In Islam, economic activity and the quest for profit have traditionally been viewed with favor, and trade has been placed on the same footing with Jihad, vigorous action in the cause of Allah. The Prophet (saw) himself is said to have heaped praise on the honest merchant by saying that he will be seated among the prophets in the shade of Allah’s throne on the day of judgment.
The Qur’an might be considered the first Islamic work on economic ethics. It is also, for Muslims, the fundamental conceptual reference for any thought about a communal way of life extending to both cultural and social levels. Since Islam sprang from a mercantile society and the Prophet himself engaged in commercial exchange, production for a market and trade were pictured in the Qur’an as noble practices and merchants favorably portrayed.
Sustainable development and social justice are two aspects of fair trade that run parallel to the teachings of Islam. Creating opportunities for marginalized producers, ensuring equitable wages and safe working environments for employees and ensuring that the environment is protected for future generations are all intertwined teachings of Islam and are supported by fair trade.
Infact, Islamic principles go beyond the mission of the fair trade movement as it forbids speculation on markets, hoarding goods to increase returns and interest as a tool for reinforcing poverty.
Trade and commerce played a crucial role in the spread of Islam. Mecca was a centre of commerce and caravans from Asia to Africa passed through on a regular basis. As a result, there are many teachings within the Qur’an and Sunnah relating to business transactions, trade and ethics. The Prophet (saw) promoted fairness and equity and indicated that one should not involve themselves in transactions that will cause greater harm than good to the community and the environment.
“Deal not unjustly, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly.” (Qur’an 2:279)
“Eat not up each other’s property by unfair and dishonest means.” (Qur’an4:29)
“Give full measure and full weight in justice, and wrong not people in respect of their goods.” (Qur’an 11:85)
“But Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest”(Qur’an, 2:275)
“Give full measure and do not be of those who cause loss to others. And weigh with an even honest balance”(Qur’an26:181-182)
“And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with an even honest balance. That is good and the better at the end” (Qur’an, 17:35)
The Qur’an warns those who violate this injunction:
“Woe to those who give less than due. Who, when they take a measure from people as buyers, they take in full. But if they give by measure or by weight as sellers, they cause loss to others by giving less than due. Do they not think that they will be resurrected? For a momentous Day the Day of Judgment. The Day when mankind will stand before the Lord of the worlds?” (Qur’an, 83: 1-6)
The Qur’an adds:
“And do not deprive people of their due” (Qur’an, 7:85)
The Qur’an teaches us to be moderate in all of our affairs in accordance to the principles of Islam, for Islam has motivated people to get involved with various types of morally-acceptable businesses.