Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Earning A Halal Living

Islam teaches that our success lies neither in asceticism nor in materialism. Neither should we shun nor renounce material life, nor be enslaved and motivated by it. Islam advocates a just balance between the two extremes. It adopts a balanced attitude between the spiritual development of an individual and his/her material needs.

Earning a Living

A Muslim is not only obliged to earn money. However, if he were to earn it, he is obliged to earn Halal money.

Rasulullah SAW is narrated to have said:

"The quest for a lawful livelihood is an obligation (like all other) obligations in Islam."

Once, Rasulullah SAW was seated with his Companions RA in the mosque, when a stout and strong man passed the masjid, running towards his business.

The Companions RA said:

"Alas! For this young man! Had his body and health run in the way of Allah."

Rasulullah SAW retorted saying:

"Do not say this. If this young man runs (to his business) with the object of not depending on others and refraining from begging, then he is in the Path of Allah. If he conducts trade with the view of providing for his weak parents and children, he is in the Path of Allah. If he tries to show his wealth out of pride, he is in the way of Shaytaan."

Saiyidina Umar ibn Al-Khattab RA adviced the Ummat with a precious compact advice:

"Let none of you refrain from earning livelihood (and simply resort to Du'a only) by saying: "O Allah, give me provision". Know for certain that the Heaven will not shower rain of gold and silver."

The Prophet Muhammad SAW has said:

"Poverty can lead to Kufr."

The Prophet Muhammad SAW also said:

"Take to trade, because out of ten divisions of livelihood, nine are in trade."


Is it naive for a Muslim to behave honestly and ethically in a globally competitive environment characterised by such murky undercurrents?

Is it naive for a Muslim to be honest and just in business?

Will honesty simply deprive them of the competitive edge over their business rivals?

Has honesty become an unsound business?

Has it become an unsound business practice to be honest?

Is it too costly to be honest?

NO! - is the emphatic answer.

Earning a livelihood is not only a duty in Islam, but a great virtue as well. Trade and commerce form an integral part of a Muslim's life and are regarded as acts of Divine worship. The quest for a living cannot be divorced from religious and moral ethics. Trade cannot be separated from trust in Allah Ta'ala, the Ultimate Provider.


Sadly, we see an increasing number of Muslims caught in the cobweb of fraud and deceit. Some of them - highly successful businessmen, rich and famous, the 'criminal aristocrats' of our communities.

The Noble Qur'an states:

"O ye who Believe - fulfil your covenants!"

The Qur'an calls on all Believers to be true to their contractual obligations.

Rasulullah SAW said:

"Fulfil the trust of one who has entrusted you and do not be treacherous to one who deceives you."

Another tradition attributed to Rasulullah SAW categorically states:

"There is no Imaan in one who is not trustworthy, nor is there religion in who does not keep his promises."

The Noble Qur'an states:

"O ye who Believe! Do not devour your property by illegal methods except that it be by way of trade based on mutual consent."

The Prophet Muhammad SAW said:

"Flesh nurtured by unlawful sustenance will not enter Paradise; Hell is more befitting for it."

Another Hadith states:

"No people decrease in weight and measure (practice fraud) except that their provision shall be restricted."


The Noble Qur'an has directed the Prophets AS in the following words:

"O Messengers of Allah! Consume what is pure and act righteously."

From the above verse we can observe that even the Noble Prophets AS were specifically directed to consume Halal, because there is a definite link between consumption of Halal and submission to the directives of Allah Ta'ala. The capacity to act righteously is directly related to the consumption of Halal. A body nurtured by Haram becomes incapable of submission to Allah SWT, for honesty is light and falsehood is darkness - both are naturally incompatible to each other. The overshadowing darkness of Haram blots out all rays of light from the heart. An individual is then unable to implement the Divine Laws of Allah SWT, nor is he able to conduct his dealing in an honest manner. Halal income breeds Halal thought and action, while Haram income breeds Haram thought and action.


Rasulullah SAW has said:

"The honest and trustworthy trader will be in the company of the Prophets, the Upright, and the Martyrs (on the Day of Qiyamah)."

Indeed, Rasulullah SAW has classed an honest merchant with:

- the Prophets, on account of him conducting his business affairs on principles of kindness, justice and honesty which are the hallmarks of Nubbuwah

- the Upright, on account of pervading Allah consciousness in all his dealings

- The Martyrs on account of fighting heavy temptation in treading the path of honesty and justice.


Many people entertain the false belief that a trip to Makkah or giving away monetary charity would guarantee them forgiveness for fraud. We must engrave this in our heart that a Muslim cannot seek penitence from Haram monies through giving it to charity.

Our dear Prophet Muhammad SAW has said:

"No man acquires unlawful property and gives some of it in charity will have it accepted from him, neither will he receive blessings for it..."


LivingHalal said...

Important topic.

One quick note:

"Take to trade, because out of ten divisions of livelihood, nine are in trade."

This is not an authentic narration that we can attribute to the Prophet (SAW), according to more than one scholar.

It could be some statement said by a noble Sahabi or Tabiee, which is totally fine.

Jazakum Allahu khairan

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