By Amina Salau
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
I’m often amazed at the solidarity between Muslims. Even when we are strangers, the brotherhood has a way of bringing us together. This feeling of brotherhood is also what I feel whenever I see Muslims running a business, either as their own, or managing a business that caters to Muslims.
I’m always happy to support these businesses because they are a representation of Muslims being hardworking people who contribute to the society in good ways. They also prove that we as Muslims are committed to uplifting the Muslim Ummah (nation). So, if you’ve ever wondered how you can show some love to Muslim entrepreneurs, these five ways can help.
Customers are the life blood of any business, and if we can help fellow Muslims become successful by patronizing their business, we should gladly do so. If a Muslim sells commodities or services that you need, provide your support by patronizing them.
This is not to say that we should boycott businesses by non-Muslims, but rather that we should help one another in whatever way we can.
The issue of patronage becomes more important for businesses created solely for the Muslims. If there is no patronage, the business will not survive, and the Muslim Ummah will have lost an avenue to advance the cause of Islam.
Help spread the word
Entrepreneurs testify to the power of word of mouth in growing their business. How better to help a fellow Muslim raise awareness about what they do than to tell others about your experience with their service? Share your positive experiences on social media and also leave feedback for the business owners. Tell friends and family about them, and encourage them to patronize. This is a good deed that will earn you rewards, if Allah (swt) wills.
Spreading the word is also free marketing that no business owner will shy away from. It will serve as a morale booster for them because they will want to please more people like you.
Remember them in your prayers
This may not be something that comes readily to us because we as individuals already have full plates of requests in front of Allah (swt). However, it is still important if we hope to support Muslim businesses in their growth. Ask Allah (swt) to guide them and make the business a source of good for them in this life and in the next. Beseech Him to grant the business His blessings so that it can grow and serve the Muslim Ummah positively.
Provide negative feedback gently
I’ve patronized small Muslim-owned businesses online, some of whom had bigger competitors with more products. On one occasion, a transaction went awry, and it was quite upsetting. After the initial disappointment, I sent a message to the business owner detailing what went wrong and how I felt about their products.
In the era of social media, feedback is often instant and public. Negative feedback is even more so because the customer is upset and most likely will go on a rant. Negative feedback can be damaging for businesses, and remember that Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “A Muslim is the one who avoids harming other Muslims with his tongue and hands.” (Bukhari) If you have received a less than impressive service from a fellow Muslim, be nice and let them know in private. You can also go a step further by giving suggestions on how you think they can improve.
Support with your resources
Sometimes, supporting a business doesn’t mean you buying from them. It may be about participating in activities that will assist their business. A Muslim school may need parents to donate for a project, or your local halal burger joint may need your help in distributing flyers. Whichever the case may be, there are plenty of ways to give your time or skill, for Allah’s sake, to the growth of another Muslim’s business venture.
Amina Salau is a freelance writer who is passionate about women’s issues in Islam
© IIPH 2016