Well-wishing is a fundamental part of our Din.
In the famous, authentic (sahih) Hadith, Nabi (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) said:
‘The Din [of Islam] is well-wishing.’
(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 196)
The fact that Nabi (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) used such an expression shows how inherent this quality is in Islam.
According to ‘Allamah Nawawi (rahimahullah), this Hadith is the core of our Din. i.e, The whole of Din is based on this principle of well-wishing (nasihah). This quality governs all aspects of a Muslim’s life.
( Al-Minhaj, commentary of Hadith: 197)
Well-wishing is undoubtedly a quality that is needed in every Muslim, in every facet of his/her life.
The following is a Hadith in which Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) exhorted the adoption of this quality specifically in business and trade too. This applies to both parties of any deal; both should be considerate to each other, and apply the fundamental principle of well-wishing (nasihah).
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
The best of earning, is the earnings of that worker who well-wishes.’ [i.e. Is honest, upright, is one who has the well-being of the customer in mind].
(Musnad Ahmad, vol. 2 pg. 334)
There are several inspiring examples of the Sahabah (radiyallahu’anhum) and those after them adopting this beautiful quality in their business dealings.
Among them are the following:
1 & 2. Sayyiduna Jarir ibn ‘Abdillah (radiyallahu’anhu)
‘Allamah Nawawi (rahimahullah) writes:
‘It is reported about Sayyiduna Jarir (radiyallahu ‘anhu) that he ordered his slave to buy a horse for 300 dirhams, the slave came with the owner of the horse to discuss the price. Sayyiduna Jarir (radiyallahu’anhu) said to the owner of the horse, your horse is worth more than 300 dirhams, will you sell it to me for 400. He said you can have it, O Abu Abdir Rahman. Then Sayyiduna Jarir said it is worth more than that, sell it for 500. In this manner he continued increasing the offer by 100 and the owner was happily agreeing until it reached 800 dirhams, upon which the deal was concluded. Sayyiduna Jarir (radiyallahu’anhu) was asked about this to which he said: I pledged allegiance to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) to be a well-wisher for every Muslim.’
(Summarised from Al-Minhaj, commentary of Hadith: 197. Also see Al-Mu’jamul Kabir, Hadith: 2395)
It was Sayyiduna Jarir’s (radiyallahu’anhu) habit whenever he bought or sold anything to anyone, to say to him:
‘I want you to know that what I have taken from you is more preferred to me than what I have given you. You may choose again if you wish.’
(Sunanul Kubra of Bayhaqi, vol.5 pg.271)
3. Another Sahabi (radiyallahu’anhu)
Sayyiduna Anas (radiyallahu’anhu) mentions that he went with a man to the market, when they noticed a particular item being sold. [Sayyiduna Anas says] I enquired about it, the seller asked for thirty. The man [that I was with] looked at it and said: ‘I will take it for forty.’ The seller asked: ‘What makes you do this, whereas I am offering it to you for less?’ The man took another look and said: ‘I will take it for fifty.’ The seller asked: ‘What makes you do this, whereas I am offering it to you for less?’ He replied: ‘I heard Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying: ‘A bondsman will not be a true believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself’, and I see this to be worth fifty.’
(Musnad Bazzar, Hadith: 7548 and Majma’uz Zawaid, vol. 1 pg. 95)
4. Imam Yunus ibn ‘Ubayd (rahimahullah)
The Tabi’i; Imam Yunus ibn ‘Ubayd (rahimahullah) was a cloth merchant in Basrah.
On one occasion someone came to sell him a silken robe. When he enquired the price, he was told it was being sold for five hundred dirhams.
Imam Yunus (rahimahullah) replied: ‘It is better than that.’ i.e, it’s worth more.
The seller raised the price to six hundred, to which Imam Yunus gave the same answer.
This continued until he (the buyer) raised the price to a thousand dirhams!
(Tadhkiratul Huffaz, vol.1 pg.145)
5. Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah)
One one occasion, a merchant came to sell cloth to Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah).
The merchant wanted one hundred dirhams for it.
Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) said that it’s actually worth more. (Again here, the buyer is actually raising the price!)
This person then asked for two hundred dirhams for that cloth.
Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) said: ‘Its worth more than that!’
The person then raised the price to three hundred dirhams.
To which Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) gave the same answer.
When the price was raised to four hundred, he said:
‘It’s actually worth more, but I’m prepared to pay four hundred if you agree.’
(Fadail Abi Hanifah of Ibn Abil ‘Awwam, vol.1, pg.130)
The underlying lesson in all these incidents is for the buyer to look at the benefit of the seller. When one looks again at these incidents, one will understand that even the seller had the well-being of the buyer in mind, therefore in each of these incidents the seller didn’t ask for an unreasonable price!
Such are the sublime teachings of the Sunnah, that everyone should look at how to benefit the opposite party, and Allah grants barakah in those dealings. Unlike is common in the current capitalist system; where everyone looks for his own gain, irrespective of the collateral damage it may entail, whilst all are deprived of barakah!
The above incidents should serve as eye-openers for Muslims of today. See more on this, here.
Such was the exemplary traits of our predecessors. May Allah Ta’ala inspire us all to follow.
Imagine what a better place this world would be with such impeccable business practices!