05 January 2016
When Steve Jobs was looking to hire a CEO
for Apple in the early eighties, he had a hard time persuading John Sculley – a
senior executive at Pepsi at the time – to come join him at Apple. After much
deliberation, an exasperated Jobs asked Sculley the following question: “Do you
want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with
me and change the world?” Jobs’ question is rather telling in more ways than
one. He clearly felt Apple was going to change the world in a big way. Indeed,
he was right, but by the same token, even more telling are his words in an
interview he gave around a similar time.
“When you grow up you tend to get told the
world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the
world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have
fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader
once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was
made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can
influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you
learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”
Jobs clearly felt that Entrepreneurs built
everything in the world around us, an objective assessment of this notion still
seems to hold true. The food we eat, the house we live in, the clothes we wear,
the way we communicate with each other, the way we get to work, what we do for
entertainment – all of these things were brought to us by an Entrepreneur in
one form or another. Thus, if we want to change the world we see around us,
then it has to be done at the level that it was built, meaning, we need to change
things from the level of Entrepreneurship.
billion dollar muslim khuram malikWhen I
first started to understand this, I spent a long time trying to persuade people
to start taking Entrepreneurship seriously as a primary career choice.
Unfortunately, I kept encountering the same objections over and over: that
business requires money, or that not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur
or even that a desire for being wealthy is un-Islamic. My favourite one was
that, as individuals, if we want to raise our ranks, we should focus on getting
So after a number of exhausting debates, I
decided it was best to put my thoughts down on paper. I wanted to create a
cogent set of arguments to highlight how important Entrepreneurship is to
social change. My initial plan was just to create a simple PDF that could be
freely shared with others or at most a short eBook discussing this subject. But
before I knew it, I had written 16 chapters and had enough content for a whole
book. I just kept writing and writing. The more I researched this subject, the
more I realised just how conducive Entrepreneurship to Islam really is.
Thus, I presented every argument I could
find as to why Entrepreneurship is the ideal career choice for the mu’min and
then de-constructed and countered as many objections as I could as to why
someone – as a Muslim – might not choose this as a suitable career path.
Unfortunately, Entrepreneurship often gets
seen as a mainstay of the already wealthy or those born with a silver spoon in
their mouths. Furthermore, the life of an Entrepreneur is often sold or painted
as someone that does nothing but enjoy the life of fast sport cars, luxury
yacht cruises and big mansions in popular cities of the world. Worryingly, in a
growing number of cases, this dream is often sold to the naïve and vulnerable
with the idea that this is achievable overnight.
Neither of these ideas are actually true.
More money to start with does not necessarily correlate with higher success
when it comes to entrepreneurship and the life of most entrepreneurs is far
from Ferrari’s and ocean liners. Entrepreneurship is tough, but when our
intention for choosing it is social change, instead of fame and money.
Billion Dollar Muslim is a calling to all
Muslims to adopt entrepreneurship wholesale as a primary career choice. It has
been written with the sole intention of kick-starting a global entrepreneurial
Muslim movement of spiritually inspired entrepreneurs.
Malik is the author of Billion Dollar Muslim: a calling to Muslims globally to
adopt entrepreneurship wholesale. By day he is a strategist that helps make the
lives of Founders and CEOs easier. He has developed strategies for over 150
companies world-wide and currently operates a consulting company in London
often touted as The Outsourced CEO.