The wicked businessman who is in hellfire

An astonishing narration by the Chief Justice of the Fatimid Empire in Cairo or Qahera during the 3rd Century Hijri has written an astonishing narration of an event during the times of Rasulallah (SA).  The narration has raised keeps me wondering about the purity of intent and heart of his revered companions.

Islam has always treated the souk or the souq as they call the market place as a sacred place of worship where cheating, swearing and all sort of trade misconduct is not only prohibited by the Shariah Law but also regarded as a sin in the eyes of Allah. Thus, the businessman, a trader or a laborer or any person working for the dignity of labor and to save himself and his family from the disgrace of begging for food, clothing and shelter is regarded as a warrior in the way of Allah. The Jihad-e-Akbar (The Greater Battle), which is far more loftier in the eyes of Islam than that which is the extremists or the radicals brainwash the youths about. The battle with one’s own self when given the choice to treason and disloyalty on one side and grace and dignity on the other with utmost loyalty and respect to not only fellow human beings but all that is there on the face of the earth is a hard one to fight.

The narration stated above goes into saying that once Rasulallah Mohammed (SA) was walking his way through the souk in his usual humbled way when he declared that, The businessman or the trader is a licentious libertine, a lecher, who is in hellfire. The next day as he passed by the same souk he found that there was no one there. Not a single trader. Upon inquiry about the situation he was informed about his declaration a day ago! He stated immediately that the same was true even today for all traders except for those who are rightful in their dealings.  The narration is quite historical a master piece in itself. It show the discipline and obedience of the people of Madina during the time of the Prophet (SA), as well as the loyalty to the law and order of the state along with a sense of dignity and pride that Islam teaches Muslims in being law abiding citizens. The fact that a single sentence from the prophet (SA) would result in a voluntary shut down of the entire market place highlights the sense of pride the Muslims feel in being loyal.

Having said that, the above incident and a small sentence from Rasulallah (SA) is worth pondering and sheds light on the fact that a person earning a livelihood with decency and diligence in a sacred place of worship, the souk, is a greater warrior than any other radical mujahid or whatever they might be called. Businesses and those involved in trade and industry from the owners to the laborer including all kinds of departments if seen in the light of the above narration are at fault with humanity or the entire planet itself. In the greed for higher profit margins and grains we can simply see the am9unt of waste, the threat to the environment and earthlings, the sabotage and manipulation of all sorts resources which to an extent are on the edges of depletion and what not. Conspiracy theories on several occasions have blamed huge industries for war and destruction throughout the world. The hunger for accumulation of wealth in whatever way possible, by hook or crook, has become the goal of corporates and corporate leaders throughout the economical sphere which has in turn lead to economic downturns and turmoils throughout the world. every other day we hear news about bribery, treachery, fraud and similar things going on throughout the world. The term social corporate responsibility has been hatched to satisfy the soul that we are giving back something to nature for the harm that we have caused. The waste of resources that is our daily neglected routine has been condemned by the Quran and the Prophet (SA) just as the above narration.

The above is not just about misconduct in dealings in the market place but in all aspects of life. Today the world has been treated as a place of competition where everyone wants to be successful and wealthy, whereas wealth is never the benchmark of success but since there is no material scale for success let it be assumed so. Cheating for position, material gains, positions and status quo has become a trend in people’s life. Life itself has become a trading floor where double standards is deemed to be wise not wicked. Vices are projected as talents gifted by the creator instead of facts it represent. The person who follows the right path of loyalty, virtue and good conduct can only survive the problems faced by our economies as well as our own selves. The correction begins from self awareness and from within only by each and every individual. The narration is applicable of all of us as individuals not just traders and businessmen by profession.

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