Everything in Pairs !
For example the Quran clearly states that Allah has created things in pairs (surah yaseen example Verse 36) That Allah has created everything in pairs, pairs we know and pairs we have no knowledge off. Protons and Electrons are a good example of pairs we never knew but the most exciting discovery was the positive and negative bit (binary numbers) which led to the creation of the Computer, the mobile phone, Robotics plus numerous other related modern tools, nearly all software driven. Even today 8 bits represents 255 characters including the alphabet and numerals 0 thru 9 on which everything is dependent on.
Research Center in Europe
Again on a similar subject, it has been discovered that everything that exists, exists because it is created from positive particles but there is also an equivalent negative particle. If the negative particle joins the positive particles, example of the chair we are seated, then the chair will disappear. Currently CERN a research center in Europe is spending Billions to understand and isolate the negative particle.
What Quran Says About Embryology
Embryology is another field where the Quran provides insights previously unknown. Dr Keith Moore, a Global Leader in the field of Embryology discovered a Qur’anic verse stating that the embryo looks like a chewed up piece of leech like clot. This is exactly what Dr Keith Moore discovered under a microscope of the embryo in its 28th day. When questioned he simply said “well folks there was no microscopes in the 7th century, so I guess the only conclusion is its information Divine”. This statement was made in 1980s’.
Acceptance of the Islamic Laws
The Book on Islamic Jurisprudence by late Prof C.G.Weeramantry Vice President of the International Court of Justice and Justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, states that “Islamic Law is one of the best developed and most adequate systems in the world”. The book is based on Quran and Hadiths. The All Ceylon Jemaythul Ulema had a special function to honor him for his contribution to the Islamic faith during his lifetime.
All Solutions in the Quran
Maurice Bucaille author of book Bible, Quran and Science, states that subjects such as: Creation of the Heavens and Earth, Astronomy, Animal and Vegetable Kingdom and Human Reproduction are all in the Quran. Maurice Bucaille a French Christian reverted to Islam.
Manage Business Effectively
The purpose of mentioning the power of the Quran ayats above is to emphasize to the reader that, “Similarly any verses or hadiths referred to Business Management, if adapted will provide a dramatic performance improvement, in our Business.
Detail are in the Quran
Interestingly in Surah Kahf – ayath 54 , Allah says – "We have explained in detail in this Quran, for the benefit of mankind, every kind of similitude, but man is, in most things contentious"
CCP, FCP & BCP
Allah says in the Quran, “Don’t say even uff to your parents, don’t speak harshly & keep on being kind & generous
This one verse in the Quran ensures CCP, FCP & BCP.
Today the west has become and so as many parts of the world have become totally materialistic and have no other objective than accumulating & consuming and enjoying short term. They don’t want even the responsibility of bringing up children.
Country Continuity Planning
This has resulted at Country level, negative population growth and an aging population to cope up with. The children grow up in an environment of instability and though intelligent are not stable in the organization they work. This has resulted in the influx of mainly Indians from the south where respect for parents, elders and family is paramount. Today the result is many fortune 500 organizations CEOs plus the VP of USA are from this origin. In simple terms the “country continuity planning” of these countries depends very much on their migration policies and not on their Citizens.
Family Continuity Planning
In the Quran Allah most merciful says he has put between husband and wife affection and mercy. Alhamdulillah this is a great blessing from the Almighty.
Families where the bonds with parents, create a strong desire, for early marriage and procreation. Children are cherished and protected by parents & adored by grandparents, providing stability for the children and self-confidence which is not possible in a materialistic society.
For family stability, educating our children in deen and ensuring its practice must be given its due place and should always be considered as the first priority of our children’s life journey. Else chances of all our efforts failing are very high.
Business Continuity Planning
Stable families enable us to handover our businesses to the future generations. Thus the struggle of the family patriarch to create the first business continues as earnings for many families for generations.
But for this we need to understand BBP i.e. Best Business Practices from Quran and Hadiths.
Quran has been preserved by the command of Allah and even the deviant groups have not been able to change the original Arabic text. The Hadiths (actions and sayings of the Prophet Muhammed sas) have been preserved through a well-documented chain of narrators.
Today knowledge management and importance of documenting and transmitting knowledge has become a mission critical in all organizations, regardless of size.
There are specialized MBA programs on the subject of Knowledge Management today. Specialized knowledge management software is also available for organizations to record and document their business processes and secrets.
Such a document when prepared by an Organization is referred to as the Standards & Operations Manual (SOP)
In our business too we must have all our business processes documented (rules of our business) so that all staff work according to the rules. If new staff join we can induct them rapidly using this manual. Most important the business becomes less people dependent.
Another benefit from this manual is when you want to implement a computer system to cover your entire business, this manual becomes very useful.
Also you can use this manual to keep updating regularly the learnings and mistakes.
Mashoora has been advocated in many hadiths by Nabi sas & today we call it brainstorming where people meet and exchange thoughts on an issue & come up with an action plan.
Mashoora is powerful because it can be used to seeking knowledge from outside, the Quran states that we must seek knowledge from those who know.
Obtaining mashoora from experts or consultants before making a decision is a necessity because there is so much specialized knowledge available on every subject and we must be willing to pay the consultant for his time.
Most of us feel obliged to pay Lawyers and Architects for their specialized knowledge, similarly we need to invest in Professional knowledge in areas like Strategy, Branding, Digital Marketing etc.
For small and medium enterprises who don’t have a senior Finance person , can opt for Financial Consultants to advise in managing working capital, where our money is tied up in inventory, debtors and managing our creditors.
Using Azure cloud services we can perform Inventory forecasting thus managing inventory to keep raw material imports arriving on time or ensuring adequate Inventory. JIT Inventory management and on time delivery by production reduces the working capital requirements. Here too we have specialized consultants.
Business Continuity and Contingency Planning
The Quran, speaks of Yusuf as given responsibility for the storehouses and he says, I will be a knowing guardian. Yusuf as then ensures that during seven difficult years, there was no food shortage among a vast nation of people including his own family in Egypt.
This is one of the best examples of Forecasting and Business Continuity Planning in the Quran.
This story teaches us the importance of forecasting our business considering natural growth with all things being equal and to take into consideration the risks involved both internal and external that can take place.
Another lesson we can learn is to prepare for contingencies where we should keep money aside in liquid assets. Keeping in mind that only very few businesses can generate positive cash flow month in month out.
Planning is the best form of Intelligence
Abu Dharr RA narrates that Rasullah SAS said to him “Oh Abu Dharr there is no Intelligence like Planning.”
Today like knowledge management, Planning too has become a key tool in business. Project Planning is also conducted at Masters’ level and there is a globally recognized program called PMP (project management & planning).
Project Managers are in high demand globally and can work in any industry from construction to software with the PMP or Master’s qualification. They do not have to be experts in Construction or software.
Planning for us as businessmen is essential part of our life. Many organizations perform an annual plan prior to the end of the financial year. This includes budgeting, sales forecast etc.. Their annual plan is separated into 12 months. Each month’s work is divided into weekly achievements and to ensure successful execution a weekly performance review is conducted.
Allah Most merciful says “He is the best of Planners” This alone goes to show how important planning is.
Nabi Sas was the greatest leader, law maker, army commander and reformist. Also he is considered the most influential person who ever lived by Michael Hart who was an absolute white racist.
Despite all the above responsibilities, Nabi sas had scheduled times for his worship and family visits
Time is the only thing we cannot increase thus spending it wisely by organizing our personal life is high priority for all of us.
Ensuring all employees are effectively utilized in any business is important especially in the service industry, where the employee man hour rate is the basis upon which it earns.
For example the software industry uses resource management optimizer software. All employees are assigned multiple tasks and each task has budgeted hours and completion date. During the daily performance review, the Team Leader ensures that the employee have completed each task on the scheduled date within the budgeted hours.
Ensuring employee productivity in any organization is a priority, not just the service industry, thus it is recommended that resource management software is applied across all white collar employees.
One simple advice is to include six rakaths of Dhuha prayer daily before we leave home. The first two rakaths is to thank Allah for the 360 joints in our body, the second two is for barakah in our time and the last two is for our needs to be fulfilled.
Sense of Urgency & Execution Skills
Nabi sas was very efficient. He had excellent XQ (Execution Quotient) i.e. ability to get things done.
The secret of Nabi sas efficiency, was his sense of urgency. Once a task was decided he would make a plan and execute as fast as possible.
A good example was the battle of Khandaq. Salman Faris RA, the Persian advised Nabi SAS to build a trench to prevent the combined forces from penetrating the defences of Al -Madeena. Nabi SAS decide to go ahead and immediately actioned the idea.
We know in our personal life anything we decide to do later, rarely gets done.
The sense of urgency is created when we start by making a plan and assigning a responsibilities with time lines and then periodic reviews to ensure it gets actioned.
In this example too we see the value of ensuring delivery on time without procrastination
Patience is mentioned 90 times in the quran and is mostly associated with times of difficulty.
This subject with examples is covered in Surah Kahf when Musa as meets Khidr (Alayhis Salam).
In this surah itself there are three examples and two are provided below:
The fishermen have their boats damaged by the Khidr as after they gave Musa as & Khidr as a ride free of charge. The fishermen when they found their boats damaged, would have been very angry but little did they know that since the boats were damaged they had saved their boats being confiscated by the king.
The second example is: No parents can easily bear the loss of their child but here too Allah in His great mercy actually protects the parents from a child who would have grown up and caused much distress to the parents. This child is killed by Khidr AS & Allah replaces the bad child with another child with excellent qualities.
How often we face a disaster in our business like a key employee leaving us during the middle of a project or a major financial loss making us wind up our business etc. After a few months or years everything has changed and we find ourselves in much better positions.
To overcome such a situation where we don’t really comprehend the situation, we must hold back any statement, judgement or decision. Then make proper inquiry and understand the circumstances, to the extent possible. Then do mashoora with relevant people who can be relied to give suitable advice. Only then make a decision or implement a plan.
Our Nabi sas said that when Allah wants to increase our rank in Jannah, He makes us undergo trials and through our patience, He elevates our ranks.
Dawood ask the two angels:
One angel informs Dawood AS that his partner has 99 sheep and he has only one sheep. However the partner wants his one sheep too. Dawood as immediately says the person claiming the one sheep was wrong. Then he realizes that it was a test from Allah most merciful and that he had made a wrong judgement without listening to the other party as well.
“Don’t judge without listening to all sides”.
The quran also advises us
“O you who believe if a sinful person brings you a report verify its correctness lest you should harm a people out of ignorance and then regret on what you did”
I don’t have to give any examples for this as the message itself is very clear. Most of us are guilty of making wrong decisions or judgements based on hearing one side of the story. Due to lack of sabr on our part we make this mistake many times
This advice is also important in the wake of fake news becoming prevalent in our times.
Treaty & it Turned Out to be Great
Our beloved Nabi Sas was in a difficult position in Hudabiyah as he was in a weaker position than the makkans who were demanding him to sign a treaty which was not fair and in addition many of the sahabah including Omar RA were not happy at the agreement he was about to sign.
However Nabi sas went ahead and signed the treaty and it turned out to be a great victory for the Muslims.
1) Leaders must make a decision if he is sure and even if everyone else is not in favor. However when making such decisions the leader must have all the facts in front of him.
2) Leaders must be able to think outside the box and have the ability to see beyond the obvious.
3) Leaders must have the guts to make decisions which may be temporarily disadvantages to the organization because he can see a long or mid - term benefit
Bottom line is anyone can make the right decision when it’s a win-win situation, but the successful people take risks and move forward, even though the decision looks unfavorable.
The benefits are not only from the deal at stake but the hidden benefits which is the wisdom of a true leader.
Decision to fight Uhud outside Medina: Nabi sas actually wanted the battle fought in Medina but the Sahabah RA wanted to fight on Uhud. (Hadiths)
After the battle was lost, Nabi sas never told the sahabah RA, if you had taken my advice we would have fought in Medina and won or you never listened to me and see the mess we got into. He just remained silent and took the responsibility.
We as leaders often pass the blame when we fail, on to our subordinates but actually it does not change the result instead it makes the subordinates lose confidence and brings about a reluctance among them to make suggestions in the future for fear of criticism.
Actually the passing of blame on others without taking responsibility is a lack of confidence in ourselves and only result, is the people we deal with lose confidence in us.
Businesses today depend heavily on creating awareness of products through digital marketing and media advertising. Their vision and mission statements are focused on growth, profitability, employee empowerment etc. Very rarely you see emphasize on Trust, Honesty and Keeping commitments and Justice.
The best marketing tool is creating a USP and what better USP than “TRUST” and “PASSION” it is in such short supply in this materialistic world.
Islam spread in many parts of the world for many reasons. The Sahabah RA and the many generations thereafter of the Sahabah conducted their business dealings as per the Quran and Sunnah of our beloved Nabi SAS. They were absolutely honest and just in their dealings. They were passionate about observing the Quran and Hadiths in all their dealings.
Given below are very few direct examples from Quran & Hadiths on the above subject:
The Quran specifies: Oh you who believe be ever God fearing and ever truthful.
Allah says: But if anyone of you trusts another, then he who is trusted must deliver his trust
Allah says: Successful are the believers... Those who are the keepers of their trusts and their covenants
Allah says in the Quran to stand out firmly on Justice, even against yourself, or your parents, or your kin or whether it be against rich or poor. For Allah can best protect both.
Allah says in the Quran: And to Madyan we sent their brother Shuayb.
He said “O my people, give full measure and weigh with justice. Do not defraud people of their property and do not act wickedly on earth by spreading corruption.
Hazrath Ali RA says “The most repulsive qualities are dishonesty & lying.
Nabi sas has said: Keep away from untrustworthiness, for it is the worst sin and he who has it will be punished in hell.
Proof of this is the conversion due to trade links and good behavior (ahlaq) of the Muslims, without any evidence of war comes from Indonesia, Malaysia, Islands of Philippines, Afghanistan, India Pakistan & Bangladesh, Maldives etc. These countries as a group, equal 50% of the population of Muslims Globally.
Thus for a business to survive Trust, Honesty, Keeping commitments, and Delivering Justice and fair play must be our first priority and the foundation of our business.
We must make effort to create awareness of our products and services (give dawah) by informing the potential clients the purpose of our business and the benefits we provide.
For this we can use Digital or mass media but what is important we are honest in our claims
After Musa AS enabled his wife to be, to water the flock, she goes to her father & says to recruit Musa because he has Ability & he is Trustworthy.
What is key here is that “Ability gets priority over Trust”
Again Nabi sas makes dua “O Allah strengthen Islam with one two men whom you love more: Abu Jahl or Umar ibn al Khattab -- Umar ra was chosen by Michael Hart a white racist as the 52nd most influential person in the world history, even higher than Julius Caesar. Nabi sas along with his many abilities was able to identify the right people to help him in his mission.
Compare this to our recruitment policies for our business where the priority is to give jobs and top positions to our family members, without proper training.
All employees joining our firm have their IQ tested, it is a 25 minute test. For employees in the Finance field also we have a specific test. This enables us to recruit competent people at a reasonable cost.
Hiring the right person is one of the most important thing in our business so let us invest time in choosing the right candidate.
Retain the Right Employee
Retain the right employee we must understand space management.
Anas RA served Nabi sas for ten years and he never said even "uff" to him.
However Nabi sas got the desired results from him, despite the mistakes Anas RA used to make.
Space management means giving room for reasonable error or mistakes of employees and time to understand their own mistakes. Competent employees who serve us for long period have the business domain and experience to look after our business without too much involvement for ourselves. They also take ownership and act independently with very little supervision. This gives us peace of mind and more time for our ibadaath
Dawood as & the two angels:
After this encounter Dawood as says
“Trustworthy business partners are difficult to find”:
“Truly many are the partners in business who wrong each other: not so those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, and how few are they?”
This has been said over 3000 years ago and it still holds true. How many business partners fall out due to pride, greed and dishonesty?
To overcome this also the Quran advises us in surah baqarah ayath 282 this is the longest ayath in the Holy quran
“Oh you who believe when you contract a debt
for a fixed term record it in writing”
The word debt also means obligation or responsibility and fixed term means ensure the contract has a period of validity
All business agreements must have a signed off memorandum of understanding and simple promises to employees we must give in writing and tell them to show it to you once they achieve the target.
The reason why we are on earth is Adam as forgot his promise to Allah. How easy is it for us to forget our promises?
Riba and How to Overcome It
False Sense of Complacency
Riba creates a false sense of complacency as opposed to functioning on our own cash flow that is generated from the business, thus making us financially in-disciplined and ending up in overtrading and utilizing essential working capital on fixed assets.
Stress, as a Result of Riba
Many people when they finally lose all or face so much stress, as a result of Riba, realize the causes of their unhappiness too late. Hadeeths clearly states that a person who hastens towards achieving anything before its time period will lose everything forever.
Let’s face it: The reality is we all want to expand our businesses and we need capital. So where do we source capital other than Banks?? We do have options and one is equity funding through angel investors or strategic investors. Other option is going public.
Proof of Profitability
But first we must have proof of profitability of our existing enterprise. For this we must have information that is up to date. Even Nabi Sas gave importance to information: When he reached medina, the first thing Nabi sas did was to conduct a census of the population.
Dawoodi Borah Community
Another practical example is the Dawoodi Borah community. Their leader many years ago, made a pronouncement that all businesses must not use any form of Riba and it was better for his followers to sleep on the road, if necessary, than to do businesses with Riba.
Own Cash Flow
The majority of the Dawoodi businesses in Sri Lanka, approximately 50 plus converted their businesses to operate only on their own cash flow. It was a huge struggle and now their businesses are thriving because they are cash flow disciplined and they don’t overtrade.
A good example is my friend Murtaza, just 24 years of age, had to take over the reins of his father’s business due to the unexpected death of his dad at just 52 years. Murtaza (approximately 25 years ago) told me “uncle my priority is only cash flow” can you give me sufficient information to run my business with my own cash. Within a short period, he far exceeded all expectations and his business YOY experienced exponential growth.
Another excellent example of well-disciplined and consistently successful enterprise modules are Multinational Corporations. They prosper in any country and continuously expand, despite it being driven by a CEO who is not even a Shareholder.
They consistently invest and leverage state of the art technology in all areas of the business. However their main tool to create positive cash flow growth is the right information on time all the time
Take for example the five pillars of Islam
To maintain our Faith or Iman, we have to control and discipline our thoughts, mind, and all other senses, in business too we must maintain focus and ensure we control our moods and possess a high EQ to manage customers, employees and suppliers.
Prayers encourage mindfulness and not allowing irrelevant thoughts to disturb us throughout the prayer. One who regularly prays imam Jamath has an additional advantage of finishing his tasks with a sense of urgency, so as to be in time for prayers and being conscious of every hour and how it is utilized.
Zakath or mandatory charity ensures we keep records of our financial assets throughout the year to pay zakath. We also have to create the excess liquidity during Ramadan to pay off the zakath. For this the discipline of cash flow management is needed.
Fasting creates the discipline of our tongue and enables empathy towards the employee’s difficulties (on account of the hunger we undergo). It brings us to back to reality by creating humility.
Haj requires a sacrifice in our time and money but the relevant lesson we learn for our business, is tolerance and patience which we must practice during haj. The challenge of being accommodative towards large crowds in close proximity of different backgrounds and even countries, with different behavior is both a lesson and a challenge, for patience and tolerance.
Haj also ensures completely forgetting our status back home and keeping our ego at home as well. Ego and being headstrong are part and parcel of becoming successful for many entrepreneurs and Nabi sas has taught us duas to seek protect from arrogance in affluence. The down fall of business due to rapid expansion can be related to overconfidence based on past success and lack of risk analysis and mitigation plus SWOT analysis and budgeting not done.
A practical example of Discipline can be seen during the commencement of five times prayer at the Kaaba. A large mingling crowd of people (2.5million pilgrims in 2023) jostling with each other and circumambulating the Kaaba in a disorganized manner hear the Adhan (call for Prayer) and within a period of 5 minutes you see them all neatly arranged in rows. This discipline is purely an act of faith.
Nabi sas said after a battle to the sahabah "We have comeback from the lesser Jihad to the greater Jihad. The Sahabah asked "is there any greater Jihad than the Jihad against the Kuffars". He said Yes Jihad al nafs ie Jihad against yourself. In essence this is SELF DISCIPLINE.
Nabi Sas says: The powerful are not those who conquer others but those who conquer themselves.
Standards & Operations Manual
They preserve the entire organization knowledge using a Standards & Operations Manual
They use planning in the form of Annual Plan, Marketing Plans, Sales forecast & Budgeting. They also use Project Managers to ensure that projects are delivered on time
Time management in the form of scheduling all activities to ensure all tasks are done on time
Multinationals hire employees only based on ability to deliver. They have a diversified board of directors with different skills and consult professionals to make decisions
360 Degree Assessment
Make decisions after you ascertain all the facts – MNC use 360 degree assessment & balance score cards plus risk identification tools and SWOT analysis prior to making decisions.
Skillful Negotiations – Is heavily factored in when hiring CEOs.
Trustworthy Business Partners
Finding Trustworthy Business partners is difficult – They overcome this issue by establishing a comprehensive contract with the Business Partner, Supplier, Banker & all providers of services.
Leaders must take responsibility – The US president has a message at the Oval Office - The buck stops here
Minimum Finance Cost
They keep finance cost to the minimum by managing their working capital using the suppliers credit, sometimes over 90 days, just in time inventory both raw materials & finish goods & giving just 15 days or below credit limit to debtors with a bank guarantee.