Business ethics in Islam: In all spheres of life, Islam places a strong emphasis on ethics and moral standards. Islamic ethics focuses on moral concepts and teaches people how to discriminate between good and evil.
A Muslim must act honestly and fairly in all of his interactions, not only in business. He does this because he is aware that God is watching and will judge individuals according to their actions.
What are the Islamic Rules of Business?
Allah (SWT) has laid down several guidelines for running a fair, prosperous, and practical business. This is why Muslims, more often than not, have an advantage over other individuals in the business world and the success is incredibly evident.
1 – Importance of Business Ethics in Islam
There are various reasons why Islamic business ethics are important. However, one of the main reasons is that we face multiple scenarios in life that require us to make moral decisions. Since the stakes are high in the business world, it is likely that we may find ourselves selfishly prioritizing profit over everything else. Hence, Islamic rules of business set clear lines between right and wrong.
2 – Islamic Rules of Business: Trade vs. Interest
The following verse of the Holy Quran clarifies that trading is not the same as charging an interest. Trading entails employing short-term tactics to boost profits. While, interest is the fee paid for having access to borrowed funds.
3 – Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) Advice on Islamic Rules of Business
These timeless principles have been set down by Allag (SWT) in the Holy Qur’an and communicated via His Prophet (PBUH). These principles, whether found in the Qur’an or older Scriptures, are of universal significance and cannot be restricted to one civilization or area. These principles are eternally ordained by Allah (SWT) for the entire human species.
Instead of trying to win over the approval of a group with which one is affiliated or from whom one hopes to gain favor, these ideals are upheld with the intention of gaining Allah’s (SWT) favor and gaining respect in the afterlife. As a result, neither the values’ origin nor the goal behind their observation allow for their confinement to any one space or period of time.
4 – The sale of Lawful Items Is A Major Part of Islamic Rules of Business
A lot of thought is given to marketing-related concerns because it is in this field that some of the worst abuses take place, including deceptive and improper publicity, pressed sales that disregard the needs of the customer, and misleading and unsuitable advertising.
5 – Dedicate A Portion of Profit To Charity
In the following hadith, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) advises businessmen to carry out their transactions with honesty and also to give out charity. This is so that they could help people in need. Verily, Allah (SWT) blesses you more when you spend your money in His way, for His sake.
This hadith truly explains the importance of generous acts in the business. It could be financial, emotional, or in any way possible in nature. If a Muslim begins his business transactions by putting money aside for the poor, this one deed is most pleasing in Allah’s sight, and He (SWT) blesses such individuals with additional prosperity and happiness.
6 – Honesty in Dealing with Customers
Islam provides clear instructions on maintaining integrity and being honest in all spheres of life. The need to maintain honesty and integrity in business, however, is increased since the stakes are increased.
It is accepted that having a desire for money is natural, but there must be a balance and money shouldn’t be worshipped. Islamic principles encourage that justice, honesty, and compassion should be the basis of your business.
7 – Treat Your Employees Fairly
The principle of treating employees well and paying them on time is central to Islamic business ethics. As a Muslim business owner, you should treat your employees well in addition to receiving compensation on schedule. An employer must understand that a delay in the payment of salaries could lead to severe issues in the employee’s life.
There are various ahadith that encourage employers to be fair to their employees and pay them on time. In the following hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), employers are encouraged to pay the wage of their workers before their sweat dries.
8 – Do Not Defraud Others To Gain Profit
Islamic commerce is based on the fundamental idea of respecting and protecting the integrity of the counterparty. Fraudulent and deceptive behavior is strictly forbidden. This concept makes sure that we cherish and respect the individuals we trade with in addition to being honorable in our dealings.
9 – Don’t Prioritize Your Business Over Prayers
The need for money is regarded as natural, but there needs to be balance and money shouldn’t be worshipped.
The faithful Muslim believes that justice, honesty, and compassion should moderate man’s attempts to work hard, run a lucrative business, and pursue the best value in his investments.
In the following verse of the Holy Quran, Muslim businessmen are encouraged to practice balance by leaving their work and detaching from it to offer the Friday prayer.
10 – Be Kind With Your Dealings
In all economic relationships, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stressed compassion and truthfulness. And He (PBUH) advised people who loaned money or products to be forgiving and even to forgive the borrowers if the situation called for it.
Lessons to Learn from Sahaba and their Businesses
Prophet Muhammad, his wife Hazrat Khadija and many of the sahaba were successful businessmen of their times. Many companions of Prophet Muhammad were, in fact, the richest businessmen of their times. Here’s what we can learn from them:
- Abdul Rahman bin Auf, one of the 10 companions who were promised paradise, was also one of the richest businessmen before accepting Islam with a huge net worth. However, after moving to Medinah, he started his business from scratch and once again became a leading figure in the business world. His 3 main strategies were: to always deal in cash instead of credit, to always avoid storage of goods and to always be fair in his dealings, even if it meant revealing the faults of his products to the customer.
- Hazrat Usman too was one of the richest Muslim companions and he was known for his willingness to help his community and his blind trust in Allah.
- Hazrat Khadija was one of the few successful businesswomen of her time who also had immense wealth and undoubtedly must have had several employees and helpers. And yet, she was immensely humble both before and after accepting Islam.
- Sayyiduna Sakhr Bin Wada’ah Ghamidi was a trader and he believed that his success in business came from his habit of sending his trades and traveling for work in the earliest hours of the day. As he says that the Prophet Muhammad made this dua:
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لِأُمَّتِي فِي بُكُورِهَا
Translation: O Allah, bless my Ummah with Barakah in their early mornings [i.e. what they do early in the morning]. (Abu Dawood, vol. 3, pp. 51, Hadees 2606)
Summing up, the following image beautifully summarises all the Ahadith on business in Islam:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Q. What are the types of Islamic ethics?
The author of Ethical Theories in Islam has provided a typology of Islamic ethics. There are four main types of ethical theories: theological, philosophical, scriptural, and religious.
Q. What is the most important source of Islamic ethics?
The Holy Qur’an is the most significant source of religious knowledge in Islam on God, people, and the world.
Q. What are the Islamic values in business?
The five aspects that make up the stages of learning Islamic principles are tauhid, Khilafah, ibadah, tazkiyah, and Ihsan.
Q. What does Islam say about starting a business?
In Islam, starting a business is not the ultimate aim; rather, it is vital to consider how you get there and what you do with the money you earn.
Q. Was Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) a businessman?
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was an entrepreneur, trader, and businessman. He was a person who truly added value to the world around him, both via his business and in the manner in which he ran it. There is a lot that Muslims can learn from Prophet Muhammed’s habits and manners.