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Business and Entrepreneurship Explanation based on the life of Imam Ali PDF Print E-mail
Written by Muhammad Mehdi Mardanshahi   
Saturday, 08 October 2016 00:16

Explanation based on the life of Imam Ali

Muhammad Mehdi Mardanshahi

University Professor, Sari Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University

Abstract: To approach a society with no poverty and unemployment, comprehensive progress of business and entrepreneurship based on Islamic instructions is required. To fulfill this target, Islamic vision upon business and entrepreneurship derived from hadiths and honorable verses must be reviewed. Regarding the fact that the true religion of Islamic and respectful verses sent by The Almighty recognizing human’s basic needs and traits, the instructions and patterns will accelerate divine goals of creation.

Keywords: Business, Entrepreneurship, Islam, Imam Ali (AS).


It is a theoretical citation review using valid Islamic sources. The study results were achieved by entrepreneurship approaches due to Islamic doctrines of business and entrepreneurship. It will be discussed that to reinforce business spirit, gain wealth, and modify material world under spiritual world, worldly and heavenly tasks could be promoted by career enthusiasm, considering speeches of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) that deal with the importance of business, freedom, independentism, and self-reliance of Islamic culture. Following the hadiths and instructions, Islamic Iran’s progress will be confidently seen.

Introduction

Prompt growth of science, technology, and knowledge has been unprecedented for decades. Meanwhile, the way of managing complexes and economic practices has been presented by religions, civilizations and governments. The true religion of Islam contains general rules of setting economic life and resolving economic problems. It includes regulations suggesting that human’s economical behaviors must be defined with instructions of holy Qurān and serving Islamic community due to ethical norms and values. In the holy book, value system of Islam economic affairs, entrepreneurship and marketing can be observed in the innocent’s speeches and the Prophet Muhammad’s vision. The Prophet Muhammad firmly emphasized business in halal markets and performed it himself.[i] These cases represent the necessity of entrepreneurship and marketing from the viewpoint of Islamic foundations. Islam implicitly/explicitly encourages people to do business to prevent poverty and hunger in the Islamic community. As a result, religious thoughts of people can affect their entrepreneurship.

In Islam, people are conducted to achieve worldly/heavenly prosperity. It encourages people to be hopeful and positivistic, thus, entrepreneurship is considered sacred in Islamic vision. Islam emphasizes that anything can be seen in man’s practices and his destiny is recognized by his operations. This is a rational thinking based on natural rules. Holy Qurān strongly insists on practice and apparently explains it; “there is nothing for man but what he would try to do” " وَأَن لِلْإِنسَانِ لَّيْسَ إِلَّا مَا سَعَى (mjaN / 39) "[ii] . “God will not create any entity in vain” (وَمَا خَلَقْنَا السَّمَاءَ وَالْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا بَاطِلًا) , “Heavens, earth, and anything on them have not been created unfruitfully”, “Everything is working” (كُلُّ یَجْرِی لِاَجَلِ مُسَمّیً) (d'aR/ 2).

According to Iqbāl Lahouri “Islamic values support labor, wealth achievement and Muslims’ power. But Muslims’ misinterpretation causes them not to be empowered. It seems our wrong vision to the values builds a large gap between entrepreneurship and pop culture”[iii]. To create a community where poverty and unemployment cannot be found, economic growth and people’s life empowerment will be essential.[iv] It must be operated with thorough developments to either eliminate barriers and problems affecting the society or lead to Iran’s material/spiritual florescence. It needs training, creating job opportunities contributing to divine Prophets and innocent Imams. Thus, the country needs to be promptly developed with required knowledge and preparation[v]. This study aims to review the speeches and attitudes of Imam Ali (Peace be upon him) about business used for the nation development.

Behavioral patterns of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) about business and entrepreneurship

Ḥalal income, development, and dynamism of society through entrepreneurship could be seen in his life. He considered hard working and production to manage his life and to fight poverty in his society. He did not believe that working a job under any circumstance is disgraceful. Business and entrepreneurship would be one of the sextet backbones calibrating individuals’ religion and faith. Human beings are evaluated through six components of the religion. One of them is to earn ḥalal money and decent practices away from extravagance, Imam Ali said[vi]. Due to the importance of business benefits, there are verses and hadiths in Holy Koran and the innocent’s (peace be upon them) attitudes. In This study, some cases of them suggested by the leader of the faithful (peace be upon him) will be discussed.

1. Encouraging people in business

The leader of the faithful (peace be upon him) suggests that God loves working people who are reliable[vii].

- Do businesses causing you not to need others’ assets. The Almighty likes honest craftsmen.[viii]

- The Almighty loves working people with right careers[ix].

2. The features of behaviors required for business

2.1. Endeavour

Pointing out the necessity of following the Imam and his policy in a letter addressing Uthmān Ibn Ḥannif (his agent in Basra), Imam Ali (peace be upon him) encourages people in piety and working hard as a single way to approach the Imam and leader. Imam Ali would like people to make efforts to prepare their futurity. Warning people against pride, Imam Ali suggests attempting too much, preparation and being prepared, packing luggage for the other world, avoiding selfishness affecting their ancestors and former nations in the past centuries.[x]

2.2. Continuity of labor

2.2.1. Perseverance

Perseverance at work has been emphasized in hadiths. In scientific management literature, performance continuity and enthusiasm as prosperity capital are suggested. Imam Ali would say:

-It is worthy for a Muslim to earn money (halal) as far as the sun shines over him.[xi]

-Keeping working a light job would be much better than an exhausting job.[xii]

In addition to the mission of imamate and statesmanship, Imam Ali (peace be upon him) kept farming and gardening and he spent the money on orphans and the needy. Due to the necessity of labor he would say: Dragging heavy rocks away mountains would be more precious than flattery. People say to me my job is deficient but I think deficiency is begging people.[xiii]

2.2.2. Follow up

- Follow up your business; because the end of believers’ life will be death predestinated by The Almighty.[xiv]

- The seeker will acquire what he wishes or some parts of it.[xv]

-The man who keeps knocking a door will be finally heard.[xvi]

2.2.3. Resistance and accomplishment of tasks

Imam Ali (peace be upon him) would say completing a good job would be more valuable than starting it.[xvii]

-Keeping up a slight task would be more hopeful than too much work making you worn-out.[xviii]

2.3. Trust

- The man who attempts for his religion will be blessed by God.[xix]

2.4. Expertise

In addition to endeavor, constancy, and trust, required knowledge and expertise for operations will accelerate and prosper tasks. According to Imam Ali (peace be up on him) people must not start a job without essential sophistication.

-Lack of recognition of a practice will lead to misguidance.[xx]

-The value of a person equals the amount of his expertise and knowledge.[xxi]

2.5. Using available sources

One of the characteristics of entrepreneurs is the ability of using available sources and possibilities and changing deficient sources to efficient ones. Therefore, it is prominent to consider the God-given facilities. The leader of the faithful beautifully states; “people owning water and soil (land), wasting their power, and suffering from poverty will be damned by God.[xxii]

2.6. Realizing opportunities

The first step of developing business and entrepreneurship is to realize and create opportunities. The remarkable fact considered in today’s sciences was suggested by Imam Ali many centuries ago as follows:

-It is tragic to neglect opportunities.[xxiii]

-Opportunities are passing quickly and returning late.[xxiv]

-Someone who is kept busy with unnecessary affairs will ignore prominent performances.[xxv]

2.7. Independentism

Other entrepreneurs’ features are independentism and avoiding being subordinate. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) considers self-sufficiency and encourages people to work and produce goods. He would say:

-It is more adorable for me to move massive rocks of mountains than flattering people.[xxvi]

-Imam Ali (peace be upon him) would advise his son Imam Hassan (peace be upon him) that if you tend to be free, you must make efforts like slaves and bondservants and overlook other people’s property.[xxvii]

2.8. Risk taking

Undoubtedly, economic operations need risk taking. Although reasonable risks are considered, the ability of this characteristic is an undeniable trait. Imam Ali would state:

-If you are afraid of doing a task, try to get into it because the fear is more extensive than the task itself[xxviii].

-If you are frightened by something, do not stop, do it.[xxix]

2.9. Weakness aversion

Imam Ali (peace be upon him) would say: I will banish the one who ignores earning right money and feels lazy because he will be lazier and more reckless to his futurity. He also believes:

-Although working is companied by efforts, being out of work can be the origin of corruption and destruction.[xxx]

-Sloth, weakness, and laziness will corrupt human’s futurity.[xxxi]

2.10. Chronology

Chronology at work is essential thus, operations may be failed by lack of appropriate schedule. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) would say.

-A faithful person divides the day into three parts;

1-for worship and saying prayers, 2-for making a living, and 3-for himself and the joys that are halal and proper.[xxxii]

-Do your tasks on time that there is a task every day.[xxxiii]

2.11. Consultation and teamwork

Consultation and using people’s views and their support for operations would grow ideas, produce talents, and open new paths. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) would say: There is nothing like patronage[xxxiv]. (The one who avoids consulting will regret.[xxxv]

Who and what way is appropriate for consultation? Imam Ali speeches about the features, abilities, and outcomes of consultation.

He would recommend intellectuals, righteous people, and scholars and also the youth beside middle-aged and elderly people.

-The one who consults a scholar will be conducted properly[xxxvi].

-You consult righteous people to be directed appropriately.[xxxvii]

-You consult intellectuals to be safe from failure and remorse.[xxxviii]

2.12. Pragmatism

Imam Ali kept on working all the time; He cultivated and irrigated the land, then he allocated farms to poor people. The tradition of Imam Ali was to work effectively. He would say:

-It is merited for a Muslim to make for a halal living as long as the sun shines.[xxxix]

-The one who neglects his task will suffer from grief.[xl]

Imam Ali would care about labor, production, and self-efficiency. He could meet his needs with his powerful hands and encouraged his offspring and wives to work and knit their clothes and even provide the cotton by wool spinning.[xli]

3. Knowledge and management capability

Making constant efforts and doing actions can deal with management capabilities and knowledge of its aspects and operations including foresight and the ability of future prediction and operation/sources organization.

3.1. Foresight

3.1.1. Prudence

One of the requirements of business foresight is to consider the future actions and reduce risks resulting from lack of proper planning. Due to the fact, the Holiness would say:

-The most intellectual person is the one who thinks more about the future of his tasks.[xlii]

-Success will be achieved with caution and foresight.[xliii]

3.1.2. Planning

Imam Ali (peace be upon him) would say:

-Governments survival contributes to planning and thinking of solutions.[xliv]

-Delicacy and accuracy through planning would be better than possibilities and means.[xlv]

-Planning and foresight before starting a business will immune you against remorse.[xlvi]

3.2. Division of labor (organization)

Due to the benefits of assignment of responsibilities, division of labors, and operations organization, Imam Ali (peace be upon him) would say: You assign a particular responsibility and task for each subordinate and employee to be able to rebuke and investigate them, because this method will be desirable therefore, they are not allowed to leave the tasks to each other.[xlvii] For each task, you appoint someone who will not be exhausted with hard work.[xlviii]

4. Social entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship is a novel issue in the field of entrepreneurship aiming to develop innovative operations to help people who are out of work with financial potent. This entrepreneurship, in fact, blends the enthusiasm of social mission with business vision[xlix]

The social mission firmly performed by Imam Ali can develop business boom, employment, and welfare improvement. He considered work and production in different ways. He was interested in farming, arboriculture, and gardening. He built many gardens around Medina, dug wells devoted for travelers and pilgrims of Kaba when the well contained lots of water. This sense of social mission had Imam Ali (peace be upon him) overlook the most basic worldly requirements of his for God’s sake, the issue that cannot be found in any science and management/scientific theories.

Conclusion

Due to the holy Islamic perspective recommending independence from aliens and unbeliever, increasing academic efforts based on scientific attempts, trusting in God, developing economy, and making Muslims proud, Muslims need to achieve their self-efficiency and independence through accurate planning. According to the importance of labor on Islamic instructions, Muslims must make lots of efforts to meet vital strategic needs by developing businesses and also improve divine justice. It can be possible through using divine teachings and comprehending holy positive attitude and Islamic economy in the society. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) would say:

“Nothing is more beneficial than wisdom and no wisdom is like thoughtfulness (e.g. arrangement, discipline, wise business, tact, comprehensive planning, and start-up)[l], Due to the importance of labor in Islamic literature, working causes people not to be dependent on people and beg them. Human beings must try to earn halal money for their families and avoid being captured under the others’ affection. In his will addressed his son Imam Hassan, Imam Ali would advise; “If you would like to be free, work like slaves and bondservants”. According to the remarks and verses it can be claimed that Islamic is a labor religion (Nahl, 112) and man will feel peaceful beside labor (Anaam, 127). However, to acquire wealth and improve the material world under spiritual world, human must work hard. Therefore, Muslims need to observe practically Imam Ali’s speeches and consider production, labor, and entrepreneurship to manage their lives, fight poverty, and develop Islamic community’s economy. Islamic Iran’s progress can be achieved through using the instructions and entrepreneurial attempts.

 



[i]Khānifar, Ḥusayn, Entrepreneurship in the value system , p.4.

[ii]Mardānshāhi, Muḥammad Mahdi, “Business and Economic Jihad in Islam”, The second national conference on entrepreneurship and business management knowledge, Babolsar, Iran.2014

[iii]Saʻidi Kiyā, Mahdi, fundamentals of entrepreneurship, p.255.

[iv]ʻEywadi, Muḥammad,(2003) “cultural development in the Islamic Revolution, challenges and opportunities”, Journal of the Islamic Revolution, No 7& 8, pp. 65-79

[v]Mardānshāhi, Muḥammad, “Business and Economic Jihad in Islam”, The second national conference on entrepreneurship and business management knowledge, 2014:4.

[vi]Kulayni, Abu Ja'far Muḥammad ibn Ya'qub, (1986) Al-kāfi, 71/5.

[vii] Ḥakimi, Muḥammad Ridā; Ḥakimi, 1996: 163/3.

[viii]Ḥur al-Āmili, Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan (1409 AH) Wasāʼil al-Shiāh, 1409: 12/4.

[ix]Ḥur al-Āmili, 1409: 13/12.

[x] Nahj al-Balāghah, sermon 28.

[xi]Nouri Tabarsi, Mirza Ḥasan(1997), Mustadrak Al-Wasāʼil, 1987, 418/2.

[xii] Nahj al-Balāghah: Hikmat 436.

[xiii] Qurayshi, Baqir Sharif, (1997) Work and workers' rights, 1987: 6.

[xiv]Nouri Tabarsi, Mirza Ḥasan(1997), Mustadrak Al-Wasāʼil, 1987; 130/1.

[xv] Nahj al-Balāghah: Hekmat 386.

[xvi]Tamimi Āmidi, Abdul Waḥid ibn Muḥammad (1999) Ghural al-Ḥikam and Durar al-Kilam, 2008, 718.

[xvii]Aqā Jamāl Khānsāri, Muḥammad ibn Ḥusayn, Translation and explanation on Ghural al-Ḥikam and Durar al-Kilam,1980: 74/2.

[xviii] Nahj al-Balāghah, Hikmat 278.

[xix] Nahj al-Balāghah, Hikmat 423.

[xx]Barāzish, Ali Rida (1996) Mu'jam al-Musuʽah Ghural al-Ḥikam and Durar al-Kilam, 1996: 58 .

[xxi] Nahj al-Balāghah: Hekmat 81 .

[xxii]Ibn Babawayh, (Saduq) Muḥammad bin Ali bin Ḥusayn, Man lā yaḥdaruhul Faqih, 1390 lunar year: 95 .

[xxiii] Nahj al-Balāghah: Hikmat 118 .

[xxiv]Tamimi Āmidi, Abdul Waḥid ibn Muḥammad, 1999: 89 .

[xxv]Tamimi Āmidi, Abdul Waḥid ibn Muḥammad, 1999: 661 .

[xxvi] Mutahari, Murtizā (1994) education in Islam, 1994: 425

[xxvii]Mutahari, Collected Works 2006: 514/19.

[xxviii]Fayd al-Isfahāni, Ali Naqi (1996), translation and commentary of Nahj Al-Balagha,1995: 169

[xxix]Ibn Abi al-Ḥadid, 1382 lunar year, aphorism 1169 & 390.

[xxx] Isḥāghi, Sayyid Ḥusayn, principles and strategies of economic jihad, 2011:118.

[xxxi]Muḥammadi Reyshahri, Muḥammad (2006), Mizān al-Ḥikmah, 2006: 393/8.

[xxxii] Nahj al-Balāghah, Hikmat 382.

[xxxiii] Nahj al-Balāghah, letter 53:1022.

[xxxiv] Nahj al-Balāghah: Hikmat 109.

[xxxv] Majlisi, Muḥammad Baqir (1997), Bihār al-Anwār 1997: 104/75.

[xxxvi] Majlisi, Muḥammad Baqir (1997), Bihār al-Anwār, 1997: 105/75.

[xxxvii]Tamimi Āmidi, Abdul Waḥid ibn Muḥammad, Ghural al-Ḥikam and Durar al-Kilam, 1998: 448/1.

[xxxviii]Aqā Jamāl Khānsāri, Muḥammad ibn Ḥusayn, Translation and explanation on Ghural al-Ḥikam and Durar al-Kilam, 1980: 179/4.

[xxxix]Nouri Tabarsi, Mirza Ḥasan(1997), Mustadrak Al-Wasāʼil, 1987: 418/2.

[xl] Nahj al-Balāghah: Hikmat 127.

[xli] Majlisi, Muḥammad Baqir (1997), Bihār al-Anwār, 1997: 325/40.

[xlii] Aqā Jamāl Khānsāri, Muḥammad ibn Ḥusayn Translation and explanation on Ghural al-Ḥikam and Durar al-Kilam, 1980, 484/2.

[xliii] Nahj al-Balāghah: Hikmat 45.

[xliv] Majlisi, Muḥammad Baqir (1997), Bihār al-Anwār, 1997: 25/71.

[xlv] Majlisi, Muḥammad Baqir (1997), Bihār al-Anwār, 1997: 338/68.

[xlvi] Muḥammadi Reyshahri, Muḥammad (2006), Mizān al-Ḥikmah, 2006:551/2.

[xlvii] Nahj al-Balāghah: letter 53.

[xlviii] Nahj al-Balāghah: letter 53.

[xlix]Saʻidi Kiyā, Mahdi, fundamentals of entrepreneurship, 2005: 27-28.

[l] Nahj al-Balāghah: Hikmat 113.

References

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23. , Qum.

 

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