3 years ago, I graduated from college, married my wife and started my business which I still run with my wife. Allah blessed us with a strong healthy baby boy this year.
Everything has been perfect. We live happily with our in-laws and other siblings. We fast, we don't neglect the five daily prayers, and we honor our parents to our best.
For whatever reason only best known to Allah, our business, which is the only financial stability to the family, has been seriously running down for a year. All efforts to normalize the situation has failed practically and has been on concurrent losses.
We have prayed so much over it, but Allah has still not helped us out of the situation. I am very disturbed over this.
Could it be a sign that Allah is not pleased with us? How do we approach Allah over this issue for his mercy?
In this counseling answer:
I encourage you to keep praying to Allah (swt) about your concerns and let it all out on the prayer mat.
Pray the istikhara prayer.
Social media gives you the benefit of interacting with your customers and if they like your service, they can share your page with their friends.
Design your own website.
Have a blog.
Seek out a Muslim business coach.
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatuulahi wa barakatu Brother,
Thank you for writing into us with your question.
Is this a sign?
Please understand, some of the most successful people and businesses experienced financial loss and rejection while on their career path.
Your inquiry shows your God-consciousness, your taqwa. While many would focus on the income, you are worried if Allah (swt) is pleased with you. Brother, this is a blessing in itself and please know Allah (swt) loves us beyond human comprehension.
I encourage you to keep praying to Allah (swt) about your concerns and let it all out on the prayer mat. This includes praying istikhara over business decisions. Even for small business decisions, include praying istikhara as part of your business plan.
How to Pray Istikhara
Isikhara prayer is simple: 2 rakahs during anytime of the day followed by a specific duaa. During this duaa, think about the business decision you are seeking advice for. It could be anything from “should I work with a new distributor” or something such as “should I change our business logo”.
For your convenience, here is the special duaa for istikhara prayer.
“Allaahumma inni astakheeruka bi ‘ilmika wa astaqdiruka bi qudratika wa as’aluka min fadlika, fa innaka taqdiru wa laa aqdir, wa ta’lamu wa laa a’lam, wa anta ‘allaam al-ghuyoob. Allaahumma fa in kunta ta’lamu haadha’l-amra (then the matter should be mentioned by name) khayran li fi ‘aajil amri wa aajilihi (or: fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri) faqdurhu li wa yassirhu li thumma baarik li fihi. Allaahumma wa in kunta ta’lamu annahu sharrun li fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri (or: fi ‘aajili amri wa aajilihi) fasrifni ‘anhu [wasrafhu ‘anni] waqdur li al-khayr haythu kaana thumma radini bihi.
“O Allah, I seek Your guidance [in making a choice] by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power, I have none. And You know, and I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things.
O Allah, if in Your knowledge, this matter (then it should be mentioned by name) is good for me both in this world and in the Hereafter (or: in my religion, my livelihood, and my affairs), then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me.
Check out this counseling video:
And if in Your knowledge it is bad for me and for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs (or: for me both in this world and the next), then turn me away from it, [and turn it away from me], and ordain for me the good wherever it may be and make me pleased with it.”
The Prophet added that then the person should mention his need.” [Al Bukhari]
When someone is employed by a company, they have a set wage and expected hours. This provides stability but also limits their growth. As a business owner, you don’t have a guaranteed income or set hours. This can make things more difficult and riskier, but also means greater opportunity to grow and really make the business flourish.
Here are some practical tips for business success.
We live in a very modern age, if you have not already done so I suggest having an online presence for your business. You can start with a free business page on Facebook and work up to a professional website. Social media gives you the benefit of interacting with your customers and if they like your service, they can share your page with their friends.
You don’t need to hire an expensive web designer to facilitate creating your own website. Many designers online would do it for an affordable rate, including many Muslim designers. You can find them on sites like Upwork.
You could also design your own website. Many people design their own site without any prior training, myself included.
You can also consider having a blog on your website to generate more traffic. This is a part of marketing. A blogger is more than a writer, they should be considered part of your marketing budget. A blog serves to brand you as an expert in your field and provides helpful tips to your customers regarding your product or service.
Identify Financial Trends
Ensure you are logging every transaction, every expense and closely examining where you are losing the most money and where you are gaining the most. Sometimes business owners discover an area of the business they expected to be small actually has the most success and income.
Closely look at the times you were the most profitable and identify trends that played into your success. Then look at the times you were losing the most money and identify those trends which hurt you. Inshallah if you are highly organized and follow the money trails you will find areas with potential for growth and areas that might need to be left behind.
Many entrepreneurs seek out business coaches. People that understand how to grow a business, successful business plans and how to keep the entrepreneur accountable. It is an investment in the business if you go this route.
If you consider hiring a business coach, you can hire someone locally or look online for someone with expertise in your field. Websites like LinkedIn are great places to find individuals like this.
Additionally, I would suggest seeking out a Muslim business coach if you go this route. It is best to keep your business halal, a non-Muslim may try to suggest things that are haram such as investing with corporations that are linked to alcohol or charging your clients expensive usury. This is because they don’t understand what being a sharia compliant business means. Selecting a Muslim business coach ensures you avoid this type of coaching.
Brother, you have a growing family and a business that is still open. This is a blessing, alhamdulillah. Please take the time to be grateful for these and tell Allah (swt) how much you appreciate them.
“…If you are grateful, I will surely increase you” [Quran 14:7]
Moving forward pray istikhara overall business decisions, no matter how big or small they are. Take the time to modernize your business and utilize technology as an asset. Ensure you are organized and work to identify positive and negative trends in your business income. Lastly, consider hiring a business coach to help you ramp up your business.
May Allah (swt) grant you continued success,
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.