Issues

Poverty and Muslim entrepreneurship

Abdulla Umer Khan  

In India, guess who is the poorest, least educated most unemployed and in population ratio, most imprisoned? It’s Muslim millat. It’s sickening to know we are continuously falling into pits of self-destruction.

In my opinion the key to coming out of poverty , illiteracy , unemployment and backwardness is entrepreneurship..

Every successful community’s backbone is entrepreneurship. Look at Siddhis, Marwaris, Banyas, Bohras and Kachis. As long as we do not recognisee the need for systematic encouragement of Muslim entrepreneurship we will not be able to get out of the dire situation we are in.

Back in 2007 when I graduated, friends from our community consciously recognised the need to stop migration to other cities or countries and take up entrepreneurship to create wealth and employment opportunities. We formed a committee, and after many meetings we were still not clear about what we could do and what efforts we had to put in. The result was obvious. We failed and everyone on that committee took different paths going to different countries, but still longing to have their own set-up to be able to come back to India.  

I heard two members of the same committee started two different enterprises named Saral and Clickkarr. Both are creative. It made me believe a little effort and discipline can take both the enterprises to next level in no time. Sadly, both had to come to an abrupt end due to various reasons.

I would like to say a little guidance and financial support would have certainly helped them to survive and would have encouraged many young aspirants to take up entrepreneurship. Such failures not only discourage those who made an effort to start something, but also those who want to follow suit.

In order to promote entrepreneurship, we also have to bypass the big hurdle, i.e, interest (riba),

As reported by Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet(SAW) said: “There will certainly come a time for mankind when everyone will take riba and if he does not do so, its dust will reach him” (Abu Dawud, Kitab al-Buyu’, Bab fi ijtinabi al-shubuhat; also in Ibn Majah).

Most of us are directly or indirectly connected to some operation which runs on interest. Starting any business without interest has now become some kind of a miracle. That is also one of the reasons why Muslims are not able to make use of the prevalent banking system and continued to be poor.

It’s always scary to imagine the Day of Judgment and see all our deeds come to nothing because we were somehow connected with riba. By any chance, if some of us still managed to stay away from riba then I would like to forewarn for the day when riba will be just a regular thing.

There is a clear need to promote Muslim entrepreneurship by forming committees and forums which can encourage youth to think creatively and present their ideas and the best ideas get the funds it requires to flourish or get implemented.

The author belongs to Karimnagar, Telangana and is presently working in Dubai. He may be  reached at abdullaumer@outlook.com

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 September 2016 on page no. 2

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