August 10th, 2010
07:38 PM GMT
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I’ve often wondered about this topic – and right now, at the start of Ramadan, it seems more pertinent than ever. How does faith inspire business? Is there a place for religion in the workplace? And how can one’s beliefs be translated into the world of finance – if at all?

As part of CNN’s “Muslim in 2010” coverage, we’re gathering voices and opinions from Muslims around the world on their faith and the status of Islam today.

So I’d like to hear your thoughts.

I’m interested in hearing from you what it’s like to be a Muslim working in business today.

What are your hopes for the Middle East’s economy and what opportunities do you see for Muslims’ wider role in the world of finance?

I’d also like to know what you think are the challenges, both for the Middle East and for Muslims worldwide.

How does your faith inspire you? How do you balance your faith with life in a global economy? And can religion offer solutions to the tumultuous world of business?

Please do share your thoughts and opinions – I’m interested to hear them.



soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. adia

    A moment of peace and share withe poor people

    August 10, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
  2. Anas Sillwood

    Our company – SHUKR: http://www.shukrclothing.com – provides modest clothing for mainly Muslim and other faith-based communities living in America, Canada and the UK. Faith inspired the founding of the business in many ways: for example, we intended to make a positive contribution to society by providing a contemporary range of stylish modest clothing that was not available in the marketplace. Faith continues to inspire our business on a day-to-day basis like, for instance, in motivating us to be fair and honest in our business dealings with others, or in guaranteeing our workers rights and benefits. Our company offices are imbued with a religious atmosphere, as most of our workers have joined the company because they believe in the cause and so the work-atmosphere tends to be based on genuinely friendly and sincere relationships, without the usual office bickering, backbiting and power struggles. As a business governed by Islamic ethics we obviously also try to avoid interest-based financing, relying instead upon other forms of financing, like what is called "murabaha" or "musharaka" financing.

    Anas Sillwood
    Managing Partner
    SHUKR
    http://www.ShukrClothing.com

    August 10, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
  3. Khadijah Ahmed

    What is really nice is that the major supermarket chains are now carrying a wide variety of Halal products to serve the local Muslim communities. Our Wal-Mart now has Al Safa Halal chicken nuggets, chicken burgers, hot dogs (beef and chicken), beef burgers, pizzas, kababs, and many other Halal items. We are thankful to stores like Wal-Mart, Pathmark and Shoprite for catering to the Muslim community.

    August 10, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
  4. dee

    Being honest, anti-corrupt, tolerant

    August 11, 2010 at 7:06 am |
  5. Andreas

    It is only within Islam that religion has to permeate everything from national politics through business to the total control of the individual. As a european I am getting quite tired of all the talk of and about muslim this and that. Islam is a religion like any other, stop imposing it onto everything please. I'm not muslim and just as I don't try to impose my beliefs onto anyone else I demand to be left alone from other beliefs.

    August 11, 2010 at 7:15 am |
  6. Shama Ahmed

    With Muslims having more opportunity of a better education their understanding of the Islam religion is also growing. Muslims are an integral part of the financial system as the Muslim consumer is a big market. Having products that adhere to Islamic values are very important as these will be more attractive to the Muslim consumer. This is quite noticeable with the growth of Islamic Banks and also many none Islamic Banks have products to suit the Muslim customer. There is also the ever growing businesses of restaurants, clothe shops, book store, which are catering to Muslim needs such as halal food, modest fashionable clothes, literature and art.

    August 11, 2010 at 10:19 am |
  7. Ethar El-Katatney

    ُYou might find this article interesting: The Business of Islam. It won the Economics and Business Award in last year's CNN's MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year award. It poses this question to market leaders in five different business fields, and gets their responses:

    http://etharelkatatney.wordpress.com/2008/07/06/the-business-of-islam-2/

    August 12, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  8. rain

    Islam is IMPOSED on every aspect of jobs in Malaysia and Indonesia. My company will not hire non-Muslim drivers, so our entire non-Muslim company has to shut down during prayer hours. I have to MAKE SURE I don't eat in public so I don't offend fasting Muslims. Not only my job, but my whole PRIVATE life has to change for the month of Ramadan, and I am NOT a Muslim. This is what I call I-N-T-O-L-E-R-A-N-C-E!!! Chinese and Indian restaurants have to put blankets over their windows so they do not offend Muslims walking by. This is DEFINITELY an example of religion 'affecting' business. I will not even go into the imposing/invasive call to prayer that is screamed out through loudspeakers from every mosque in town to wake up all Muslims AND non Muslims every single day!

    August 14, 2010 at 5:14 am |
  9. tony

    Muslims keep your faith at home. Please do not wear it on your sleves and make a show of it. When women cannot join you in prayer. Besides bringing it to the office is an offense to others.

    August 14, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  10. Shaikh Sufiyan

    As-Salam-Allaikum
    When the word Muslim is heard the very first thought that comes to our mind is Middle East (Muslim World), but what about the millions of Muslims living around the world where the Government is not following Islamic Laws, in business or in any aspect of life. I am an Indian Muslim, to follow Islam here is not difficult, but we can not work in Banks due to interest involved, its impossible to get a loan which does not involves interest. Now for new generation middle class individuals (working class) we can not imagine to afford our own house. Islam is not just restricted to spirituality but it has taught the best way of living, in finance, in law, in every speck of life...

    August 14, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
  11. Salama Evans

    As the Managing Editor of HalalFocus.com, online media, and an event manager conferences on the global Halal marketplace, faith totally inspires me to do the work I do through HalalFocus and Halal conferences we manage to keep people up to date with the progress of the Halal sector around the world.

    We see that Halal is a very important part of the economy for Muslim countries which are allowing non-Muslims to lead in the production of Halal products in the commercial/retail world of Halal. S E Asia is a leader in the work that is being done on Halal, but the majority of the products are being produced by non-Muslims. The Middle East has been slow to recognise the potential of the Halal sector which is vital to the people in their countries.

    We also see that Islamic finance and Halal need to be linked for the full Halal value chain to be complete. Can a company consider itself Halal if it's financing isn't?

    International advertising companies are now taking up this topic to create surveys and ad campaigns directed at the Muslim consumer, who are a sector that retailers are now looking at to increase their sales. As you see from one of your comments, Muslims are happy to see Halal Certified products on their supermarket shelves. To be recognised by the large retailers and a customer they want to serve in their store.

    Big topic – with lots to say on it! See http://www.halalfocus.com.

    August 15, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  12. Hassan Rafi

    Muslims role in global business environment is increasing gradually. It has been observed that from Banking to FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) related industries Halal products are available and there is competition seen to market such products a step forward to one another. Examples like HSBC Amanah services to Halal food products in big stores like Makro and Metro could be considered to support my comment. Further the construction and telecom companies are focusing on countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and UAE for profit multiplication.

    August 17, 2010 at 6:49 am |
  13. Inta Tanyaz

    Practice of ramadhan in malaysia is nothing like what is being described by an earlier commenter. Ppl do it in public and i work in a big organisation emplying muslims and non-muslims, and non muslims are free to eat at the organisation's cafeteria, and i've yet to see restaurants being "blanketed". I eat in public during ramadhan, and have not once had a muslim colleague or anyone else for that matter saying i'm being inconsiderate, in fact they seem immune seeing other ppl eat, because fasting is not a big deal here.

    August 24, 2010 at 6:08 am |
  14. Mohamed Asik

    Assalam alaikum,
    1. what it’s like to be a Muslim working in business today ?
    Islamic law says, forbidden to make money from interest. It is also forbidden to make money from any business that sells items that are forbidden for human being to consume.
    About point has important role in islamic working in business because avoiding a interest rate islamic banking gaining more than normal bank.
    example – http://sundaytimes.lk/080120/FinancialTimes/ft337.html

    A forbidden to make money on prohibited goods, we are saving the money on spending in alcohol, prostitute, drugs, dating with girls(before marriage) etc. World survey says approx... Americans and europian spends 15 – 20% of monthly income. After 35 age they spending more amount for medicals and hospitals. if one guy earning $3000 – $3500 has approx 60 years life means he wasting $0.6 – 0.7 millions.
    calculation- age 18 to 60 = 42 years
    = $400 (n+2n+4n+8n+16n+32n+64n+128n+256n+512n+402n )(n= 5 years)
    = $546000
    if u are seeing this calculation, you may feel that he wasted a 5 minutes. offcourse i am wasted 5 minutes but u ...................................... ............................................................................................................................................
    2. What are your hopes for the Middle East’s economy and what opportunities do you see for Muslims’ wider role in the world of finance?
    Now middle east economy is very worse compare to 2 years back. why ? it happens due to america..............
    Reason for my oppose is midddle east guys investing in U.S based companies, if market of U.S falls they also went to bid.
    Example – whatever india is earning is invested inside india. Indian are not depend on any countries.
    If oil market of new york is shifted to any onr of gulf countries and earning invested inside middle east. they can improve better than America.

    Middle east guys investing in construction ok. whether they manufacturing cement equipment, steel factory, air condition items etc......... No No. That is a big draw back of middle east whatever they earning or investing inside their countries no use because they not manufacturing anything. They are only consumer not producers. This is a fact happening in middle east any how they money is buying to europian and american companies product. They are improving the westen market, no use of having very high reserve of oil in gulf countries.
    BUT MY INDIA IS NOT LIKE THAN WE ARE ANY HOW MANAGING AUTONOMOUS IN MANY FIELDS.

    3. what you think are the challenges, both for the Middle East and for Muslims worldwide?
    Big challenge is Europe and America, why i am saying this means, 1. we know one common news america attacked iraq for oil. If he not attacked iraq saddam hussain will form separate oil market against New york. If he started venezuela, iraq, syria, russia, even iran, some other countries will form market against new york. If they formed it oil price cannot fixed by americans it will go to gulf countries. They succeed in markets means rest of gulf countries will start thinking of own it lets to fall of american markets. Total U.S DOLLAR RATE WILL FALL WORLD WIDE GULF CURRENCIES WILL POPULAR. IT HAPPENS MEANS THEY WILL STAND SEPERATE. IN FUTURE ISREAL – PALESTINE WAR IS COMING MEANS RUSSIA WILL ENTER INTO GULF COUNTRIES AND AMERICA CANNOT DO ANYTHING BECAUSE RUSSIA IS HAVING WEAPONS GULF COUNTRIES HAVING MONEY. BUT AMERICA WILL LOSE VERY HIGH..................................................................................I APPRECIATING AMERICANS BRAIN OR WHETHERE ISREAL GUYS EXPLAINED TO AMERICA. I DON'T KNOW BUT ARABS AND CHINIESE ARE GOING TO BE A FUTURE FRIENDS. IF AMERICA SUPPORTS ISREAL.

    4. How does your faith inspire you? How do you balance your faith with life in a global economy? And can religion offer solutions to the tumultuous world of business?
    Applying honesty and integrity to our business we are keeping correct margin of profit compare to non-muslim shopkeepers. for example NOKIA E5 actual selling price of our shop is 879 dhs (usd 240.8) but nearby non-muslim shop 899 dhs. i can give hole list but no time for be to explain.

    I humbly requesting americans and europian, don't say islamic terrorism or Hindutva terrorism. Terrorism is common enemies to our society.

    August 25, 2010 at 8:36 am |
  15. Sumba

    Islam and for that matter faith inspires most muslims businesses. Islam is the submission to the will of God Almighty and that requires sincerity, commitment and patience. The submission to God Almighty must be complete. And so whether at home or at the workplace anywhere a muslim must have Gods consciousness to be sincere, to keep committed to the sincerity and have patience in keeping the sinserity. May Allah make it easy for any one making an effort in iman (sincerity in belief)

    August 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  16. NQ

    Over the years, as I have read more about Islam – it opens your eyes to a lot of realities/facts from the holy book.

    In business sense, Islam teaches you to be truthful, committed and be honest. Muslims have been advised not to exaggerate (or over market) their products/wares to an extent of approaching a lie. An honest and truthful information has to be provided to the customer.

    Plus selling a lower quality ware with supposedly qualities of a higher grade product (which in common terms is cheating) is also not allowed – which seems like an ideal business world.
    Islam teaches you to be tolerant – even in business. Maintain healthy competition and a strong belief that business and everything which comes in your life is provided by the Almighty alone.

    A small story was said to me in my childhood, where a person went to a shop to buy some clothes. The cloth merchant was a Muslim (specifically behaviour) and politely asked the customer to buy the cloth from the opposite shop. When he was asked the reason, he replied that the Almighty had sent sufficient customers across to his shop – and he had earned his daily sale (quite well), but he felt that his friend/brother across the street hadn't made any sale on that day and it was his duty to help his fellow friend/brother to get his business as well.

    Now in today's sense – in a competitive business, if companies and individuals become more tolerant and action/respect this behaviour – then crisis, economic growth, development will all be achievable with the blessings of the benefactor.

    I have realised (being in senior sales role for over 10 years), that you have to be sincere and have a strong conscience, plus always pray for the right path. It works – and business will come...inshallah.

    August 26, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  17. icon download

    YES, this intelligible message

    October 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm |

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