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Posts Tagged Prices in Past & Present

LETTER TO EDITOR: Honest Trading by Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)


15 May 2017

Honest Trading


The renowned Islamic scholar Maulana Tariq Jameel in a TV programme today on Business Ethics in Islam said that Hazrat Abdur Rehman Bin Auf  R.A. of Ashra Mubashara and a trader, because of  his impeccably honest practices of trading made so much profits that he left a fortune of 2 arb, 10 crores, 20 lakh dinars after him. Maulana also explained that a Dinar was 4.5 masha of pure gold.  Now there are 12 mashas in a Tola and 80 Tolas make a Seer (kilo) and 1000 Kilos make a Tonne.  Thus Hazrat Abdur Rehman Bin Auf R.A. left 9853.125 tons of gold!












I am just baffled as to where did he store that much of gold? And, he was not the only Meccan trader of his time.  There were other Ashaba e Karaam much richer than him, such as; Hazrat Usman e Ghani R.A., Hazrat Abu Sufian R.A.,  Hazrat Abbas R.A. (Holy Prophet’s uncle) just to name a few.


What kind of trading did they use to do that fetched them that huge profit (s)?


The largest trading caravan from Mecca used to be that of Abu Sufian R.A. comprising of  1000 camels and that too not all his own camels.  People used to send their commodities on their camels in his caravan for security reasons.  Now a very healthy camel can carry 7 to 8 maunds of a commodity. Apart from the commodity the camel(s) had to carry water and rations not only for the traders and sarbaans (camel drivers) going with the caravan but also for themselves (camels) too.  That means at the most 7000 to 8000 mounds of a commodity was carried for trading from one place to the other.  A caravan used to take two to three months to cover the distance and in one year at the most could make two round trips.  That means in all about 1500 to say 2000 maunds of commodities were traded.  Now coming to prices:  Gold was 60 rupees a Tola in 1960 and I purchased it MYSELF at that price.  It was 29 rupees a Tola in 1930, at the time of my parents’ wedding.  In 1941 and again I myself purchased wheat (and good wheat too) at 11 annas a mound.  A two mound wheat sack used to cost One rupee Six annas.  A kilo of Khalis Desi Ghee used to be for a Rupee and a quarter. Recorded history and no hearsay, tells us that at the time of  Emperor Alauddin Khilji the general commodities were around ONE Paisa a mound.  And that was about 500 years ago only.  By the same token, what would then be the average price of the commodities 1500 years ago?  Surely less than a paisa a mound.  But for argument sake let’s assume a caravan load of 8000 mounds of commodities would be worth, say, at the most 8000 paisas, that is Rs. 125/=  only  (64 paisas to a Rupee).  


For heaven’s sake what was their profit margin that according to  Maulana Tariq Jameel made them earn millions and billions of gold Dinars on the transactions involving a working capital of Rs. 125/- or so only!


Could someone more learned shed some light on such Trading, please?



Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
30 Westridge 1
Rawalpindi 46000
E.mail: jafri@rifiela.com

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