Ramadan Notes: Day #20-#27 Business and Money Lessons from the Sahaba

5:46am – Day 28

I wanted to write a long post to make up for the last few days of not posting.

This Ramadan I was able to rewrite myself. One habit that I’ve been able to get back is starting my days at 5am. This was something I did consistently before travelling and it’s really hard for me to get any real work done while travelling unless I lock myself up somewhere. I guess it may be an INFJ thing but I go from introvert to extrovert real quick. :)

This Ramadan has been more than I can really put into words. Whatever intention you set at the beginning is what your Ramadan will be and as such, it’s reflection of how you live your life and your day. However you start your day is generally how you will end it. So the way you spend this month as a Muslim probably does mirror, in some ways, how you spent the last 11 months and how you will spend the next 11 months.

In this post I wanted to discuss business and money lessons from the companions of Prophet Muhammed(s).

Learning about the business and success habits of the companions of the Prophet(s) is new area I started to explore last year. After really getting tired with the hard core startup lifestyle I led in Canada, I decided to look for a newer, more inspiring and invigorating style of practicing businesses that was healthier.

There are a lot of things I discovered. It’s known that many of the practices of early Muslims was to focus on becoming financially independent to free up their time so they could focus on their legacy or doing more meaningful work. A few of the 4 great Imams(may Allah have mercy on them) like Abu Hanifa, for example, were excellent business people who made their living from commerce and spent the rest of their time in pursuit of scholarship. It was from the financial freedom they achieved from their business that allowed them to pursue their calling at the highest level.

If you read the Seerah of Prophet(s), The Sealed Nectar(Al Raheequl-Maktoum), there was a moving passage whereby Abu Bakr(RA) had just become the Caliph and was on his way to the market. Umar(RA) had asked him what he was doing. He said he was going out in the morning to go earn a living. Umar(R) had replied by telling him: “Ya Ameer-ul-Mu’mineen, you are the Caliph now. It’s halal for you to take money out of the Bait-ul-Maal(wealth trust) to covering your living expenses.”

Abu Bakr(RA) did the same thing the next day. And the next until Umar(RA) told him to stop and he was essentially forced him to stop. But what we can learn is that unrelenting, independent, entrepreneurial and self-sufficient attitude towards life that is so engrained in the Islamic tradition.

Islam tells us to bow down to no one except God. So why don’t we do this in our economic lives? Why give up our independence?

Ibn Khaldun, father of modern economics and author of the magnum opus, Al Muqqadimah, discusses deeply the issue of microeconomics and on the topic of sustenence. So much so that he states that one of the worst ways to earn money is to be dependent on a salary.

To clarify: God created some people to be excellent workers and some to be excellent business people. I’m not telling everyone who reads this to start a business but to educate yourself to the possibilities. Our society is employee-oreinted and we are educated to serve others and not to think of serving ourselves first.

All 10 of the sahabas that were promised Jannah were all wealthy, successful business people. Thinking of that is not only profound but fills me with so much confidence as a Muslim entrepreneur.

I wanted to share an article I found on the life of Abdur-Rahman ibn ‘Awf. A sahaba who grew up very wealthy but left it all for God. The Prophet(s), after migrating to Medina had a policy to pair off people from Mecca to people in Medina. While establishing the foundations of a new constitution, his mandate was to create a strong communal ties between two very different groups of people. Many of the sahaba that came from Mecca came from nothing.

Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf, a previously wealthy young man who grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth gave everything up. But once you give up something for God, God always gives it back to you and even in better shape then what you had before.

Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf was paired off with a successful business person, Sa’d(RA) who offered everything he had. Abdur-Rahman had felt shame to just take and decided, as many entrepreneurs do, to make his own money. He left to the market place of Al Qainuqa in Madina and started selling. He then quickly scaled up his businesses and had an enormous amount of wealth

The article below goes through in the detail the following:

  • Why he was so successful,
  • What kind of busineses he started,
  • How he scaled his businesses up,
  • How a key part of his success was having no attachment to money and giving freely
  • How focusing on opportunity is where you move from building a small business to being able to build an empire
  • How the secret to his ever increasing wealth was that he gave with no limits.

Read more here: http://www.dawahflix.com/abdur-rahman-ibn-awf-the-richest-muslim-who-bought-his-way-to-jannah/

I hope this inspires you just a little to shift your mind in the way you think about money as a means rather than an end and ultimately a way you can serve people and God.




Ramadan Notes – Day #17 + #18 – A Little Surprise News From Me


6:23am – Day 17(and 18 😉

Today is a double share – probably because Ramadan has been quite a reflective period for me. As a treat, I wanted to share some awesome news with you first.

I came to Dubai with an idea a few months go. An idea to see a dream manifest in a place where I knew no one and knew nothing of. And I just decided and thus wanted to give you a sneak peek now. Organized by Elmangos, this beautiful baby that I’ve nurtured and metaphorically carried in me for 1.5 years will be coming to Dubai in October insha’Allah.

The M Powered Summit: The Premier Global Summit and Exhibition for Inspiring, Empowering and Connecting Entrepreneurs, Startups and SMES in the Islamic Economy. 

With the volatility of global financial systems, the Islamic economy has been recognized as one of the most sustainable and equitable models. Most Islamic conferences within the realm of Islamic economy or finance have been focused on big banks, executives and policy makers. However the one group of people that have so much to contribute have been almost rendered invisible are entrepreneurs, the very people who are the engines of growth and innovation within an economy. At M Powered, the goal is for them to take centre stage, unleash the entrepreneurial potential of the Islamic economy and help create more opportunities by connecting them to resources.

If you are interested, please do sign up. Invite a friend to sign up before July 7th and I’ll give you a discount code. Email me and mention my blog post 😉

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Ramadan Notes – Day #16: The Quote That Changed My Life

1144am- Day 16

There was a quote I came across a few years ago by Jim Rohn. By far one of the best personal development philosophers of this century. Much of his work is what Steven Covey talks about in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, in that personal development is about character development first and foremost. What passes for personal development today is a bit pseudo-scientific at time and pop psychology. Fundamentally, it’s about your character and becoming the type of person who attracts success rather than trying to run after success.

I read this quote, and although it might seem simple, it really isn’t. It completely turned my life around.

He says:

If you want to have more, you have to become more

For things to change, you have to change.

For things to get better, you have to get better.

For things to improve, you have to improve.

If you grow, everything grows for you

If you want conditions in your life to reflect what you ultimately want in life, you have to embody what it is that you want.

It was then I started realizing:

  1. If I didn’t like my environment, I had to move
  2. If I didn’t like lifestyle, I had to eat and work out more
  3. If I didn’t like what I was doing, I had to start doing what I liked

I’m not sure how to quantify a “spark” but that it what happens. There is a moment where you say, I’m done, I’ve had enough and this isn’t going to go on any longer. It took a loooooooooooooong time to get there. But once you understand that it is you that has to change before anything around you changes, then some pretty awesome things start to happen in your life.



Ramadan Notes – Day #14: Working Overtime On My Overtime

605pm – Day 14

It’s really comforting to know that even the parents of the best entrepreneurs I know have no idea what they do. I’ve given up trying to explain it to anyone. You get used to the daily grind on your own and misunderstandings being the norm. I’m glad I am far past trying to have to justify myself because that’s super exhausting. One thing I’ve been thinking about is how much you have to get used to delayed gratification as an entrepreneur.

Most people are used to working and get a paycheck at the end of a month or two weeks. They want to see immediate pay off on what they are doing. It can happen as an entrepreneur but rarely so. You get used to sacrificing a lot of energy over a long stretch of time to see any payoff on what you do. It’s the nature of the game. Some people can handle that. Some people can’t.

Some days, a lit Friday night looks like is a ton of spreadsheets, a new business book and your notebook locked up in your office. It’s day in and day out in hopes that one day something works, something pays off. And that’s ok.

Until then, I’m gonna keep praying and working overtime on my overtime.

Ramadan Notes – Day #12: Forgive Yourself Today

Hey you, a little late on this note today. x


Day 12 – 229am

I was thinking do you ever feel guilty during Ramadan? It’s a massive re-set month, a beautiful one albeit, but one that always makes me feel like I should be doing more. Maybe that’s where the beauty is? Even God himself expects more of me than I expect of myself.

More than anything, I’ve learnt to just forgive myself. For my shortcomings, for my lack, for my trying, for my incompleteness and remember that this isn’t what defines me spiritually. Why do I focus on constantly filling a whole in myself, as if that is what spirituality is predicated on?

I am human but I try. And in that trying I feel there is redemption.

That must be where redemption is found.

The guilt I’ve carried for years because I let others define faith for me. I let others tell me what God thought of me, when I should have just listened to Him myself.

And God was always there, with His Love, His Mercy, His Divine Forgiveness, always ready to welcome me back, always ready to love me more than I loved myself at times.

Ramadan is a time to know that you are human but that you will try. You will try to be better. You will try to forgive. You will try to listen to a lecture or read 1 more page out of that book that you did yesterday. It’s a time where you will try to go do your prayers, a little more intentionally this time.

They key is that you are always moving forward.

I don’t want you to listen to Alpha Muslims who guilt you. Tell you that you are not doing enough, not being enough…that you aren’t enough.

Because you are. You are everything you need to be to God. He just wants you to recognize that and always come back.

And that is the beauty of Islam; that redemption is always there, that there is always a rope waiting for you to grab onto if you stray too far…

Just forgive yourself, okay?

Be kind.

Be generous.

Have mercy on yourself.

Because God is the Most Kind.

Because God is the Most Generous.

Because God is the Most Merciful.