Generosity Leads to Blessings and Success

April 15th, 2010 @   -  No Comments

Generosity (karam in Arabic) is a term which encompasses all acts of goodness, including giving in charity, supporting good causes, helping the needy, and contributing to the betterment of humanity and other creations of Allah in this universe. However, the highest level of generosity is TaqwaVerily the best of you (akramakoum) in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.” (Quran in 49:13) (righteousness), because Allah says: “

Generosity is linked to two names of Allah: Al-Karim (The Bountiful, The Generous) and Dhul Al-Jalal wa al-Ikram (The Lord of Majesty and Generosity). In addition to being The Lord of Generosity, Allah has commanded the believers to be generous to each other and to other creatures. Generosity is therefore an outer sign of belief in the Creator.

Generosity does not only apply to individuals. It also applies to groups and organizations, and Allah will sometimes deal with people as a group in this matter.

In Chapter 68 of the Holy Quran (Al-Qalam), Allah tells us the story of the People of the Garden and how he destroyed their gardens when they refused to be generous towards the needy. He says: “Verily We have tried them as We tried the People of the Garden, when they resolved to gather the fruits of the (garden) in the morning. But made no reservation, (“If it be God’s Will”). Then there came on the (garden) a visitation from thy Lord, (which swept away) all around, while they were asleep. So the (garden) became, by the morning, like a dark and desolate spot, (whose fruit had been gathered).  As the morning broke, they called out, one to another, “Go ye to your tilth (betimes) in the morning, if ye would gather the fruits.” So they departed, conversing in secret low tones, (saying), “Let not a single poor person break in upon you into the (garden) this day.” And they opened the morning, strong in an (unjust) resolve.But when they saw the (garden), they said: “We have surely lost our way:Indeed we are shut out (of the fruits of our labour)!” Said one of them, more just (than the rest): “Did I not say to you, ‘Why not glorify (God)?’” They said: “Glory to our Lord! Verily we have been doing wrong!” Then they turned, one against another, in reproach. They said: “Alas for us! We have indeed transgressed!” (Quran 68:17-31)

In this story, we learn that Allah punished a whole community because they did not want to share what they had with other needy people.

How does an organization live with generosity?

Organizations must first of all be generous with Allah by being righteous, obeying His commands and those of His messenger PBUH, behaving with the highest of ethics and serving His creation in the best way they can.

The way an organization can serve Allah is by serving its various stakeholders. The first amongst these are the employees or the people who work for the organization. The prophet PBUH has commanded: “Pay your employee his dues before his sweat dries up.” In this Hadith, the Prophet PBUH wants us to pay employees their dues as soon as they have performed their duty without any delay and without them having to ask for their rights.

The second category of stakeholders is the customers, or those we serve. The prophet PBUH is reported to have said: “Whoever buys and sells must keep five qualities, otherwise he should not buy and sell. He must avoid (1) usury,(2) swearing with oath, (3) concealment of defect, (4) praise, if selling, and (5) slander, when buying.” This means we have to safeguard the interest of our customers all the time, and serve them in the best way we can.

The third category of stakeholders is the other firms we contract for products and services. Some organizations squeeze their vendors to get the best deals for themselves without caring much about what happens to them. Some do it to the extent where the vendor may sell at a loss just to secure the deal. This in turn may force the vender to cheat in delivering his products and services to be able to get some profit. In this situation, the buyer also shares in the sin because he played a role in it.

The fourth category of stakeholders is the shareholders, or investors in the organization. The wealth of the shareholders is a trust, and as such it must be safeguarded. It must also be employed in such a way as to give the best returns to the shareholders. Allah says: “[Hence,] O you who have attained to faith, do not be false to God and the Apostle, and do not knowingly be false to the trust that has been reposed in you.” (Quran 8:27)

The fifth category of stakeholders is the community in which the organization operates, or its society in general. Organizations which adhere to the teachings of Islam must be good corporate citizens. They have a duty to participate in the well-being of the society in which they operate. The least they should do is to refrain from harming the society and its environment. More positive steps include creating jobs, supporting the local educational and healthcare institutions, and creating wealth in the society.

When an organization behaves in this way with its stakeholders, Allah will put a lot of Baraka (blessings) in its business, and protects it from all evil, as He is the best of sustainers and protectors.

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