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The Objectives of Shari’ah in Sales Transaction

[The original posting can be found at: http://alnaqiy.com/article/the-objectives-of-shariah-in-sales-transaction/]

Islam and the Economic System

Islam differs fundamentally from man-made systems in defining the economic system. In Islamic economic principles, all the wealth belongs to Allah and the human is the trustee of the wealth. Islam as a complete way of life did not set any rulings, be it in ibadah or muamalah, without any means.

For example, when Islam prohibited riba, Islam aims to encourage people to spend and invest which generates economic activity and is healthy for the economy. The more spending and investment, the more jobs are created and more wealth is circulated.

The discussion on the prohibition of riba falls under the Islamic law of transactions. The Islamic law of transactions deals with various kinds of transactions which carry with them legal duties undertaken by persons in relation to one with another. For a Muslim, this undertaking, apart from being a legal duty, it is coupled with religious duties. It is a branch of Islamic law of practical application regulating various transactions including sales, leases, hiring, carriage, gifts, service and many others. Many of these transactions involve great financial value and significance. ¹

In this article, we would like to focus and list in brief the wisdom behind the sales transactions, supported by evidences from al-Qur’an and Sunnah.

Sales Transaction and the Wisdom behind It²

1 – Fulfillment of People’s Needs

Allah says: “And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed.” ³

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “No food is better to man than that which he earns through his manual work. Dawud (ﷺ), the Prophet of Allah, ate only out of his earnings from his manual work.” 4

2 – Circulation of Wealth

Allah says: “And what Allah restored to His Messenger from the people of the towns – it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for [his] near relatives and orphans and the [stranded] traveler – so that it will not be a perpetual distribution among the rich from among you.” 5

3 – In Response to Human Nature

Allah says: “Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.” 6

The Bottom Line – Living Islamic Law

Islamic law, both as a whole and in individual rulings; 1) supports and protects our relationship with our Creator; 2) nurtures conditions conducive to life and protects life from harm and senseless loss; 3) creates and environment conducive to the use and development of the intellect; 4) preserves the family unit; and 5) protects people’s personal assets, for such protection is necessary for a healthy society.7

Understanding this framework may be helpful in seeing how individual rulings fit into the larger picture.

Wallahua’lam.

  1. Prof. Dr. Ala’ Eddin Kharofa, Transactions in Islamic Law (Kuala Lumpur: A.S. Noordeen, 2009), p. xi.
  2. Extracted from: Zaharuddin Abd Rahman, Maqasid al-Shariah fi Ahkam al-Buyu’ (Kuala Lumpur: IIUM Press, 2009), pp. 40-42.
  3. Al-Jumu’ah 62:10
  4. Sahih Al-Bukhari, no. 543
  5. Al-Hashr 59:7
  6. Ali Imran 3:14
  7. Asad Tarsin, Being Muslim – A Practical Guide (United States of America: Sandala Inc., 2015), p. 187.
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