Islam has given guidance for every part of life. Every guidance has some underlying benefit and moral value. Business is no exception. Islam gives us an entire framework to conduct business in a just, fair and ethical manner. These teachings are not solely for Muslims, everyone who believes in fair trading and moral values is encouraged to adhere to and promote these principles. Allah says:
فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
“When you have made the decision, then rely upon Allah. Verily, Allah loves those who trust Him.” (Surah Al Imran 3:159)
Muslims have a huge advantage in being able to turn to their religious teaching for guidance in their business dealings. Belief in God provides not merely the motivation, but the imperative for adhering to shariah law, which is to be applied in all spheres of life. For Muslims moral conduct in their daily lives is part of their devotion. Revealed teaching provides moral certainty and a set of standards to which the entire community of believers can adhere. Allah says:
إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ فَاعْبُدِ اللَّهَ مُخْلِصًا لَهُ الدِّينَ
“Indeed, We have sent down the Book to you ˹O Prophet˺ in truth, so worship Allah ˹alone˺, being sincerely devoted to Him.” (Surah Az-Zumar 39:2)
Islam places great emphasis on business. Business ethics is one of the important branches of applied ethics. Having his own business will make a Muslim give more charity. By running a business, a Muslim not only has more time to worship Allah but also more time to do other things he loves. Not only searching for profits, but a business that runs by a Muslim should also fill the gap that Islam needs.
Here are some benefits of business and ethics in Islam:
- Business as a way to reduce the problem of unemployment
- Business raise a family and still have a successful career
- Business people remind their roles and responsibilities
- Business can work well for many different lifestyles
- Businesses Give Positive Feedback to the Society
- Businesses make a Muslims give more charity
- Businesses give more time to worship Allah
- Business influence project management
- Businesses make the person be better
- Business influence market conditions
- Business influence competitive strategy
- Business is a great way to provide jobs
- Business influence organizational culture
- Businesses directly help in people’s activities
- Businesses create great change and innovation
- Business contains wisdom, modesty, and many more
- Business is a way for an individual to benefit other people
- Businesses apply the good morals and keep working on it
- Businesses make a positive impact on their local communities
- Business icons started with an idea that has changed the world
Islam has a long history related to business. The Prophet (SAW) himself had done trading in the past, and Islam was spread around the world by the dealer. Building a business gives Muslims independence in financial. It prevents us from begging for money since Allah SWT forbid us to do it. A businessman is usually in control of their time, so his schedule is more flexible and he can spare his time to worship Allah more.
Islam, along with the ethics while doing business:
- A business should trade only that which is lawful: Items such as alcohol, tobacco, pork, pornographic material and services, and interest-based debts should not be traded.
- Islam has strong guidance on being honest: Islam upholds integrity in all walks of life, honesty and integrity in business as the stakes are higher.
- No deception or fraud: Valuing the counterparty and upholding their integrity is a key principle of Islamic business. Deception and fraudulent behaviour are completely prohibited.
- Good treatment of staff: A fundamental rule of Islamic business is the good treatment and timely payments to employees.
- Charity encompasses caring for the ocean: Charity is monetary payments to the needy and poor, but charity is also committing to climate change, trying to minimise waste and adopting a zero-waste economic model.
Islamic ethical values are not a substitute for universal values and virtues, but rather build on these by stressing compassion, tolerance, leniency, benevolence and hospitality. The traders should be wise in choosing the resources and leverage as possible. The desire for wealth is seen as natural, but there is a need for balance, and wealth should not be worshipped. Allah says:
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تَخُونُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلرَّسُولَ وَتَخُونُوٓا۟ أَمَـٰنَـٰتِكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
“Believers! Do not be unfaithful to Allah and the Messenger, nor be knowingly unfaithful to your trusts.” (Surat al-Anfal 8: 27)
Nothing may happen without Allah’s will and control. Nothing stays forever but Allah. So that the act of business should increase the faith in Allah, especially because business often not doing well. But one must have faith in Allah. A business should make the person better, and it should contain many virtues such as wisdom, modesty, and many more.
The importance of business towards an individual in the present scenario:
- Globalization should mean that all people are considered to comprise one family.
- The universal golden rule states, “Like for others what you like for yourself.”
- All human beings should be treated with respect, equality, and fairness.
- The exploitation of one group by another should stop.
- We should use the Earth’s resources with great care and should remember that we have a duty to leave this world in a better condition for posterity.
- We should try to empower others and work to eradicate poverty, hunger, illiteracy, disease, and unsanitary conditions in order to live in peace and tranquillity.
- Businesses should promote ethical standards in their enterprise,
- We must encourage and support an educational system that promotes openness, and dialogue and that guards against fanaticism.
- The resources of the Earth are not only for us, but we also share this biosphere with other species, and so we take care not to waste or destroy them.
- Our children should be taught about the multitude of perspectives and one should be open to other points of view.
- There should not be any division among people because of their race, colour, nationality, gender, or faith.
- People involved in business should always be honest, truthful, and fulfil all promises and commitments.
Muslim societies have abandoned both religious and universal values for the sake of material wealth. Moral business is a successful business, as although immorality can result in short term gains by taking advantage of others, in the longer term such business is unsustainable. Trust matters in business, and where there are shared religious values, this creates great opportunities for industry and commerce. Allah says:
وَلَا تَدْعُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَنفَعُكَ وَلَا يَضُرُّكَ ۖ فَإِن فَعَلْتَ فَإِنَّكَ إِذًا مِّنَ الظَّالِمِينَ
“Do not invoke besides Allah that which neither benefits you nor harms you, for if you did so then you would-be wrongdoers.” (Surah Yunus 10:106)
Islamic ethical values are but a complement of universal ethical values. They prescribe compassion, tolerance, leniency, benevolence and hospitability over the basic universal values. One cannot be a true Muslim unless one adheres to these values. Justice and equity, honesty, integrity, veracity, leniency, compassion, tolerance, selflessness, benevolence, cooperation, mutual consideration, sacrifice and harmlessness, are the guiding values in all walks of life, business being no exception.
The importance of business in the light of the Quran:
- “And in Allah let the believers put their trust.” (Quran 5:11)
- “Indeed, Allah loves the righteous [who fear Him].” (Quran 9:04)
- “Allah commands you to do justice and kindness.” (Quran 16: 90)
- “Indeed Allah loves those who are constantly repentant.” (Quran 2:222)
- “O you who have believed, fulfil your contractual obligations.” (Quran 5:1)
- “For you in the Messenger of Allah is a fine example to follow.” (Al-Ahzab 33:21)
- “O you who have believed, do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly but only [in lawful] business by mutual consent.” (Quran 4:29)
- “To those who believe and do acts of righteousness will surely go to paradise.” (Quran 2:23)
Emphasises that this wealth should not be made the object of worship and that self-interest should give way to the duty of social welfare. Owning your own business brings some great benefits, and many entrepreneurs are satisfied with their decision after they take the plunge. A man may work hard, strive to make his business profitable and seek value for money in expenditure; but for the devout Muslim justice, honesty and compassion should temper these efforts. Allah says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَخُونُوا اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ وَتَخُونُوا أَمَانَاتِكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
“O you who believe! (Do) not betray Allah and the Messenger, or betray your trusts while you know.” (Surah Al-Anfal 8:27)
God has ordained these values to the entire human race for all time. These values are observed with the object of seeking God’s pleasure and earning regard in the next world, rather than pleasing any group with which one is identified or from whom one seeks to obtain some benefit. Thus both the source of the values and the objective of observing them prevent them from being confined to any specific place or time. Allah says:
فَقَالُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ تَوَكَّلْنَا رَبَّنَا لَا تَجْعَلْنَا فِتْنَةً لِّلْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ
“Then they said, “Upon Allah, we put our trust. Our Lord! (Do) not make us a trial for the people – the wrongdoers.” (Surah Yunus 10:85)
Therefore, a Muslim entrepreneur should ensure that the real intention is to serve a noble purpose
and to gain the pleasure of Allah in every aspect of life. Strengthening the inner spiritual self where knowledge, intention and good manners are very vital in developing a strong and respectable personality. May Allah SWT always bless the business we run and give us lots of fortune from it.