Imam Abu Hanifah is known as one of the four Imams that have their own school of thought. In fact he is more than just one of the four Imams, actually he is more than that. Simply put he is like the ‘God Father’ among the four Imams. Imam Abu Hanifa was born in 80A.H, living at a time when there were still some Sahabah (companions) alive. He saw the famous companion, Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with Him) and six other companions. He learnt Ahadith (Prophetic traditions) from a group of Tabi’un (successors) and spent most of his time in worship.
But little that people know that he is also a very successful businessman, he was very wealthy and running a prosperous business. If you read his story, you’ll see this man, had divine wealth and true faith, it demonstrate unwavering believe in Allah as the provider.
If you are in Business, you probably wondering how does he does his marketing? The is the amazing thing, he doesn’t do marketing. If you are selling a product, you would normally treat it like a religion. Only your religion is right and the rest is wrong. You would highlight all the benefits and try to stay silent if there is any defect. This is perfectly alright in western way of doing business, in fact in contract law, there is concept call ‘buyer beware’ which means it is the duty of the buyer to inquire about the product.
However Imam Abu Hanifah would refuse to sell his merchandise if any marketing is done. In one occasion a customer came and ask to see a garment display in his shop, he asks his sons to take it down and give it to the customer.
It was such a beautiful garment , that his son was amazed by it and instantly make salawat when looking at the garments., The customer took it and wants to buy it. Iman Abu Hanifah refuse to sell the garment. He said he don’t sell anything that was praised in his shops.
That was his policy he will never sell anything that has been praised. He would not push his products onto customer, or praised his product so customer would buy it.
There was an incident where a woman came to his shop and wanted to sell his some cloth. She was asking him for 100 dirhams. He said no it is worth more than that, She insisted that she only needed 100 dirham. Iman Abu Hanifah stop a passer by and and ask him how much does he thinks that the cloths is worth and the man replied 500 dirham and offer to buy it. So he just facilitate the transactions, no commission and introducer fee.
He does not try to get something for the cheapest price possible so he can make more profit. In fact there is a story where Iman Abu Hanifa run his business with social business concept. He would take only the amount he needs and the rest he donate it to Charity
Another incident, is where he reminded his partner that if somebody wants to buy a particular cloth, the customer must be made aware of the defect on that particular cloth. It happens to be a busy day his partner forgot about the reminder and sold the cloth more than what its worth.
When Iman Abu Hanifah found out about this, he try to look for the customer but could not find him. So he broke of his partnership and told his partner never to come back. He then took all the proceeds on that day which is believe to be 30,000 dirhams and donate it to charity. He was very strict in making sure that his income is halal 100%.
As a wealthy man Iman Abu Hanifah use to lend money to people, one occasion he was walking on hot day , his friends found a tree and took shade under it. But Iman Abu Hanifah keep standing in the hot sun. His friends ask him why is he standing in the hot sun and refuse to come under the shade. He told them that the tree is on the land of someone that he loan money to, he was afraid that if he benefited from the shade Allah might consider it as Riba.
It is doubtful, that any man no matter how righteous can follow the business Ethics of Abu Hanifah. But it demonstrate one thing Allah is giver of rizq.
Whatever business you do, it is not easy when you been feed this propaganda that marketing is everything. It is just one aspect of business,
Shahfizal Musa is the Founder and Managing Editor of Halalop. He graduated with a Law degree from Thames Valley University London. He is an award-winning journalist covering topics such as human trafficking, Muslim research discoveries, and exceptional Muslims.
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