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Online Quran Academy - Islamic Mentors

Ethics of Business in Islam – Principles and Prohibited Practices


Concept of Business Ethics in Islam

Business ethics in Islam guides us in conducting business according to Islamic principles. It involves making money while being ethical and responsible, aiming to please Allah (SWT). These ethics go beyond obeying the law as they integrate moral and spiritual values into our business practices.

Business ethics refers to how a business behaves towards society and customers. Different places have different business ethics, but globalization makes them more similar.

In Islam, business ethics are not just about individual deals. As Muslims, we are not only encouraged but required to help our community and avoid harming society.

Importance of Learning Business Ethics

There are several benefits to learning business ethics within the Islamic context. Ethical conduct builds trust with customers, investors, and partners by upholding honesty (Amanah) and fulfilling promises (Ahd). This aligns with Islamic values and strengthens your reputation in the marketplace. Additionally, ethical practices ensure your business seeks halal provision (Rizq) and avoids haram to earn wealth.

  • Builds Trust and Reputation: Ethical behavior helps you gain trust with customers, investors, and partners. When people see you as honest and fair, you attract more business and strengthen your brand.
  • Boosts Profitability: Unethical behavior can result in fines, lawsuits, and ruined relationships, which can cost money. Following ethics can avoid these problems and improve your profits.
  • Reduces Risk: Understanding ethical principles can help you handle tricky situations better and avoid legal trouble.
  • Personal Growth: Learning ethics makes you a more complete and thoughtful business person and decision-maker.

Understanding and implementing ethical principles in business is crucial for Muslims, as it forms the foundation of Sharia-compliant business practices. By following ethical guidelines, businesses can fulfill their duty (Fard) and contribute to social good (Maslahah).

Scope of Business

The Scope of Business in Islam is a comprehensive set of ethical principles that guide profitable, socially responsible, and environmentally sustainable business practices, all conducted within the framework of Sharia.

  • Social Responsibility: This goes beyond simply making a sale. As Muslims, we are encouraged to consider our businesses’ impact on our communities by fulfilling our social obligations (Huqooq al-Ibad) through job creation, supporting local initiatives, and contributing to economic growth.
  • Environmental Stewardship: In Islam, we are taught to respect the environment as a gift from Allah (SWT). This means we should reduce waste, use resources wisely, and choose eco-friendly practices.

For more information about Stewardship, click this link: Stewardship and Environmental Responsibility.

  • Ethical Marketing and Advertising: Islamic business ethics also cover how we market and advertise. Our promotions should be truthful and not misleading. We should avoid overstatements and false promises and always respect the dignity and values of all individuals.

This holistic approach sets Islamic business ethics apart. It aims to balance making money and doing good.

Principles of Business

Principles of Business are fundamental concepts that guide decision-making and operations within an organization. Here are some fundamental principles to consider:

Buying and Selling

This principle highlights the importance of honesty in all transactions. Buyers and sellers should provide accurate information about products and services, set fair prices, and ensure that the terms of the exchange are clear and agreed upon by all parties. Ethical buying and selling promote trust and long-term business relationships.

For more information, visit this blog post: Buying and Selling in Islam.

Fair Treatment

It means providing excellent customer service and being transparent in business dealings. Treating others fairly helps build a positive reputation and fosters a healthy business environment. Fair treatment involves:

  • Non-discrimination.
  • Ensuring fair wages.
  • Providing safe working conditions.
  • Respecting the rights of all individuals involved in the business process.

Avoiding Giving Short Measure

This principle addresses the need for honesty in trade. Businesses should not cheat customers by providing less than advertised or agreed upon. For example, in a grocery store, customers should get the exact weight of produce they pay for. Ensuring accurate measures helps build trust and customer loyalty.

Allah Almighty says in the Quran:

Surah Al-Mutaffifin verses 1-3 about measuring the accurate weight.
“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 1-3]

These verses emphasize ensuring recipients receive their full due, but when it’s their turn to give, they cheat others by giving less than they owe.


Swearing or using offensive language can damage professional relationships and create a hostile work environment. Businesses should foster a culture of respect and professionalism, which includes communicating clearly and kindly. This principle helps maintain a positive and inclusive workplace.

Allah Almighty says in the Quran:

Surah Al-Baqarah 42 about not talking falsehood during business dealings.
“Do not mix truth with falsehood or hide the truth knowingly.” [Surah Al-Baqarah 42]

This verse addresses the importance of maintaining clarity and honesty, particularly in matters of truth and falsehood.

Dealing with stolen goods

Dealing with stolen goods is illegal and unethical. Businesses must ensure that all products and services come from fair and legal sources. Engaging in such activities breaks the law and spoil the trust of customers and partners. Upholding this principle protects the business’s reputation and ensures compliance with the law.

Allah Almighty says in the Quran:

Surah Al-Baqarah ayat 188 about consuming wealth unjustly.
“Do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly, nor deliberately bribe authorities in order to devour a portion of others’ property, knowing that it is a sin.” [Surah Al-Baqarah 188]

These business principles serve as guidelines to ensure ethical conduct and integrity in all business operations.

Prohibited Practices in Business

Prohibited practices in business ethics are illegal or unethical actions under various regulations and laws. These practices are not permitted to ensure fair competition, protect consumers, and promote ethical business conduct. Here are some common examples:


Gharar refers to uncertainty or ambiguity in the terms of a contract or the fundamental nature of a business transaction. In Islamic finance, transactions should be clear and transparent, with all parties fully aware of the details and potential outcomes.

Examples of Gharar

  • Selling goods or services that are not in your ownership or control.
  • Entering into contracts with unclear terms or conditions.

For more information, visit this link: Gharar (Uncertainty)

Riba (Usury)

Riba refers to any guaranteed interest on loaned money that is utilized. In Islamic finance, money should only be used to generate more if it involves productive economic activities. Instead of earning interest, profits should come from investments in tangible assets and business journeys where the risk is shared between parties.

Examples of Riba

  • Charging interest on loans.
  • Receiving interest from savings accounts or bonds.
  • Any form of guaranteed fixed return in financial transactions.

For more information, visit this blog post: Riba (Interest) in Islam.

Halal and Haram

Halal refers to what is permissible according to Islamic law, while haram refers to what is forbidden. As Muslims, we should ensure that our businesses, products, and services comply with Islamic business ethics standards. This includes avoiding dealings in items and practices considered haram.

Examples of Haram Activities

  • Idolatry Items: Producing or selling items used for idol worship.
  • Intoxicants: Engaging in the production, distribution, or sale of alcoholic drinks and other intoxicants.
  • Prohibited Food: Handling and selling food items that are not permissible under Islamic dietary laws, such as pork and improperly slaughtered animals.

For more information about Halal and Haram, visit this blog post: Halal and Haram in Islam.

Following these prohibitions ensures that transactions are conducted ethically and in line with our religious principles in Islamic finance and business.

Accountability and Responsibility in Business Ethics

Business owners and employees are responsible for ensuring Islamic ethics are followed, which helps maintain integrity and accountability at all levels of business operations.

Responsibilities of Business Owners:

  1. Fair Treatment:  Business owners must treat their employees fairly, providing them with wages and working conditions.
  2. Honesty and Transparency: Business owners should conduct all business dealings honestly and fairly, ensuring that contracts are clear and all parties understand their rights and obligations.
  3. Providing a Safe Working Environment: You must ensure the workplace is safe and conducive to productivity.
  4. Avoid Exploitation: You must avoid any form of exploitation, such as overworking employees or withholding their rightful earnings.

Responsibilities of Employees:

  1. Diligence and Hard Work: Employees are expected to perform their duties carefully and to the best of their abilities.
  2. Honesty: Employees should be honest in their work, avoiding deceit or fraud.
  3. Loyalty: Employees should be loyal to their employer and respect company property and policies.
  4. Professionalism: Conducting yourself professionally and adhering to the ethical standards of the job is expected.


  1. Responsibility for Actions: Both business owners and employees should take responsibility for their actions. This includes admitting mistakes and taking steps to correct them.
  2. Transparency: Being transparent about business practices and decisions helps prevent misunderstandings and fosters a culture of trust.
  3. Performance Monitoring: It is crucial to regularly monitor performance and ensure that all organization members meet their responsibilities. This includes providing feedback and support to help employees improve.

For more information, visit this blog post, Accountability and Responsibility in Islam.

Zakat in Business

Zakat, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, is a required charitable contribution that purifies our wealth by redistributing it to those in need. For us business owners, understanding how to calculate and pay Zakat is essential to follow Islamic principles.

General Steps for Calculating Zakat

  1. Business Inventory: Calculate the current market value of all the goods you have for sale at the end of the lunar year.
  2. Accounts Receivable: Include any payments that are expected to be received.
  3. Cash and Bank Balances: Add up all the cash you have in hand and your bank accounts.
  4. Investments: Assess the market value of any assets you hold.
  5. Deductible Liabilities: Subtract any debts or liabilities you owe from the total value of your assets.

For more exploration, visit this blog post: Giving Zakat in Islam: Guidelines and Blessings.

Specific Considerations for Zakat in Gold Businesses

Gold businesses have particular rules due to the nature of their inventory and assets.

Rules for Zakat on Gold

  • Nisab for gold is 87.48 grams (7.5 Tola); if you have this amount or more, you must pay Zakat.
  • Calculate the current market value of the gold you possess at the end of the lunar year.
  • Include all gold items in your business inventory held for sale and assess their market value.
  • Separate personal gold holdings from business inventory and calculate Zakat for each separately.
  • The Zakat rate on gold is 2.5% of the total market value of the gold meeting the nisab and in your possession for at least one lunar year.

For more exploration, visit this blog post: Understanding the Rules of Zakat on Gold in Islam.

Managing Debt in Business

Managing Debt in business according to Islamic principles involves devotion to Shariah law, which emphasizes ethical and fair financial practices. Here are key points on how to manage Debt in business according to Islamic ethics, along with the importance of these principles:

  • Debt Structuring: Debt should be structured equitably and transparently. For example, contracts like Ijara (leasing) and Musharakah (joint venture) are preferred, where risks and rewards are shared among the parties involved.
  • Fair Contracts: All contracts should be transparent and fair, avoiding exploitation or unjust enrichment.
  • Avoiding Excessive Debt: Islam discourages excessive indebtedness. Business owners are encouraged to manage their finances prudently, avoiding unnecessary Debt and ensuring that any debt taken is within their capacity to repay.
  • Timely Repayment: Repaying debts on time is a moral obligation. Islam emphasizes the importance of fulfilling promises and obligations.
  • Ethical Business Practices: Business transactions should adhere to high ethical standards. This includes honesty, goodness, and avoiding deceit or fraud in all financial dealings.

These are the principles for managing Debt in Islam. For further information, visit our blog post Managing Debt in Islam.

Significance of Seeking Knowledge

The pursuit of knowledge holds great significance in Islam, particularly when it comes to conducting business ethically. Knowledge and education are essential for making well-informed and morally sound decisions. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) emphasized the importance of knowledge, stating, “Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim(Sunan Ibn Majah). This indicates that acquiring knowledge is beneficial and a religious duty for all of us.

Continuous learning is crucial for business in line with Islamic principles. Islamic teachings offer detailed guidance on financial transactions, ethical conduct, and social responsibility. By continually seeking knowledge, individuals can ensure that their business practices align with Shariah law, thereby building trust and integrity in their operations.

For comprehensive information about the Significance of Seeking Knowledge in Islam, kindly visit this blog post.

Conclusion: The Power of Ethical Principles

In Islam, business ethics serve as a guide, helping us navigate the complexities of commerce. These principles are not just about following rules; they help us develop a spirit of fairness, integrity, and social responsibility.

We’ve explored how ethics play a significant role in Islamic business. Adhering to ethical principles is not just a religious obligation; it’s about building a strong foundation for success. By prioritizing honesty, fairness, and social responsibility, Islamic businesses can:

  • Earn Trust: Ethical conduct fosters trust with customers, suppliers, and investors, strengthening business relationships.
  • Promote Sustainability: Responsible financial practices and avoiding excessive Debt contribute to long-term financial health and growth.
  • Contribute to the Community: Ethical businesses can positively impact the community by creating jobs, supporting fair labor practices, and protecting the environment.

When we focus on learning and doing what’s right, we create businesses that people trust, that last, and that help society. Let’s stay committed to learning and doing what’s ethical so our actions show the true values of Islam.






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