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Thursday, October 14, 2010

'Abdurrahman Bin 'Auf

Out of the many companions of the Prophet Muhammad SAW, perhaps the one most well-known for his business acumen was 'Abdurrahman Bin 'Auf. He was known to be wealthy, even when he had to start from scratch after the hijrah to Madinah al-Munawwarah from Makkah al-Mukarramah.

It was recorded in history that upon his arrival in Madinah, 'Abdurrahman Bin 'Auf was assisted by an Ansar who provided him a loan for him to start his business. In just a short period of time, he became very successful and he paid up his debt almost immediately. He was not one who liked to have debts.

He was known to sell, among other things, camels. Interestingly he sold camels at their cost price. And yet he was able to make profit from trading camels. When people asked him his secret, he told them that he did not gain anything from selling camels. His profit, in actual effect, came from selling camels' leashes. Everyone who bought camels would require leashes, lest the camels escaped.

Such ingenuity is indeed something that we can learn if we want to take up business. 'Abdurrahman Bin 'Auf to my mind is an examplary businessman. Today's Muslims can learn a lot from him. He was honest, hardworking and had high integrity. He did not resort to cheating or bribing people. He was also very prudent.

If today's Muslim businessmen can be half the man 'Abdurrahman Bin 'Auf was, I would imagine the impact would be tremendous. But I guess that is not how things are. It is unfortunate that those who go into business have no good sense when it comes to running their businesses. Some set their eyes on big projects without an inkling as to how to deliver. Some get big projects, and the first thing that they do is to buy luxury cars. Some become so spendthrift that they ignore basic things in business like planning and budgeting.

Of course, I can just write on this. I am no businessman. I am just an observer who jots down what I see, and nothing more than that. I can only pray that those who do go into businesses have a good sense to be like 'Abdurrahman Bin 'Auf.

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