Enterprising Muslims: Leading Muslims from Spiritual Knowledge to Sustainable Livelihood – A Book Review

Enterprising Muslims: Leading Muslims from Spiritual Knowledge to Sustainable Livelihood – A Book Review

Book: The Enterprising Muslims

Author: Mutiu Iyanda,LASISI

Publisher: Tekedia.com

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A book is a treasure trove that contains nuggets. It is an avenue for a writer to propagate his philosophy or narrate an account of his experience. This captures Mutiu Iyanda Lasisi’s effort to propose a new approach to doing business the Islamic way. Iyanda marries Islamic principles with established scientific business management approach. As a research, data and business management consultant who has conducted trainings for business owners and entrepreneurs, his background reflects in the writing of the book. Having handled a number of business proposals for both local and international companies, he seems to know the terrain of business management and deploys all his management know-how in the book titled simply as Enterprising Muslims.

The book is a simple do-it-yourself piece that focuses on business development with a lens of Islamic principles and practice. The author combines so many roles at the same time. At a point in the book, he becomes an Islamic scholar providing copious textual references from both the Quran and the Hadith. At another point, he assumes the responsibility of a teacher and a knowledge management expert taking the readers through the process of establishing a data-driven, value capturing businesses built on a sustainable model solely on Islamic principles of business management. All in two modules- aided by an introduction and a strategic position- the author lays the facts bare.

The book, divided into four parts, opens with a look at Islam, Muslims and the rest of the world. The author rolls out data that could assist readers to have a clear understanding of the numbers, peculiarities and needs of a segment of the world they seek to serve in business. Certain demographic information and economic data contained in the book are capable of moving a willing person to invest in a vehicle that would cater for the needs of the Muslims both on the global stage and in Nigeria. For instance, the author quotes a statistics from Dinar Standard which puts spending by Muslim consumers on food and lifestyle at approximately $1.8 trillion in 2014. This is said to have an expectation to increase $2.6 trillion by 2020. The book establishes the need for Halal businesses run by Muslims both through data and textual references from the two guiding books of Islam.  With this, the writer has cleared the issues on why Muslims should be involved in doing businesses. However, he identifies the challenges militating against Muslim enterprises. Thus, he proceeds to the second module to address some of the identified challenges.

The second module takes the baton from the introduction by delving into the issues that affect and facilitate  Muslim entrepreneurship. Again, the chapter is rich in data. The author had sampled opinions from a class on same topic he had earlier organized before the book was published. Responses that are thematically organized yielded the existing problems and likely solutions to them. The chapter explores problems militating against Muslim entrepreneurs and some other factors that could contribute or facilitate entrepreneurship among Muslims. Identified factors in the section touches personal traits, organizational support, need to diversify or restrategize and others. However, it does not stop there. The section also highlights the risks that a Muslim entrepreneur faces in the course of establishing a business. They range from financial to knowledge, relationship to compliance and operational risks. For any reader curious to understand more, reading from the knowledge distilled in the chapter would go a long way to assist their quest for a sustainable business.

The third module delves into the meat of the book. The first section examines key business management concepts and ideas. It is here the author takes the reader into a mini-MBA class where concept and idea generation, idea refinement, value creation, value capturing and it tactics are discussed. He caps it up with a brainstorming unit for readers where they are challenged to describe how they would create and capture value for 50 business ideas! The second segment of the chapter brings in business model and its validation as well as the business model development plan. The do-it-yourself approach clearly reflects here again as readers are taken through a step-by-step process of creating a business model, validating it and developing a sustainable plan from the model. The key components of these critical framework documents are explained. The author goes further to show the expectations of funders from a business plan. The emphasis is on value creation.

The closing paragraph is just like an afterword where the author reiterates his belief that the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria could reduce the grinding rate of poverty among Muslim geographies in the country drawing from the principles of the religion. He again calls for the need to encourage members of Islamic organizations by the leadership of these organizations to go into establishing businesses based on Islamic principles.That this, however, should be done scientifically is his thesis.

Having described the content of the book so glowingly, does it mean the book has no limitation or blemishes? From my reading of the book, it has a limitation. This is inherent in its nature. It is a short book. Most of the concept and ideas discussed could be said to be introductory. The author needs to expand these concepts and demonstrate them with real life case scenarios. This would go a long way to fulfil the yearnings of both existing and  aspiring  entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, the piece is a must-read for anyone who intends to start a business. It is this that would fulfil the yearning of the author. He preaches a knowledge-driven, scientifically designed business ventures that would not only create and capture value but also be sustainable.

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