your property by illegal methods except that it be by way of trade based on mutual consent.” Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: “Flesh nurtured by unlawful sustenance will not enter paradise; hell is more fitting for it.” Another Hadith states: “No people decrease in weight and measure (practice fraud) except that their provision shall be restricted.”
Consumption and Submission – The Noble Quran directs the Ambiyâ in the following words: “O Messengers of Allah! Consume what is pure and act righteously. Even the noble Prophets alayha salâm were specifically directed to consume Halaal, because there is a definite link between consumption of Halaal and submission to the directives of Allah Taaala. The capacity to act righteously is directly related to the consumption of Halaal. A body nurtured by Haraam becomes incapable of submission to Allah Taaala, for honesty is light and falsehood darkness, both are naturally incompatible to each other.
The overshadowing darkness of Haraam blots out all rays of light from the heart. An individual is then unable to implement the laws of Allah, nor is he able to conduct his dealing in an honest manner. Halaal income breeds Halaal thought and action, while Haraam income breeds Haraam thought and action.
Honest Acquisition of Wealth – Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wasallam has said: “The honest and trustworthy trader will be in the company of the Prophets, the Upright and the Martyrs (on the Day of Qiyaamah).” Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wasallam has classed an honest merchant with:
The Prophets on account of him conducting his business affairs on principles of kindness, justice and honesty which are the hallmarks of Nubuwwah.
The Upright on account of a pervading Allah consciousness in all his dealings.
The Martyrs on account of fighting heavy temptation in treading the path of honesty and justice.
Many people entertain the false belief that a trip to Makkah or a few thousand rands in charity would guarantee them forgiveness for fraud. A Muslim cannot seek penitence from Haraam monies, through giving charity. Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wasallam has said: “No man acquires unlawful property and gives some of it in charity will have it accepted from him, neither will he receive blessings for it…”