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Running a small business with Taqwa and Tawakkul

Shakirah Hunter

Driving through the CBD I always see those tiny cafes, corner shops or even small businesses running online, I often marvel at the intense amount of faith and tawakkul one has to have in order to run that business. There is no certainty that a person will walk into your shop amongst so many other shops- there is no certainty of a nine to five where your salary is fixed, and you know exactly how much you will be getting every month. Your faith is constantly tested when other shops might prosper, you might have to purchase stock and the uncertainty of it being sold can leave you worried and constantly doubtful. How can we hold on to a deep sense of faith and not allow the external and everchanging aspects of business to shake our reliance of Allah?

Within every transaction – running a business from the seller’s perspective or the buyer’s perspective – we must ensure that we have defined values that determine the way we run our business and the manner that we purchase. Allah Ta’ala has guided us in every moment – including our businesses, as well as our dealings with people within every transaction. Every business must adhere to ethical standards but more-so a Muslim business must adhere to ethics which is an integral part of a successful business.

With social media it is so easy to use a picture that might not be yours and market something that might not be the same as the actual product. At the same time – we are able to keep prices private and when people message for prices, it can be so easy to inflate prices and charge depending on the person purchasing. You as a business owner must ask yourself how you can run your business in a way that is pleasing to Allah Ta’ala first and foremost. In the business practices of the Prophet (s) He was described constantly with the words of As sadooq – total honesty in every transaction. It is in incorporating honesty into our every deal that we create a business of barakah and long-term benefit.

Why is Business ethics so important in business?

Ethics firstly determines that there is a definite difference between right and wrong. The focus as a Muslim business owner should be to the Aakhirah – I am doing business in order to assist and to do more sadaqah and to open up more avenues of good. When lies permeate a business then there is a lack of barakah. Whilst honesty allows for business to have long term prosperity as well as the guarantee of being raised on the Day of Qiyama with the Siddiqeen, the Martyrs and the pious ones.

The Holy Prophet (s) has made a special dua of mercy for that person who is compassionate in your purchases. This indicates to us the importance of compassion and understanding as a person who purchases. We have to practice this by purchasing to support smaller businesses, by being understanding when there are delays, by supporting people who might be struggling as opposed to purchasing from bigger business.

And then Rasulullah (s) made dua for the mercy of Allah to engulf the one who sells with compassion. As a trader or an owner of a small business, be merciful in the manner that you communicate with your customers- irrespective of the number of messages and repetitive queries you might get. At the same time being compassionate in receiving your money also and asking for your money is an integral aspect in gaining the mercy of Allah Ta’ala. This can be so difficult because you might need the money or they are delaying – but the hadith guides us to never pressure people even when we need the money.

We have seen the importance of honesty and leniency in business but at the same time we need to establish the importance of the payment of debts on time. Both as a business owner as well as one who purchases – debt is a right of another person. You have to make sure that the debt is a priority to be paid as soon as possible. Be lenient in the manner that you waive off debts from people.

Justice is one of the most integral core practices that build our small business and is the marked difference between the business of a Muslim Business as opposed to any other business.

As you run your business and the fear of not making targets can sometimes overwhelm you – the constant words that you have to repeat to yourself is that your rizq has already been stipulated and is never according to your work.

Your focus must be on productivity whilst your heart is focused on Allah Ta’ala. By repeating to yourself that no part of your business can come to you if it is not written for you, you build your total reliance on Allah.  By looking at your business as a part of building the larger Islamic society as opposed to building a business simply for personal growth, you shift your focus from your own abilities and totally place it in the hands of Allah.

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