Islam and Trade
Professions Mentioned in the Quran
Maulana Abd-ur-Rahman ‘Attari Madani
The Holy Quran is an all-encompassing book, as Allah Almighty declares:
وَ نَزَّلْنَا عَلَیْكَ الْكِتٰبَ تِبْیَانًا لِّكُلِّ شَیْءٍ
‘And We have sent down this Qur’an upon you, which is a clear explanation of all things,’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 14, Surah Al-Nahl, Verse 89)
Explaining this in-depth nature of the Quran, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr b. Mujahid رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه said: ‘ما مِنْ شَیْءٍ فِی الْعَالَمِ إِلَّا وَهُوَ فِی كِتَابِ اللهِ’ ‘There is nothing in this universe except that it has been mentioned in the Quran,’ (Al-Itqan fi ‘Uloom-il-Quran, vol. 2, p. 1027).
Sayyiduna Abdullah b. Abbas رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما alluded to this when he remarked, ‘If I lose the rope of my camel, I would surely find it in the Book of Allah,’ (Al-Itqan fi ‘Uloom-il-Quran, vol. 2, p. 1028). In short, knowledge of all things is present in the Quran, albeit our intellects are incapable of grasping it.
Professions in the Quran
Just as other aspects of human life are explored in the Holy Quran, various professions are also referenced by it. Hence, Imam Jalal al-Deen al-Suyuti رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states, ‘The source of professions is found in the Quran, and the names of tools which are required are also mentioned,’ (Al-Itqan fi ‘Uloom-ul-Quran, vol. 2, p. 1031). These include the following:
We find in the Quran:
اٰتُوْنِیْ زُبَرَ الْحَدِیْدِؕ-
‘Bring me sheets of iron.’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 16, Surah Al-Kahf, Verse 96)
This verse describes Sayyiduna Dhul Qarnayn رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ, one of the four kings of antiquity who ruled over the world. During his travels, he came across a people that were terrorised by the evil nations of Yajuj and Majuj. At their request, he ordered a wall to be built to block out Yajuj and Majuj. To construct the wall, he asked them to ‘bring me sheets of iron.’ Following this, he had the people dig foundations, and when they hit water, bricks were laid inside using melted copper. Metal planks were placed above and below, with wood and coal filling the gap in between, and it was then set alight. Like this, the wall was raised to the top of the mountain, and no space was left between the two mountains. Then melted copper was poured on top of the wall, and it all became one solid body (i.e. a very strong wall), (Siraat-ul-Jinan, vol. 6, p. 36).
The Quran also declares:
وَ اَلَنَّا لَهُ الْحَدِیْدَۙ(۱۰)
‘We made iron soft for him,’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 22, Surah Al-Saba, Verse 10)
Iron would miraculously become soft and malleable, like wax or kneaded dough, in the blessed hands of Sayyiduna Dawud عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام, and he عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام would fashion it without heating or striking it, (Khaza’in-ul-‘Irfan).
Allah Almighty states:
اَفَرَءَیْتُمْ مَّا تَحْرُثُوْنَؕ(۶۳) ءَاَنْتُمْ تَزْرَعُوْنَهٗۤ اَمْ نَحْنُ الزّٰرِعُوْنَ(۶۴) لَوْ نَشَآءُ لَجَعَلْنٰهُ حُطَامًا فَظَلْتُمْ تَفَكَّهُوْنَ(۶۵) اِنَّا لَمُغْرَمُوْنَۙ(۶۶) بَلْ نَحْنُ مَحْرُوْمُوْنَ(۶۷)
‘So, have you considered that which you sow? Is it you who cause crops to grow, or are We the Grower? If We will, We can make it like dry trampled grass, so you would remain saying sorrowfully. That, ‘We have been ruined (in our wealth).’ ‘Rather, we remained ill-fated,’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 27, Surah Al-Waaqi’ah, Verses 63-67)