Business Sense, plus some

BismiLlahir Rahmanir Rahim

"You should write a book," my sister said to me today.
I decided to humour her. "What could I write about?"
"Anything," she responded.
"Anything? Who would want to read what I have to write about?" I asked.
"Lots of people read garbage," she said matter-of-factly.


I cracked up.
One point for her.

That's a daily dose of humour for ya.

***

Moving onto other things, Reviving the Islamic Spirit - an annual Islamic conference held in Toronto, is just around the corner, God willing. I missed last year's conference which was particularly special for both my sisters. It was then, by the grace of God alone, that they were able to launch Muslim Child - a web-based business appropriately directed to Muslim children.

I heard of this idea at its outset which was only six months before the business went live. At the time, I was living in Sana'a and had barely adjusted to the changes that were happening at home with my family, missing them with every ounce of my being, yet content to be where I was. As I said at the time, Yemen will always claim a special place in my heart, and this remains true.

Like many others, my parents have taught me a lot about using money appropriately. Their direction has been both explicitly and implicitly expressed and often emphasized the concepts of generosity and fairness. Time and time again, I've seen them go out of their way to spend their hard-earned dollars at small businesses with the intention to support them.

I continue to benefit from my father's words to me when we spoke on the phone a few days after I arrived in Sana'a, (roughly) "Farzeen, make sure you pay for all the food and not just yours. It doesn't matter how much it costs. Buy food and drinks for everyone. There's baraka in it, so pay for it all." SubhanAllah. These words were a light for me, and true to what my parents have often tried to teach me. May Allah reward them both and grant them and their loved ones peace and khayr in this world and the next, ameen.

Since my return home almost eight months ago, I've attended a few conferences with my sisters and "worked" at another stall - Salsabil Boutique - specializing in Muslim women's clothing - by their side. From a combination of these experiences, cruising Sana'a marketplaces, and other insights, there are a few things that I've gathered about business.

First, a business starts with a sincere intention, a clear vision, and continues with a lot of hard work. Secondly, it requires a good attitude along with a rigorous preservation and practice of high moral and ethical principles. And finally, as with everything, it has to be sealed with one's complete dependence on Allah, for success and our sustenance are both from Him alone, and we need not depend on anyone else for these matters. Within these three points are a multitude of others, but I consider these the "pillars of good business."

As I assisted at Salsabil Boutique, one aspect of customers troubled me, and that was their desire to negotiate prices. I suppose that's the custom in the eastern world, so people figure that it works here too, and perhaps sometimes it does. What troubled me the most was that despite knowing that they were buying an item at the seller's cost price, some people asked for a further discount. I hope, for their sake, that it was only their need that caused them to ask and in it they had a shyness.

I don't know people circumstances, but they also need to be cognizant of business owners' circumstances. To illustrate, at three events during the summer, almost all the businesses who opened stalls made a financial loss. The turnout of the events were minimal and their sales were even less thus failing to cover the cost of the retailer's space. Insha'Allah khayr. Such was written.

I must say though, it really pleases me to see the variety and number of entrepreneurs at these events. It says a lot to me about the community. Insha'Allah, a strict adherence to the Islamic teachings in commerce will only increase these business people in their pursuits. May Allah give them success, ease, and grant them baraka in their dealings, ameen.

As retailers prepare themselves to gather together once again at Reviving the Islamic Spirit, I hope that there there is a mutual concern between retailers and consumers to be fair and consistent in prices and interactions. SubhanAllah. There is so much to be gained by good adab with each other, I don't doubt that within such actions there resides a great deal of baraka as well. Interestingly, my best memories of shopping in Sana'a were encapsulated by good adab, but those are stories for another day, insha'Allah.

Regardless of the happenings in the conference's bazaar, I'm hoping for a morsel of food for my heart. Should that be given to me, and I fit to receive it, it will be a time worthwhile, God willing.

[P.S. - Forgive my poor use of English and even weaker composition, and please pray for me and my family.]

***

A taste of last year's fun with Muslim Child....



[And if you find the brief clip cute, please say "mashaAllah," for such a sweetness in children is from God alone and it is as He wills.]

4 comments:

Sketched Soul said...

As-salaamu'alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuh

jajaja.. I agree with your sister, you should write a book!

Wonderful post, I pray RIS is a success for all attending, be it those there on business or those there to gain some knowledge.

(I'm hoping for a morsel of food too.. jiji) - okay.. I'll stop.

Wa'alaykum as-salaam
Love Farhana

Farzeen said...

Wa 'alaykum assalaam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakaatuh Farh

:-D

Shireen said...

oooh RIS was fun eh... and they still neogiated, they would until they get it almost free...it's in the blood ;)

Next year we get a sign that says "Welcome to CANADA" .. hehe

Mustafa said...

As-salaamu'alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuh

The video clip of those little angels was awesome Mashallah.

"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]

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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]