Islamic business and entrepreneurship is an area of growing interest as more and more people look to align their financial and spiritual goals.
Whether you're a Muslim entrepreneur looking for guidance or simply someone curious about the intersection of Islam and business, there are plenty of great books out there to help you learn more.
In this article, we'll take a look at five books we really like on Islamic business and entrepreneurship, highlighting some key takeaways from each one.
"Business Ethics in Islam" by Hussain Qadri
The first book, "Business Ethics in Islam" by Hussain Qadri is a go-to resource. That highlights the basic principles of Islamic Business ethics and their implication in today’s global business environment. It emphasises the most important features of Islamic banking and finance in relation to the core principles of Shariah law and provides a comprehensive overview of Islamic principles and how they apply to modern business practices.
One of the key strengths of the book is its focus on the concept of justice in Islam. As Qadri writes, "Justice is the foundation of all Islamic teachings, and it is the backbone of Islamic economics." This emphasis on justice is reflected throughout the book, as Qadri explains how Islamic principles such as fairness, transparency, and accountability can be applied to various aspects of business, from finance to marketing to management.
Another important aspect of the book is its emphasis on the importance of ethical behaviour in business. Qadri writes, "In Islam, ethics and morality are not separate from economics and business. They are integral parts of it." This means that for Muslims, being ethical in business is not just a nice-to-have, but a religious obligation. Qadri provides specific examples of how this can be achieved, such as avoiding fraud and deceit, treating employees fairly, and being mindful of one's impact on the environment.
In terms of Islamic finance, the book discusses the ways in which traditional Islamic principles can be applied to modern financial practices. Qadri writes, "Islamic finance is not only about the products and services offered, but it is also about the way they are offered and the underlying ethical principles." This is an important point, as it highlights the fact that Islamic finance is not just about avoiding interest, but about fostering a more ethical and just financial system.
Overall, "Business Ethics in Islam" by Hussain Qadri is an essential resource for Muslims looking to understand how their faith can inform their business practices. The book provides a detailed and nuanced exploration of the convergence of Islam and business, with a particular emphasis on the importance of justice and ethical behaviour. By providing specific examples and practical guidance, Qadri makes it clear that it is possible for Muslims to be successful in the business world while remaining true to their faith.
"The Muslim Entrepreneur: 10 Success Principles from the Greatest Muslim Entrepreneurs" by Oumar Soule
The second book, “The Muslim Entrepreneur: 10 Success Principles from the Greatest Muslim Entrepreneurs” by Oumar Soule is a bottom-up approach to learning about Islamic business ethics and entrepreneurship. The book analyses the lives of successful Muslim entrepreneurs, starting with the Prophet Muhammad pbuh, and deriving key business principles common in all of their journies.
One of the key strengths of the book is its focus on practical, actionable advice. Soule draws on the experiences of successful Muslim entrepreneurs to provide readers with a roadmap for success in the business world. For example, the book's first principle, "Be Purpose-Driven," stresses the importance of having a clear sense of purpose and direction in one's business: "Your purpose should be the guiding light that keeps you on track and motivated, even during the most challenging of times," writes Soule.
Another important aspect of the book is its emphasis on the ethical foundations of Islamic business practices. Soule draws on Islamic teachings to provide guidance on issues such as honesty, integrity, and social responsibility. For example, he writes, "Islam encourages Muslims to be fair and just in all their dealings, which includes business transactions," and "Muslims are expected to conduct their business in an ethical and responsible manner, in accordance with the principles of fairness, honesty and integrity."
The book also explores the role of Islamic finance in the business world, providing valuable insights for entrepreneurs looking to incorporate these principles into their operations. Soule explains, "Islamic finance is based on the principles of risk sharing, fairness, and transparency, which align perfectly with the values of Islamic business."
One more strength of the book is its global approach. It covers the stories and examples of Muslim entrepreneurs from various countries and business sectors, providing a diverse range of perspectives. This allows readers to gain a better understanding of how Islamic business principles can be applied in a variety of contexts and industries.
Overall, The Muslim Entrepreneur: 10 Success Principles from the Greatest Muslim Entrepreneurs by Oumar Soule is an invaluable resource for Muslims looking to learn about business ethics. It offers practical, actionable advice, grounded in Islamic teachings and drawing from the experiences of successful Muslim entrepreneurs from around the world. It is a must-read for anyone looking to navigate the intersection of faith and business.
"Muhammad: 11 Leadership Qualities that Changed the World" by Nabeel Al-Azami
The third book, "Muhammad: 11 Leadership Qualities that Changed the World" by Nabeel Al-Azami is a must-read.
The book presents a well researched leadership framework based on the life of the Prophet pbuh combined with applied contemporary case studies of these 11 qualities. This allows readers to practically understand the application of these qualities. Drawing upon research from both eastern and western sources, and having dived deep into an extensive range of works on Seerah (the prophet’s biography), the author outlines an original framework of eleven prophetic leadership qualities are presented with an entire chapter devoted to each.
Well known and lesser known events from the Sirah are explored and analysed like never before, and viewed with a specialist leadership lens, extracting insights on effective people management, authentic leadership and succeeding against the odds.
Each chapter on these leadership qualities, such as the Prophet Muhammad’s strategic vision, ability to inspire others, and ability to build strong relationships, offers not only what each quality means and where it can be found in the life of the Prophet pbuh, but how one can develop those qualities within themselves as well.
Overall, "Muhammad: 11 Leadership Qualities that Changed the World" is an invaluable resource for Muslims looking to learn about business ethics. It provides a detailed examination of the leadership qualities of the Prophet Muhammad and offers practical advice on how to apply these qualities in the business world. As the author states, "The Prophet Muhammad's leadership provides a timeless example of how to lead with integrity, fairness, and compassion." It's a great book for any muslim business person looking to improve their leadership skills and gain insight on how to build a successful business.
"Al-Adab al-Mufrad" by Imam al-Bukhari
A fourth book to recommend is "Al-Adab al-Mufrad" written by Imam al-Bukhari, who is one of the most respected and well-known scholars in Islamic history. His works are considered to be among the most reliable and authoritative sources of Islamic teachings, making "Al-Adab al-Mufrad" a credible and trustworthy guide for those seeking to learn about manners and etiquette in Islam.
Despite not directly relating to the topic, it is a great book for anyone interested in learning about Islamic business ethics. The English translation of a classical work by Adil Salahi is excellently rendered, providing a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the Islamic perspective on general manners and etiquettes for all situations of life, which can easily be applied to business practice.
One of the key strengths of this book is its focus on the practical application of hadith relating to manners and etiquette. Imam Bukhari draws on a wide range of Hadith to explore the principles and values that guide Muslim manners and etiquette. This is a perfect outline highlighting the Prophet’s pbuh excellent conduct in life through real-life narrations from the companions of how he interacted in day-to-day situations.
The book is written in a clear and accessible style that is easy to understand, even for those with little prior knowledge of Islamic teachings. This makes it an ideal resource for both the everyday Ahmad or Fatima and experienced business professionals to benefit from and learn about the Islamic perspective on manners and conduct in everyday life. The learnings can then go and be applied to a business context very easily as well.
A huge bonus of this book is the fact that it’s been translated into so many languages, and numerous times in English. This makes it accessible to readers around the world, regardless of their native language, which is important because it means that anyone interested in learning about Islamic manners and etiquette can access the book.
"Conscious Capitalism" by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia
"Conscious Capitalism" by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia isn’t a Muslim-specific book, but with its message, it might as well be for a multitude of reasons.
The book presents a holistic view of capitalism that is aligned with Islamic values. It argues that capitalism can be a powerful force for good when it is guided by a set of conscious principles, such as fairness, compassion, and generosity. All of these are central to Islamic teachings and are often emphasised in the Qur'an and Hadith.
Furthermore, the book presents the idea that businesses can be a force for good in the world, and that they can create value for all stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, and the community. This idea aligns with Islamic teachings, which state that wealth should be used for the benefit of society.
Overall, "Conscious Capitalism" provides valuable insights for Muslims looking to learn about business ethics. It presents a holistic view of capitalism that is aligned with Islamic values and offers practical examples of how businesses have been a force for good in the world and still remained very profitable. It highlights the importance of corporate social responsibility, leadership, shared purpose, and creating value for all stakeholders, which are all central concepts in Islamic business ethics. It is a must-read for any Muslim interested in understanding how to align business practices with their religious beliefs.
In conclusion, these five books provide valuable insights into the intersection of Islam and business.
- "Business Ethics in Islam" by Hussain Qadri provides an in-depth understanding of the Islamic perspective on business ethics;
- "The Muslim Entrepreneur" by Oumar Soule offers practical advice and guidance for starting and growing a business in the Muslim world;
- "Muhammad: 11 Leadership Qualities that Changed the World" by Nabeel Al-Azami explores the leadership qualities of the Prophet Muhammad and how they can be applied in the modern business world;
- “Al-Adab al-Mufrad” gives you real-life examples of the Prophet Muhammad’s manners and etiquettes via the hadith literature; and lastly,
- “Conscious Capitalism” outlines key ethical practices many businesses have implemented to give back to society whilst remaining profitable.
Together, these books offer a comprehensive understanding of the Islamic perspective on business ethics, entrepreneurship, and leadership; and are sufficient for both curious minds on the topic as well as entrepreneurs. Our hope is that by reading these books, the Muslim ummah develops more God-concious entrepreneurs who can give back to the community and be a part of solving many of the issues we’re collectively facing today.