Origins, Evolution and the Future
Chapter 5: Commerce and Commercial Institutions
We will study in this chapter what the classical sources of Islam, the Qur’an and the prophetic traditions, ahadith, have to say about commerce and what institutions have emerged as a result of these teachings in Islamic history. The gist of Islam’s approach to trade has been summarized in the verse 2: 275 of the Qur’an: Allah has allowed trading and forbidden usury. The verse 67: 15 is also revealing: He it is Who has made the earth easy to live upon. Go about then, in all its regions and partake the sustenance which He provides: but always bear in mind that to Him you shall be resurrected. The verse 73: 20 mentions trade together with fighting in God’s cause, thus bestowing merchants with great honour. and others who travelling through the land seeking God’s bounty, yet others fighting in God’s cause... Still another verse (2: 282) is remarkable in that it directly teaches Muslims how to write a contract. There are also many ahadith, statements of the Prophet, encouraging Muslims to do honest trade and earn their livelihood through halal, permitted means. Three examples should suffice: A person, who undertakes a journey to earn his livelihood and then returns with it towards his dependents, will be under the shade of Allah’s throne. A person, who suffers pain to feed his dependents is like a person, who fights in the cause of Allah, the Mighty and Glorious.1 A merchant honest in purchase and sale will be among the virtuous in...
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