On every Wednesday, I will share a part of the translation of the book Kitab Al-Kasb (the book of Earning a Livelihood) written by Muhammad Ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaybani.
Part 6: Mention of the Arguments for the Permissibility and Commendation of Earning.
Our argument for that is the statement of Allah, “But Allah has permitted trade” [Al-Quran, surah Al-Baqarah (2): 275]. And Allah also says, “When you incur debt among yourselves” [Al-Quran, surah Al-Baqarah (2): 282], and then He says, “But let there be trade out of mutual consent from you” [Al-Quran, surah Al-Nisa ‘(4): 29]. And He, Most Exalted, Most Glorious, says, “Excepted is the case of a spot transaction between you” [Al-Quran, surah Al-Baqarah (2): 282].
In some of these verse (mentioned above), there is textual stipulation on the licitness, and in others, there is commendation of involvement in trade, and therefore whoever says that is prohibited, he is contradicting these stipulative texts. The speech of the Law Maker (Allah), when it is unqualified, is surely to be interpreted as bearing the meaning that is mutually understood between people when they converse among themselves, for indeed the Law addresses us with what we understand. And (thus) the words ‘selling’ and ‘buying’ are literally (used) for (referring) to the disposal of wealth by way of earning.
The speech (of the Law Maker) is to be interpreted as bearing its literal meaning, and it is not permissible to turn away from the literal meaning toward the metaphorical meaning except when a proof can be shown (to justify the metaphorical meaning), as in the case of what they cited (in support of their view) of Allah the Most High’s statement, “Allah has purchased from the believers their persons” [Al-Quran, surah Al-Tawbah (9): 111]. In this case proof has been shown that what is meant in this verse is metaphorical, whereas such (metaphorical meaning) is not found here (in the verses we cited above), and so the meaning (here) must be interpreted literally.
And Allah Most High says, “Then when the prayer is concluded, disperse through the land seeking the bounty of Allah” [Al-Quran, surah Al-Jumu’ah(62): 10]. The meaning (in this verse) is trade. Allah Most High, says, “It is no crime for you to seek bounty from your Lord” [Al-Quran, surah Al-Baqarah (2): 198], that is, trade on the road to the pilgrimage.
The Prophet, may Allah bless and give him peace, says, “Indeed the best of what you eat is from the earning of your hands, for my brother Dawud, peace be own on him, used to eat out of the earning of his hand” [a similar version is related by al-Bukhari in his Sahih]. And the meaning (in this hadith) pertains to Allah Most High’s statement, “eat of the good things we have provided you” [Al-Quran, surah Al-A’raf (7): 160].
The strongest argument we rely in, to support our view that earning is permissible, is the fact that earning is the way of the Messengers, may Allah’s blessing be on them all, and we have already established that (fact).