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Online Quran Academy - Islamic Mentors

Buying and Selling in Islam: 9 Rules of Trade



In Islam, the acts of buying and selling are not merely economic transactions but are considered vital aspects of a faithful life, guiding us toward ethical dealings. These activities are seen as a means of sustenance provided by Allah (swt), allowing us to earn a living through halal (permissible) means. Buying and selling involve the transfer of ownership from a seller to a buyer in exchange for money or another item.  

“An honest Trader will be with Prophets, Shuhadaa, and Saaleheen on the day of Judgement”. 


When our earnings are obtained through lawful and ethical means, this exchange transcends into a form of worship. The significance of buying and selling in Islam extends beyond mere trade; it is an integral part of our existence as Muslims, embodying our faith in every transaction. 

The Foundation of Commerce in the Quran

The Holy Quran provides guidance on buying and selling, emphasizing fairness, honesty, and the prohibition of usury (interest) in Islam. 

Key principles include ensuring accurate measurement and weight in transactions, as stated in Surah Al-Mutaffifin (83:1-3), which condemns those who defraud in trade.  

Allah Almighty says in the Quran:

“Woe to the defrauders! Those who take full measure ˹when they buy˺ from people, but give less when they measure or weigh for buyers.” Surah Al-Mutaffifin (83:1-3)

The Rules of Buying and Selling in Islam

As Muslims, we adhere to specific rules when engaging in buying and selling transactions. These guidelines are derived from the Quran, the Hadith (sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad), and scholarly interpretations.

Some fundamental principles for us include:

Fair and Honest Dealing: 

Our beautiful deen Islam encourages us to deal with each other honestly and fairly in our trades. Deception, fraud, and dishonesty are strictly prohibited. Honesty requires truthfulness in every transaction, including accurate product representation, honest value disclosure, and refraining from deception or manipulation, promoting trust and integrity in buying and selling. 

The Quranic verses from Ash-Shuara (26:181-184) emphasize the moral imperatives in business dealings. These verses can be seamlessly integrated into the context of fair and honest dealing by highlighting the divine command. 

Allah (swt) says: 

“Give full measure, and cause no loss to others. Weigh with an even balance, and do not defraud people of their property nor go about spreading corruption in the land.” Ash-Shuara (181-184)

This command complements the Hadith narrated by Hazrat Hakim bin Hizam: 

The Prophet (saw) said, “The buyer and the seller have the option of canceling or confirming the bargain unless they separate, and if they spoke the truth and made clear the defects of the goods, then they would be blessed in their bargain, and if they told lies and hid some facts, their bargain would be deprived of Allah’s blessings.” 

Sahih al-Bukhari 2110

Accuracy in Weighing and Measurements: 

We conduct our transactions with a sense of justice and equity, ensuring that both parties benefit fairly. Surah Hud (11:85) advises to give full measure and weight in justice and not to deprive people of their due. Similarly, Surah Al-Isra (17:35) commands fair dealing and just measurement.

Allah Almighty says in the Quran, 

And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with an even balance. That is the best [way] and best result. Surah Al-Isra 35

Mutual Consent: 

Both parties need to enter into transactions willingly and with mutual consent. Coercion or exploitation of the other party is not allowed. Surah An-Nisa (4:29) prohibits the consumption of wealth among each other unjustly and encourages trade by mutual consent. 

Oh, you who have believed, do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly but only [in lawful] business by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful. An-Nisa Ayat 29

Declaration of Defective Goods

One who sells defective goods should point out the defect. As it was narrated that Wathilah bin Asqa’ said:

“I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say: ‘Whoever sells defective goods without pointing it out, he will remain subject to the wrath of Allah, and the angels will continue to curse him.'” 

(Sunan Ibn Majah 2247)

Needless to say here, selling with cheating, lying, forcing, or hiding a fault have no place in Islam.

We, as Muslims, must reflect that the significance of buying and selling in Islam extends beyond mere trade. These rules are designed to promote a just economic system and are considered a reflection of one’s faith and adherence to Islamic principles.

Prohibited Transactions in Islam 

As Muslims, it is important to be aware of transactions that are not allowed in Islam. These transactions are based on the Quran, the Hadith (sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad), and scholarly interpretations.

Some examples of these prohibited transactions include the following:

Riba (Usury/Interest): 

We must avoid any involvement in transactions that involve interest (riba). Allah has strictly ordered the Muslim Ummah in the holy Quran to not engage in any activities that involve interest. 

For instance, Surah Al-Baqarah (2:275) distinguishes between trade, which is lawful, and interest, which is forbidden.

Those who consume interest will stand on Judgment Day˺ like those driven to madness by Satan’s touch. That is because they say, “Trade is no different than interest.” But Allah has permitted trading and forbidden interest. Whoever refrains—after having received a warning from their Lord—may keep their previous gains, and their case is left to Allah. As for those who persist, it is they who will be the residents of the Fire. They will be there forever. 

(Surah Baqarah Ayat 275)

Gharar (Uncertainty): 

Our transactions should be free from excessive uncertainty, known as gharar. This principle is derived from the Hadith, where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised against entering into contracts that contain significant ambiguity.

It was narrated that Ibn’ Umar said:

“I used to sell gold for silver or silver for gold. I came to the Messenger of Allah (saw) and told him about that, and he said: ‘If you make a deal with your companion, do not leave him when there is still any ambiguity (in the deal) between you.”‘ 

Sunan an-Nasa’i 4583

Haram Goods and Services:

We must also avoid transactions involving goods or services that are haram, such as alcohol, pork, and gambling. These are strictly forbidden as they harm individuals and society. Engaging in buying and selling such items goes against the moral fabric of Islam.

Learn More: Halal and Haram in Islam.

Stolen or Snatched Goods:

Buying and selling of stolen or snatched have no place in Islam. The Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam said, 

“He who buys the stolen property, with the knowledge that it was stolen, shares in the sin and shame of stealing. “

(Sunan Baihaqi)

By adhering to these guidelines, we uphold the integrity of our transactions and contribute to a just economic system. It is through this collective consciousness that we can maintain the purity of our earnings and fulfill our obligations as Muslims. 

Fair Pricing and Avoiding Exploitation 

In Islam, the idea of fair pricing is closely linked to the religion’s moral and ethical standards, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan. This time is not only for fasting and spiritual reflection but also for emphasizing the principles of fairness and equity in economic dealings. 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught that it is against Islamic ethics to take advantage of people’s necessities by overcharging them. During Ramadan, when there may be an increase in demand for certain goods, Muslim business owners should resist the urge to excessively raise prices.

Social Responsibility in Commerce 

Social responsibility in buying and selling embodies various aspects contributing to society and the environment. Some of these responsibilities that are taught in Islam are as given:

Charity and community involvement: 

Incorporating charity and philanthropy into business practices means dedicating profits or resources to charitable endeavors and community development projects. This addresses social needs, reduces poverty, and promotes overall welfare. Such practices align with the Islamic principle of zakat (obligatory almsgiving), which fosters generosity and compassion towards those in need. 

Read more: Islamic Charity: Sadaqah, Zakat.

Ensuring fair wages and ethical employment:

Businesses should provide fair wages and uphold ethical treatment of employees by offering competitive salaries, safe working conditions, and respecting workers’ rights. Fair wages promote economic stability and social equity, aligning with Islamic teachings on justice in labor relations.

Conclusion – Significance of Buying and Selling in Islam

The Holy Quran provides guidance on buying and selling, emphasizing fairness, honesty, and the prohibition of usury (interest) in Islam. As Muslims, we adhere to specific rules when engaging in buying and selling transactions, including fair and honest dealing, accuracy in weighing and measurements, mutual consent, and declaration of defective goods. 

The significance of buying and selling in Islam extends beyond mere trade and is an integral part of our existence as Muslims, embodying our faith in every transaction. By adhering to these principles, we can promote a just economic system and reflect our faith and adherence to Islamic principles.






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