By Amina Salau
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
One of the most popular benefits of having your own business is the fact that you are your own boss. Unless you have a co-founder, you are most likely to be the one to make all the key decisions in the business. There are, however, other benefits associated with entrepreneurship which Muslims can also greatly benefit from, as they help us in the practice of our faith.
1. Provides financial freedom
Most people start a business because they want to earn some money, even if it is as a side business to complement their income. Some people also start businesses because they are unable to find employment. Having your own business is definitely a source of personal income that brings financial independence to a Muslim.
2. Gives you time to do more ibadah (worship)
Few things feel as good as staying as long as you want after observing a salah. You do not have to worry about getting to work late, taking too much time away from your desk, or dealing with less cooperative bosses. You have time to do more dhikr (Allah’s remembrance) or perform more voluntary prayers. The flexibility of time when you run your own business may differ due to the nature of the business, especially when you compare a start-up to an online business, for example. However, a major perk of having a personal business still remains that the founder(s) have a higher chance of being in control of their time.
3. Spend more time with family
The family is an important unit of the Ummah (community of Muslims) through which all aspects of our faith are nurtured. A Muslim understands the importance of spending time with the family. One of the greatest benefits of having your own business is the flexibility it gives you to spend time with your loved ones. It is easier to plan your work around your family commitments. This is one of the reasons that inspire people, especially women, to start their own businesses. In the beginning, you may have to put in longer hours than expected in your new business. However, the flexibility lets you determine when your work hours will be, so that you can fit in family obligations also.
4. Do other things you love
Do you have a hobby that you would like to indulge in more? Do you want to learn any skills or work towards any causes? Have you ever wanted to write a book but cannot seem to find the time? When you run your own business, it is easier to find time for hobbies. One can even engage in rewarding activities like volunteering at the local mosque or raising funds for charity.
5. Fills a gap for Islamic needs
A number of people have started businesses because they wanted to solve a problem. As a Muslim, you can have a profitable business that also fulfils a need for other Muslims. Islamic fashion houses, kids’ educational toys, books, online Arabic classes, and gift packs for Ramadan and Eid are just a few business ideas that Muslims have developed in a bid to provide something that generates an income and is beneficial to the Ummah.
6. Gives back to the community
Zakah (obligatory charity) and sadaqah (voluntary charity) helps the Ummah develop and assists less privileged people. One of the advantages of having your own business is that you are able to decide which charities your company supports. You can also offer to mentor the young members of the community or provide employment for others.
7. Helps you learn more
Entrepreneurs may not have the luxury of a large number of staff, especially at the initial stage. You are your own social media manager, accountant, marketer, and customer service personnel – as you read more and more about these different roles, you increase your learning curve. You may also find yourself learning new things about business practices that relate to Islam, for instance, interest-free investments and loans, in a bid to ensure a permissible source of income.
Amina Salau is a freelance writer who is passionate about women’s issues in Islam
© IIPH 2015