Ridwan Adeoye: The Muslim Entrepreneur

We all want to live freely, live our dreams, do what we love and run our own shows. This is a life which is usually available to everyone who chooses the entrepreneurial path. So do you want to be a successful Muslim entrepreneur and achieve just that? Entrepreneurship has been a part of the Muslim way of life since the time of the Prophet (PBUH). It was no secret that the prophet (PBOH) ran his own successful business as a trader, which then caught the eye of another successful business person, Khadijah (R.A.), who was impressed with his (SAW) impeccable character. This is an activity encouraged by our faith and in fact, the Prophet (s) has said and urged us “be involved in business as 9 out of 10 sources of income lie in business” (Ihya). Islam has set a code of ethics that need to be adhered to by the Muslims. The Qur'an and Hadith set out this code for every Muslim to abide by. There is no separation of business and religion. Hence, the individual is first a Muslim and then a businessman/woman after the fact. Since our aim is not to run after Dunya and its profits, rather to run a business for Allah (SWT) sake and to fulfill our duties to him, as Muslim entrepreneurs, the following traits are encouraged of us: To be generous To pay alms(Zakat) To be trustworthy To have tawakal (Trust in Allah) To avoid bad behaviour Entrepreneurship has many definitions, but it’s commonly described as someone who identifies a problem and turns it into a business opportunity. According to the Author of the book; “Low- Risk, High-Reward”: Starting and Growing your Business With Minimal Risk: “Entrepreneurship is the recognition and pursuit of opportunity without regard to the resources you currently control, with confidence that you can succeed, with the flexibility to change course as necessary, and with the will to rebound from setbacks” What’s more important than the act of being an entrepreneur is developing the entrepreneurial mind-set. It’s the mind-set of looking at problems as opportunities and creating more with less. It encourages risk-taking, creativity, innovation, and disruptive thinking. The Muslim world needs to adopt this mind-set to prosper. Now that we are aware about entrepreneurship in Islam, let’s see what are the common traits amongst successful Muslim entrepreneurs. 1) Commitment to Faith A strong commitment to Islam and faith in Allah (SWT) means a commitment to the tenants of Islam such as prayer, fasting and giving alms. You find that successful entrepreneurs are focused on their worship to Allah (SWT) because they know all prosperity and success comes from Him alone. 2) Impeccable Character Whenever I get to speak to any entrepreneur, I try as much as possible to know what their values are. I have always found out that their values can all be summarized into a unit of words; “successful entrepreneurs hold high values which are celebrated in Islam such as responsibility, keeping promises, honesty and integrity”. 3) Creativity and Innovative Thinking The point of being able to generate ideas is a function of creativity and finding new opportunity is crucial to innovation. Any entrepreneur who thinks indicatively or entrepreneurially generally has an aptitude to think critically and solve problems, which generally leads to a plus for the society. A great example will be setting up mini-skills acquisition center in mosques that rather than have spaces wasting away. This will help better build Muslims who would be great entrepreneurs. We could also even have a good ICT center that can serve the immediate community of that mosque. Considering the great problems of our modern age, we need more entrepreneurial minded Muslims to apply Islamic principles to solving problems in many fields, such as medicine, agriculture, food, technology and contribute meaningfully to moving humanity forward. 4) Future Oriented Allah (SWT) commands us to think about His signs. This type of thinking requires insight, the ability to be be self-reflective and think about one’s life in relation to other human beings and the universe. That form of self-reflection naturally leads someone to be future-oriented, to think about their legacy and what they’d like to accomplish with their lives. Successful Muslim entrepreneurs know Allah (SWT) will ask everyone to be accountable for how they used their time, wealth, health and knowledge and they make sure they prioritize their life accordingly. 5) Motivation Growing up, many of us were more motivated by external things; friends, family, school etc. Not many of us learn how to cultivate internal discipline and self-motivation but this is what a successful entrepreneur does. They don’t wait for anyone to tell them what to do, or when to do it. They make sure they get the work done even if they don’t feel like. They are driven by their passion to excel and achieve their goals. 6) Be the Best Successful entrepreneur wants to be #1 in their given field and this takes hard work with a combination of knowledge and skills. To be the best, you must work on acquiring the cutting edge knowledge in your field and always reading about current trends. This will keep you at the top of your game. 7) Self- Confidence Someone once explained that fear is the idea of trusting yourself. Let me say that again, fear is trusting yourself. People fear because they put too much hope and trust in their own abilities but believe that’s the only thing that will get them there. A successful Muslim entrepreneur believes in a higher purpose and in a higher being. Allah (SWT), therefore their fear is small because they understand the greatness of the work they are doing. Purpose eliminates all fears. Many people will tell you that your dreams won’t work out. They probably don’t want to see you succeed or get hurt. The trust is, the more people tell you something won’t be successful, the harder you should work and the stronger your faith should be to prove them wrong. A successful entrepreneur doesn't listen to naysayers. Allah (SWT) encourages us not to be negative weak or sad “So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor be sad, and you will be superior(in victory) if you are indeed(true believers). (Al-Imran: 139). 8) Do What You Love People who follow their passion go farther than those who do what they hate. You will work harder, you will enjoy it more, you will stay late hours, and be more determined to see your project through. It’s a natural fire within you that keeps you going. When you focus on doing things for money, or any materialistic reasons, you might fail. Money shouldn't be a motivator for human beings, working for something higher than we are is the best of all motivators. 9) Be Persistent When Allah (SWT) encourages us to be strong, it’s implied that we must never give up. A successful entrepreneur always does what it takes to get the job done, no matter what obstacles get thrown their way. Never give up. 10) Focus on Solving Problems This is by far one of the most important qualities of an entrepreneur. To the exclusivity of everything else, they focus on solving problems for other people and creating value for other people. This is the basis of all great businesses. As it’s important for following your dream, remember to focus on helping others find and accomplish their dreams/goals first. Then you will succeed. Salam Alaikum. Ridwan Adeoye is an Animal Geneticist and a Staff writer at 1one4.com

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