Connect with us
Advertisement

Ethical Guidelines for Muslims in Business

Iqbal Ebrahim
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

Working and striving for a living in is a very important part in the life of each and every one of us. Islam respects and encourages sincere and honest efforts and work of any kind, provided it is not within those prohibited activities. In whatever business a Muslim may be in, they are required to behave in an honest manner in their business dealings but they are not to indulge in things that are considered Haraam (forbidden in Islam):

Islam permits a Muslim to acquire wealth and property through honest and clean hard work, and to   enjoy the use of those possessions so earned, however this should be in a sense of proportion and in moderation. We should not become so involved that these interfere with our relationship with our Creator. ‘Alluring to men is the love of the things they covet – women, sons, hoarded treasures of gold and silver, highly bred horses, cattle and land. This is the provision of this world’s life. Yet with Allah is a better Abode’ (Qur’an 3:14)

In his business dealings a true Muslim is one that keeps his word and fulfils his promises, avoids lies and deceit, respects the rights of others, abstains from making money from illegal corrupt and dishonest means such as fraud, bribery, dishonest trading, embezzlement, speculation, gambling, pornography, selling liquor, proceeds from interest (usury) and other such unlawful practices that Islam condemns.

Among the guidance on how we should live our daily lives, Islam has also given us detailed guidelines in the Quran for the conduct of our economic life, which should be balanced and fair. ‘In whatever business you may be…… and whatever deed you may be doing…… We are Witnesses thereof when you are deeply engrossed therein. Nor is hidden from your Lord so much as the weight of an atom (Quran-10:61).

Muslims have to recognize and accept that whatever wealth, earnings, and material goods we have are the property of Allah, and we are merely His trustees. The aim of these principles is in establishing a just society wherein everyone will behave responsibly and honestly. The Qur’an says: ‘…man has nothing but what he strives for, and that striving will be seen, and afterwards he will be repaid for it with the fullest repayment, and that to thy Lord is the goal (Quran 53: 39-42)’.

Here are some of the fundamental principles of the Islamic economic system:

Be Honest and Truthful. Honesty and truthfulness are qualities which a Muslim businessman should develop and practise himself. Islam encourages the virtues of seeking one’s livelihood honestly and cleanly. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘The cleanest food is that which has been earned by the labour of one’s hand’, and ‘to earn a clean living is also a duty next only to the prescribed duties of faith’ and ‘the trader who plies his trade cleanly and honestly will rise in the Hereafter in the company of Prophets, saints and martyrs’.

Muslims are not to deal in interest. ‘Those who devour usury will not stand….Allah has permitted trade and forbidden usury…. Allah will deprive usury of all blessing….’ (Qur'an 2:275-6) ‘O you who believe! Devour not usury, doubled and multiplied. But fear Allah that you may really prosper.’ (Qur’an 3:130) This prohibition is for all interest-based transactions, whether giving or receiving, whether dealing with Muslims or non-Muslims. Any interest earned cannot be used for personal needs it should be given away as charity. It is for this reason that Islamic banking which aims at being compliant with Islamic principles is being introduced in many parts of the world to cater for those who wish to follow these principles.

•     It is forbidden to gain property or wealth by fraud, deceit, theft, or other falsehoods. They should treat others in the same righteous and fair manner that they themselves would like to be treated. The Qur’an issues this warning for those who cheat while weighing: ‘Woe to those that deal in fraud, those who when they have to receive by measure, exact full measure, but when they have to give by measure or weight, give less than due. Do they not think that they will be called to account when all Mankind will stand before the Lord of the worlds?’ (C 83: v 1 – 6).’…Give just measure and weight, and do not withhold from people the things that are their due. And do not do mischief on the earth after it has been set in order. That will be best for you, if you have faith.’ (Qur’an 7:85)

Forbidden too are any earnings from gambling, lotteries, and the production, sale, and distribution of alcohol. ‘O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, sacrificing to stones, and divination by arrows are an abomination of Satan's handiwork. Eschew such abomination, that you may prosper.’ (Qur’an 5:90)

It is unlawful to hoard food and other basic necessities. Everyone should take what they need and no more. ‘And let those who covetously withhold of the gifts which Allah has given them of His Grace, think that it is good for them. No, it will be the worse for them. Soon it will be tied to their necks like a twisted collar, on the Day of Judgment. To Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do.’ (Qur’an 3:180)

Be Humble in how You Conduct Your Life. Muslims must not lead a life of   extravagance, and must exhibit good-will in any transactions among themselves. ‘O you who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves in vanities: but let there be amongst you traffic and trade by mutual good-will: nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allah has been to you Most Merciful. (Quran-4:29).

Do Not Bribe. Businessmen may sometimes be tempted to offer bribes in order to persuade another party to give them special favours or to allow them to get away with dishonest practices. The practice of bribery is forbidden in Islam. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) cursed the one who bribes and the one who takes bribes. As for bribery the Prophet (PBUH) cursed the giver and taker of bribes.

Deal Justly. The general principle that applies across all transactions including those pertaining to businesses is that of justice. Allah emphasizes this point in the Qur’an: Deal not unjustly, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly. (Quran: 2:279).

Keep Your Word.  The Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘If you guarantee me six things on your part, I shall guarantee you Paradise. Speak the truth when you talk, keep a promise when you make it, when you are trusted with something, fulfil your trust, avoid sexual immorality, lower your eyes, and restrain your hands from injustice.’


Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was asked what type of earning was best, and he replied: ‘A man’s work with his hands and every (lawful) business transaction. And, ‘A truthful and trustworthy merchant is associated with the prophets.’

These, briefly are some of the basic guidelines given to Muslims but naturally there some misguided ones amongst us who will ignore these guidelines, at their own peril.

Continue Reading

Columns

The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

Continue Reading

Columns

A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

Continue Reading

Columns

Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!