Seven tips for Muslim entrepreneurs

Thinking about starting a new business or revamping your existing setup is certainly a challenge. As a small business owner with limited resources, the burden of responsibility can get out of hand.

An event organized by Bangalore-based Muslim Industrialists Association (MIA).Photo courtesy: The Cognate.
By Dur-e-Sabih

Thinking about starting a new business or revamping your existing setup is certainly a challenge. As a small business owner with limited resources, the burden of responsibility can get out of hand.

At the same time, running your own business is extremely liberating. You are your boss and there is no one to answer to. Setting up and managing your business is not easy. It can seem like an even bigger challenge if you want to run your business by the high moral standards of Islam.

Shining Example

As Muslims, we are bound by certain codes of conduct. Islam prescribes certain limits that must not be crossed. Our Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) was a shining example of a successful man.

Not only was he (SAWW) a great leader and a loving husband and father. He (SAWW) was known for his honest and trustworthy nature. Even his bitterest enemies vouched for these qualities.

This is why he (SAWW) gained success even in business dealings. The Holy Prophet (SAWW) was a trader by profession. Islam never hindered his (SAWW) profession; if anything, it benefited him.

7 Tips for Muslim Businesses In 2023

It is easy to find tips on how to manage a business. There have been numerous books written on the subject, not to mention the free-of-cost resources available online, like blogs and videos.

For Muslims, however, the true merit of any action depends on how it impacts our faith and practice of Islam. This is why the guide in business, relationships, and every aspect of life is the Holy Quran and the life of the Holy Prophet (SAWW). Here are seven tips for running a business in 2023 that draw inspiration from both these sources:

Truth And Honesty

Go to any expert and they will tell you that the first step to starting your business is to draw up a detailed business plan. As a Muslim, however, the first step is to pray to Allah and get His blessings.

When you are aware of Allah’s presence and seeking His help, then being truthful and honest becomes easy. Our Holy Prophet (SAWW) was known for being truthful and trustworthy. Even when doing so meant being at a financial disadvantage.

The Holy Prophet (SAWW) is reported to have said:

“Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Falsehoods lead to Al-Fajur (i.e. wickedness, evil-doing), and Al-Fajur (wickedness) leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is written before Allah, a liar” [Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 78, Hadith 121]

This Hadith of the Holy Prophet (SAWW) not only makes it clear that truthfulness becomes a habit if you practice honesty regularly. It also highlights the significance of telling the truth not just in our lives currently but in the Hereafter.

Setting Priorities

Another lesson the Hadith mentioned above teaches us is the importance of setting appropriate goals. Most people set up a business to make money and grow the business. Muslims must always be mindful of what real success is.

It is not the attainment of wealth, fame, and social capital of this world. True success is about gaining Allah’s pleasure. It is Allah’s protection that will keep us safe from the Hellfire after all.

Our business should reflect this belief. The primary goal of running the business should be to make Allah happy, and this can be done by serving the people and community. Making a profit and growing the business should always be secondary goals.

Serve The Community

Muslims must always think about the community. Islam does not encourage the selfish pursuit of individual success. Brotherhood is a cornerstone of an Islamic society.

Your business should exist to benefit others. It is not just about serving the customers. Giving back by encouraging local employment or alms-giving, which is more than Zakat, are ways your business can uplift the community.

You can contribute positively by participating in social events and advertising important causes. Like telling patrons to donate towards the building or repair of a local mosque.

Your business should be a source of good for the community. Small businesses are known for improving economic activity. Muslim business owners can go a step further and benefit the whole society.

Take Care Of Your Employees

Islam preaches equality. In Islam, no individual is considered superior to another simply due to social and economic status.

The only discerning characteristic is the strength of our faith and Allah’s pleasure. We should treat everyone equally. Those who work for us require the same dignity and respect as our customers.

Taking care of employees is essential. This goes beyond offering them fair pay and rest days. According to a Hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Umar (RA):

“A man came to the Prophet and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! How many times should the servant be pardoned?’ The Prophet was silent. The. He said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! How many times should the servant be pardoned?’ He said: ‘Seventy times each day.’” [Jami at-Tirmidhi, Book 27, Hadith 55]

The Hadith above indicates how important forgiveness is. It is a virtue that we must incorporate into our daily lives. As business owners, Muslims must consider all the needs of their employees. Giving them extra bonuses during Eid and allowing them to pray during prayer times is the least you can do as a boss.

Halal Dealings

Naturally, your business should not involve selling prohibited things in Islam. This includes pork, alcohol, and other illegal substances. Haram activities, like gambling, are also forbidden.

While most Muslims know these restrictions and abide by them, many do not know that even Halal business can become a source of Allah’s displeasure. If we are unfair in our dealings, like improperly weighing goods or using false advertising, it can do more harm than good.

Shady business practices may help us gain worldly rewards. In the Hereafter, however, each one of us will be answerable for every single deed. This is because being fair and honest, even if it does result in a temporary loss, is acceptable.

Never Give Up

Islam teaches us never to give up. Being hopeless is formed since it means we do not have faith in Allah’s All-Powerful nature.

Muslims must always know that with Allah on their side, they are invincible. The only weakness is one of faith. When we are sure that we can always rely on Allah, and all outcome, be they good or bad, is from Allah, we are content with our situation.

This enables us to keep going. Failure and hardships are a part of running a business. Success takes time and much effort. This is why giving up is discouraged because we do not know when Allah will change our fortune for the better. We must always believe in Him and keep going forward.

Keep On Learning

Finally, business management is a continuous process. One never stops learning. There are new developments and improved ways of doing things. Islam encourages us to embrace change for the better. We should not be rigid and unwilling to change with the times. Living life and doing business is about learning and growing.

Muslim Entrepreneurship 2023

Now more than ever, we need to unite as a community and work towards a better future. Being alone and separated during the pandemic taught us how much we need each other.

Islam teaches communal values. Everything we do, be it business or forming relationship bonds, should include an element of communal unity. The only way we can progress and go ahead is by working together in harmony, not by pulling each other down.

By: Dur-e-Sabih


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