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The life of the prophets, were complete and combined the human aspects and characteristics of the Divine Message. Like all other prophets and messengers, the human nature of the Prophet , was mentioned in his biography and anyone who reads it can easily recognize it. Like all people, he ate food, walked in the markets and endeavored to earn his living.


One of the human aspects of the life of the Prophet, that is, the way in which he traded and earned his living. This relation started at a very early stage of his life and passed through different phases. As a young boy while living in Banu Sa‘d, the Prophet, joined his foster brothers as a shepherd in return for a small amount of money.


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Allah Says (what means): And they say: ‘What is this messenger that eats food and walks in the markets?’ Quran Surah Furqan 25:7


O you who have believed, do not consume one another's wealth unjustly but only [in lawful] business by mutual consent.Quran Surah Nisa 4:29



As days passed, the Prophet, benefited from his close relationship with his uncle, Abu Taalib, and learned from his expertise the methods and skills of trading. When he became a youth, the Prophet, became famous in Makkah and the neighboring areas until Khadeejah heard about him and hired him to trade with her money. In response to her request, he went to Ash-Shaam (greater Syria) with her slave, Maysarah, to trade there, and he returned with great profits. Soon, this relationship concerning trade between Muhammad , and Khadeejah(R) became stronger until it was crowned with their marriage. Things did not change until Allaah The Almighty honored His Prophet, with the Message.


Helping others in Manumission through sale

After receiving the revelation, the Prophet, was buying more than selling, given the responsibilities of the Divine Message, which required follow-up and devotion to the affairs of Da‘wah (propagating), guiding and teaching people, judging between them and other important dealings. 


Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah mentioned one of the situations where the Prophet, was selling. He narrated that a man wanted to free his slave after his death, but then he became in need of money. When the Prophet, heard about this, he tried to help this man and offered this slave for sale.


Narrated by Amr(R) : An Ansari man made his slave a Mudabbar and he had no other property than him. When the Prophet () heard of that, he said (to his companions), "Who wants to buy him (i.e., the slave) for me?" Nu‘aym ibn ‘Abdullaah bought him for eight hundred Dirhams. The Messenger of Allaah, took these Dirhams and sent them to the owner of the slave. Sahih al-Bukhari 6716(Vol.8: 707) and Sahih Muslim 997 and Sunan Abi Dawud 3957



There are many situations indicating that the Prophet, would undertake buying personally or assign one of his Companions to buy for him. ‘Aa’ishah mentioned that the Prophet, purchased some food from a Jew on credit and mortgaged a suit of iron armor to him.Sahih al-Bukhari 2251 (Vol.3:453)


Sometimes, when the Prophet, was in need of money, he would borrow or mortgage a weapon or something similar. It was narrated that he died while his armor was mortgaged to a Jew for thirty Saa‘s (handfuls) of barley. Sahih al-Bukhari 2916, 4467(Vol.4:165 and Vol.5: 743)



On his way back from a battle, the Prophet, purchased a camel from Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah that Jabir was riding. When they reached Madeenah, the Prophet, gave him more than the price he had paid for the camel and also returned his camel. Sahih al-Bukhari 2604 (Vol.3:775) and Sahih Muslim 715 


The Prophet, gave ‘Urwah ibn Abu Al-Ja‘d Al-Baariqi a Dinaar (unit of currency) to buy a sacrificial animal for him. He bought two sheep with that Dinaar, sold one of them for a Dinaar, and returned to the Messenger of Allaah, with a sheep and a Dinaar. Thereupon, the Prophet, invoked a blessing on him for his business dealings. Classed as sahih by  Sunan Abi Dawud 3384


Also, the Prophet, made a deal with the people of Khaybar that they would take half the fruit and vegetation of the land that they cultivate for the Muslims. Sahih al-Bukhari 2329 (Vol.3: 522)


Prohibition of Riba

In addition, the Prophet, established an integrated system for people to follow in their dealings. He forbade a group of dealings that were harmful or unjust in evaluating the object such as dealing in Riba (interest or usury), the sale that implies Gharar (uncertainty and deception out of ignorance about the sold item), Al-'Eenah (buy-back sale) and trading in prohibited things. The Prophet, stressed the importance of immediate delivery of both the price and the sold item. He also specified the kinds of options if either party wanted to cancel the deal, in addition to other principles and regulations that are clearly stated in the Sunnah. 


Trade and Riba(Usury or Interest) are not same

Those who eat Riba will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaytan leading him to insanity. That is because they say: “Trading is only like Riba,” whereas Allah سبحانه و تعالىhas permitted trading and forbidden Riba. So whosoever receives an admonition from his Lord and stops eating Riba, shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allah سبحانه و تعالى(to judge); but whoever returns (to Riba), such are the dwellers of the Fire ـthey will Abide therein. Qur’an.Surah Baqrah 2:275


This is clear evidence that Allah سبحانه و تعالىmade it clear that “trade” and “Riba” are not same, and that He forbade “Riba” and allowed “trade”.


Prohibited transactions and sales

Abu Huraira رضي الله عنهreported Allah’s Messenger as saying: Gold is to be paid for by gold with equal weight, like for like, and silver is to be paid for by silver with equal weight, like for like. He who made an addition to it or demanded an addition dealt in usury. Sahih Muslim 3857


Narrated Abu Sa`id al-Khudri رضي الله عنه: Once Bilal رضي الله عنهbrought Barni (i.e. a kind of dates) to the Prophet and the Prophet asked him, “From where have you brought these?” Bilal رضي الله عنهreplied, “I had some inferior type of dates and exchanged two Sas of it for one Sa of Barni dates in order to give it to the Prophet ; to eat.” Thereupon the Prophet said, “Beware! Beware! This is definitely Riba (usury)! This is definitely Riba (Usury)! Don’t do so, but if you want to buy (a superior kind of dates) sell the inferior dates for money and then buy the superior kind of dates with that money.” Sahih Al Bukhari Vol 3 H:506


Abu Sa’id al-Khudri رضي الله عنهreported Allah’s Messenger as saying: Gold is to be paid for by gold, silver by silver, wheat by wheat, barley by barley, dates by dates, salt by salt, like by like, payment being made hand to hand. He who made an addition to it, or asked for an addition, in fact dealt in usury. The receiver and the giver are equally guilty. Sahih Al Muslim 3854


Narrated Abu Sa`id رضي الله عنه: We used to be given mixed dates (from the booty) and used to sell (barter) two Sas of those dates) for one Sa (of good dates). The Prophet said (to us), “No (bartering of) two Sas for one Sa nor two Dirhams for one Dirham is permissible”, (as that is a kind of usury). Sahih Al Bukhari Vol 3 H:294


More teachings on it

Avoid unclear transactions

"The lawful is clear and the unlawful is clear, and between that are matters that are doubtful (not clear); many of the people do not know whether it is lawful or unlawful. So whoever leaves it to protect his religion and his honor, then he will be safe, and whoever falls into something from them, then he soon will have fallen into the unlawful.   Sahih al-Bukhari 2051 and Jami` at-Tirmidhi Vol3: 1205


Be careful while earning

Narrated Abu Huraira(R): The Prophet () said, "A time will come when one will not care how one gains one's money, legally or illegally."  Sahih al-Bukhari 2059 (Vol. 3, Book 34, Hadith 275)


Money Exchange

Narrated Abu Al-Minhal: I used to practice money exchange, and I asked Zaid bin 'Arqam about it, and he narrated what the Prophet said in the following: Abu Al-Minhal said, "I asked Al-Bara' bin `Azib and Zaid bin Arqam about practicing money exchange. They replied, 'We were traders in the time of Allah's Messenger () and I asked Allah's Messenger () about money exchange. He replied, 'If it is from hand to hand, there is no harm in it; otherwise it is not permissible." Sahih al-Bukhari 2060, 2061


Expansion in sustenance (Rizq)

Narrated Anas bin Malik(R): I heard Allah's Messenger () saying, "whoever desires an expansion in his sustenance and age, should keep good relations with his Kith and kin." Sahih al-Bukhari 2067


Better meal

Narrated Al-Miqdam(R): The Prophet () said, "Nobody has ever eaten a better meal than that which one has earned by working with one's own hands. The Prophet () of Allah, David used to eat from the earnings of his manual labor."  Sahih al-Bukhari 2072


Narrated Abu Huraira(R): Allah's Messenger () said, "No doubt, it is better for any one of you to cut a bundle of wood and carry it over his back rather than to ask someone who may or may not give him." Sahih al-Bukhari 2074


Be lenient and generous in bargaining

Narrated Jabir bin `Abdullah(R): Allah's Messenger () said, "May Allah's mercy be on him who is lenient in his buying, selling, and in demanding back his money."  Sahih al-Bukhari 2076


The defects and qualities of product to be discussed before separation

Narrated Hakim bin Hizam: Allah's Messenger () said, "The seller and the buyer have the right to keep or return goods as long as they have not parted or till they part; and if both the parties spoke the truth and described the defects and qualities (of the goods), then they would be blessed in their transaction, and if they told lies or hid something, then the blessings of their transaction would be lost." Sahih al-Bukhari 2079 and Sahih al-Bukhari 2082



Generally, all that is mentioned stresses one single fact, that is, the Prophet, wanted to teach his Ummah (nation) that trying to earn a living does not contradict doing good deeds for the Hereafter. On the contrary, this is one of its requirements in addition to being a reason for achieving the progress and development of our Ummah, so that it occupies its proper status among other nations.




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