18 October 2017 CE | 27 Muharram 1439 AH

Hadith Explanation

Honesty in the Marketplace

"Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) passed by a heap of food. As he put his hand inside it, his fingers got wet. So he said to the vendor: ‘What is this?’ He replied: ‘It was dampened by the rain O Messenger of Allah.’ He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: ‘Why don’t you put it on top so that people can see it? He who cheats us is not one of us.’” [Muslim]

In order for justice to prevail in society, it is necessary that people are reminded of their moral obligations. The best police is a person's own conscience; the person's awareness of the final accountability before Allah (subhana wa ta'ala). When a community loses its God consciousness, then no quantity of police, courts and prisons are sufficient to keep it free of crime.

While taqwa (Allah consciousness) must be cultivated to keep society healthy, law enforcers are nevertheless needed. There will always be some recalcitrant, unscrupulous elements that will only respond to force. The second khalifah, Umar ibn al-Khattab, had appointed market inspectors in Madina to enforce honesty in transactions. Among them were two women, Ash-Shifa bint Abd-Allah and Samra bint Nahik al-Asadiyah. Samra used to bid people to do good and refrain from evil and whipped whoever she found being dishonest.

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