"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Riaz
Full Name: Riaz Jafri
User since: 25/Jan/2008
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Islamic Trade & Business


The Islamic system of  business, trade and finance management (banking) is said to be  the best as it will not allow any exploitation of the lower and middle classes and that the distribution of the wealth will be equitable. However, our history tells us differently.  There was rarely, if ever, any middle class and it were only the rich or the poor in our early days as well as during the later Khilafat period (in fact  Malukiat) – of the Ummayads, the Abbasids and the Fatimides.  What surprises me most is how could some of them – including Sahaba e Ikraam amass so much of wealth in the early days of Islam through trade only.


Please allow me to elucidate it with an example:


Gold today is around Rs.60,000/ a tola and wheat more than a 1000/= a maund. In 1955  gold  was Rs. 60/= per tola and  wheat Rs. 7 a maund.  In 1941 gold was Rs. 32/= a tola and wheat 12 annas a maund (2 maunds for Rs. 1/50)  and so on so forth.  500 years back at the time of Alla ud Din Khilji commodities were roughly One Paisa a maund. By the same tolen 1500 years back these should have been priced still lesser,  but for argument sake let’s keep them at One paisa a maund.  Now the inter-city/country land trade was done through camel caravans. A healthy camel can carry 7 to 8 maunds of load. A real large caravan of, say, Abu Sufiyan used to comprise of about 1000 camels, and that too not all his own.  Other people also used to send their export goods on their camels with such caravans – essentially for protection and safety sake. They could as such carry 7000 to 8000 maunds in all. The most precious commodity could no t have been by any stretch of imagination more than a rupee a maund. As such assuming a caravan carried ONLY  the most precious commodities its worth would have been Rs. 7000 to 8000 only one way. No more than two such trading round trips could be made in a year. That means the total business during a year was around Rs. 28,000 to 32000 only. Now what was their profit margin that on such seemingly low investments they could amass thousands of rupees (Dirham or Dinars)? Some of them were so rich that Abu Sufiyan financed 10 battles against the Prophet (SAW).  Hazrat Usman was known as Ghani for his wealth and apart from many other financial contributions had donated a well worth 70,000 dirhams to the Muslims.  Similarly, many others were reputed  to be men of great means. Where from did they get all that money and how? What fiscal or  banking system they followed that offered such lucrative and promising business deals? Was it Islamic? And if it was, would it allow us also to make such huge profits?  Mind you, Sirs, at present with much faster communications, business correspondence through computers and faxes,  instant on line money transactions and the much faster and efficient modern  modes of transportation of shipments through air and sea one cannot make more than 10 to15 per cent profit and yet our clerics call it unIslamic ?   



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