Categories: Lifestyle

A Muslim Executive and his strategy of success

In the quest of showcasing inspiring Muslims, our challenge is finding people that have made contributions to both the Muslim and Western world and still living today. So whatever strategies they use to excel in their field can be emulated and to nurture and revive Muslims as a nation that is respected, referred and revered.

One such individual is Dr. Essam Zaghloul who helped discover and develop many of the oil fields in the world. He was part of the team in Shell Egypt that discovered oil in the Western Desert of Egypt in 1981, known as the Badr El Din field. The interesting thing was, Shell had earlier released a report that stated no oil or gas in that area. Now, the Western Desert of Egypt produces 16% of the country’s oil and 30% of the country’s gas for the nation.

His discoveries have enabled countries to generate wealth and improved the standard of living of their people.

Dr. Essam Zaghloul, a Canadian/Egyptian citizen is the director and chairman of the board of Hydrocarbon Consulting Services (HCS Egypt). He is one of Canada’s leading experts in EOR/ IOR methods, which are enhanced oil recovery/improved oil recovery. He has discovered and developed fields all over the world and has managed projects from the discovery phase to construction to operation.

 He has a Ph.D. in Geology. During his time at AGAT Canada, an oil consulting company, he co-authored a study on how to fix damaged reservoirs titled “Reservoir Quality and Sensitivity” in which the technology is still in use today, even after thirty years. He was chosen to head lead AGAT at a young age of only 27.

In addition, Dr. Essam Zaghloul had headed several hi-tech companies listed on the TSE and the TSX Venture Exchange, a stock exchange in Canada. He was also in social work helping immigrant communities in Canada.

Now he is focusing on developing youth. “We want to help young people,  by teaching them income-generating skills, and then see to it they benefit the community and perhaps one day create jobs for others,” said Dr Essam

Muslim Strategy of Success

Halalop editor, Shahfizal Musa, spoke with Dr. Essam Zaghloul, to find out more about his secret to success.

According to Dr. Essam, to be successful is by God;s Grace, as well as applying to the principles of Islam and wanting to be the best based on hard work and acquiring knowledge. They can be listed as follows:

  • “Apply Islamic principles – no cheating, no lying,no makeup things or excuses, all the principles of Islam, it makes your character,”
  • “Hard work – I used to work 18 hours per day.”
  • “When I was younger, I used to read about 6-8 hours every night. It wasn’t just reading in my field. It was broadening my knowledge and a thirst for learning. Education is crucial.”
  • “Wanting to be the best. So it’s not only a dream, it has to be accompanied with hard work, honesty, sincerity and so on.”

Dr Essam is a firm believer in honesty and fighting for the truth.He would stand up for what is right and follow it true. At that time, there was a Hearing between oil and gas producers. He was working on behalf of the oil producers.

“I worked as an expert witness in one of the largest cases in the history of Canada, where the government of Canada gave equal rights to the producers of oil and the producers of gas in the same reservoir.

“The reservoir was heavy oil and there was no technology, at the time, to get that out of the reservoir. So, the gas producers produced heavily, and that made the energy in the reservoir very weak. The oil producers started learning technologies and wanted to produce and there were no energy. So the oil producers had to either shut the gas in to save the energy or use costly methods to re-energize the reservoir and produce.”

“So we filed for a Hearing with the Energy Bard in Alberta (AEUB) against the gas producers. It took about a year of legal battle, and we successfully closed down one sixth of Alberta gas production which was one of the biggest at that time. The Hearings were in 1998 and the decision to shut in the gas was in 2000. It is referred to as the Gas over Bitumen Hearing.

 Dr. Zaghloul was the advisor to several of the later Hearings and always stayed with the bitumen producers as he believed that he was defending the right group as evidenced by the AEUB decisions to side with the Bitumen producers. “You have to fight for what you believe in and stick to the truth,” said Dr Essam

The Role of Muslim Professional

When others may think of successful Muslim professionals in their secular context, the practicing Muslim professionals are always seen less successful than their secular counterparts. They are not accorded the same credibility and respect as their secular counterparts.

This is partly the Muslim professionals fault, in order to gain acceptance in the professional world, many had to make compromises. Their Muslim identity took a backseat, in order to advance in their professional career. While this is understandable, what should not be compromised is the values and principles that Muslims uphold.

Dr. Essam is one example of a successful Muslim professional who believe that these values should be applied in our everyday life

“In the Quran, around 5% of it are rules and the rest of it is how to deal with each other.”

“The Quran always tells you to think, observe, contemplate. Use your brain and mind. “

“Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali said that Allah prefers people who are educated Muslims who are productive and useful to society instead of just focusing on the ibadah.”

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According to Dr. Essam, while building more mosques is good, the characteristics of the Muslims need to be developed as well. It’s no good that once people exit the mosque, they start to not behave Islamically.

“We lose scope of the big picture of becoming humane.”

This can be seen a lot here in Malaysia, you see people who perform their five daily prayers on the dot. But when it comes to generating income, or business dealings, they forget about halal and haram, or at the very least they will go shopping for fatwas.

Muslims need to uphold the highest integrity and the Islamic values need to be applied in their professional life and personal dealings.

Muslims Need to Believe In Themselves

“The more you understand science, the stronger your beliefs are in Islam. Because you realize there has to be a creator. Everything mentioned in the Quran are scientific facts that are proven everyday.”

“Hopefully we can come out of our complexes and believe in each other. Encouraging the young people to be creative.”

“There is a beautiful story that says, ” You should die empty.”

According to Dr. Essam, what it means is that with all the knowledge you gain, you should not be selfish by not sharing, by fear that someone will be better than you with the knowledge you impart.

“All the knowledge that Allah has blessed you with, you should give back, not for material gains. Whether you get paid, or not get paid, know that Allah s.w.t. Is the Provider. If you genuinely give back, you will be rewarded, whether in Jannah, inshaAllah or here on earth.”

“We forget that if Allah wills if humans and jinns unite to harm you, they can’t do it unless Allah allows it to happen.”

“So what are we afraid of?”

“Share knowledge because that’s how science advances.”

Attracting Talents and Keeping Them

There are hundreds if not thousands of accomplished Muslims who migrated to the west, made a name for themselves.  They gain a lot of experience and are now coming back to their country to contribute to their own community.

What we need to realize is people like Dr Essam Zaghloul do their best to contribute to building and developing their home country. Many other talents had tried only to be disappointed.

These people just want to give back and many times, they are confronted with roadblocks, such as bureaucracies, lack of expediency. Many have decided to move back to the West where they feel they can do more good to their home country  from their adopted country.

Their situation is the same in many Muslim countries, they fail to get the support they need in their home country and start migrating again. Muslim majority governments need to seriously look into tapping into their expertise and not just bringing them home but also retaining them home.

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