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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 22: Buying and Selling (Hadith -- The Traditions)


Chapter 22:
Buying and Selling (Hadith -- The Traditions):


 

(Note: The superscript-numbers [e.g., intention2] that appear in the text [in pink] refer to the numbers of the explanatory footnotes that appear at the end of each Hadith [Tradition].)


1 Miqdam reported,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"No one eats better food than that which he eats out of the work of his hand."1 (B. 34 : 15.)

1 The humblest work thus carries with it a dignity. Bukhari mentions a number of professions in the headings of his chapters, such as that of meat-seller and butcher (B. 34 : 21), goldsmith (B. 34 : 28), blacksmith (B. 34 : 29), tailor (B. 34 : 30), weaver (B. 34 : 31), carpenter (B. 34 : 32); and mentions hadith showing that they were looked upon as honourable by the Holy Prophet, those who followed them being treated on a basis of perfect equality with other members of Muslim society.


2 Qatadah said,
People used to buy and sell and carry on trade (in goods), but when it was the turn of a duty out of the duties imposed by Allah, neither merchandise nor selling diverted them from the remembrance of Allah, so that they performed their duty to Allah (first).
2 (B. 34 : 8.)

2 Duty to God is thus placed higher than duty to self or duty to others.


3 Abu Sa`id resorted,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"The truthful, honest merchant is with the prophets and the truthful ones and the martyrs."3 (Tr. 14 : 4.)

3 The truthful, honest merchant works for the benefit of humanity, and thus finds a place with those righteous servants of God whose lives are devoted to the benefit of humanity.


4 Jabir reported,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"May Allah have mercy on the man who is generous when he buys and when he sells and when he demands (his due)." (B. 34 : 16.)


5 Hudhaifah said,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"The angels met the soul of a man from among those who were before you, (and) they said, Hast thou done any good? He said, I used to give respite to the one in easy circumstances and forgive one who was in straitened circumstances. So they forgave him." (B. 34 : 17.)


6 Hakim ibn Hizam said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"The buyer and the seller have the option (of cancelling the contract) as long as they have not separated, then if they both speak the truth and make manifest, 4 their transaction shall be blessed, and if they conceal and tell lies, the blessing of their transaction shall be obliterated." (B. 34 : 19.)

4 Any defect in the thing sold must be made manifest. In the case of a barter, both parties must do it.


7 Abu Sa`id reported,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, forbade munabadhah, and this was the throwing of a person his cloth in sale to another before he examined it or looked at it; and he forbade mulamasah, and mulamasah was the touching of a cloth without looking at it.
5 (B. 34 : 62.)

5 In pre-Islamic days Munabadhah (from nabdh, to throw away) and mulamasah (from lams, to touch) were two kinds of sale in which the purchaser had no occasion to examine the thing purchased.


8 Abu Hurairah said,
I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, say:

"The taking of oaths makes the commodities sell, but it obliterates the blessing (therein)." (B. 34 : 26.)


9 Ibn `Umar reported,
They used to buy cereals from the camel-owners in the time of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, and he used to send to them a person who forbade them selling it where they purchased it, until it was brought to the place where cereals were sold. (B. 34 : 49.)


10 Ibn `Umar said,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"Whoever buys cereals, he shall not sell them until he obtains their possession." (B. 34 : 54.)


11 Ma`mar said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said,

"Whoever withholds cereals that they may become scarce and dear, is a sinner." 6 (M-Msh. 12 : 8.)

6 This is technically known as ihtikar, and it is resorted to by grain merchants to enhance the price of grain when it comes into their possession.


12 Abu Hurairah said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, forbade the dweller of the town selling for one coming from the desert, and (he said):

"Do not resort to najsh; and let not a man carry on a transaction against his brother's transaction."7 (B. 34 : 58.)

7 Najsh (from najasha, he roused or pursued the game) means augmenting the price of an article of merchandise, not desiring to purchase it but in order that another might hear and augment in the same manner or outbidding in a sale in order that another might fall into a snare, the bidder himself not wanting the thing, or praising an article of merchandise simply to deceive another person (LL). Perfect honesty is thus enjoined in all business transactions. The first part of the hadith aims at eliminating the commission agent who on account of his cleverness generally proves a curse to the simple villager or agriculturist, for whose protection the direction is particularly meant.


13 Anas reported,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, purchased a piece of hair-cloth and a bowl, and he said:

"Who will buy this piece of hair-cloth and bowl?"

A man said, I take them for one dirham.

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"Who will give more than one dirham? Who will give more than one dirham?"

A man gave him two dirhams and bought them from him.8 (Tr. 14 : 10.)

8 To sell a thing by auction is thus allowed.


14 Abu Hurairah reported on the authority of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him:

"Do not leave the camels and the goats unmilked,9 and whoever buys them after (they have been so left), he has the option of doing one of two things when he milks them; if he pleases he may keep them and if he pleases he may give them back (to the owner) with a sa` of dates." (B. 34 : 64.)

9 This was a device by which the purchaser of a milch animal was deceived and induced to pay a higher price. Such a sale may be repudiated.


15 Ibn `Abbas said,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, came to Madinah, and they used to pay two and three years in advance for dates.
10 So he said:

"He who pays in advance for a commodity, (he should do it) for a specified measure and a definite weight to be delivered at a fixed time." (B. 35 : 2.)

10 This was a kind of speculation, not trade in the proper sense, because the thing purchased did not exist.


16 Sa`id ibn Huraith said,
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said:

"Whoever sells a house or a land yieldin grevenue, then he does not invest the price on a thing akin to it, he is not likely to be blessed therein."11 (Ah. IV. 307.)

11 It is due to neglect of this useful advice that immovable property is passing out of the hands of the Muslim community in India at a very fast pace. A Muslim is enjoined to meet his ordinary or extraordinary expenses out of his earnings or savings, and he must not sell his immovable property unless he intends to invest the price of it in acquiring similar property.


17 Jabir reported,
He heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, say, while he was at Makkah in the year of the conquest (of Makkah):

"Allah and His Messenger have forbidden trade in wine and the dead (animals) and swine and idols."12 (B. 34 : 112.)

12 Islam came to exterminate idolatry, and hence it could not allow trade in idols. As regards things forbidden as food, evidently a Muslim has nothing to do with them, and he cannot be allowed to carry them to other people. So far the words of the hadith are quite in consonance with the spirit of Islam, which looks upon every profession as a service to humanity, besides being the means of earning a livelihood for a man. But here follow the words:

It was said, O Messenger of Allah! Inform us about the fat of the dead (animal); for, with it boots are rubbed and skins are greased and people light their lamps with it. He said : `No! it is forbidden' (B. 34 : 112). 

If this part of the hadith is accepted as authentic, the question arises, Did the Holy Prophet mean to say that it was forbidden to Muslims that they should make use of the fat of the dead animal to light lamps or grease skins? This would mean that not only was the eating of the dead animal forbidden, but anything which formed part of it could not be used in any other way. This is nowhere stated in the Holy Qur'an, where only the eating of certain things is forbidden. Moreover, the hadith that follows, not only makes such use lawful but clearly makes it necessary (h. 18). When the Holy Prophet saw a dead goat with its skin on it, he said : "Why did you not benefit by its skin?" If it was necessary to benefit by the skin, why not by the bones or the fat, so long as they were not used for eating purposes? The Holy Prophet could not, therefore, say that it was unlawful to use any part of a dead animal whose flesh was forbidden and this part of the hadith cannot be accepted.

Imam Shafi`i and others have interpreted this part as meaning that it was the trading in such things as fats that was forbidden, not their use. There is no reason in this. If the use of a certain thing is allowed for a certain purpose, trading in it cannot be forbidden if limited to that purpose. The Holy Prophet made it necessary that the skins of the animals whose flesh was forbidden should be made use of, but how could that be done if trading in it was prohibited? Evidently there has been some misconception relating to the latter portion of the hadith.


18 Ibn `Abbas said,
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, saw a dead goat which had been given to a maid of Maimunah out of zakat. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, said :

"Why did you not benefit by its skin?" He said : "Only the eating thereof is forbidden." 13 (B. 24 : 61.)

13 The words of the Holy Prophet make it clear that a thing which may not be eaten may be put to any other use.

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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 22: Buying and Selling (Hadith -- The Traditions)

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