Importance of Agriculture and Business in Islam
By: Ayatullah al-Uzma Shaykh Husayn Vahid Khorasani
Islam has given great significance to economic strength, particularly to agriculture and business… Islam has invited the believers to strive in becoming self-sufficient and honourable with the order of the rule: And to Allah belongs the honour and to His Apostle and to the believers.51
It has been reported from al-Sadiq (as): There is no action more beloved to Allah than agriculture. The Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali (as) used to cultivate crops, dig wells and plant trees.52
In another report al-Sadiq (as) said to a man who had left work in the market: Begin your day with honour.53 It has come in a report from the Commander of the Faithful (as): Embark into business.54
In Islam, business, buying and selling is based on intelligence, honesty, planning and knowledge of the rules and regulations of business. Thus, a tradition says: No one should sit in the market except for the one who has knowledge of buying and selling.55 Another report says: First learn law then do business.56
Rules of Dealings in Islam
Islam specifies obligatory, recommended, forbidden and discouraged rules concerning dealings. Because we cannot go in details here, we will list some different types: Islam has forbidden from interest, from taking an oath to sell the commodity and praising it, from the buyer dispraising the goods he wants to buy, from hiding the defect of something one is selling, from fraud and deception in giving or taking anything.
The dealer should take only that which he deserves and should give that which is right. He should return the endowment and abstain from dishonesty. The seller should accept the excuse of the buyer who regrets buying. If the buyer becomes straitened then the seller should give him time. If someone designates him to buy some commodity then he should not sell it to him if he has that commodity. If someone designates him to sell something then he should not buy it for himself. The seller who weighs should give a little more and should take a little less from the price.
All businessmen are insolent except for the ones who are truthful. If one promises someone to be good in dealing then one should not take profit from him. One should treat two buyers equally and should not take notice of his relation with them. If a commodity has a fixed price then one should sell it for the same price to ones who negotiate and the ones who do not. One should learn to write and record his work and should not work without it.
One should not hoard the things that people need. One should be easy to deal with and easy to buy from and sell to. One should give what people owe him with ease and take from them what they owe with ease. One should not be hard on the one who owes him. One should not ask for discount after the completion of the deal. One should turn to the mosque at the time of the call to prayers and clean his heart for the remembrance of Allah, the Exalted. One should rise from the physical world to the metaphysical world.
In houses which Allah has permitted to be exalted and that His name may be remembered in them; there glorify Him therein in the mornings and the evenings, men whom neither merchandise nor selling diverts from the remembrance of Allah and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of poor-rate; they fear a day in which the hearts and eyes shall turn about.57
51. Holy Qur’an, 63: 8.
52. Wasa’il al-Shi’ah: vol. 17, ch. 9 & 10, vol. 19, pp 186, ch. 6, hadith no. 2.
53. Al-Kafi: vol. 5, pp 149.
54. Al-Khisal: pp 621, ch. 100, hadith no. 10.
55. Al-Kafi: vol. 5, pp 154.
56. Al-Kafi: vol. 5, pp 150.
57. Holy Qur’an, 24: 36-7.