In: Business and Management

Submitted By elika
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Business and Commerce in the Qur’an
By Dr. Mohammad Shafi
First written for Dar al Islam Teachers’ Institute Alumni News Letter, Spring 2000
“O ye who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves in vanities; but let there be among you traffic and trade by mutual good-will”. Surah Al Nisa’ (4), Aayah 29.
If you look for the exact equivalent of the words “business” or “commerce” in the classical
Arabic language, you will not find them. Modern dictionaries do list words that represent these concepts, but the words they use are really something else.
Some may be puzzled by the absence of words in Arabic for professions for which ancient Arabs are so famous. But we should not be surprised because the common usage of these words, and their respective connotations, has relatively recent origins. What is interesting is that most of us no longer think of the origins of these words.
Business means anything that keeps you busy. Commerce originally meant social interaction or intercourse between two individuals. Even in our modern connotations of the words, we seldom think of limitations on such enterprise except that they should be in a “free” market and be expected to obey some undefined business ethics. We are led to believe that such ethics are flexible, to say the least; after all, we are told that business and politics are “dirty” businesses.
The religious framework of business is very different. One talks about trade, buying, selling, and transactions that deal with things and services of physical and spiritual value. Transactions must follow all rules of justice and equity and be fully understood by the parties involved. There must be full disclosure of the qualities and quantities of the merchandise. The rules for such transactions are based on the Qur’an, the traditions and practices of the Prophet and his companions and are laid out in the…...

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