An interview with Mohamed Geraldez a Business Nomad and someone who summarizes what halalop.com stands for. He is in control of his income, firmly guided by the Islamic tradition. Most importantly he shows that Islam can be a catalyst for personal growth.
However, things were not always so sunny. There were times when he worried about how to pay his bills. Basically, things that we worry about most of the time. How to survive?
Mohamed Geraldez said there was a time when things were not so great. “I have been fired from almost every job that I got. And every time I got fired, it was painful. The first thing that I would think is how am I going to pay my bills. I have to start all over again.”
Yet today he is an entrepreneur, investor and a philanthropist. He is invited to share his experience as a business Nomad at reputable conferences around the world such as the World Islamic Economic Forum. What drives him? What separated him from the rest? And how did he get to where he is now? An inspirational success.
Mohamed is involved in multiple industries from fashion, hospitality to finance and all of his ventures seem to have one thing in common.
They seem to solve the problems faced by the Ummah especially those living in Muslim minority countries. Despite his image of being a globe-trotting business nomad, his feet are deeply grounded in Islamic Sharia.
Take the company that he founded way back in 2006. It really stems from the necessity to live a halal life. Mohamed got a job that required him to wear a tie but he could not find a tie elegant enough that was not made of silk (Islam reserves silk only for women). So he started his own brand Jaan J. The Home of Non-Silk Vegan Ties.
Jaan J. has won numerous awards for supporting social causes. It’s tagline a Profit for Non Profit is an understatement of Mohamed philanthropic activities.
From Islamic Sharia to entrepreneurship
After Mohamed embraced Islam he went abroad to study. He studied the Islamic sciences for four years in Syria, Morocco and Mauritania with some of the most renowned jurist and spiritual scholars of the Muslim world. He spent his final two years with the late Murabit al-Hajj in the Saharan Desert a renowned scholar of Tasawwuf.
When asked what does this got to do with entrepreneurship? He replied, “It was critical in the production of who I am today because it forever shaped how I look at life, how I understand life, and how I process information.”
“And as an American, it opened me up to the world because I understand that my perspective is not the only perspective”
It was an experience that he will forever cherish because it made him into what he is today. He stressed that studying Sharia actually helped him to become a better business person. It gave him the tools and skills to evaluate things from various perspectives and come up with an inclusive solution. The training in Islamic Sharia enabled him to look at situations from multiple perspectives.
“I can understand from the customer’s angle, from the employee’s angle, from a director’s angle, and from contractor’s angle. You are able to understand why people do the things they do, and I owe this to studying Islamic law”
Shortcut to something greater
When he came back from studying the Sharia, he could have comfortably become an Imam or religious teacher but instead, he resumed his normal life. So like everybody else, he looked for a job.
He said that sometimes undesirable experience that we have in life is actually a shortcut to something greater.
Mohamed Geraldez is a hard worker. He gives 110% of his energy to whatever he puts his attention to. However, he does not attribute his success to any of his strategies or his own effort. For him, it is all blessings from Allah.
He advised that if you want to succeed you should strive to live a halal life to the best of your ability. This is very important because you’ll then invite blessings into your life.
He said “If you have Barakah (blessings), nothing can stop you. On the other hand, you can have the best marketing strategy, great team, money and excellent execution but if you don’t have Allah’s blessing, you are not going to achieve what you set out to accomplish.”
“But also know this, you must do everything with Ihsan (excellence), work hard and focus.” You have to do your part, by taking action and strive for excellence
He said that too often many people are trapped in spiritual blindness. “They are in this delusion that if I pray Allah will give me what I want,’ and if they don’t get it they say ‘I did this and did that. I pray and Allah does not give me what I want.'”
“Bad things do happen to good people, and people that don’t believe in Allah sometimes have a terrific life. But this spiritual blindness is cured as soon as you remember that the Dunya is not your final abode”.
He explained, that doing some good deeds and expect repayment from Allah is actually spiritual blindness. Sadly, even good and knowledgeable Muslims fall into this spiritual blindness.
We must have Ikhlas (sincerity) and we should not treat our relationship with Allah like a business deal. Simply because no matter what you do, you can never repay what Allah has done for you.
Mohamed Geraldez is doing inspirational work in helping Muslims live a halal lifestyle. He is someone we all should follow and learn from.You can learn more about him at his website mgeraldez.com
Do you have any questions? Please ask them in the comment below? And I will get back to you as soon as possible.