Muslims represent one-third of the world’s population. We have Nobel Laureates like Mohamad Yunus who help millions of people out of poverty. Scientists who discovered a totally new type of galaxy like Burcin Mutlu-Pakdil.
Yet the entire Muslim world contributes only 5 percent to global gross domestic product (GDP). Extremists from around the world mostly state-funded are terminating Muslims. In China, the Uighurs are being herded into concentration camps by the thousands.
What are the reasons that with all our brilliance and resources we are still helpless to help our brothers and sisters?
The Business Community Must Take Responsibility
The Muslim business community is very much to blame. Wait a minute, how is it your fault?
The business community is the one with resources, to influence policies. But they are busy protecting their status quo, making sure that their business keeps making money, regardless if the people they do business with are hostile towards Muslims.
Some even justify the actions of their non-Muslim friends for oppressing Muslims. At best they stay silent. Others hide behind ‘neutrality’ so they refuse to condemn the actions of oppressive regimes. In actual fact, the inaction emanates from a flawed belief that being vocal is bad for business.
Responsibility of Muslim Businesses
As a Muslim business person, your responsibility is to make the word of Allah the Most High. It is Allah that makes your business thrive and give rizq to you. You have a duty, to make your stand known on certain issues. This is because people look to you as a model of success, to a certain extent you influence other Muslims in how they make their purchasing decisions.
Why You Should Not Stay Silent
Islam is not just about highlighting the positive things and ignoring the negative. You have to do both, forbid evil and enjoin good.
Muslims are in their helpless state now because we stay silent for too long. The only time you see the business community make an uproar is when it affects their pockets. While you don’t have to organize rally and chant slogans, you should make your stand known with your words and how you spent your business. Staying silent is at least as bad as committing the crimes yourself. It may be good business sense to ignore politics but that’s not how a Muslim should behave.
What Should The Business Community Do?
Muslim business community should work hard to change policies in their country, so whatever legislation enacted in the future will be aligned with the Quran & Sunnah. How they can do this is to fund Islamic think tanks that are working towards reviving the Islamic civilizations. They are not many think tanks that address the challenges of the Muslim world at the present moment.
While Non-Muslim spends billions every year to support not just to change policies, but the heart and minds of people. One example is the Open Society Foundation which funded over USD 1 billion in 2019 alone, and a total expenditure of USD15.2 billion since it began, to various causes around the world. Yet, it is difficult to find even one Islamic think tank that is working for a vision to make Shariah a preferred and revered way of life, even in Muslim majority countries. We live in a border less world, what we do or say will have an impact.
Take Ownership of The Islamic Economy
Right now the formidable players in the halal economy are still not Muslims. There is nothing wrong with that, but we will see the impact of not taking charge of our own halal lifestyles in the hands of Non-Muslims.
Muslims should take charge of the Global Islamic Economy. It just does not make sense to give our money to companies that developed technology that is meant to oppress our own brothers and sisters. Muslims should have their own version of Alibaba. There are no smartphones that are developed by Muslims that is comparable to any Android or Apple-based phones.
Necessity Is The Mother of Inventions
Realizing that Muslims need to take charge of their economy a whole new industry can be created. Countries like Indonesia and Bangladesh can nurture their own Tauhid driven Jack Ma to serve the global Muslim community.
It would be impossible to boycott all products that come from countries that are hostile towards Muslims. However, we can limit our purchase until we can develop our own alternatives.
Our purpose is never to create a dent in their economy but rather not to be complicit in the persecution of our Muslims brethren no matter where they are. It is a nonviolent way of responding.
When somebody is suspected of funding terrorism it is only reasonable for governments to freeze their assets. Similarly, Muslims have the right to use their purchasing power as a response to those who perpetrated crimes against Muslims. We should have faith that Allah is give us a way out if not something better. Just like the story of the boy and the king.
The Boy and the King
Years ago the British install a puppet leader in a Muslim country, the leader is supposed to convince its people to surrender to the demands of the British so he went to his people and said “O people we can’t fight the British they have planes that could fly in the sky like hawks and attack us, we will wipe out in an instant.” So a boy came out from the crowd of people and ask an honest question “Can the plane fly above Allah?” So the ruler replied “of course nothing is above Allah.” The boy then responded “Then we have nothing to worry about let them come with their planes”.
As a member of the Muslim business community, you should remember that your rizq comes from Allah. It is not going to be affected if you speak out against injustice.
Featured Image: Museum of Islamic Civilization, Sharjah, UAE