What is Islam's view of Business Life and Economic development?

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What is Islam's view of business and economic development?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Adam Smith is described as the father of economics; he is regarded to have founded the free market economy. His book called “the Wealth of Nations” was published in 1789. The essence of the book is based on this idea: The best thing to do about the economy is not to intervene in the market at all because the market always does the best. That famous idea is expressed with the maxim ‘Let do’ (Laissez fairez). The reason on which Smith bases his ideas is very interesting. He says there is an invisible hand that rules the market; what he means by the invisible hand is God. Were those ideas that are still regarded as the basic doctrine in economy put forward by him for the first time? Let us have a look at the history of Islam to find the answer.
In the Age of Bliss (the Era of the Prophet), when people demanded an official fixed price, Hazrat Muhammad brought the principle of not intervening in the prices by any means and said the following as a reason; "Only Allah knows where prices will go." Those words that describe the system of liberal economy concisely match up with the definition of Smith. It is certain that one of them quoted from the other.

Since our Prophet lived about 11 centuries before Smith, it is clear who quoted from whom. On the other hand, our Prophet objected to liberal economy’s acting like wild capitalism by saying, "Pay the worker his wage before his sweat dries." In addition, practices like zakat (obligatory alms), qard hasan (loan without interest) and sadaqa (voluntary alms) are the new practices of Islam aiming at eliminating injustice in the income distribution. On the other hand, 12-13 centuries had to pass and the community had to undergo unbelievable pains for the West to regard workers as humans.  

Trade is the lifeblood of the economic life. In a broad sense, it can even be said that economy=trade. The following hadith of the Prophet of Islam regarding the issue is a clear message: "Be courageous and be involved in trade. Nine out of ten of the sustenance is from trade." Our Prophet stated that trade had risks but he advised us not to avoid risks. In addition, he expressed a macroeconomic phenomenon that is generally accepted today informing us that almost all of the gross national income originated directly or indirectly from trade both in the country and in the world. However, the Christian clergymen regarded trade and fraud equal until recently and named selling something at a price higher than its cost as theft.

In the holy book of Islam, the Quran, it is ordered that the information about the trade be written and recorded. Thus, Islam showed the way of recording the information and transactions about trade correctly in the books of the companies, which forms one of the essentials of the companies today, and preventing shadow economy, which is the source of many evils. As a matter of fact the contemporary accounting system was started by Arabs for the first time thanks to the decree of the Quran. It took the West several centuries to reach that level in accounting and incorporation.

The Messenger of Allah presented all of the leaders of the world with a divine guide for success by saying, "The head of a community is the one who serves that community the most." A serving leader is an issue that contemporary management science has just started to search.

Questions on Islam

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