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The Sealed Nectar

 The Sealed Nectar by Shaykh Safi ur-Rahman

Muhammad was always fair and honest in his dealings with other people even before his prophethood. When he attained the age of maturity he became a trader and went on expeditions to the Middle East countries. He traded with other people's money with great prudence and made large profits. The people of Makkah were very much impressed by his trading skill and fair dealing. Gradually he became well-known and the people trusted him. It was his honesty and fair dealing in business that impressed Khadijah, who first entrusted her enterprise to him and later married him. All the people who had done business dealings with him before his prophethood had always praised his honesty and fair dealing in trade. He was not only fair in business dealings with other people but also encouraged his companions to be so. An-Nauman bin Bashir reported God's Messenger as saying, "What is lawful is clear and what is unlawful is clear, but between them are certain doubtful things which many people do not recognise. He who guards against doubtful things keeps his religion and his honour blameless, but he who falls into doubtful things falls into what is unlawful, just as a shepherd who pastures his animals round a national reserve will soon pasture them in it. Every king has a reserve and God's reserve is the things He has declared unlawful." (Bukhari and Muslim). And Abdullah ibn Masud reported God's Messenger as saying, "Trying to earn a lawful livelihood is an obligatory duty in addition to the duties which are obligatory." Rafi ibn Khadij said that God's Messenger was asked what type of earning was best and he replied, "A man's work with his hands and every business transaction which is approved." (Ahmad). Jabir reported God's Messenger as saying, "God shows mercy to a man who is kindly when he sells, when he buys and when he makes a claim." (Bukhari).


Abu Saeed reported God's Messenger as saying, "The truthful and trustworthy merchant is associated with the Prophets, the upright and the martyrs." (Tirmizi, Darimi and Ibn Majah). Hudhaifa reported God's Messenger as saying, "Before your time there was a man who, when the angel came to take his soul, was asked whether he had done anything good and he replied that he did not know. He was told to consider, and then he said that the only thing he knew was that he used to have business dealings with people in the world and would demand his rights from them, giving the rich time to pay and letting the poor off. So God brought him into Paradise." (Bukhari and Muslim).


Muhammad clearly warned those who did not do fair dealings. Abdullah ibn Masud reported God's Messenger as saying, "No man who acquires unlawful property and gives some of it in charity will have it accepted from him; neither will he receive a blessing for it; and if he leaves some of it behind him it will be his provision for hell." (Ahmad). And Abu Bakr reported God's Messenger as saying, "Nobody who has been nourished with what is unlawful will enter Paradise." Many incidents can be quoted from the life of Muhammad to show how just and fair he was in his business dealings with other people. There was a famous trader, named Saib, in Arabia, who embraced Islam and came to see Muhammad. The Muslims introduced him with some commendatory words to the Holy Prophet. The Prophet said, "I know him better than you." Saib said, "My parents be sacrificed, he was my partner and always kept business dealings fair and clean.') Once Muhammad borrowed some dates from a man who came back a few days later and demanded payment of his debt. Muhammad asked one of the Ansar to pay off his debt. The Ansari paid back his dates but they were not of the same quality as had been given by him to the Holy Prophet. He refused to accept them. The Ansari told him that he was refusing to accept the dates given by the Holy Prophet. He replied, "Yes, if the Messenger of God will not do justice, from whom shall we expect it?" When the Holy Prophet heard this, tears came into his eyes and he said, "It is quite true."


Once Muhammad borrowed some money from a Beduin. He came back and spoke very harshly to the Holy Prophet. The companions rebuked him for his arrogance and said, "Do you know who you are talking to?" He replied that he was demanding his due. The Holy Prophet said to his companions, "You ought to support him for he hathe right to speak." Then he asked his companions to pay off his debt and give some more. In a battle, Jabir ibn Abdullah Ansari was accompanying the Holy Prophet. His camel was slow, and after the journey, having been completely worn out, it became very slow. The Holy Prophet bought his camel and then gave it back to him along with the money and said "Both are yours." Once he borrowed a camel from someone and returned a better one. Then he said, "The best people are those who pay off their debts joyfully."


Once a Beduin was selling the meat of a camel. Muhammad thought that there were some dry dates at home, so he bought some meat for one Wasq of dates. When he came home he found there were no dates. He came out of the house and told the Beduin that he had bought meat in exchange for dates but he had no dates. The Beduin began to shout that he had been tricked. The people advised him that the Messenger of God would not do unfair dealing with anyone. The Holy Prophet said, "Leave him, he has the right to protest." This continued for some time and each time the Holy Prophet said, "He has the right to protest." Then the Holy Prophet sent him to an Ansari woman and asked him to get his dates for the meat from her. When he returned with the dates, the Holy Prophet was sitting with his companions. He was very much impressed by the gentleness, forgiveness and fair dealings of the Holy Prophet. Seeing the Holy Prophet he said, "Muhammad! May God give you a better reward; you have paid the full price with goodness."


Once a small caravan was staying outside Medinah. They had a red camel. By chance, Muhammad passed that way and asked the price of the camel. The people told him the price, which he accepted without argument. Muhammad caught the bridle of the camel and walked towards the city. Afterwards the people regretted that they had given the camel without any acquaintance. There was a woman in the caravan who said, "Be comforted. We have not seen a man with a brighter face than his." In other words, such a man would not deceive. When night fell, Muhammad sent food for them and dates for the price of the camel. Muhammad needed some armaments in the battle of Hunain. He asked Safwan, an unbeliever, to lend him some chain armour. He replied, "Muhammad! You intend to usurp something?" The Holy Prophet said, "No, I am taking it on loan. If some is lost, I will pay the proper compensation." He gave forty sets of chain armour on loan. After the battle. some of the chain armour was found to be missing. The Holy Prophet told Safwan that some of his armour was lost, and he could accept compensation for them. Safwan replied, "O Messenger of God! The condition of my heart is not as it was before. In other words, I have embraced Islam; now I don't need compensation."