Half the Earnings Belong to the Sea

First Words
Nature sometimes used the mute animals to teach the greedy and avid man a lesson in honesty. This is the story of a man who was dishonest because of excessive greed. Allah taught him a lesson through an ape. The Holy Prophet told us about it.

Translation
[Sayyidina Abu Hurayrah , reported the Messengerof Allah as saying that a man sold wine on a shop. (He wasso greedy that he was not satisfied with his unlawful earnings through wine and so engaged in cheating.) He mixed water intothe wine. He had a monkey with him who picked up his purse” and climbed up the top of the mast. There, he began to throw adinar into the sea and a dinar into the ship until he had divided them into two parts (half of it went into the sea because it was income from the adulterated and the man had no right over it).]
(Al·Harbi, Bayhaqi, Ahmad)

Explanation
This is the story of a greedy trader who traded in wine, the worst of the unlawful things. His desire to cam more in a little time induced him to adulterate wine with water.

We_must know that wine was not disallowed by some religions before Islam, and it was not forbidden in the beginning in Islam too. Hence. we should not wonder why this man was blamed for adulteration and not for dealing in wine. Or, we should not ask why the Hadith has not questioned him for selling wine. We do not get the impression from the Hadith that there is nothing wrong in dealing in wine.

We must also remember that this is a story of one of the earlier people. Wine is unlawful, and it is a grave sin in the Shariah of Prophet Muhammad to have to do anything with wine including, drinking it, serving it, selling it, buying it, brewing it, preparing it or abetting and helping in these things.

Anyway, that man used to sell wine mixed with water and he carried on his business on a ship. He had a monkey with him who observed his conduct. One day. he suddenly picked up his master’s purse and climbed up the top of the mast of the ship so that no one could get hold of him. He opened the purse and threw one dinar into the sea and one into the ship. In this way, he threw away half of the money into the sea and half of it in the ship for the trader. He told him, as it were, that the money that was not his was returned to the sea.

Lessons and Messages

1. The main lesson the Hadith teaches us is that cheating and adulteration are wrong acts and are disallowed. It is unlawful to cheat anyone and the income therefrom is unlawful too.

The Shariah has termed adulteration as the worst of sins. The Messenger of Allah said  “Anyone who cheats or adulterates is not one of us.”
Unfortunately, our Muslim brothers are much involved in this sin. Greedy people, bereft of human qualities, adulterate every necessity of life—milk, honey, ghee (clarified butter), and so on. They also mix impurities in medicine. These people neglect the Hereafter and they sort of worship money. These filthy people play a horrible game with our society very boldly for there is no one to stop them.

So, it is a grave sin to sell adulterated items just as it is sinful to adulterate.

2. While Allah will punish the wrong-doer in the Hereaiier, sometimes He also gives him some punishment in this world. The problems and difficulties a man faces in this world are the result of his vvrong—doing.

Allah punished the trader in our story through his own monkey who threw away half his earnings in the sea.

3. The Hadith also reveals amazing secrets of the animals. Allah has given the animals too some intellect and ability to understand some things. The story shows that the monkey understood what was happening and could dispense justice.

4. We also learn from this case that if anyone has accumulated unlawful eamings then he must not use it but throw it away or give it to a needy person. The Shariah commands us in the first instance to desist from making unlawful earnings but if any of it comes in our hands then we must no use it.

Some people have money derived from interest. It is not proper to use it. Interest earnings are unlawful. It is better to give that money to a deserving person. The Ulama should be consulted to determine who the deserving person is.

This is an excrept from the book Stories from the hadith: http://www.darul-ishaat.co.uk/store/Stories-From-The-Hadith.html

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