Often, we think of the term ‘halal’ as a set of Islamic rules about meat, when in fact the global halal industry incorporates everything from medicine and cosmetics to clothing. Indeed, the industry is growing fast.
In Europe, the halal market is growing at an estimated annual rate of 10-20%, depending on the products (Morlin-Yron, 2016). There is a significant demand driven by a general desire for Sharia compliance among a growing population of Muslims. According to a report by Pew Research Centre, the number of Muslims worldwide is expected to have increased from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.8 billion by 2050 (Morlin-Yron, 2016). The aim of this article is to advise newly qualified entrepreneurs who want to set up businesses under Islamic law. Below are some tips to take into consideration when setting a halal business.
- Make profit the secondary aim:
The first aim of a Muslim entrepreneur must not be about making profit. The goal needs to be implemented under the Islamic rules of honesty, trustworthiness, and behaving in an acceptable manner towards customers and clients.
- Truthful and honest:
The teachings of the prophet Mohammed state that being truthful and honest is essential in any business. This means that Muslim businesses need to build a trust with customers and stakeholders, which cannot be achieved through lies and deceit.
- Be open to scrutiny and criticism:
While this may be a bitter pill to swallow, being ready to have your product or service scrutinised shows willingness to work with the consumer(s), and this helps to build respect and trust. Some businesses may feel hesitant to accept, or downright plain angry with the consumer for questioning the acceptability of a given product or service; this should not be the case.
- Aim higher:
Don’t just aim for minimal success, aim to achieve higher. Improve the inventory of your business, as this will help to increase your profit margins, whilst providing other opportunities. This will also help to build strong, professional networks with other businesses.
- Work with others in the market:
At times this can be really difficult, especially when you are competing with other businesses that provide similar products and services. Instead of worrying about this, try to look at it from a positive perspective. For example, having a committee which offers discussion; sharing of ideas and experiences will help your business to grow and expand in the future.
- Avoid selling haram:
While there are more ‘Muslim’ businesses emerging, not everything they sell is going to be halal. At times it is difficult to find Muslim owned businesses that are selling only halal items, some may sell items such as pork, alcohol, or pornographic magazines. It is crucial for Muslim business owners to make all efforts to wipe out the haram items and sell only those that meet Islamic laws.
To conclude these are some of the vital points to consider when setting up a business under Islamic laws, which can be challenging at times but can also be very rewarding.
By Dr Memoona Tariq
Memoona Tariq (PhD), her research lies in the area of gender, ethnicity, Intersectionality and Islamic businesses.