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Islam and Entrepreneurship : Encouragement and Societal impact in Bangladesh

Islam and Entrepreneurship : Encouragement and Societal impact in Bangladesh

20-09-2023
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10 mins Read
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Islam encourages its followers to be entrepreneurial, and the religion lays out its rules for conducting business in the Quran and the Hadith. Entrepreneurship is a concept that is not only compatible with Islam but is also encouraged by the religion. In Islam, entrepreneurship is viewed as a means of fulfilling one’s obligations to society and as a way of providing for oneself and others. Islam emphasizes the importance of hard work and the pursuit of wealth as long as it is done lawfully and ethically. Religion also encourages entrepreneurship as a means of contributing to the community and helping others. Islamic teachings also emphasize the importance of honesty, integrity, and fairness in business dealings. This means that Muslims who engage in entrepreneurship are expected to conduct their business affairs with transparency, honesty, and fairness. However, In Islam, entrepreneurship is considered a noble and virtuous endeavour that can bring benefits to both the individual and society as a whole. When the Salat (prayer) is completed, you may scatter throughout the land and seek Allah’s favour (by working), remembering Allah frequently so that you may be successful (A-Juma:10). This indicates that Islam requires all adult Muslims to work for themselves after meeting Allah’s prayer duty. It is, in fact, praising Allah.

How Islam inspires us to be entrepreneurs, here some insights are explained:  
From a social perspective, this type of entrepreneurship focuses on creating social impact and solving social problems. Social entrepreneurs in Islam are encouraged to find innovative solutions to address societal challenges such as poverty, unemployment, and inequality. Entrepreneurial behaviour is meant to help the person and the group of people live better. (e.g., giving in charity to those in need or helping to build a mosque) (Devis, 2013). According to recent research, social entrepreneurship has solely concentrated on a good business perspective. The framework of the Islamic economy is based on a social consciousness that forbids the buildup of solitary wealth. Some fundamental ideals of Islamic society are unity, justice, and social and economic equality (al, 2021).

Most impotently, to be an entrepreneur in a Halal way is a type of entrepreneurship that adheres to Islamic principles and values. Halal entrepreneurs are expected to conduct their businesses ethically and morally, avoiding any practices that are considered haram (forbidden) in Islam, such as dealing with interest (riba) and gambling (maysir). Almighty (Allah) has permitted business, and has prohibited usury.” [Quran: Al-Baqarah 2:275]. Islam prohibits the charging or paying of interest (riba). As a result, alternative financing models have emerged, such as “mudarabah” (partnership), “musharakah” (joint venture), and “ijara” (leasing), which comply with Islamic principles and avoid interest-based transactions.

At the same time, Women’s entrepreneurship is highly encouraged in Islam though some individuals reckon that Islam discourages women from being business person. Muslim women are encouraged to become entrepreneurs and contribute to society, and women entrepreneurs can create businesses that cater to the specific needs of women, such as fashion, beauty, and healthcare. Muslim women were involved in a variety of companies and managed them. Prophet Mohammad himself advocated women in a wide range of activities, including trade and business; his spouse (Khadja) is an example of a Muslim woman. Many of the Prophet’s sahabiya (women companions) participated in various business actions permitted in Islam. The Holy Qur’an and Sunnah encourage people (men and women) to work to earn legal money. Women’s entrepreneurship was allowed. Allaah-given rights are intended to maintain social balance and harmony (al, 2013). Ayesha (RA) described Umm--al-Momineen Zainab Bint-I-Jahash, who used to prepare leather and make various items to sell in the market. She donated the money and earned it this way to give to charities (Al-Bukhari).

Why Islam encourages Entrepreneurship more?
About 1.8 billion people, more than 24% of the world’s population, are Muslims. Islam recognizes the value of human creativity and encourages Muslims to use their talents and skills to improve society. Entrepreneurship provides a platform for individuals to channel their innovative ideas, solve societal problems, and contribute to economic development. Islam values entrepreneurship to impact the community and bring about positive change positively. In addition, the equitable distribution of wealth in society is inspired by Islam, where Entrepreneurship provides a means for individuals to create wealth, and Islam encourages entrepreneurs to share their wealth through charity, philanthropy, and supporting the less fortunate. By engaging in entrepreneurship, Muslims are encouraged to contribute to the welfare of society and fulfil their social obligations.

Moreover, Islam promotes economic growth and prosperity in society. Entrepreneurship generates wealth, creates job opportunities, and stimulates economic development. By encouraging entrepreneurship, Islam seeks to uplift individuals and the community by fostering innovation, productivity, and economic progress. 
In Bangladesh, where over 90% of people are Muslim, establishing a positive impact on their communities and contributing to the growth and development of their local economies, doing their own business is vital. They can also serve as role models and inspire others in their community to pursue entrepreneurship, thus creating a culture of innovation and economic progress. Furthermore, Entrepreneurship is a key driver of economic growth. By starting businesses and generating employment opportunities, Bangladeshi people entrepreneurs contribute to the overall economic development of their country. Last but not least, Muslim leaders can become self-reliant and gain independence by doing their own business, and they have the freedom to make decisions, pursue their passions, and create a work-life balance that aligns with their values and religious beliefs.

While Bangladesh has seen significant growth in entrepreneurship in recent years, there are still several challenges and obstacles that entrepreneurs face in the country. Some of the vital problems are demonstrated here. 
Primarily, limited access to capital is a significant challenge for entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. Many aspiring entrepreneurs struggle to secure funding to start or expand their businesses. Banks and financial institutions often have stringent requirements and high-interest rates, making it difficult for small businesses to obtain loans. Secondly, Inadequate infrastructure, including transportation, electricity, and telecommunications, can pose challenges for entrepreneurs, particularly in remote areas of the country who want to be entrepreneurs. Thirdly, Corruption remains a persistent issue in Bangladesh and can hinder business growth and operations. Entrepreneurs may face demands for bribes or encounter bureaucratic delays due to corrupt practices.

Moreover, a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, including support networks, mentorship programs, and access to business development services, is essential for the success of entrepreneurs. However, such support systems in Bangladesh may not be as well-developed or accessible in all regions. Finally, the limitation of entrepreneurship skills is another crucial problem. There are no sufficient learning or teaching facilities about entrepreneurship at the college or university level. Consequently, they need a proper idea of this aspect. 
In conclusion, Islam encourages its followers to embrace entrepreneurship as a noble and virtuous endeavour that can benefit both the individual and society. The religion guides conducting business ethically and adhering to Islamic principles. However, Islam inspires entrepreneurship to fulfil societal obligations, contribute to economic development, and positively impact society. While there are challenges to overcome, promoting entrepreneurship and addressing the associated barriers can lead to more remarkable economic growth, innovation, and prosperity in Muslim-majority countries like Bangladesh.
The author of this article is studying at the University of Chittagong

References
al, C. e., 2021. Islamic social business: Choice for a Muslim Entrepreneurial career. Revista Argentina de Clínica Psicológica, Volume XXX, pp. 919-927.
al, M. U. e., 2013. Women Entrepreneurship: Islamic Perspective. Islamic Management and Business, 5(2222-1719), pp. 44-52.
Devis, M., 2013. Entrepreneurship: An Islamic perspective. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 20(1), p. 67.
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Md Jahidul Islam
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