Islam and Entrepreneurship: In the footsteps of Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (RA)
There is no doubt Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (RA) was a superwoman during her lifetime and remains a great role model even in present times.
She was at the helm of a successful business empire. And her life story full of great lessons for every Muslim especially the business owner.
Khadijah (RA) nurtured her home and cared for her family with a deep sense of servitude yet attained a successful status with her businesses. I look no further than at this noble woman’s life, when carrying on with my business pursuits.
In her story, I find great motivation; learning about how such a wealthy & dignified personality with a high social standing could combine deep faith with exemplary character and an outstanding business reputation. It is truly remarkable and rare, yet a level to aspire towards.
Khadijah (RA) was truly visionary ~ she did not follow the ways of the majority, but instead carved her own path and remained steadfast on it
In the Entrepreneurial Steps of Khadijah (RA): 3 Lessons for Success
1. Deep Faith
Although Khadijah (RA) grew up in a corrupt society, her belief and pure qualities shone through. She was thus nicknamed Tahirah (pure) in the pre-Islamic era. She did not follow the ways of the majority, but instead carved her own path and remained steadfast on it.
As the first convert to Islam, she also faced different trials from those regarding her faith and submission to Allah (SWT) to tests on her character and relations with others.
Khadijah (RA) remained firm and unshaken in her belief and patiently faced up to the challenges surrounding her from all directions with wisdom & dignity.
Despite all of the trials, her faith & entrepreneurial insights impacted on her business making it a success. She was able to support her husband and keep her interactions strong with people in the community.
Her personal qualities combined with a firm faith formed the foundation of her business. She was able to use her wealth in a noble way – to promote Islam and help those who were needy.
For every plan that goes wrong and for every challenge the entrepreneurial world throws at me, I try to remain steadfast, courageous and maintain strong faith just like Khadijah (RA).
In a similar way, I strive to build a foundation of firm belief and seeking Allah’s pleasure beginning with my intention and business vision/ goals; as well as uphold the values she held on to ~ like integrity, commitment & perseverance.
2. Exemplary Skills
We find a great combination of skills; from leadership, interpersonal, tactical and quality decision making skills in the life of Khadijah (RA).
An example of this was when she sought a reputable and competent person, to accompany her caravan of goods. As a tradesman of exceptional character & reputation, Khadijah (RA) employed Muhammad – the honest (al-Amin) to travel with her caravans across designated trade territories.
Her skills combined with active participation led to profitable monetary outcomes, in addition to a lifetime of blessed partnership.
Khadijah (RA) was a believer, wife, mother & entrepreneur among other roles. Yet, she was able to manage her home as well as her business – with a high level of commitment. Her satisfied husband and well brought up children are a testament to this.
As an active partner at home and contributing member of the society, she was able to balance her home affairs with her business affairs. She found quality time to invest in the running of her enterprise as well as partake in issues on the home front.
As I go through my hustles and projects; juggling personal time with house chores, I aim for active participation, balance and excellent service.
I also value my time because I want to accomplish success all round – spiritually, emotionally and financially just as Khadijah (RA).
3. Outstanding Business Reputation
Classed as being very wealthy, Khadijah (RA) grew up under the tutelage of a business mentor – her father, who was a wealthy merchant and a community leader.
She enjoyed a widespread influence, stemming from her lineage and business status. And she was able to build a sound reputation; through her active role in the society & contribution to the economy.
This great lady committed her time, wealth, experience and skills to serve her family, Islam and the Muslim Ummah.
She was well known for her philanthropy & positive contributions to the cause of Islam. She also served as a strong moral compass for others with her good morals & manners, altruism and compassion. All of these qualities earned her a glowing reputation.
My definition of excellence & good service always rises when I look to Khadijah’s example.
When I remember her unique sacrifice, I redirect my steps in order to taste the same sweetness of sacrifice.
I equally aim for a sound reputation. And strive to provide great service to the Ummah – through my time, knowledge, skills and wealth. I take my definition of social entrepreneurship from this great model.
I strive in all of this in order to follow the blazing trail of success she created.
A Great Legacy
Khadijah (RA) was a staunch believer and supporter of a cause.
Her support came in various forms such as physical, emotional and financial. I look up to her perseverance in the face of hostility &oppression. And also look to her optimism in the midst of uncertainty as a leader at home and out of the home.
With such a clear and profound support for her family and a cause she believed in, she led a purposeful life characterised by excellent service. In return, she received a great reward – the most distinguished type ever – as Jibril (AS) informed her husband, Muhammad (SAW) about Allah’s promise of a palace in Paradise for her.
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (SAW) said that Gabriel said, “Here is Khadijah coming to you with a dish of food or a tumbler containing something to drink. Convey to her a greeting from her Lord (Allah) and give her the glad tidings that she will have a palace in Paradise built of Qasab wherein there will be neither any noise nor any fatigue (trouble).” (Sahih Bukhari)
Here is the legacy of a personality who exemplifies what we seek today in coaches, mentors & experts in the Ummah; and especially for the younger generation. We can only try our best to strive in following her unique footsteps.
From Inspiration to Action
With so many great lessons embedded in the life of our beloved mother Khadijah (RA), my greatest inspiration comes from looking closely at her entrepreneurial success and seeking to emulate her every step of the way.
From setting up a new project and facing up to its daily challenges; to seeking balance between my business & personal life; to dealing with various business dynamics and societal pressures.
I equally turn to her life lessons when I’m faced with the decision of choosing a suitable business partner and equally when seeking mentors, experts & teams to collaborate with.
But the inspiration is most striking when my hard earned profits are much needed for noble Islamic causes; and most especially when I make that choice to live as a Muslimah and an entrepreneur.
Khadijah (RA) remains a top role model and a standard for business excellence for all Muslims especially Muslim women.
She embodied Islam and Entrepreneurship in the truest sense.
Such were the standards set by a Muslimah, over a 1000 years ago!
Golden Stories of Sayyida Khadijah (R.A) by Abdul Malik Mujahid. Darussalam Publishers, 2012.
What other lessons can you take for your Islam and Entrepreneurship from the life of the noble lady – Khadijah (RA)? Please share below
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