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NASFAT WEEKLY FRIDAY SERMON FOR JUNE 28 2019

 

TOPIC: ECONOMICS OF SMALL BUSINESS IN ISLAM: THE NASFAT MISSIONARY EXPERIENCE

Alhamdu lillaah Rabbil aalameen was salaatu was salaamu ‘alaa rasuulihi al kareem.

Almost all Islamic countries at different stages of economic growth are categorized as `less developed’. About 80 percent of the Muslim population lives in low income countries and a vast majority live in the most depressed regions of the world. Apart from other characteristic features of developing countries, Muslims in Islamic countries and also those living as cultural minorities in other countries, share a relatively higher incidence of poverty, low productivity and unemployment.

One of the best ways to ensure employment is to promote small businesses which are labor-intensive and provide more jobs per unit of capital invested. The establishment of such businesses generates employment and income and also helps check rural-urban migration. June 27 of every year is the World Day for Micro Small and Medium sized Enterprises and as awareness about this is being raised all over the world it is important as Muslims to look at the issue critically.

The need to be able to fend for oneself and one’s family can never be overemphasized and that is why Islam teaches the dignity of labour. The prophets of Allah are engaged in one vocation or the other and the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was reported to have said that Prophet Dawud eats from the work of his own hands. Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, (SAW) said, “The recitation of scripture was made easy for David. He would order that his mount be saddled, and he would finish his recitation before they were saddled. He would never eat but from the work of his own hands.” Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 3235

Amina Mohammed, the UN Deputy Secretary General was of the strong opinion that the Micro, Small and Medium Businesses are key to creating the 600 million jobs needed by the year 2030 to keep pace with the world’s working age population.

The NASFAT missionary is making fantastic contributions in this area by promoting initiatives that will make each missioner an individual that can sustain himself and his family. Two initiatives that have been introduced are the Missioners in Agriculture and the Missioners in Business. While the aim of the Agriculture initiative is to explore opportunities specifically in the agriculture industry and benefit from the various government schemes in the industry, the latter i.e. the initiative in business is to support missioners that have subscribed to it in developing a line of business of choice, get requisite training and necessary funding.

It is instructive to mention that so far several missioners who hitherto do not have registered business names have been able to do that. The benefit of this is well known in business circles. Missioners have also been able to start a cooperative society, a step which is highly laudable and needed to access funding and get deserved and needed recognition among players in the industry.

The theme of this year’s Day is Big Money for Small Business: Financing the SDGs

MSME Day 2019 is not only dedicated to raising awareness of the need for greater investment into small and mid-sized businesses in developing countries. It is also a celebration of the gigantic contribution, away from the spotlight, smaller companies make to the global economy in the same manner NASFAT is doing.

Smaller businesses can be agile in response to a changing world but their size also makes them vulnerable. Access to finance is a primary obstacle. Identifying international market opportunities and navigating trade-related procedures can be harder for small businesses than for their larger competitors. The NASFAT missionary is also having its own share of this deal.

The list of the problems that are faced by existing/new companies in SME sector which we should be wary of and strive to overcome include:

1. Absence of adequate and timely banking finance
2. Limited capital and knowledge
3. Non-availability of suitable technology
4. Low production capacity
5. Ineffective marketing strategy
6. Constraints on modernization & expansions
7. Non availability of skilled labour at affordable cost
8. Follow up with various government agencies to resolve problems due to lack of man power and knowledge etc.

Conclusively, it is important to note that this sermon is aimed at raising awareness about the teachings of Islam as regards dignity of labour, getting involved in one halal form of business or the other, continuously developing oneself in areas that will require one to operate effectively as a Muslim and being conscious of Allah.

May Allah (swt) make it easy for us.

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