AN ACCOUNT OF ENCOURAGEMENT OF BUSINESS
Allah Ta'aala says in the Qur'an: “O Believers, hurry to the remembrance of Allah when you hear the call of the prayer on Friday and leave your business. That is better for you. And when the prayers end, and then disperse in the land to seek the bounty of Allah and remember Allah much, that you will be successful.”
Imaam Ja'far us-Saadiq (AS) and his ancestors narrates, Rasulullah (SAWS) has said; ‘When a man is in strained circumstances, let him go forth from his house and seek the bounty of Allah by travelling over the land and not cause sorrow to himself or his family.'
Hazrat ‘Ali (AS) has said: I dislike the man who is lazy in his worldly affairs; for, if he is lazy in his worldly affairs, he will be more careless of his spiritual duties and in the affairs of the Hereafter.
Imaam Ja'far us-Saadiq (AS) narrates one incident when a man approached him and said, ‘O Imaam (AS), pray for me so that Allah gives me comfort and makes my livelihood easier. Imaam (AS) replied promptly to him that, I will not pray for you. Imaam (AS) said him: Seek your livelihood on the land as you have been commanded by Allah. He also said that every Muslim should seek his livelihood by undergoing hardship even by exposing himself to the heat of the sun.
Rasulullah (SAWS) said on the farewell Hajj ( Hijjat ul-Widaa' ): ‘Truthfully, I vow by Allah that there is no action which I have not disclosed (informed) to you that will take you close to Allah and there is no action that I have not warned of which will take to the Hell and Jibra'eel (AS) has enlightened a secret to me that no one will meet death until he has earned his livelihood completely from this world. So, O people, fear Allah and abide to the permissible ( Halaal ) means of earning livelihood.
There is a curtain between a believer and his livelihood. When he keeps patience in earning livelihood then Allah gives it legitimately ( Halaal ). And if he is not patient and becomes hopeless then Allah will tear off the curtain and he will get his earnings illegitimately ( Haraam ). Therefore, no one should earn his livelihood unlawfully in the case when it is blocked ephemerally, because without the obedience of Allah no one can obtain His compassion and kindness. Imaam Ja'far us-Saadiq (AS) says: Indeed, the sins and unlawful things deprives and robs away the wealth and livelihood from a man.
Rasulullah (SAWS) narrated an incident, when he went for the battle of Tabook; he happened to pass by a robust young man who was herding his camels which were very healthy and fat. The associates ( ashaab ) of Rasulullah (SAWS) said: O master, how wonderful it would be if the strength and sturdiness of this man and the fat of his camels were to be used for the cause of Allah ( jihad ). So, Rasulullah (SAWS) called that young man and said, ‘What do you do with the camels over there?' The man replied, ‘O Rasulullah (SAWS), I have a wife and children; so I earn my livelihood by the camels so that I can spend for my family and prevent them from begging to the people and pay my debts and dues.' Rasulullah (SAWS) said: Is there anything else except this? The man replied, ‘Not at all.' When the man departed then Rasulullah (SAWS) said: “If the man has really spoken the truth, candidly he will get the rewards which is equal to that of a warrior ( mujaahid ), or a Hajj or an ‘Umra (lesser pilgrimage).
Rasulullah (SAWS) has said: when the Day of Judgement will come there will be no shadow except under the Throne ( ‘Arsh ) where a man will get a place, who had wandered on the land to earn his livelihood, with which he kept himself away from begging and fostered his children. Hazrat ‘Ali (AS) has said: a man who is in search of his livelihood is similar to the warrior in the way of Allah. Rasulullah (SAWS) has narrated an instance where a man approached him and said: O Rasulullah (SAWS), I always face failure and loss when I start some new means of earning my livelihood. Rasulullah (SAWS) said, start a business in which you succeeded once. He promptly said, I succeeded in the business of pods of acacia tree. The Prophet said, it is better and stick to that business.
Imaam Ja'far us-Saadiq (AS) referred to one of his associates and said: ‘I have come to know that very often you are remaining away from your home for long time.' The man said, ‘Yes, may I be ransomed for you.' Imaam (AS) asked, ‘Where do you go?' The man replied, I go far away to Faras and Ahwaaz. Imaam (AS) asked, ‘For what purpose?' The man replied, ‘I go in search of trade to earn my livelihood.' Imaam (AS) said, ‘O brother, whenever you seek the things of the world and fail to obtain them, remember that Allah has distinguished you in regard to religion; and remember that you have been blessed with our devotion ( walaayat ); and remember that you have been kept away from misfortunes by Allah; and so if you remember all these blessings and bounties, you will never become sad and hopeless if you lose a worldly thing that you gained.
Hazrat ‘Ali (AS) reports that a man came to him and said, ‘O the commander of the Faithful, I intend to undertake a business.' Hazrat ‘Ali (AS) said, ‘Do you know the legal knowledge, what is lawful and unlawful, of the religion?' The man replied, ‘I know a part of it.' Hazrat ‘Ali (AS) said distressfully, ‘Pity on you, first comes the legal knowledge of religion and then business.' ‘Indeed, one who undertakes his business, buys and sells and does not know what is forbidden and what is lawful, will surely fall deep in the trench of usury (interest, ribaa ).'
Rasulullah (SAWS) preferred the trade of cloth. Imaam Ja'far us-Saadiq (AS) asked one of his associates about the trade in which he was engaged. He replied, ‘I have stopped my trade.' Imaam (AS) asked him, ‘Why have you done this?' The man said, I had to wait for long time for the profit. Imaam (AS) said, ‘This is very surprising action, it will deplete your wealth.' So do not stop trading; but seek the bounty of Allah. Open the doors of your toil expand the scope of your efforts and seek your livelihood from Allah.
Allah Ta'aala says in the Qur'an, “O believers do not spend your livelihood in the wrong and unlawful ways among yourselves, but trade mutually and happily.” It is mentioned elsewhere in Qur'an that, “Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden usury.” By trading, Allah means lawful trade with the exclusion of that which He has forbidden in Qur'an and the things said by Rasulullah (SAWS).
Imaam Ja'far us-Saadiq (AS) has said, ‘The sale of carrion, blood, pigs, idols, semen, alcohol, intoxicants, dung (which is also like carrion) is forbidden. He further added that, ‘Trade is lawful in things which can be lawfully eaten and drunk, and the other commodities that sustain people if consumed and are beneficial if used. The sale and purchase of those things which are principally declared as unlawful, is forbidden.'
Rasulullah (SAWS) has said, “Allah has cursed the one who drinks wine, its extractor, the one for whom it was extracted, its vendor, its purchaser, the one who gives the drink to another, the one who benefits from the price paid for it, its carrier, and the one for whom it is carried.” He further said that, “He who declared the drinking of intoxicants as unlawful, that is Allah, has also declared its sale and taking any profits from it as forbidden.”