Several accounts have indicated that Islam is the world’s second largest religion. It is a religion being practised almost everywhere in the universe. Available statistics shows that the religion has over one billion adherents, representing 23% of the global population. This percent is expected to reach 26.4% or 2.3 billion of the world’s population by 2030. Another account indicates that this religion would grow twice as fast as the rest of the world’s population by 2050. This has largely been credited to youthfulness of its population and high fertility rates. The number of Muslims who live in South Asia and Asia Pacific is expected to reach 1.3 billion by the year 2030. The four countries boasting the largest Muslim population are Indonesia (200 million), Pakistan (174 million), India (161 million) and Bangladesh (145 million). Nigeria is not an exemption. She has a significant number of Muslims spread across the south-west and north regions.
Numerous accounts from the books of the religion establish that Islam represents peace and total submission to God’s will. This is an indication that every follower is expected to abide by the rules and norms guiding practising or participating in activities towards becoming a submissive follower. Islam forbids begging when there are no cogent reasons for it. Islam teaches that man and women should work and earn as laid down by the Holy Book (Qur’aan) and Hadith (the sayings and teachings of Prophet Muhammad SAW). In Qur’aan 62 verse 10, Allah says, “And when the prayer is ended, then disperse in the land and seek of Allah’s favour, and remember Allah much, that you may succeed.” Also, He asserts in Suuratul Mulk (Qur’aan 67:15), “It is He who has made the earth subservient to you, so walk in the paths of it and eat of His provision, and to Him will be the resurrection.” In fact, when Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was asked what type of earning was best, he replied: “A man’s work with his hands and every (lawful) business transaction” (Al-Tirmidhi).
From the Quranic verses and the Prophet’s saying above, it is obvious that Muslims are enjoined to venture into entrepreneurship and generate halaal (lawful) income that would meet their financial obligations and contribute to the falaah (well-being) of the Muslim ummah (nation) in this life and hereafter. It is not surprising if we conclude that the religion shapes entrepreneurship at micro, meso and macro levels of Muslim’s life and the society he or she lives in. At every stage of engaging in entrepreneurial activity, Islam encourages actors to be just towards one another and society at large. While it encourages opportunity pursuit and risk-taking, it forbids initiating and executing innovations (associated with business creation and management) that go against Islamic principles. For instance, Islam frowns at selling substandard products and services, and requesting outrageous prices from buyers or clients.
Away from the fundamentals of doing entrepreneurship, one can argue that the involvement in creating halal business and offering halal products or services cannot be in vain, considering the significant number of Muslim consumers worldwide as discussed earlier. Globally, the Muslim market was described as “third one-billion” by Miles Young, the CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide in his keynote address at the 2010’s Oxford Forum because of the availability of over one billion Muslim consumers and the rise of Muslim middle class across the Muslim geographies and beyond. According to a report by Dinar Standard, Muslim consumers spent approximately $1.8 trillion on food and lifestyle in 2014 alone and the numbers are expected to increase to approximately $2.6 trillion by the year 2020. The current global assets of Islamic banks exceed $1.3 million and are expected to be more than triple by 2020.
From all indications, as presented and discussed previously, there is no excuse for Muslims not to involve in entrepreneurship. But, as exemplified by the group of Muslims who participated in a study that facilitates the writing of this book, it is obvious that there are challenges impeding Muslims from taking the entrepreneurial journey as encouraged by the Holy Book and Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). I also learnt that they have some factors helping them to believe in taking the journey. Insights from the study reveal that Muslims, like adherents of other religions in Nigeria, are finding it difficult to discover sustainable opportunities and exploring them to their advantage. Based on the insights, I make a case for Enterprising Muslims (EM). By EM, I expect individual Muslim and Islamic organisations to draw from the principles regarding attitude towards business, experiences and risks taking, and Islamic organisations or movements’ roles in entrepreneurial growth in their localities and Nigeria in particular.
Pew Research Forum (2015)
Green, E., (2015) Islam Could Become the World’s Largest Religion After 2070 Available on https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/04/islam-could-become-the-worlds-largest-religion-after-2070/389210/
 Naij (2017) Muslims Population in Nigeria
Sheikh, A., (2017) The Growth of The Muslim Economy and Its Worth Available on https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-growth-of-the-muslim-economy_b_9571458 April 2, 2017
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