A career choice: An Islamic Perspective!

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A. Guidelines for students and parents on selecting a career path:

The transition from high school to college is arguably one of the most exciting times in the life of a student. A time of new beginnings, of intense emotions and perennial memories. It is also a time that demands big changes, careful planning, and important and often difficult decisions. Prime among these decisions is choosing a career path. Though many high school seniors believe they know what studies they want to pursue, surveys indicate that a college student will change major an average of three times. In this article we succinctly describe some guidelines that can be helpful in the process of making career decisions.

1. Know yourself:

Take the time to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, to identify the subjects and activities you enjoy and the ones you dislike, to determine your goals and expectations. Think about the kind of work you would like to perform, the working conditions and earning level you seek, and the implications on your overall lifestyle. Discuss these issues, as well as your plans and concerns, with your parents, teachers, counselors and friends. Then, using resources like those discussed below, find out which career paths would most likely draw on your strengths, be of your liking, and meet your expectations.

2. Talk to the experts:

Career counselors, available in many high schools and most colleges, are professionals trained to guide you in the process of making career decisions. They will administer specialized questionnaires and tests to help you identify and evaluate your interests, your strengths and weaknesses, and your goals.

A valuable source of information about a specific career are people working in that field. Try to meet and talk to some of them. Inquire about the nature of their work, the working conditions, the training required, the job market outlook, and what they like and dislike about their work. Then compare their answers with your expectations.

3. Know the job market:

The availability of good job opportunities has traditionally been, and will continue to be, one of the very important elements in career decision making. The more dynamic and global character of today's economy makes it somewhat harder to accurately anticipate long-term changes in the job market. Nevertheless, there are valuable studies on employment trends that can be an important resource in assessing future demand for specific careers. 

4. Consult various information sources:

In addition to educational institutions and government agencies, other sources of career information and reference material include public libraries, professional societies, companies and business firms. Much of this information, and more, is also available at your fingertips through the Internet. It is always a good practice to consult more than one source before reaching an opinion.

5. Let the student decide:

All too often well intentioned parents try to choose a career and a college for their son or daughter without much regard for the students' preferences and skills. This approach can put significant strain on family relationships and can be for the student a source of frustration for years to come. People that enjoy and use their strengths in what they do usually have more successful and fulfilling careers.

6. Keep an Islamic perspective:

Last, but certainly not least, keep always an Islamic perspective on things. More important than the successes and failures we encounter in life is the way in which we react to them. We should be thankful to Allah and humble in our achievements, and we should be thankful and patient in our defeats. Face every challenge and perform every task to the best of your abilities, and at the same time pray for Allah's help, guidance and forgiveness. Indeed, the amount of taqwa we accumulate in our hearts is a more trustworthy measure of our success in life. 

7. Goals and Objectives of your career OR business:

After qualifying in one's career, trade etc. one should; firstly be dedicated to utilising one's expertise in the service of Islam. One can easily apply one's knowledge attained in one's field of expertise to serve; empower and advise fellow Muslims and Islam in general. This will turn your profession, career as a service to the Ummah at large and a service to Islam. This dedication to help build the economic strength of Muslims through networking and promoting cooperation, and by encouraging and helping Muslims to prosper will be highly meritorious. Not only, can one apply one's expertise to the community; but one can work to help advancement of Muslims in corporate and professional careers. 

Some ways to achieve that would be: 

  • Promote and help cooperation among Muslims and Muslim businesses. 

  • Promote and help the establishment of new Muslim businesses. 

  • Help in finding and developing business opportunities for Muslims. 

  • Help advancement of Muslim employees in their careers. 

  • Provide services that effectively utilize the pooled resources of Muslims. 

  • Promote and help establishment of Islamic financial institutions. 

  • Promote and help in trade and other business cooperation with Islamic countries.

In the field of careers, research and education: 

Those who achieve heights in these areas should help others who would like to pursue likewise. 


  • To become a financially independent model community that is the best example for other communities.

  • Follow the Sunnah of our beloved Rasulullah (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) especially at our work places and be a model to all those around us.

  • To enjoin and invite towards good and forbid evil using one's profession.

  • To try to apply one's career to the upliftment of the social, political, economical or financial arenas within the shariah.

  • To help solve many of the moral, social, and economic problems that are plaguing the Ummah within the capacity of one's expertise.

The goal of the tradesman, professional, or businessman is to earn the PLEASURE of Allah Subana Wata'ala by utilising one's career; profession; trade or business to serve Islam and fellow Muslims in one's own capacity.

[Edited and compiled by Everymuslim with main source from soundvision]

B. General Ethical guidelines in Business:

Some general guidelines govern the Islamic code of ethics with relation to both one's daily life and business conduct. Muslims are required to behave Islamically in their business dealings because Allah Himself is witness to their transactions: 

In whatever business you may be, and whatever portion you may be reciting from the Qur'an and whatever deed you may be doing We are Witnesses thereof when you are deeply engrossed therein. [Al Qur'an 10:61]
Here are some key business principles that Muslims should follow.

1. Be Honest and Truthful:

Honesty and truthfulness are qualities which a Muslim business person should develop and practice in himself. Truth, for example, has a self-reinforcing effect. In a hadith reported in Sahih al Bukhari.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. A man continues to tell the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Falsehood leads to al fujuwr (i.e. wickedness, evil-doing), and al fujuwr (wickedness) leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man may continue to tell lies till he is written before Allah, a liar." [Hadith No. 8.116]

Honesty and truth is especially important for Muslim business persons because of the need to make a profit and the temptations to enhance the attributes of their product of service during a sales pitch. This is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

The merchants will be raised on the Day of Resurrection as evil-doers, except those who fear Allah, are honest and speak the truth. [Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Darimi]

2. Keep Your Word:

In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

"If you guarantee me six things on your part I shall guarantee you Paradise. Speak the truth when you talk, keep a promise when you make it, when you are trusted with something fulfill your trust, avoid sexual immorality, lower your gaze, and restrain your hands from injustice." [Ubadah Ibn al Samit, Ahmad, Bayhaqi]

3. Love Allah More Than Your Trade:

We must love Allah even if we have to sacrifice everything else. Allah warns in the Qur'an, which is translated to mean:

Say, "If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that you have gained; the commerce in which you fear a decline; or the dwellings in which you delight - are dearer to you than Allah, or His Messenger, or the striving in His cause -then wait until Allah brings about His Decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious." [Al Qur'an 9:24]

4. Deal with Muslims before Dealing with Non-Muslims:

 In a sound hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) hired a polytheist as a guide at the time of his migration from Makkah to Madinah, thus entrusting him with his life and money. The people of the tribe of Khuza'ah, who included both Muslims and non-Muslims, acted as scouts for the Prophet (peace be upon him). In a hadith reported by Sa'd, the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked Muslims to seek medical treatment from al Harith Ibn Kaldah, who was a disbeliever. [Abu Dawud, Hadith no. 3866] However, as As Sayyid Sabiq pointed out, if a Muslim physician is present, one should seek his or her treatment and not turn to anyone else. The same applies when one has to entrust a person with funds or deal with him in business. [Fiqh-us-Sunnah 4, 6.a, paragraph 4.]

5. Be Humble in how You Conduct Your Life:

Muslims must not lead a life of extravagance, and must exhibit good-will in any transactions among themselves.

O you who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves in vanities: but let there be amongst you traffic and trade by mutual good-will: nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allah has been to you Most Merciful. [Al Qur'an 4:29]

6. Use Mutual Consultation in Your Affairs:

In describing the characteristics of those who will receive higher and more permanent gifts from Him, Allah stresses the importance of consultation.

Those who hearken to their Lord; and establish regular prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation, who spend out of what we bestow on them for sustenance. [Al Qur'an 42:38]

7. Do Not Deal in Fraud:

Businessmen should avoid duplicity. They should treat others in the same righteous and fair manner that they themselves would like to be treated.

Woe to those that deal in fraud those who when they have to receive by measure from men exact full measure. But when they have to give by measure or weight to men give less than due. Do they not think that they will be called to account? [Al Qur'an 83:1-4]

8. Do Not Bribe:

Businessmen may sometimes be tempted to offer bribes or baqshish in order to persuade another party to give them special favours or to allow them to get away with dishonest practices. The practice of bribery is forbidden in Islam.

The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) cursed the one bribes and the one who takes bribes. [Abd Allah ibn Amr ibn Al As, Abu Dawud, hadith no 3573]

9. Deal Justly:

 The general principle that applies across all transactions including those pertaining to business is that of justice or 'adl. Allah emphasizes this point in the Qur'an:

Deal not unjustly, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly. [Al Qur'an 2:279]

[ Taken from 'Islamic Business Ethics: Rafik Issa Beekun' - Source: MuslimTradingPost..]

C. Guidelines for a Muslim Businessman

I will as a MUSLIM BUSINESSMAN, Insha-Allah, behave Islamically towards:

1. My Creator:

My intention for business will not be merely to enrich myself but to earn Halaal and spend in the right path
I will regard it as a compulsory duty to learn all the Islamic rules and laws regarding business from the Ulama.
I will then always conduct my business according to the Laws of Shari'ah.
I will spend my resources wisely, always maintaining appropriate reserves for difficult times.

2. My Customers:

My primary responsibility is to provide the best quality product to those who come to my business.
I will receive my customers politely and treat them with respect and dignity.
I will work to cut my overhead costs in order to charge reasonable prices.
I will process all transactions speedily and without errors.
I will not misrepresent my products or services to any customer at all
I will gladly accept to refund a dissatisfied customer

3. My Suppliers and Distributors:

I will work with my suppliers and distributors to maintain consistency in quality and service.
I will ensure that they make a fair profit.

4. My Employees:

All my employees will work in safe and clean conditions.
They will receive fair and adequate compensation.
They will have ample opportunities to develop their skills.
They will feel free to make suggestions, or complaints.
I will safeguard their rights and respect their dignity at all times.
I will clearly communicate to all employees what is expected of them.
I will compensate my employees equitably.
I will allow them reasonable time to fulfill their religious obligations, especially Salaah & Hajj.

5. My Competitors:

I will not engage in monopolistic behavior and preclude others from competing with me.
I will compete fairly without engaging in un-Islamic tactics.
I will not be envious or malicious towards my competitors in anyway.

6: My Community:

I will support the community I live in as well as the world-wide Ummah.
I will be a good citizen, by contributing to the welfare of the needy and the destitute in society.

Article taken (with Thanks) from JamiatKZN


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This page was last updated on June 14, 2003 .