Imam Al-Nawawi's Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 240
Excellence of Fair Bargaining and Matters Relation to it

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"And whatever you do of good deeds, truly, Allah knows it well.'' (2:215)

"And O my people! Give full measure and weight in justice and reduce not the things that are due to the people.'' (11:85)

"Woe to Al-Mutaffifun (those who give less in measure and weight). Those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, demand full measure. And when they have to give by measure or weight to (other) men, give less than due. Do they not think that they will be resurrected (for reckoning). On a Great Day? The Day when (all) mankind will stand before the Rubb of the `Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists)?'' (83:1-6)

 

1367.  Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A man demanded of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) for repayment of a loan and was harsh to him. His Companions were about to attack him, but he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Leave him, as the creditor is entitled to make a demand. Give him a camel of the same age as the camel that is due to him.'' They said: "We find a better camel senior to it in age.'' He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Then buy it and give it to him; verily the best of you is the one who is the best in discharging his obligations (repayment of loans).''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:
1. It is stated that the lender was Zaid bin Shu`bah Al-Kinani who had not yet embraced Islam and that accounts for his not showing due regard to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), and for his being stern in his demand. The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) advised his Companions that it is well for the affluent to demand his loan in a polite manner; but if someone does not show politeness in it, his rudeness should be ignored because he who has a rightful claim, can tend to anger although he should not cross the limits laid down by Shari
`ah in this respect.

2.   At the time of repayment of loan, it is Mustahabb (desirable) for the debtor to pay with his own pleasure something more than due to the lender; but if the lender demands more, this extra money will be deemed interest Riba (or usury) which is neither lawful to receive nor to pay.

 

1368.   Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "May Allah show mercy to a man who adopts a kind attitude when he sells, buys and demands for the repayment of loans.''
[Al-Bukhari].

Commentary:  "Adopts a kind attitude when he sells, buys, and demands for the repayment of loans'' means that the buyer purchases in such a manner that the seller does not suffer any loss, and the seller sells his goods in such a way that the buyer does not feel any irritation. This also means that he feels so liberal that if the buyer wants to return what he has purchased he should accept it. Another meaning of this is that while making a purchase the customer pays more than the due price and the seller gives more goods than are due against the price that he receives. Moreover, if one has to get his claim from someone, he should do it in a polite manner. In no case should one cross the limits of civility. If the debtor is poor, he should be given more time for the repayment of his debt, or the loan should be remitted, as it will be in accordance with the Qur'anic instruction that "If you remit by way of charity, that is better for you.'' (2:280)

 

1369.  Abu Qatadah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "He who likes Allah to deliver him from the calamities of the Day of Resurrection, let him either give respite to a debtor or grant him remission (of loans) in straitened circumstances.''
[Muslim].

Commentary: One meaning of the word "Falyunaffis'' is to defer demanding payment of the amount from the one who may be in straitened circumstances, until such a time when he has sufficient means to pay his debts. Another meaning is to relieve the debtor of the trouble he is in by giving him some money so that he can settle his debt with it. Such sympathetic attitude will save that person from the tensions of the Day of Judgement when everyone will be tense with worries and anxieties.

 

1370.  Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "There was a person who used to loan money to the people and he used to say to his servant: `When an insolvent person comes to you, show him leniency so that Allah may forbear our faults.' So when he met Allah (i.e., when he died), Allah forgave him.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  "Show him leniency'' implies three things in the present context - polite dealing, extension in the period of payment and remittance of debt. All these qualities are desirable and praiseworthy in Shari`ah. The incident reported in this Hadith relates to some person of a community of the ancient times, but it is such an illustrious example that it was liked by the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) because he recommended it to his followers through his advice and practice. This action is certainly a means of winning the Pleasure of Allah as well.

 

1371.  Abu Mas`ud Al-Badri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "A person from amongst the people who lived before you was called to account by Allah on the Day of Resurrection. No good deeds were found in his credit except that he being a rich man had (financial) dealings with people and had commanded his servants to show leniency to those who were in straitened circumstances. Upon this Allah, the Exalted, and Majestic said: `I am more entitled to this attribute, so waive (his faults).'''
[Muslim].

Commentary:  "Was called to account by Allah on the Day of Resurrection'' is in the nature of a news of the Day of Judgement which was revealed to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and which he quoted as an illustration. What it signifies is that on the Day of Resurrection, Almighty Allah will deal with such people generously and forgive their sins because forgiveness depends on the quality of actions done by a person in this world.

 

1372.  Hudhaifah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "A slave of Allah whom He had endowed with wealth, will be brought before Him. Allah will ask him: `What did you do in the world?' (They cannot conceal anything from Allah.) He will say: `O my Rubb, You endowed me with Your wealth; I used to enter into transactions with people and it was my nature to be lenient to the insolvent ones. I used to give respite to those who were in straitened circumstances.' Whereupon Allah will say: `I am more entitled than you to do this. So forgive my slave'.'' `Uqbah bin `Amir and Abu Mas`ud Al-Ansari (May Allah be pleased with them) said, "Thus we heard it from the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam).''
[Muslim].

 

1373.   Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "He who gives respite to someone who is in straitened circumstances, or grants him remission, Allah will shelter him in the shade of His Throne, on the Day of Resurrection, when there will be no shade except its shade.''
[At-Tirmidhi].

Commentary:  On the Day of Resurrection, the sun will come very close to people's heads who will then be badly sweating to the extent that sweat will reach up to their ankles, or knees or shoulders; some will be totally overwhelmed with their sweat (depending on their sins). Those people who will have the privilege of getting in the shade of the Throne will be then very lucky indeed. Among such lucky people, there will be a person who used not only to give loans to the poor and the needy but also gave them convenience in the payment of their debts or would forgive a part of the loan or all of it. This Hadith has food for thought for the affluent. Nowadays people usually lend money to people of their own status and do not like to give loan to the poor because they think that it is difficult to recover from them. As far as remitting a loan is concerned, we have totally forgotten this precept. In any case, to refuse loan to a poor, when a person is in a position to lend money to him, is hateful. To lend money to a needy and then to show him leniency in its payment or to remit it altogether is a praiseworthy act, the best reward for which will be given to him on the Day of Resurrection. May Allah enable us to be generous to the poor on this account.

 

1374.   Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) purchased a camel from me and weighed more than its price.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: In the era of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), and for a long time afterwards, all business transactions were made by means of dirham and dinar - the former was a gold coin while the latter was a silver one. The price of the camel which was settled in gold or silver was paid by the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) in weight, and he paid it in excess of the agreed amount.

 

1375.   Abu Safwan Suwaid bin Qais (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Makhramah Al-`Abdi and I procured some drapery from Hajar and brought them to Makkah. The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) came and bargained with us for some trousers and we sold them to him. We had a person who weighed the cloth in order to fix the price. The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said to him, "Weigh and add a little to it.''
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].

Commentary: This Hadith highlights the desirability on part of the customer of paying in excess of the agreed price. The seller is induced to give more than the agreed (quality/weight/number of goods etc.) against the settled price. This is a step ahead of justice - that is Ihsan, which has very salutary effects on society. On the contrary, if people are in the habit of encroaching up others' rights, it will doubtless create jealousy and enmity, which are ruinous to the society.