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Money as Medium of Exchange

Ma‘mar b. ‘Abdullah reported that he sent his slave with a sa‘ of wheat and said to him: “Sell it, and then buy with it barley.” The slave went away and he got a sa‘ (of barley) and a part of sa‘ over and above that. When he came to Ma‘mar he informed him about that, whereupon Ma‘mar said to him: “Why did you do that? Go back and return that, and do not accept but weight for weight, for I used to hear from Allah’s Apostle (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) as saying: Exchange of food for food should be like for like.” He (one of the narrators) said: ‘Our food in those days consisted of barley. It was said to him (Ma’mar) that (wheat) is not like that (barley).’ He replied: ‘I am afraid these may not be similar.’

Abu Huraira and Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with them) reported that Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) de­puted a person from Banu ‘Adi al Ansari to collect revenue from Khaibar. He came with a fine quality of dates, whereupon Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said to him: “Are all the dates of Khaibar like this?” He said: “Allah’s Messenger, it is not so.” We buy one sa‘ of (fine dates), with two sa‘ of the dates of different qualities mixed together.” Whereupon Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “Don’t do that, but like for like, or sell this (the inferior quality and receive the price) and then buy with the price of that, and that would make up the measure.”


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Abu Sa‘id reported: Bilal (Allah be pleased with him) came with fine quality of dates. Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said to him: “From where you have brought them?)” Bilal said: “We had inferior quality of dates and I exchanged two sa‘s (of inferior quality) with one sa‘ (of fine quality) as food for Allah’s Apostle (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam),” whereupon Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) said: “Woe! It is in fact usury; therefore, don’t do that. But when you intend to buy dates (of superior quality), sell (the inferior quality) in a separate bargain and then buy (the superior quality).”      

Abu Nadra reported: I asked Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with them) about the conversion (of gold and silver for silver and gold). He said: “Is it hand to hand exchange?”  I said: “Yes,” whereupon he said: “There is no harm in it.” I informed Abu Sa‘id about it, telling him that I had asked Ibn ‘Abbas about it and he said: “Is it hand to hand exchange?” I said: “Yes,” whereupon he said: “There is no harm in it.” He (the narrator) said, or he said like it: “We will soon write to him, and he will not give you this fatwa (religious verdict):’ He said: “By Allah, some one of the boy-servants of Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allah-o-alaihe wa sallam) brought dates, but he refused to accept them (on the plea) that those did not seem to be of the dates of our land.” He said: “Something had happened to the dates of our land, or our dates. So I got these dates (in exchange) by giving excess (of the dates of our land),” whereupon he said: “You made an addition for getting the fine dates (in exchange) which tantamounts to riba; don’t do that (in future). Whenever you find some doubt (as regards the deteriorating quality of) your dates, sell them, and then buy the dates that you like.”

 

Source: Economic Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): A Select Anthology of Hadith Literature on Economics, Muhammad Akram Khan. Republished with permission.