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10. Trade & Commerce in Early Madinah - A Brief Outline

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين وسلّم

Title: Trade & Commerce in Early Madinah: A Brief Outline

Author: Dr. Adi Setia,1

Publication date: 9/11/2013

Abstract: The focus of this lecture is on the meanings of trade and commerce (tijārah) in Islam and related terms such as kasb, iktisāb (earning), wealth (māl), work (ʿamal) as these are expressed in some salient aspects of early Madinan practice, and in their exposition by the classical 'ulama in their many authoritative works on the fiqh and adab of kasb (legal and ethical aspects of earning a livelihood). The lecture concludes which some reflections on how to derive insight (tabṣirah) from the foregoing for reviving classical muʿāmalah (socio-economic exchange) in a context of a close, evaluative engagement with current dominant economic structures.

Assalamu alaykum. Welcome to the Muslim History Programme of the Muslim Faculty of Advanced Studies. This is the tenth of 12 sessions which make up the Early Madina module. Today’s paper on Trade and Commerce in Early Madina has been prepared by Dr. Adi Setia who, unfortunately, is not able to be here to present it in person. I will do my best to deliver it on his behalf but without the usual question & answer period. Therefore, today’s session will last only 40 minutes.

“You who have iman! Give away some of the good things you have earned and some of what the earth produces for you.”

(al-Baqarah, 2: 266 – Bewley Translation)

“Wealth does not increase through perfidy, 

just as it does not decrease through charity.”

(al-Ghazālī, Iḥyāʾ: Ādāb al-Kasb)

1. Preamble

A man from among the Anṣār once came to the Messenger of Allāh, may Allāh bless and give him peace, asking him for a handout. The Prophet, may Allāh bless and give him peace, said to him, “Do you not have anything in your house?” He said, “Yes, Messenger of Allāh, a saddle blanket (ḥils) that we wear or use as a spread, and a bowl we drink from.” He said, “Bring both of them to me,” and so he brought them. The Messenger of Allāh, may Allāh bless and give him peace, took the two things in his hands and said, “Who will buy these two?” A man said, “I’ll take them for one dirham, O Messenger of Allāh.” The Messenger of Allāh, may Allāh bless and give him peace, said, “Who will pay two or three times more than a dirham?” Another man said, “I’ll take them for two dirhams, O Messenger of Allāh,” and so he gave them to him. The Prophet, may Allāh bless and give him peace, took the two dirhams and gave them to the man, and said, “Buy food with one of these and hand it over to your family, and with the other buy an adz (qaddūm) and bring it to me.” He brought it to him and the Messenger of Allāh, may Allāh bless and give him peace, fixed to it a cane with his hand and then he said, “Go and gather firewood and sell it, and don’t let me see you for fifteen days.” He did accordingly and then came back to him having acquired ten dirhams. With some of it he bought food and with some of it he bought clothes. The Messenger of Allāh, may Allāh bless and give him peace, said to him, “This is better for you than letting (the habit of) begging scar your face on the Day of Resurrection.”2

This interesting hadith provides one with a lot of food for thought with respect to the general attitude towards working for a living (kasb) in the dīn. The poor are not to resort to begging if they are physically able to work. Instead of giving handouts to the poor, one is to first ascertain their capacity for work and advise them accordingly. The general idea here is trade rather than aid. The poor are generally able to help themselves out of demeaning poverty and beggary into dignified self-reliance if they are given even half a chance to engage in wholesome earning and right livelihood (kasb ṭayyib). The verse in the Qur’an cited above shows quite clearly that provisioning (infāq) for ourselves and for the community in general is by way of earning (kasb, iktisāb, ʿamal), and not by way of beggary (suʾāl). 

Any doubt about the priority of earning over begging is dispelled when we see the Muhājirūn refusing charity from the Anṣār and opting instead to work and to earn, even though many of them had become destitute after having to leave their wealth behind in Makka when they emigrated to Madina. (Sahih Muslim):

Originally, after the Migrants had arrived in Madinah, the Helpers asked the Prophet a to divide the date-palm trees between them and their brethren from Makkah, which he nevertheless disapproved of. Then they all concurred that the Helpers divide their properties with the Migrants on the condition that the latter would give half the fruit from the orchards every year, and they would recompense the Helpers by working with them and putting in labor. This situation continued for several years and was as good as over subsequent to the conquest of Khaybar in the seventh year when all the Migrants economically became virtually self-sufficient.3

(Al-Kattani states):

A companion ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Awf has shed some light on the nature of the developments which the new Muslim community was putting up in Madinah in the wake of the Hijrah. He said: “When we came to Madinah as emigrants, the Prophet a established a bond of brotherhood between me and Sa’d b. al-Rabi’. Sa’d b. al-Rabi’ said to me: “I am the richest among the Helpers, so I will give you half of my wealth and you may look at my two wives and whichever of the two you may choose I will divorce her, and when she has completed her prescribed period (before marriage) you may marry her.” ‘Abd al-Rahman replied: “I am not in need of all that. Is there any market-place where trade is practised?” Sa’d replied: “The market of Banu Qaynuqa’ (the Jewish tribe).” ‘Abd al-Rahman went to the market the following day. He continued going there regularly, and a few days later he came bearing traces of yellow (scent) on his body. The Prophet a asked him whether he had got married and ‘Abd al- Rahman replied in affirmative. Then the Prophet a asked him to give a wedding banquet (walimah) even if with one sheep.[21] ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Awf ultimately emerged as one of the wealthiest of the Prophet’s companions dubbed, alongside others like him, as Khuzzan Allah (Allah’s treasurers).4

2. The Market of the Prophet

This brings us to look more deeply into the socio-economic significance of the ‘market of the Prophet’ (sūq al-nabiyy). It is well known that among the first things that the Prophet, Allah’s blessing and peace be on him, did upon his arrival in Madina was to establish the public mosque and the public market for the Muslims. There was already at the time the market of the Banu Qaynūqa‘, but it seemed that the Prophet, Allah’s blessing and peace be on him, wanted a separate, independent market for the nascent Muslim community based on the principle of “al-sūq ṣadaqah” i.e., it is a charitable endowment for the public good of the Muslim community as a whole in which no taxes were to be imposed, hence (according to al-Hindi in Kanz al-‘Ummal: sūq al-muslimīna ka muṣallā al-muṣallīna, man sabaqa ilā shayʾin fa huwa lahū yawmahu hattā yadaʿahū = “the market of the Muslims is like the place of worship of the worshippers; whosoever finds a spot it is his for the day until he departs.”5 

Clearly, if the market is, ethically and morally speaking, analogous to the mosque, then muʿāmalah or tijārah (commercial transactions) by extension becomes analogous with ʿibādah (worship). Therefore, the dīn necessitates that the market of the Muslims must be one in which the proprieties of commerce and trade (ādab al-kasb wa al-maʿāsh) are applied. This in turn entails the establishment of an autonomous Islamic market and economy in which usurious, monopolistic and perfidious practices are proscribed and justice, benevolence and fairness prevail and thereby the duty of enjoining right and forbidding wrong fulfilled. Just as Muslims needed in the past to have their own public places of spiritual devotion, so likewise, they needed also to have their own public places for social transactions; they needed to have their own markets, and by extension, their own economies – and the same is needed today. 

Hence, just as the mosque was seen as the devotional common space, the market was seen as the transactional common space. Just as the mosque was open to all without any restriction, so the market was open to all without restriction. The idea was that anyone, especially the poor and destitute, can go to the open or communal market anytime for free, and do a little work or a little trading, and thereby work himself out of destitution and provide for himself and his dependents, and if he has surplus to provide out of that for the public good of the community. This has been called the ‘market-welfare’ economy (most encapsulated in the institution of waqf or ḥabs = charitable endowments), in which the ‘market’ and the ‘welfare’ aspects of the economy are seamlessly integrated as a single, organic economy. 

So, the mosque and the market are the twin pillars of the Islamic community, for we can’t allow our dīn  and ourselves to be fragmented, practising one set of ethics in the mosque but a totally contrary set of ethics in the market, for we have to uphold taqwa (mindfulness of the Creator) wherever we are: ittaquLlāha ḥaythu kuntum. Therefore we find our classical scholars writing voluminous works on aḥkām al-masājid (the rules of the mosques) as well as aḥkām al-sūq (rules of the marketplace). There are also many works on the role and duty of the market inspectors to ensure all the protocols of fair exchange are adhered to by all participants in the market. Umar (ra), the second caliph of the Muslims was reported to have said that none may enter the market except those who understand the rules of trade.

3. Dīn, Madīnah & the Commercial Enterprise

Imam Muhammad al-Shaybani6 has said words to the effect that the relationship between ʿibādah and muʿāmalah is like that between ṣalāt and ṭahārah, the one cannot do without the other. So, the dīn (religion) pertains to one’s personal relationship of worship to the Creator (khāliq), as well as to one’s personal interactions with people (and by extension, the rest of creation = al-khalq). It was in Madina that these two integral dimensions of the dīn were fully realised and manifested, for the very etymology of the word ‘madīnah’ refers to the place where the dīn is applied and practised, both in the private and in the public spheres of life, hence (in the words of Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas), “The City of the Prophet signified the Place where true dīn was enacted under his authority and jurisdiction… the City became, for the Community, the epitome of the socio-political order of Islam”7. He also said:

…the concept dīn reflects the idea of a kingdom – a cosmopolis. Commerce and trade are the life blood of the cosmopolis…it is no wonder then that in the Holy Qur’an worldly life is depicted so persistently in the apt metaphors of commercial enterprise…Man is inexorably engaged in the trade: al-tijārah, in which he is himself the subject as well as object of his trade. He is his own capital, and his loss an gain depend on his own sense of responsibility and exercise of freedom. He carries out the trust of buying and selling, of bay’ah, and bartering: ishtara, and it is his self that he buys or sells or barters; and depending upon his own inclination towards the exercise of his will and deeds his trade will either prosper…or suffer loss.8

This understanding of the concept of the ‘city’ in Islam, as encapsulated in the word ‘madīnah’ brings us to the meaning of ‘community’ (jamāʿah, mujtamaʿ, ummah). A community is only a community of people as opposed to a mere gathering or crowd when the individuals constituting it adhere to common ethics (ādāb) and laws (fiqh) of formal and informal exchange amongst themselves. Just as they believe in and adhere to the same set of proprieties and rules pertaining to their collective devotion to their Creator in the mosque, so likewise in their collective transactions in the marketplace. As a matter of fact, the classical scholars from the earliest times have written profusely on the ethics and rules of earning, trade, commerce and livelihood in order to render explicit the common ground on which believers are to interact with one another (muʿāmalah). Without these shared ethics and laws regarding what is right or wrong, or proper or improper, we don’t have an integrated community (jamāʿāh al-waḥdah) founded on taqwa (transcendent conscience) but only a disparate multitude (jamʿ al-kathrah) who happen to find themselves in the same place at a particular point in time due to temporal convenience.

This is why trade and commerce founded on taqwa and not mere individualistic or egoistic convenience is considered an aspect of ‘farḍ al-kifāyah’ = ‘the duty to provide what suffices the community’. Through lawful, wholesome and meaningful trade, commerce and work (kasb) one is helping in the provisioning (infāq) of the community through the very act of providing for oneself. Hence the verse, “O believers, give [provisions] from out of the good things you have earned.” 

This shows that economics in Islam has nothing to do with current secular, nihilistic notions of scarcity chasing after unlimited wants, but everything to do with earning and providing for the common good. In fact, economics in Islam, or ‘Islamic economics’, if we admit of such a thing, is simply and properly defined as, “The science of earning and making provision for the common good,” = ʿilm al-iktisāb wa al-infāq.

We may extend and expand on this reflection to come to the necessary insight that observing personal, individual worship (ʿibadāt) is not sufficient in order for a person to live a fully Islāmic life – or to realise Islām as a complete way of life – unless at the same time he takes care to cultivate the transactional relationships (muʿāmalāt) required to support it; thus the inextricable linkage between farḍu ʿayn (individual duty) and farḍukifāyah (communal duty), and between personal devotion and social interaction, so nicely alluded to by Imam Muḥammad al-Shaybānī in his statements, “In earning a livelihood there is the meaning of cooperation in acts of devotion (fī al-kasb maʿnā al-muʿāwanah ʿalā al-qurab),” and “Permissible earning is in the category of cooperation in acts of devotion and obedience (al-kasb al-ḥalāl min bāb al-muʿāwanah ʿalā al-qurab wa al-ṭāʿāt).” Hence, in order to observe ʿibādah, we need to cultivate an appropriate muʿāmalah to support and nurture it; the one simply cannot do without the other. Similarly al-Ghazālī says in his Kitāb Ādāb al-kasb wa al-Maʿāsh:

The second matter is to intend, through one’s craft, commerce, or work, the discharge of one of the obligations of sufficiencies (furūḍ al-kifāyāt). Were the crafts and the businesses to be abandoned, the livelihoods of people would be disrupted, and most people would perish [as a consequence]. Therefore the well-ordering of the affairs of all is realized through the cooperation of all (intiẓām amr al-kull bi-taʿāwun al-kull), while each group assumes an occupation. If all of them were to be devoted to a single vocation (ṣināʿa), then the rest of the vocations would be left unattended and people would be destroyed. It is in the light of this reality that some of the scholars have interpreted the saying of the Prophet – Allah bless and give him peace – “The diversity of my Community is a mercy (ikhtilāf ummatī raḥmatun),” as referring to the diversity of their occupations in the various crafts and vocations. And of the crafts, there are those which are important, and there are those which can be done without because these have to do with the seeking of comforts (al-niʿam) and embellishment (al-tazayyun) in this world. Hence, one should be occupied with an important vocation so that by practising it one takes care of something of concern in the religion for the Muslims.

4. Trade and the Meaning and Role of Money

Because of the emphasis on justice and fair exchange (ʿadl, mumāthalah), a lot of attention was given to the precept of ‘sound money’ and the avoidance and preemption of anything that would compromise or dilute that precept, for since money is a means or medium of exchange as well as a measure of value (and to a lesser extent, a store of value), the notion of money (naqd) is tied closely to the notion of measure (miqdār, miʿyar) and the notion of value (qīmah; thaman). Here, it is pertinent to cite in full the view of al-Dimashqī (a merchant-scholar of the 6th/12th century) on money, which encapsulates the classical view on the matter:

Now human beings are dependent on one another as mentioned earlier, but the time of need of a person does not often coincide with the time of need of another person, as in the case of a carpenter who may be in need of an ironsmith but could not find one (at that particular time). It may also happen that there is no equivalence between the respective quantities (maqādīr mutasāwiya) of what each needs from the other, and there is no way of knowing the (relative) value of each item of each kind of goods, and of knowing the rate of exchange (miqdār al-ʿiwaḍ) between one item and another item [of a part of the merchandise among all the parts of the rest of the merchandise], nor the relative value of each of the different crafts. Hence there is a need for something by which all goods can be priced (yuthamman bihī), and by which the value of each thing can be defined (yuʿarraf bihā) in relation to every other thing. So when a person requires something which is for sale or for use, he pays the value of that thing with that substance (al-jawhar) by which all things are priced. If such a convention was not adopted, then it would not be possible for the exchange of one thing for another to take place, as in the case of a person who has something such as olive oil (al-zayt), wheat (al-qamḥ) or other similar products, whereas his counterpart has other goods such that the need of each party for what the other possesses does not concur at the same time. It can also happen that although the mutual need of each party for what the other possesses coincides, there may not be mutual agreement (ittifāq) on the equitable value of the amount each should give in exchange for what the other owns, such that there occurs neither excess nor deficiency (lā yazīdu wa lā yanquṣu) in what each exchanges with the other. For example, the owner of wheat may require a riṭl of olive oil, whereas the owner of cooking oil may require two camel-loads (a ḥimlay) of wheat, or the wheat seller may require a large quantity of oil whereas the oil seller a small quantity of wheat, in which case disagreement (al-ikhtilāf) may occur between the two parties (on an equitable way to exchange one quantity for the other). To solve such a problem the ancients (al-awāʾil) searched for something by which to price all things. They looked into all the things in the possession of man, whether plants, animals or minerals. They excluded both plants and animals from this function (rutba), (of pricing) due to their being transformable (mustaḥīl) and quickly perishable (yusriʿu ilayhi al-fasādu). As for the minerals, they chose from among them those metallic ores which are hard and can be melted (al-aḥjār al-dhāʾiba al-jāmida). They then excluded from these iron, copper and lead. As for iron, it was rejected due to its susceptibility to rust (al-ṣadaʾ), and copper too was rejected for the same reason. As for lead, it was rejected due to its dullness (taswīd) and its excessive softness (līn) which leads to transformation in the shapes of its form (ashkāl ṣūratihī). Likewise some people rejected copper due to its susceptibility to verdigris (al-zinjār). However, some people mint (ṭabaʿa) coins out of it like dirhams (al-dirham), for them they use silver (al-fiḍḍa) due to their being readily suited (surʿat al-muwātā) for casting (al-sabk), forging (al-ṭarq), combining (al-jamʿ), separating (al-tafriqa) and shaping (al-tashkīl) into any form required. Gold and silver also have a beautiful luster (ḥusnu al-rawnaq), with no unpleasant odor (al-rawāʾiḥ) or taste (al-ṭuʿūm), and they endure when buried. They are both also receptive to being marked with marks (al-ʿalamāt) that preserve them; and the permanence of their features (thabāt al-simāt) protects them from debasement (al-ghashsh) and counterfeiting (al-tadlīs). Therefore the ancients minted coins from gold and silver, and by these coins they priced all things. They saw that gold was greater in value (ajallu qadran) with respect to its beautiful luster, the compactness of its parts (talazzuz al-ajzāʾ), its durability when buried for a long period of time, and its conduciveness to repeated castings in fire. They then determined each piece of gold as being equivalent to several pieces of silver, and they made both the price (thamanan) for all other things. Thus they came to an accord on this arrangement (iṣṭalaḥū ʿalā dhālika) in order that people might purchase their needs at the time they wanted them, and so that whosoever obtained these two metals (al-jawharān) it would be as if all kinds of goods were brought together in his presence whenever he desired. Therefore the need in livelihood for inarticulate wealth became imperative. Some men of letters (al-udabāʾ) have said:

الْعَيْنُ لِلْعَيْنِ قُرَّةٌ

وَلِلزَّهْرِ قُوَّةٌ

وَمَنْ مَلَكَ الصَّفْرَاءَ

اِبْيَضَّ وَجْهُهُ

وَاخْضَرَّ عَيْشُهُ

al-ʿaynu li al-ʿayni qurratun

wa li al-ẓahri quwwatun

wa man malaka al-ṣafrāʾa

ibyaḍḍa wajhuhū

wa ikhḍarra ʿayshahū

Gold is a delight to the eyes,

and a support for the spine;

and whosoever owns the yellow thing

luminous becomes his countenance

and verdant the pasture of his life.

In short, money is a measure by which the value of tangible goods and intangible services can be compared and brought into equitable relationship with one another in order to facilitate fair exchange and preempt witting or unwitting exploitation by one party of another in the exchange. Hence a measure must be physically and quantitatively well defined (and once defined it must remain so) in order that can thereby serve as a reliable measure of (comparative) value. In fact, money’s role as a medium of exchange is an integral function of its more foundational role as a measure of value. For example, the dinar has been defined since classical times as equivalent to one mithqāl (or what is now 4.25 g of gold), and a mithqāl was equivalent to 22 qirāṭ or carats of gold. As noted by Heck, “All mint operations were precisely regulated, and a very elaborate system of glass weights soon evolved to maintain precise standards in coinage production as well.”9

5. Overview of Some Empirical Aspects of Early Madinan Trade & Commerce

Contrary to the view of Patricia Crone and other like-minded orientalists, the Hijaz before and at the advent of Islam were a locus of active intra-regional and inter-regional trade between Syria in the north and Yemen in the south and through them areas beyond the immediate confines of the Arabian peninsula. When the Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessings be on him, arrived and settled in Madina, the Muhajirun were generally merchants and traders while the indigenous Ansar were primarily agriculturists. As for the Jewish tribes of Madina, they engaged in both farming and trading and they basically controlled the Madinan economy, but that quickly changed when the market of the Muslims were established by the Prophet, Allah’s blessings and peace be on him. 

(i) Precious metals and money

Both the gold denarius of the Romans and the silver drachma of the Persians, as well as indigenously produced gold and silver bullion were widely used in trading and commerce. There were large-scale Hijazi gold and silver mining operations producing liquid capital (gold and silver) by which trade was facilitated. As Heck puts it:

The combination of source documentation and residual onsite physical evidence makes readily apparent that one cannot begin to comprehend the functioning of the early Hijazi economy without first perceiving the indispensable role of precious metals.10

According to classical historians like al-Baladhuri and al-Maqrizi, there were attempts by the early caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali) to produce indigenous Islamic currency (coinage) based on Byzantine and Sasanid prototypes. These early Madinan efforts culminated in the comprehensive monetary reforms of the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik between 73-79/692-698, for he understood very well that the political unity of the caliphate went hand-in-hand with monetary unity, and this in turn was the foundation of the economic integrity and resilience of the dawla.

(ii) Agriculture

Though the Hijaz was generally barren, it was dotted with fertile oases of thriving agricultural production throughout the Madinan region at Taif, Nakhlah, Khaybar, Fadak, Yanbuʿ, Wadi al-Qura, al-Suwarqiyyah, Wadi al-Aqiq, and elsewhere. Wheat, barley, sorghum, alfalfa, vegetables, citrus, grapes, olives, dates and pomegranates were cultivated. The Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessings on him, as well as many of his Companions were known to have interests or invested heavily in these farms and gardens. Livestock were also important. The third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, was reported to have contributed 950 camels and 50 horses to the Muslim army. Both documentary [doctrinal and historical] and archaeological evidence attests clearly to the commercial importance of farming and agriculture. Clearly it must be recognised that internal economic prosperity based on both production and trade underpinned the success of the Muslim expansion beyond the Arabian peninsula.

(iii) Manufacturing

According to Heck, who in turn has based his research on early classical sources, “the non-agricultural industrial base of early medieval Hijaz was quite diverse – ranging from mining to hunting, fishing to construction and manufacturing and other productive undertakings.” Important industries include jewellery smithing, blacksmithing, tanning and leather making, textile production, weaving and perfumery.

(iv) Operative Structures of Madinan Trade

Heck has also highlighted some salient structural elements in the flourishing of early Madinan trade, namely, “capital, labor, fiducial instruments to meld the two; and a structured operating environment amenable to the conduct of productive business operations.”11 Here we would like to draw attention to the important role played by fiducial instruments or commercial contracts for applying capital for mobilising labor in the production of goods for the market places. 


The principal contract of choice for structuring investment was the mudarabah or qirad contract, whereby one or a few investors would capitalise a commercial, production or manufacturing venture undertaken by others for a predetermined share of the net profit. This is in effect a contract of partnership between capital (gold and/or silver) and work (skill, labour). 

The Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessings be on him, and many of the Companions were well known to have engaged in various forms of this contractual business partnership. Large, inter-regional trading caravans were financed by a mixture of macro- and micro-investments in this way. According to al-Sarakhsi:

People of al-Madinah called this contract a muqaradah, and this is based on a certain tradition regarding Uthman who committed a sum of funds to a man in the form of a muqaradah…This derives from al-qard, which means cutting. For in this contract, the investor cuts off disposal of this sum of money from his own use [and thereby put it at the disposal of his business agent = mudarib]…The possessor of capital may not always find it possible to engage in profitable trade activity, and those who can engage in it may not possess the capital. Yet profit cannot be obtained except by both capital and trading. Through this contract, both objectives are attained.12 

So, contrary to the current view that business undertakings are not possible except through usurious debt-financing instruments, the Islamic historical experience has shown that large scale intra- and inter-regional trade can be financed effectively and equitably through profit-and-risk-sharing, non-usurious business partnership contracts.


One major, intangible factor in the flourishing of trade and commerce in early Madina was the general climate of mutual trust that obtained between participants in commercial transactions. Usury and usurious contracts were prohibited while equitable forms of business partnership contracts were encouraged instead. The market of the Muslims established by the Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessings be on him, was effectively (as Heck calls it) a “free-trade zone” where neither taxes nor price controls were imposed. Monopoly, hoarding, bribery, perjury, fraud, deceit, counterfeiting and so on were all proscribed; and contracts were binding and were to be honoured. All these substantive ethical precepts and their objective expression in formal contractual instruments served to “maintain the integrity of market function” so as to ensure a socio-economic exchange that embeds personal interest into the larger context of public interest, leading to the “provisioning of what suffices the community.”

That brings us to the end of today’s lecture. The subject of next week’s lecture is Crafts, Trades and Markets, which will be presented by our Director of Studies, Sahl Andersson. Thank you for your attention. Assalamu alaykum.


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Abū Ghuddah, Abdul Fattāḥ, ed. al-Khallāl, Abū Bakr Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad (d. 311 H). al-Ḥathth ʿalā al-Tijārah wa al-Ṣināʿah wa al-ʿAmal. Aleppo: Maktab al-Maṭbūʿāt al-Islāmiyyah, 1995.

Abū ʿUbayd, al-Qāsim ibn Sallām. Kitāb al-Amwāl. Trans. ʿImrān Aḥsan Khān Nyazee as The Book of Revenue. Reading: Garnet, 2003.

Allouche, Adel. Mamluk Economics. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1994.

ʿĀshūr, al-Sayyid Muḥammad, Dirāsatu fī al-Fikri al-Iqtiṣādī al-ʿArabī: Abū al-Faḍl Jaʿfar ibn ʿAli al-Dimashqī. Cairo: Dār al-Ittiḥād al-ʿArabī li al-Ṭibāʿah, 1973.

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1 Associate Professor, Center for Advanced Studies in Islam, Science & Civilization (CASIS), Malaysia, [email protected]

2 Narrated by Imam Abū Dāwūd, ḥadīth no. 1641, cited in Imām ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn ibn al-Lubūdī (circa 900/1500), Faḍl al-Iktisāb wa Aḥkām al-Kasb wa Ādāb al-Maʿīshah, ed., Suhayl Zakkār (Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1997), bound together with his edition of Imam Muḥammad al-Shaybānī’s Kitāb al-Kasb.

3Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Jihad wa al-Siyar, Hadith No. 4375. Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari,

Kitab al-Hibah, Hadith No. 799, cited in Spahic Omer, Spahic Omer, “Introducing the Muslim Market in Madinah,”, footnote 14.

4Al-Kattani, al-Taratib al-Idariyyah, vol.2 p. 403, cited in Spahic Omer, Part 1 footnote 22.

5 al-Hindi, Kanz al-Ummal, 5: 488, no. 2688, cited in M. J. Kister, “The Market of the Prophet,” in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, vol. 8 no. 3 (December 1965), 272-276, on 276n2 ( For more details, see also the informative, well documented article by Dr. Spahic Omer, “Introducing the Muslim Market in Madinah,”; and

6 Student of Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Malik, and teacher of Imam al-Shafii.

7 Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, Islam, the Concept of Religion and the Foundation of Ethics and Morality (Kuala Lumpur: ISTAC), 2-3 n3.

8 Idem, 17-18. 

9 p. 33

10 xxii.

11 79.

12 112