By: Yahiya Emerick
Giving the Message of Islam to a person’s co-workers is essential.
Many are the Muslims who fail to recognize the benefits involved in sharing their beliefs in the work place. Some fear, and not without justification, that discussing religion in the work place would jeopardize their jobs or advancement. Unless one owns his or her own business, then da`wah may have to remain discreet. But it must not be abandoned.
Remember da`wah assumes many forms, not solely preaching.
Our Prophet (peace be upon him) once remarked that “Every act of kindness is a Sadaqah (blessed charity).” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)
Other useful principles derived from Islam include: 1) Draw up written contracts for all transactions. 2) Give debtors time to pay and do not be overbearing. 3) Give a portion of earnings in charity to increase one’s good deeds and be faithful in the payment of Zakah. 4) Do not attempt to hide profits from one’s partners. 5) Treat non-Muslim workers kindly and do not make them work more than they are able. 6) Refer to one’s underlings with respect and honor all contracts whether enacted with Muslims or non-Muslims. A careful study of the hadith literature will reveal many more useful guides for ethical business behavior.
Da`wah for Muslim Business Owners
If you have the freedom of self-employment, da’wah becomes less difficult. Whether your employees are Muslim or not, make it a point to let everyone have a break at prayer time. Display Muslim magazines and literature in a magazine rack somewhere and place work-ethic oriented hadith on the walls. Insist that smoking and drinking be prohibited from the premises and be generous towards all your employees. This is all part of da`wah.
Da`wah for Muslim Co-Workers
If you work for others, then da`wah for you would consist of the following: exemplifying Islamic manners (akhlaq), being an efficient worker, leaving an Islamically oriented conversation piece on your desk or work station to invite questions from the curious, being cordial and friendly to others, assisting them above and beyond the call of duty, and being prepared to discuss your beliefs and traditions at any time.
Assuredly you will be tried in your property and in your persons, and you will hear much wrong from those who were given the Scripture before you, and from the idolaters. But if you persevere and ward off (evil), then that is of the steadfast heart of things. (Aal `Imran 3:186)
Lo! Allah commands you that you restore deposits to their owners, and, if you judge between mankind, that you judge justly. Lo! comely is this which Allah admonishes you. Lo! Allah is ever Hearer, Seer. (An-Nisaa’ 4:58)
Men whom neither merchandise nor sale beguiles from remembrance of Allah and constancy in prayer and paying to the poor their due; who fear a day when hearts and eyeballs will be overturned. (An-Nur 24:37)
The article is an excerpt from the author’s How to Tell Others About Islam, 1994.
Yahiya Emerick is a former President of the Islamic Foundation of North America, vice-principal at an Islamic school, and a Muslim author. A prolific author, he has written several articles and works of fiction that have been published in North America and abroad.