The Prophet Mohammed states: ‘In the shade of the Throne, on the day there is no other shade, will be the man who leaves his home to trade and seek sustenance from Allah’s grace. He does this to prevent himself from asking others and to provide for his family.’ Within Islamic traditions, business is not seen merely as a worldly and material occupation but one which inspires faith in the Almighty and instils values such as bravery, trust, perseverance and honesty. It is ultimately an act of religiosity and worship which reaps benefits in both this life and the next.
Business mindedness and entrepreneurialism are defining traits of the Dawoodi Bohra community. The name Bohra itself, which is derived from Gujarati and denotes ‘trader’ or ‘businessman,’ is a testament to this spirit. Through centuries of adherence to the Islamic business code of conduct, diligence, and hard work, the Bohra community’s men and women have cultivated a reputation for honesty, trustworthiness, and morality among the societies in which they live and work.
One of the fundamental Islamic tenets that governs all commercial pursuits is the complete and absolute eschewal of interest and usury in all its forms. The Dawoodi Bohras diligently adhere to this tenet making certain that their business ventures are free from interest above all. In a modern-day business arena which is pervaded by interest-based practices, this approach is not without substantial challenges, prime among which is access to interest-free capital and loans. In order to provide community members with ready access to interest-free loans and capital, the 52nd leader of the community, His Holiness Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin institutionalised the Islamic practice of giving al-qard al-hasan (the good loan) into a worldwide network of organisations that give out interest-free loans to community members for a variety of purposes.
The community’s Department for Business and Economic Development endeavours to enable existing businesses to grow and flourish in today’s market through counselling and professional consultation. It also aims to facilitate budding entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and guidance to succeed in their ventures.