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Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him), the trader


The Messenger (peace be upon him) grew up in Mecca (the main trading city in the Arabian Penninsula). The Messenger (peace be upon him) lived in such an environment and he often accompanied Quraishi caravans when he was between nine and twelve years old. He started to be a trader early in his life due to the environment he lived in, but he was different from other traders for many reasons:

The Messenger (peace be upon him) had a good reputation as a trader

Trustworthiness is a means for a trader to be successful and is the most important capital a trader should invest in his trade. Being both trustworthy and truthful is a sound basis for being successful in trade. The Messenger (peace be upon him) had these two characteristic traits. The Messenger (peace be upon him) was known for his truthfulness and trustworthiness before he started to receive revelation. His good reputation as a trader and that he was called the trustworthy one made Khadijah choose him to carry out trade for her and to later marry him (peace be upon him).

Sublime character of the Messenger (peace be upon him) and his nickname ‘the trustworthy one’

In one publication, the author said about the Messenger (peace be upon him), [People used to praise his character traits and admire his biography. They used to call him the trustworthy one, that is the truthful one who can be relied upon]

[Henry Lammens].

Belgian Jesuit and orientalist

Having a good reputation as a trader has a clear impact on the community of traders. Explain this referring to the Messenger’s biography

Intelligence and skills in trade

[The Messenger was intelligent and was very skilled in trade. There is nothing that indicates this more than the trade he carried out with Khadijah’s money, which has been reported about the Messenger when he entered Mecca to go to Khadijah with her money, sending her double or nearly double what she had given him]

[The Prophet’s Biography by Al-Bayhaqi].

That is, the Messenger (peace be upon him) returned to Mecca after carrying out trade for Khadijah, bringing a great profit. There is no doubt that the markets the Messenger (peace be upon him) dealt with, eg. the Okaz market, were full of traders who were both older and more experienced than him.

However, the Messenger (peace be upon him) had an insight into trade dealings and undertood the traders.

The story of how the Messenger (peace be upon him) dealt with the trader who cheated is well-known. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) related that,

«The Messenger (peace be upon him) passed by a pile

of food. And when he put his hand inside the pile, he found that it was damp. Therefore, the Messenger (peace be upon him) said, ‘Oh owner of the food! What is this?’ The man replied, ‘Rain fell on it, Oh Messenger.’ The Messenger (peace be upon him) said, ‘Why did you not put it (the damp food) on top of the pile so people could see it? Whoever cheats is not one of us’» [related by Muslim].

Clearly, when he first saw the food, it looked as though it was of good quality and fresh, but after a careful examination, the Messenger (peace be upon him) found what was hidden. The Messenger (peace be upon him) put his noble hand into the pile of food and found it damp on one side, indicating that it was nearly rotten. He did not rely on only the state of the goods that were displayed, but checked and examined the goods to determine the quality of what was displayed and what was hidden.

Acknowledging that the Messenger (peace be upon him) was very intelligent

[…the Arab Prophet’s biography, from the beginning to the end, indicate that he was insightful and trustworthy. One has to inevitably acknowledge that Muhammed was very intelligent]

[Paul Casanova].

French orientalist

In relatively recent times, millions throughout the world have entered Islam, especially in East Asia, due to some Muslim traders adhering to the orders and prohibitions of the Messenger (peace be upon him). Explain this point and mention some of these countries who were affected by such people.

The Messenger (peace be upon him) was a trader and was also sent by Allah. Did he need to trade when he was a Messenger of Allah? What does this indicate?

The Messenger’s easiness when buying and selling

The Messenger (peace be upon him) used to be easy when buying and selling. Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) mentioned this point when he said,

«We were travelling with the Messenger (peace be upon him) on Umar’s young camel, which used to often run away; it was difficult to control. It went in front of the people, so Umar stopped it and brought it back. But then it went ahead again, and Umar stopped it and brought it back [again]. The Messenger (peace be upon him) said to Umar, ‘Sell it to me.’ Umar said, ‘It is for you, Oh Messenger.’ The Messenger (peace be upon him) said, ‘Sell it to me.’ So he sold it to the Messenger (peace be upon him). Then the Messenger (peace be upon him) said, ‘It is yours, Oh Abdullah ibn Umar; do whatever you want with it’» [related by Al-Bukhari].

So the Messenger (peace be upon him) took it from the father and gave it as a gift to the son for him to do what he wanted with it, due to his easy nature.

The Messenger (peace be upon him) said,

«May Allah be merciful to the man who is easy when he sells, when he buys and when he asks for his debts» [related by Al-Bukhari].

The Messenger (peace be upon him) encouraged his followers to be easy when selling and buying. How does this trait affect the society?

The Messenger (peace be upon him) told his followers to be righteous and truthful, and to give charity

The Messenger (peace be upon him) told traders to be righteous and truthful, and to give charity when trading. The Messenger (peace be upon him) said,

«A sale can be revoked as long as the buyer and seller have not parted (after carrying out the contract). If they were truthful and made everything clear, their sale will be blessed. But if they did not make things clear and lied, there will be no blessings in their sale» [related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

One day,

« The Messenger (peace be upon him) went out to pray and saw people buying and selling. The Messenger said, ‘Oh traders.’ They raised their heads to look at him. The Messenger (peace be upon him) said, ‘The trader is resurrected on the Resurrection Day in a bad state, except those who fear Allah and are righteous and truthful’» [related by At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and At-Tabarani].

Moreover, the Messenger (peace be upon him) said,

«Oh traders, idle talk and swearing often accompany trade, so clean it with charity.»

[That is, give charity for it to be an expiation for any lying and other bad acts that occurred between the buyer and seller]. [related by At-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah].

The Messenger (peace be upon him) ordered the trader to be righteous and truthful, and to give charity. What does this indicate?

How would traders following the Messenger’s order to be righteous and truthful, and to give charity affect the society?

How can you take the Messenger (peace be upon him) as an example to follow?

1.Be a trustworthy and truthful trader when selling and buying, as the Messenger (peace be upon him) was.

2.Be easy when selling and buying, thereby following the Messenger’s example.

3.Do not cheat or be deceitful, no matter how much profit and gain it might bring.

4.Beware of saying false oaths when buying and selling, as it makes the sale have no blessings.

5.Beware of reducing the value of the goods or raising the price, thereby abusing those who are in need. It is better to be gentle with the people and be easy with them.

6.Give much charity and help the poor and needy as this makes your possessions grow and blesses them.

7.Be an example of a trustworthy Muslim trader who is truthful, easy, gentle and generous, and be a trader who calls others to Allah (by your good example). Moreover, be one of those who follow the example of the best human.