Indeed Allāh Is al-Musaʿir (The Determiner): A Discussion on Prices and Inflation
Shaykh ʿAli al-Ḥaddādī
A khuṭbah delivered by the noble shaykh, ʿAlī ibn al-Ḥaddādī, concerning the issues of price fixing and inflation. Is it permissible? Is it an issue of qadr (divine decree)? Is it correct for Muslims to rebel against rulership because of it?
Anas said: Prices became excessive during the time of the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ), so they said: ‘O Messenger of Allāh! Set prices for us!’ So he said: ‘Indeed Allāh is al-musaʿir, al-Qābiḍ, al-Bāsiṭ, al-Razzāq. I am hopeful that I meet my Lord and none of you are seeking [recompense from] me for an injustice involving blood or wealth.
The following benefits were taken from a khuṭbah delivered by Shaykh ʿAli ibn Yaḥyá al-Ḥaddādī (حفظه الله) based upon the following narrations after the inflation of the price of oil in Saudi al-ʿArabīa:
It was reported firstly, that Anas said: “Prices became excessive during the time of the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ), so they said: ‘O Messenger of Allāh! Set prices for us!’ So he said: ‘Indeed Allāh is al-Mūsáʿir, al-Qābiḍ, al-Bāsiṭ, al-Razzāq. I am hopeful that I meet my Lord and none of you are seeking [recompense from] me for an injustice involving blood or wealth.’” Narrated by Aḥmad and others.
Secondly, Abū Hurayrah narrated that a man came and said: “Messenger of Allāh, fix the prices.” He said: “Rather I shall supplicate.” Again, the man came and said: “Messenger of Allāh, fix the prices.” He said: “It is but Allāh who makes the prices low and high, and verily, I hope that when I meet Allāh, none of you has any claim on me for doing wrong regarding blood or property.” Narrated by Abū Dāwūd.
Certainly, the fluctuation of prices is in the hands of Allāh. Therefore, from His Attributes is that He provides bountifully and restricts; He raises the prices and lowers them. Therefore, He provides sustenance bountifully, and as a result, the prices drop, and sometimes He restricts them so the prices inflate and this is evidence for the perfection of His ability as He alters the night, the day and what is in them as He pleases.Hence, if He is the one in whose hands these affairs are in, then it is upon the slaves to attach themselves to Allāh and to ask Him from that which will benefit them from low prices and abundant sustenance. This is why when the Prophet (ﷺ) was asked to fix the price he said: ‘Rather I shall supplicate’. That is, rather I will supplicate and ask Allāh to reduce the prices and provide bountifully.
Upon the slaves is to earn Allāh’s pleasure by obeying Him, thanking Him for the favours He has bestowed upon them and avoiding his disobedience. Therefore, if they did this He will open up the blessings from the skies and the earth as He said:“And if the people of the towns had believed and had Taqwá [piety], certainly, We would have opened for them blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they belied [the Messengers]. So We took them [with punishment] for what they used to earn [polytheism and crimes, etc.]”In addition, it has come in a narration: Hardship/burden does not occur except because of sin, and it is not removed except by tawbah. Hence, the peoples’ reckoning of themselves, reviewing their condition and rectifying their apparent and hidden affairs is from the reasons for the removal of punishment and the occurrence of blessings.
Verily, the era in which the Prophet (ﷺ) and his Companions lived was not free from price inflation and in this is a consolation for every community that came after them, which is affected with some sort of difficulty. For in the same manner trials are a form of punishment, it is also an expiation of sins.
In the statement of the Prophet (ﷺ): “Indeed Allāh is al-musaʿir, al-Qābiḍ, al-Bāsiṭ, al-Razzāq” is an indication that Allāh is the one who sustains His slaves as He said:“Verily, Allāh is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong.”Therefore, he is the one who is responsible for providing sustenance for his slaves, whether it be that they are from humankind, jinn, livestock or grazing animals. As Allāh said:“And no [moving] living creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allāh.”He also said:“And so many a moving [living] creature there is that carries not its own provision! Allāh provides for it and for you. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.”Thus, the one who sustains the people when the prices are low is the very one who sustains them when the prices are high, and hence, the believer should not allow panic and anxiety to overtake him. Rather, his heart should be reassured by the promise of Allāh knowing that whatever He has written for him will inevitably reach him and whatever was not written for him will never reach him.
If we know that Allāh is The musaʿir and that He is the one who inflates the prices and reduces them, we would know that those who are launching frantic campaigns against the religious leaders if they raise the prices out of necessity, that they have opposed the straight path and the correct methodology for the following reasons:
The prices are in the hands of Allāh and all of us are aware that marketplaces run on the principle of supply and demand. Therefore, if items were abundant, the prices will be low, but if they were scarce, the prices will be high and the affair of its abundance and scarcity returns to Allāh.
When they incite the people to go against the leader because of issues concerning money, they are in reality not solving any problem or rectifying any ill instead, they are seeking severe havoc and widespread destruction since the division between the leader and the people leads to serious problems and tremendous horrors.
The believer who is submissive to the command of Allāh, the one who follows His Messenger (ﷺ), pledges his allegiance to the rulers for the sake of Allāh. Thus if they gave him his rights, he praises Allāh and he listens and obeys, and if they withheld his rights, he exhibits patience; he hopes for his reward from Allāh in being patient, and he also listens and obeys even though his rights may not reach him in this world. Surely, it will reach him on the Day of Judgement as the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “You will see after me, selfishness [on the part of other people] and other matters that you will disapprove of.” They asked, “What do you order us to do, O Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ)? [under such circumstances]?” He said, “Pay their rights to them [i.e. to the rulers] and ask your right from Allāh.” As for being pleased, he listens and obeys if they give him his rights, but he is upset, inciteful and raises fitnah if they withheld them. That is not from the conduct of the people of īmān. For it is found in Ṣaḥiḥ al-Bukhārī “There are three persons whom Allāh will not look at on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them, and for them shall be a severe punishment…a man who gave a pledge of allegiance to a ruler and he gave it only for worldly benefits. If the ruler gives him something, he becomes satisfied, and if the ruler withholds something from him, he becomes dissatisfied.”
Endnotes: : He is the one who sets/fixes the prices either by increasing or decreasing them as He pleases. : al-ʿArabīc source: (إن الله هو المسعر (خطبة مكتوبة : Al-Aʿraf, 96. : This statement is ascribed to al-ʿAbbās, the uncle of the Messenger (ﷺ). It was reported by Ibn ʿAsākir in Tārīkh Damishq vol. 26, pg. 358 and 359, Ibn Hajr in Fat‘h al-Bāri vol. 2, pg. 497 and al-Dīnūrī (d. AH 333) in al-Mujālasah no. (727). : Al-Dhāriyāt, 58.  Hūd, 6. : al-ʿAnkabūt, 60. : Reported by al-Bukhārī.
Summarised and translated by: Mūsá Shaleem Mohammed