7 tips for Muslim businesses

How to Increase Profits and Help The Muslim Economy Grow

“I live in a suburban where there are 3 "Halal" meat stores within a 5 mile area, and another which is about 30 minutes away. I am an "American" Muslimah. In the three stores owned by Pakistani/Indian businessmen, the treatment I receive is terrible. In addition, the stores are filthy and no health code is followed. Blood from the meat is spread from meat counter to checkout counter, hands to money and pens, etc. In the store that is further away, the owner has argued and almost had fist fights with customers, and will not disclose his meat source. I have gone to great lengths to continue to buy Halal meat, but I feel that doing business with these people is not something I can continue to do." (Comment in the Halal and Healthy forum of the Sound Vision website, July 22, 1999)

Muslim consumers are often criticized for not doing enough to support Muslim businesses, whether it's paying the extra dollar (or two or three or four) to buy products, or to drive the extra mile (or two or three or four) to get to the store.

But what is rarely discussed in the North American context is what obligation Muslim businesses, especially Halal grocery stores, have to the Muslim community.

The above-mentioned complaint is not a reflection of all Halal grocery stores. However, the problems outlined in it cannot be ignored.

If Muslim businesses want the support of Muslim consumers, they will have to do more to accommodate them, provide better service and prices.

New York-based Muslim social scientist Ilyas Bayunus conducted a study in which he found that Chicago has a Muslim population of about 300,000. The state of Illinois has a population of 400,000.

This indicates the tremendous buying power of Muslims in this city and this state.

In Chicago alone, there are a minimum of 60 retail Halal meat shops that are owned and operated by Muslims.

Currently, the Halal meat business makes close to $5 million a year. But the potential profit could be as high as $60 to $80 million. The market hasn't developed for a number of reasons, some of them can be attributed to Muslim consumers, others to Muslim businesses.

Below are some tips on how you can improve service and profits of your Halal business. This can be applied to all business, not just the meat business:

1. MAKE PROFIT THE SECONDARY AIM

The first goal of a Muslim business should not be cashing in on a Muslim market. It should be pleasing Allah and establishing Halal as a way of life.

Seeking profit is not a bad aim, but it should be secondary.

By making Allah the goal, and implementing Islamic rules of honesty, truthfulness, and good behavior with customers, Insha Allah, any Muslim business is bound to boom.

2. BE TRUTHFUL AND HONEST

The Prophet has said the the honest and truthful businessman will be in Jannah amongst the Prophets the Truthful and the martyrs. Honesty and truthfulness are essential in this business. And when it comes to Muslim businesses, it means building a relationship of trust with customers, which cannot be done with lies and deceit.

3. BE OPEN TO SCRUTINY AND CRITICISM

While this may be a bitter pill to swallow, being ready to have your product or business scrutinized for cleanliness or the “Halalness” of products indicates a willingness to work with the consumer. This serves to build trust.

For those business people who may feel hesitant or downright angry with a Muslim consumer for even asking about the acceptability of a given product in their store, remember that this is the right of the consumer.

Remember, ultimately, we are all responsible to Allah. If a business is cheating Muslims, Allah will eventually expose those involved.

As well, a Halal business is not just one person's profit-making machine. It is also an institution of the Muslim community. Therefore, it must be ensured that it meets not just state and federal standards, but most importantly, the Quran and Sunnah's standards.

4. BE CLEAN!

This is especially important for Halal grocery stores where the presence of animal blood is expected. Not being careful of this means not only lost customers, but also possible sicknesses from the germs in the blood.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Cleanliness invites towards faith (Iman) and faith leads its possessor to paradise." (Tabarani)

This cleanliness, by the way, does not just apply to those areas of a store a customer will see. It includes equipment and storage areas as well.

5. AIM FOR A HIGHER GOAL

Don't just aim for one successful Halal grocery shop in your chosen neighborhood. Think big. Improve the inventory of your store, the types of items in it, and strive to find ways to improve service and profit margins.

As well, look into the possibility of pooling resources within the Muslim community or with other shareholders to expand the business. Doing this will also reduce overhead costs and in the long run, the price of products for your consumers.

6. WORK WITH OTHERS IN YOUR MARKET

Yes. This can be very difficult. Finger pointing, accusations and nasty rivalry often characterize Muslim businesses aiming to market the same products. But this is not the way a Muslim economy should work.

Brotherhood in the Ummah cannot be forgotten. Consider forming an association of Muslim meat retailers or distributors that can sit down together share experience, and learn to cooperate. This cooperation could, in the long run, benefit the Muslim consumer, and in turn the Muslim businesses themselves.

One example of where cooperation can take place in the Halal meat industry is by having all grocers or butchers slaughtering the animals in one place, Instead of doing it the way it's been done since the beginning: every individual or couple of retailers slaughtering their own animals.

By slaughtering in one place, costs are reduced, and in turn, the Muslim consumer pays less for the same product.

7. DO NOT SELL THE HARAM

While there are more “Muslim” businesses sprouting up, not everything they sell is Islamic.

It is not difficult to find Muslim owned businesses selling pork, alcohol, pornographic magazines, and renting these kinds of movies on the one hand, while selling Halal meat on the other.

Of a less offensive nature, perhaps, are those businesses which sell Halal products but rent or sell cultural (especially Indo-Pakistani) movies. While these movies may seem harmless in comparison to those of the pornographic variety, what must be remembered is that when Muslim parents and elders indulge in watching such cultural films, their children can very easily find an excuse to watch their own “cultural” films (i.e. American-Hollywood).

This requires efforts on the part of Muslim business owners to wipe out the Haram and ensure the Halal in their businesses.

A telling anecdote about Haram business practices was provided by Imam Siraj Wahhaj of Brooklyn, New York during a Khutbah.

He recounted the case of a Muslim who owned a shop that sold newspapers and magazines-including pornographic magazines. The Imam tried to convince the Muslim brother to stop selling these publications. At one point he agreed, and removed them from his shelves.

But after a while, Imam Wahhaj noticed they were back on the shelves. When he asked the brother about their reappearance, he said he was losing money.

Shortly after that, the entire store was destroyed in a fire.

 

Photo Attribution: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Female_Owned_Businesses_(5032555892).jpg

Comments

mark from pittsburgh.... I am a cattleman who specializes in Halal Beef here in the US and even as a Christian take great pains to respect the culture by following strict Islamic guidelines on humane treatment, crtieria, rites, and packagiing for Halal meats and have learned that your stereotype of muslims is uneducated, distasteful, and unproductive for our nation. Lest you challenge my patriotism I am a United States Marine Combat Veteran and think your statement is appalling. It may surprise you that most 'muslims' (or terrorists as you call them) are peaceful, tolerant, and we pray to the same God yet take different paths to get there. I have witnessed personally what most of them give back to our community. I am ashamed as a Marine that any of us sacrifice for someone like you and it is not shared within the rank and file of the Marines. The only thing about your post that can be rated as 'American' is that it is protected by free speech, something I would be stunned that you ever sacrificed for...

Location

Lewisville, TX

MEAT - ALL TYPES VIZ. CHICKEN, BEEF, MUTTON IS ONE OF THE LARGEST CONSUMED COMMODITY AMONGST THE MUSLIMS. HOWEVER, THIS TRADE, PARTICULARLY IN INDIAN SUB-CONTINENT IS IN THE HANDS OF ILLITERATE PEOPLE - COMMUNITIES CALLED "KASAIS" (Butchers). THEY ARE JUST INTERESTED IN PROFITS. CONDITION OF ANIMALS, HYGIENE AND FAIR TRADE DOES NOT MATTER FOR THEM. THESE PEOPLE EVEN SELL DEAD CHICKENS AND CHEAPER BEEF MEAT WITH GOAT MUTTON. THEREFORE, IT IS NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT MOVEMENT TO EDUCATE THESE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN SELLING MEAT.ABDUL WAHEED,BHOPAL (INDIA)

Location

BHOPAL

This is really nice information in too summarized form.It help"s to make my project on Business in Islamic Ethics

Location

karachi

While I agreed with most of your tips about these businesses upping their game, I strongly disagreed with the first one about making profit a secondary goal. In my humble opinion it needs to be understood that the primary aim of a business (owned by a Muslim or not) is to make profits (it is not a charity) while being socially responsible. That is just what the nature of a private for-profit enterprise is. There are other avenues for them to contribute to the society, than giving up profits. As far as the product selection is concerned, yes these businesses should adhere to what they think is socially/religiously responsible, but should not forget that they are operating in a free market economy where consumers are not obliged to help them in any way. Business is just about who serves the customers better, its not about being sympathetic towards suppliers. I thought the example at the end about the fire in the shop was a little too naive.

Location

Reading, UK

Muslims MUST learn to love what Allah Taa'la has prescribed. Allah Taa'la has prescribed zabeeha meats. Meat slaughtered in the name of Allah. The real bottom line ii this article is to first please Allah, then seek halal business. Excellent points made in article. Al hamdu lillah!

Location

Memphis, TN

My god bless you and give you more and more kwnoledge and means to reach more muslim brothers and sistes around the world.

Location

Toronto Canada

This is a good piece of advice though just a little presentation. Teaches us to be together as a humble slaves of Allah and the followers of Muhammad. I just hope that this site can brings in more Muslim brothers who are ikhlas( willing ) enough to do business with muslims and to support our Muslim brothers. May Allah be with us.

Location

Singapore

well it is really a very informative site as well as a nice way of understandings

Location

pakistan,karachi.

I personally find the articles and the information of this website very encouraging and 'eyes opener' for people like me in this part of the region.I look forward to explore and learn more of the experiences that being shared in this website.

Location

Singapore

your site is very nice ...give the lesson to all the muslims...

Location

karachi

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