THE ROLE OF TRADE IN THE SPREAD OF ISLAM

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born into the powerful Arab tribe of the Quresh. Hazrat Ibraheem was the holder of the Quresh and was married to three different women: Hazrat Qatura, Hazrat Hajra, and Hazrat Sara. Hazrat Ishmael was the son of Hazrat Hajara and his descendants were called Ismaeli Arabs. A person named “Adnan” was passed down through Hazrat Ismaeel’s descendants, and his descendants were known as “Aal-e-Adnan.” Similarly, a person named “Nazar” passed through Adnan’s ancestors, and his descendant became known as “Aal-e-Nazar.” An individual named Mazar died among Nazar’s ancestors, and his descendants were known as “Aal-e-Mazar.” The lineage continued, and another descendant of Mazar, Fehar bin Malik, was born, and this was the person whose title was “Quraish.” The descendants of Fehr Bin Malik were known as Quraish.

In the same way, there is a different story about the name Quraish. Certain historians entitled Quresh because they were traders. Another story claims that Qasi Bin Qalab was the one who brought Quresh together, earning him the title of Qasi, which means ‘unifier’.” Another narrative professes that Fehr bin Malik and his family were the most powerful in Arab society.

In the Arabic language, ‘Whale’ is also called Quresh because it is the strongest animal in the water. Hence, the metaphor was deduced for Fehr Bin Malik’s descendants due to their strong and powerful influence on Arabs.

Qasi Bin Kalab was the person who strengthened Quresh’s place in Arab society and began to take charge of the arrangements for the pilgrims who came to Makkah for pilgrimage. Once he took charge of these arrangements for pilgrimages, Quresh’s started gaining power near Pear areas. During Qasi’s lifetime, Quresh was assigned the charge of Bait Ullah. After Qasi, his son Abdul
Manaf assumed command, and after Abdul Manaf, his son Hashim took command. Hashim was Hazrat Abdul Mutalib’s father and Hazrat Muhammad’s (PBUH) great grandfather. He was the one who, along with his three brothers, laid the groundwork for international trade. Quresh established trading links with Iran, Yemen, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq in order to advance in the business and commerce. This is how Makkah quickly became the Arab region’s economic and trading hubs. Therefore, trade has been strongly tied with Islam and its expansion since Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) time. The Quresh tribe dominated business in Makkah, with power and ties stretching as far as Abyssinia and Syria. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was himself a businessman and a member of the Quresh tribe married to a business woman. This community utilized its influence and authority to create a network of trade, merchandise, and support throughout the Arabian Peninsula. Gradually, Islam spread through empire-building efforts such as in economics and political dominance.

Since the foundation of Islam, trade has played an important role in its space. The city of Makkah, on the Arabian Peninsula, was a key setting for Islam, paving
essential background for Islam’s relationship with commerce as an important trading hub with active economic activity. Conquest and missionary effort, combined with commercial expansion, led to the establishment and spread of Islam throughout Africa, portions of Europe, Asia, and beyond. The link between
trade, missionary activities, and conquest is crucial in comprehending Islam’s global existence, either in the minority or large areas that converted to Islam. Laws were formed to create a hierarchy with Muslims at the top when Muslim dynasties spread and began dominating lands with non-Muslim inhabitants. In that era, Muslim traders were honest and upright in their businesses and monetary dealings with others, even with non-Muslims. Moreover, they used to keep their words and fulfill their promises, flouted fraud and avoided deceit and treason, encroach not upon the rights of others, nor take part in wrongful litigation.

However, Islam did not spread throughout the world only via trade. The other factors include the conquest and the development of long-lasting Muslim dynasties as well. The expansion of Islam was aided by missionary work along vital trade routes to the East. Much of the early missionary activity was fueled by the growth of Sufism – a mystical Islamic doctrine and practice in the 10th century when Sufis preached their views about Islam while traveling along trade routes and across conquered territories. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that trade is the main foundation through which Islam spread throughout the world. Through fair and just trade with the people of different religions, Muslims imprinted on their minds that Islam is a religion of justice, honesty, peace, and equality. They were confident that their values were the result of religious teachings that led them to behave in a certain way. This is how people embrace Islam and lived a pure life.

As a matter of fact, trade based on Islam’s just values drove Muslims to conquer the world and further spread in different regions of the world.