Is business deen or dunya?
Shaykh Hashim came to IBA yesterday (Feb, 28 2011) to give a talk on ” Is business deen or dunya?”. The talk happened in City Campus, Apwa Auditorium which was organized by IBA, Iqra Society
For those who dont know,Sheikh Hashim was born and raised in California, USA and started off his career as a Musician in Hollywood. He reverted to Islam in 1970 and since then dedicated himself to acquiring traditional Islamic knowledge.
Although I was a few minutes late, I tried my best to cover up for those lost minutes and noted down as much as I could, thereafter. Please note that the following is not a transcription of the talk he gave and is only based on my own comprehension of the topic:
What is Islam? Islam means a complete submission to Allah SWT. And what does submission mean? Submission means a complete surrender. But unlike a thief who is surrounded by cops and is asked to do “hands up” and surrender forcefully, Allah has given us an option to surrender to Him willfully. But this will to surrender lies with us only until we have time in this world, for at the time of our death, we will have to surrender whether we like it or not.
Islam is thus, a state of being. It is a “kaifiyat”. It is a state of being in which you submit to the will of Allah. Kufr is when you deny that submission. So, there are various types of Kufr. For example, some people deny the existence of God, some people deny the existence of anbiaa (Prophets) and so on.
Thus, having defined what Islam is, we can automatically define who a “Muslim” is and what a “Deen” is. A Muslim is the one who submits to the will of Allah and Deen is a total system of Submission to Allah SWT.
Remember there is a why for everything. There is a why for the water that you and I drink, or the mic that is used, just about everything. So what about human beings? What purpose do they serve? Why are human beings in this world? The purpose is to submit to Allah’s will in order to get Allah’s pleasure. We cannot get everything that we want in this world.If a King is 6’6 feet, no matter how many doctors or scientists he call, he can never become 7’0 feet. If he is black, he can never become white. But by submitting to Allah’s will, Allah will be pleased with him and will reward him Jannah where he can get whatever he wants. Uboodiyat is thus, the continuous and total obedience to Allah out of love for Him.
Having defined these terms, we can define the scope of deen:
1. All Jaaiz human activities: Any activity done has to be jaaiz (permissible). If you have a night club and you think that I will use the place for talking about deen, then this is not allowed by Shariah. Similarly, you cannot have Shariah-compliant Casino. Whatever activity you undertake must be Shariah Compliant.
2. All roles of life: Deen encompasses all spheres and roles of life. We offer prayers, we do hajj etc. but these activities are purely of “akhira nature” What about activities of “dunyawi” nature? For example what about planting crops? We have to make them “deeni” by modifying our intentions to keeping the pleasure of Allah SWT in mind.
It is very easy to know whether anything undertaken is of deeni or dunywai nature.
If you want something before death—> Dunya
If you want something after death —-> Deen
For example, I may have a madrassah but I have it for the purpose of getting people’s praise. In that case, my opening of madrassah, no matter how deeni it may “seem” is of dunyawi nature. However, if the intention is to earn the pleasure of Allah by spreading His word, then it is of deeni nature.
A cobbler may mend shoes but even this act can be made deeni only by changing the intention for doing this activity. For example, firstly by mending shoes, he will be removing any discomfort in shoes that the people experience. Remember the incident of a man who removed thorn from his path so that it would not hurt anyone and Allah blessed him with paradise. So, the cobbler can make this niyat that by mending shoes, he will remove any pain that could have arisen and thus earn the pleasure of Allah SWT. Secondly, Allah loves those who work with their own hands so by mending shoes with his own hands, he will again earn the pleasure of Allah. Thirdly, he will be earning halal income in order to feed his family and will be spending on them which is a sadaqah in itself.
Hence, deen shoud be kept in mind before any activity that we do. Remember that when we die, we will not be asked whether or not were we the CEO of any company or whether or not we knew how to do financial modeling but only be asked three basic questions: Who are Rabb is; what was our system of life, i.e. deen; and who are role model was i.e. Nabi that we followed?
After establishing the scope of deen, let us now explain how a business can be made deeni
To provide humanity with beneficial product aligned with healthy and meaningful lifestyle.
I. Purpose of life: Ubudiyyah (Allah’s obedience)
Already explained above
II. Objective: pleasure of Allah
Explained above as well
Sahabah had adopted this lifestyle so much so that people used to be attracted towards deen because of their practices in business. Unfortunately, today our state is such that we repel people because of our practices in business.
For example, I can come up with a product such as a shariah compliant bubble gum. But does the bubble gum fit into this mission? Is this bubble hum promoting a healthy lifestyle? No! The producers are not caring about the health of children. All they are worrying about is how to make more money. The market is full of such garbage and we are eating it. Imagine, if everyone produced food that was healthy, we would only be living a healthy lifestyle.
Similarly, any product or service provided should also promote a meaningful lifestyle in terms of providing benefits to people. But also remember that it should not promote a luxurious lifestyle because luxury creates Qibr (Arrogance). Simplicity has satisfaction and the biggest luxury is to have a peace of mind.
V. Core values
Islamic Excellence: Iman/ Yakeen; Ikhlas/ Naseehah; Shariah Compliance; Spirit of Sunnah; Characters/ Morals
• Iman is a preliminary core value because without having belief in Allah, uboodiyat will not come without which this entire thing is useless.
• ikhlas is important
• shariah compliance is a minimum standard for any kind of activity undertaken
• After compliance with shariah, one has to do the activity keeping the spirit of Sunnah in mind. For Example, if a man makes Rs 2 Crore, then paying a 2.5 % zakat is a minimum standard i.e shariah compliance. However, if he keeps the sunnah in mind, then he will be giving a lot of this money in charity, sadaqah etc.
• Akhlaq or character of a person is also important for Islamic excellence
There was a lot more on this topic but due to time constraints, we only covered it till here. Shaykh Hashim said that the same purpose, objective, vision, mission, etc can be applied to education, medicine, agriculture, government and so on..Please also note that this vision, mission etc. were developed for Al-Khair Organization to which the speaker belonged. Click here to go to Al-Khair’s website
May Allah help us to do every activity keeping only His pleasure in mind and help us fulfill our Uboodiyat. Ameen