Islamic Principles of Business

Islam is a holistic religion. The religion of peace has provided advice for all our personal and professional affairs. Although one may be born into the religion, a deep study of Islam should be conducted to understand and apply its principles. One such facet of life that Islam has beautifully covered is how to conduct our business affairs. What follows are some of the many etiquettes of how a Muslim should conduct their professional affairs.

Excessive spending

Typically, in industries that are clientfacing, extravagance is mistaken for success. To attract clients and appear successful, we may feel that we must drive a luxury vehicle and wear name-brand clothing. However, as a Muslim we should be able to identify such excessiveness and not feel any kind of inferiority complex in front of others.


Know that the life of this world is only a sport and a pastime, and an adornment, and a source of boasting among yourselves, and of rivalry in multiplying riches and children. This life is like the rain the vegetation produced whereby rejoices the tillers. Then it dries up and thou seest it turn yellow; then it becomes broken pieces of straw. And in the Hereafter there is severe punishment, and also forgiveness from Allah, and His pleasure. And the life of this world is nothing but temporary enjoyment of deceitful things.

Surah al-Hadid, 57:21


Allah the Almighty looks at our intentions. If we are buying these lavish items with the intent of presenting a certain image in front of others to gain business, there is no good in this. However, where there is a genuine need for such items, spending is permissible.


Responsibilities of the rich towards the poor

If Allah has blessed one with financial success, they have also been blessed with an obligation towards the needy. The more wealth Allah blesses you with, the more you should consider less fortunate. One such way is to purify your earnings and give alms. By assisting the poor one can raise the standard of life for those neglected by society.

We should always be mindful of whether our resources can be better utilized. Whenever we find ourselves with excess wealth, we should consider how we can best spend our resources for the betterment of society. Hazrat Musleh Ma’ud (RA) gave the example of the Taj Mahal. Although it’s an architectural masterpiece, the resources could have been better spent on the needy.


Refraining from fraudulent practices

In Surah Aal-e-Imran, we are advised that one of the qualities of a Muslim is that he is truthful. Being truthful in business implies being honest in your dealings. Yet often, we see the opposite happening in society. One such example is of some businesses transacting purely in cash. They attempt to minimize their reported income to minimize their tax liability.

Such fraudulent practices are often justified by the perpetrator on the basis that other people are doing it, so why shouldn’t they. This is a common thought that plagues our society. Many people are operating businesses in industries where there are extreme levels of fraud. They adopt deceitful and dishonest practices as if they are obligated to do so, so that they can get by in life or make a living. However, such practices can destroy a nation.

Hazrat Musleh Maud (RA) has addressed this matter in The Way of the Seekers. He (RA), states: “Fraud in business is a national vice for it destroys the credibility of a nation. When I last visited Kashmir, I found the annual trade of silver utensils and shawls at an ebb. It had come down from 10 million rupees annually to 1.7 million owing mainly to the dishonesty of those engaged in this trade and industry.”


The steadfast, and the truthful, and the humble, and those who spend in the way of God, and those who seek forgiveness in the latter part of the night.

Surah Aal-e-Imran, 3:18


Working hard

Nothing good comes easy. As Ahmadi Muslims, we should aim to be the best in our respective fields regardless of what we do. That is, and has always been, the expectation of Khalifa-e-Waqt (May Allah be his helper!). Hazrat Musleh Ma’ud (AA) has stated that: “Islam requires every man to earn his living and not to live an idle life. The Holy Prophet (SAW) has said: ‘The best food is that which a man earns with the labour of his own hands.’”

In addition, although not everyone can be a business owner, those who are able and have the desire should do so. In the 1936 Majlis-e-Shura, Hazrat Musleh Ma’ud (AA) expressed a similar desire.

“…when I travel via train, I feel a strong desire in my heart that ‘If only this train was manufactured by Ahmadis and the company was owned by Ahmadis’ and when I travel via plane, I say [in my heart], ‘If only this plane was manufactured by Ahmadis and Ahmadis were the owners of its company.”

As Ahmadi Muslims, we should continue to excel in our personal and professional lives. Just as much effort we put into our worldly affairs, we should put into our spirituality. By increasing our knowledge of faith, we can also improve our conduct in business and gain the riches of this life and the Afterlife.

We are blessed that we have a divinely guided individual in Huzoor (AA). We should leverage this channel to seek guidance on all our affairs and we will see a remarkable improvement in the quality of our lives. May Allah enable us to do so, Ameen.



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