Why was Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, a merchant before being a prophet, is a question Sheikh Hamza Yusuf answers in this video.
Allah (SWT) could have made him many things, but He made him two things: a shepherd in his youth and a merchant in his adult manhood.
He made him a shepherd because all prophets are shepherds, as the essence of being a prophet is caring for a flock and protecting it from the wolf.
The reason Sheikh Hamza suggests Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was chosen to be a merchant was because the merchant is the most beneficial human being in society.
Everything we use in daily life is from commerce; chairs, clothes, glasses, medication … So all what is beneficial to the material well-being of people is from commerce.
But there is another secret in commerce…
Commerce teaches you good character, because the best successful merchants are the ones with the best character.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, is described in the Qur’an by Allah (SWT):
“And indeed, you are of a great moral character.” (68:2)
The other thing about commerce is if you want your commerce to be successful you have to be trustworthy…
If you give your word, you stand by it.
If you write a note, you fulfill it.
If you promise good on a certain day, you fulfill that.
And if you don’t, people stop doing business with you.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, was known as Al-Ameen, the trustworthy, because he was the most trustworthy of merchants.
People knew that if you gave him your money, not only did you get it back, but you got it back with great benefit.
Don’t miss these excellent 5 minute reflections by Sheikh Hamza on the character of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.