Building strong, economic communities in the Muslim world is an idea whose time has come. It is evident that the Islamic world isn’t lacking natural resources, abundance in labor, innovative talent or even historical legacy with which to draw from. What it is lacking is a vision. A vision to transform itself into a strong, cohesive community that utilizes its resources in the best possible way and establishes a foundation, where peace, prosperity and progress are the order of the day.
For the Muslim Ummah to transform itself into a community that can thrive in the 21st century, it must focus on one thing: self-reliance and independence.
This means we must do two things:
1. Look to ourselves for the answers: Allah has already given us everything we need to be successful. Failure comes from the mismanagement of those resources. The first step to creating a powerful vision for a community is understanding that we must trust ourselves to have the answer. No one else, no individual, community and/or organization can solve our problems for us. We must become an agent of change for ourselves and only for ourselves. We have the answers and we must be confident we can source these answers without the reliance on third-parties.
2. Transforms ourselves from the inside out: Allah has already indicated that He will not change the condition of a society until we change ourselves. The second step to creating a powerful vision for a community is to realize that our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. That spiritual purification and spiritual advance must precede any strategizing –social, political, economic- that we can do. Once we understand who we are, what are values are, what we stand for, and equally what we will not stand for, we can progress towards having a united vision for the world we would like to see.
One key way to do this is encouraging entrepreneurship within our communities.
An entrepreneur is someone who is able to have an idea and a vision of how someone can be changed and be resourceful enough to create a sustainable system around that change.
These are the exact types of individuals that we need to encourage as well as helping cultivate environments where individuals like this can thrive in our community.
I want to present 5 reasons on the important of building strong entrepreneurial communities within the Muslim world.
1. Entrepreneurship represents economic empowerment
It also represents independence, self-reliance, innovation and the ability to allow creativity to grow.
More than that, the exciting aspect is the enormous growth and commercial opportunities that exist within the Muslim markets that we can take advantage of.
The State of the Global Islamic Economy 2013 Report that was created by Thomas Reuters in collaboration with the Dinar Standard says, that in totally, Muslim consumers spent globally on food and lifestyle sectors (travel, clothing, pharmaceutical/ personal care, media/ recreation) approximately $1.62 trillion in 2012 and expected to spent $2.47 trillion by 2018.
The commercial value of empowering entrepreneurs is backed by research and data that marketers are only now realizing the enormous potential of. In 2010, Miles Young, Global CEO of Ogilvy, described Muslims as the “third one billion” regarding market opportunity, and bigger than the Indian and Chinese billions. Wouldn’t it be in our favor for Muslims to position themselves to be the ones to take advantage of this incredible opportunity?
2) Represent Economic and Business Interest of Muslims
There are few economic and business organizations that represent the business and economic interests of ordinary Muslims worldwide. Entrepreneurial communities often are impacted by economic and social policies that exist and thereby have the ability to advocate for better policies that contribute to the betterment and long term prosperity of their community. By not have strong entrepreneurial community, we not only forfeit properly representing ourselves but are unable to have a voice at the table to represent the economic interests of our community and are therefore rendered voiceless.
3) Educate and Train the Next Generation of Community Builders and Leaders
An entrepreneur is a leader. He/she is a leader because they have a vision. By educating and training the next generation of entrepreneurs, you are undoubtedly also creating the next generation of community builders and leaders. The key to creating the next generation of entrepreneurs is through early education. This means that fostering environments where entrepreneurial skills like selling, negotiating, critical thinking, team work and leadership can be fostered is key to creating strong entrepreneurially-minded adults. If the Muslim world wants to get serious about taking control of its economic destiny then we must put in place a long-term, sustainable plan that will create a new generation of strong entrepreneurs and strong entrepreneur-friendly communities.
4) Allow People to Become Economically Independent
Economic independence translates into personal self-reliance, political and social independence. Building strong entrepreneurial communities allows anyone with an idea, a vision and good work ethic to pursue financial independence. Wealth distribution becomes harder to come by as seen in our modern globalized world where the gap between the rich and the poor is growing everyday. Allowing the everyday person the independence ofcreating and sustaining their own economic and financial opportunitiestranslates into social and political independence for the nation at large. In addition, economic independence allows you to starting thinking about contribution rather than strictly about survival. What is needed is to be able to surpass the “survival” mode the Ummah is currently in and transition into a “contribution” mode where we can be focused on progressing rather than stagnancy.
5) Create a Generation of Producers, not Consumers
Much of the current social realities Muslims face can be overcome through taking an entrepreneurial approach to solving social problems. There are currently small rumblings of a resurgence of successful Muslim entrepreneurs who are breaking through the pack and exemplifying great innovations and ingenuity. There are successful examples of Muslim run enterprises such as Edible Arrangements by Tariq Farid, an international food company specializing in fresh fruit arrangements. Or female entrepreneurs on the frontier of environmental sustainability, such as Norah Maghraby of Naqaa Sustainability Solutions, a social enterprise consulting company implementing sustainability policies in Middle Eastern-based companies. There is great potential for future growth and to leverage that, we must start supporting the growth of entrepreneurial culture within our communities.
This is why “The Muslim Inc” was created. We have set out to create the #1 online communities for Muslim entrepreneurs to solve this problem.
Our mission is to support entrepreneurship, innovation, and business development for Muslims worldwide by providing the best of Islamic thinking combined with modern business practices. We provide relevant discussions and solutions to help emerging and established Muslim business leaders. We want to revive entrepreneurial culture and help strengthen Islamic economies worldwide.
By: Uzman Muhajir