My mom is usually very picky when it comes to fruit/vegetable shopping. She likes to examine each and every piece for spoilage before buying it. And rightly so because she pays for it and obviously wants good value for the money she spends. And also because if left to fruit vendors themselves, they sometimes put in spoiling bits. Perhaps to get rid of it or God knows maybe they think they are able to make better money out of it.
A couple of weeks ago mom decided to trust a fruit vendor selling fruit by the road and let him bag the fruit for her. Why because he seemed respectful with his appearance of long beard and his other garb. Arriving home mom with the purchase, finds some spoiling fruit in each bag. On this discovery she was visibly disturbed. Because for once she decided to put her trust on a person as he seemed trustworthy. Yet he proved to be no different than any other.
My mom is not alone in this. This has become such a common practice in Pakistan. People charging more for what their product is worth. Or just cheating on the person to sell their faulty, rotting, defected stuff. You can’t really trust anyone, whether in business dealings or general day to day transactions. Even when a person gives his word, you are left guessing if what he says is the truth or plain lies.
It’s all the more disappointing when it’s done by seemingly religious looking people. You did trust them to be God fearing and hope they did be fair in their dealings. Yet they can be the most disappointing lot. For one for breaking the confidence you place in them. And second, for ruining the image of what a practicing Muslim should be like. Living in a country in this day and age where everything about religion is either questioned or unacceptable, such behaviour from a seemingly practicing person can deter an average non practicing person further from the true spirit of Islam.
Allah SWT says in the Qur’an:
“And, O my people, give full measure and weight justly, and defraud not men of their things, and act not corruptly in the land making mischief. What remains with Allah is better for you, if you are believers”Surah Hud Ayaat 85-86
In these words addressed by Hadrat Shu’aib عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ to his people, the Holy Qur’an enunciates the fundamental principles of business dealings as follows:
- To give just measure and weight.
- Not to withhold from the people the things that are their due.
- Not to commit evil on the earth with the intent of doing mischief.
- To be contented with the profit that is left with us by God after we have paid other people their due.
Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ likes balance and fairness to be maintained in the universe. When the nation of Shu’aib failed to maintain honesty and fairness in dealings, they were eventually destroyed.
According to Imam Ghazali:
A Muslim who makes up his mind to adopt trade as a profession or to set up his own business should first acquire a thorough understanding of the rules of business transactions codified in the Islamic Shari’ah. Without such understanding he will go astray and fail into serious lapses making his earning unlawful.
There are many other examples how people tend to deceive others. Being a dentist myself a very good example that can fit here is not giving a full disclosure of the treatment with all the risks involved. Health procedures these days have become no less than business dealings and a way to make big money. Besides, every health procedure comes with its benefits as well as risks. Ethical practice measures involves that a patient is given full information on all those risks plus possibility of human error as well. In case any error occurs, it’s the responsibility of the practioner to honestly inform the patient. Failing to do so falling severely short of the oath all health practitioners take before embarking on their injuring…whoops 😅 I mean healing journey. Sadly there are too many people walking around injured badly, with failing health due to malpractice on behalf of such practioners.
This reminds me….
I was recently reading a story to my children from a book about true stories from Islamic history. There was a story which truly represents how truthful and transparent we are to be in our business dealings. I can’t remember the details of who these people were but I will edit to add once I do.
Many years ago, there was a very respectable muslim trader. He asked his employee to take several lots of cloth to the market and sell on his behalf. However, there was certain lot which had a defect. He advised the employee to let any potential customer know about the defect and charge accordingly. The employee took all cloth to the market and sold it all at a very good profit. He came back all happy and informed the trader about such good profit gained. When the trader inquired about the defected lot, the emplotee admitted he had forgotten all about it and sold it at the same price as the other lots. The trader gave him back all the money earned and told him to give it away all in charity as he found it unacceptable to make use of any such earnings.
That’s the level of transparency and piety we all should be practicing if we truly fear Allah.
A true Islamic society is based on honesty, justice and fraternity.
Prophet صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ emphasised alot on fair dealing in business. Our Islamic injunctions put a great deal of stress on earning through lawful means. The pious believe just as spoilt and unhealthy food destroys health, similarly earnings derived through unlawful means can spoil our moral and spiritual health.
It’s not hard to notice how people in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have become spiritually and morally rotten from the leaders high up to a common man below. And we complain where is Allah’s help and why we are in the state.
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