Monthly Archives: January, 2013

Sulaiman Al-Rajhi’s life a rags to riches story

Saudi Arabia’s rags-to-riches billionaire Sulaiman Al-Rajhi is also a world-renowned philanthropist. He is the founder of Al-Rajhi Bank, the largest Islamic bank in the world, and one of the largest companies in Saudi Arabia. As of 2011, his wealth was estimated by Forbes to be $7.7 billion, making him the 120th richest person in the world. His flagship SAAR Foundation is a leading charity organization in the Kingdom. The Al-Rajhi family is considered as one of the Kingdom’s wealthiest non-royals, and among the world’s leading philanthropists.

Al-Rajhi is a billionaire who chose last year to become a poor man at his own will without having any cash or real estates or stocks that he owned earlier. He became penniless after transferring all his assets among his children and set aside the rest for endowments. In recognition of his outstanding work to serve Islam, including his role in establishing the world’s largest Islamic bank and his regular contribution toward humanitarian efforts to fight poverty, Al-Rajhi was chosen for this year’s prestigious King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam.

In an interview with Muhammad Al-Harbi of Al-Eqtisadiah business daily, Al-Rajhi speaks about how he was able to succeed in convincing chiefs of the leading central banks in the world, including that of the Bank of England, nearly 30 years ago that interest is forbidden in both Islam and Christianity, and that the Islamic banking is the most effective solution to activate Islamic financing in the world and make it a real boost to the global economy.

The story of Al-Rajhi is that of a man who made his fortunes from scratch, relying on grit and determination. Al-Rajhi threw away his huge wealth through two windows — distributed a major part of his inheritance among his children and transferred another portion to endowments, which are regarded as the largest endowment in the history of the Islamic world. He had to fight poverty and suffering during his childhood before becoming a billionaire through hard work and relentless efforts, and then leaving all his fortunes to become penniless again.

Al-Rajhi is still very active and hardworking even in his 80s with youthful spirits. He begins his work daily after morning prayers and is active until Isha prayers before going to bed early. He is now fully concentrated on running the endowment project under his SAAR Foundation, and traveling various regions of the Kingdom managing activities related with it. He always carries a pocket diary containing his daily programs and activities and he is accustomed to stick on to the schedule he had prepared well in advance.

Al-Rajhi scored excellent performance results in almost all businesses in which he carved out a niche for himself. In addition to establishing the world’s largest Islamic bank, he founded the largest poultry farm in the Middle East. The credit of activating the organic farming experiment in the Kingdom mainly goes to him through launching a number of farming projects, including Al-Laith shrimp farming. He also established real estate and other investment projects.
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The Grave

The GraveAll praises be to Allah, peace and prayer of Allah be upon Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his companion.

Brother, have you ever heard of the luxurious cemetery developed by Lippo Karawaci company, namely San Diego Hills Memorial Park and Funeral Homes (SDH)? It is said that to build that cemetery complex, Lippo must spend great amount of budget, which approximately reach 10 trillions rupiah, since it is completed with family center such as 8 hectare of a lake, chapel for ceremony before the funeral, building for meeting with the capacity of 250 seats, Italian restaurant, sport facilities such as swimming complex, jogging track, etc. The developer wishes to make this cemetery complex a green and beautiful place thus it’ll become one of the tourism destination.

But is it true that by having those luxurious facilities, a cemetery will turn into a comfortable, beautiful place, particularly for it’s residents?

To know the answer, we should know first, what exactly will be happened inside the grave realm.
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10 Noble Manners of Muslim Entrepreneur

A muslim entrepreneur should possess the following characteristics, so that he’ll be able  to achieve benefits both in this world and the Hereafter, in running his business.

First: A valid, pious Intention

A pious intention can turn a simply allowable matter into a deed that will be rewarded. Thus, by this intention, all aspects of a muslim’s life will be considered as worships and obedience in Islam.

The definition of pious intention is to wish for goodness for himself and others. A pious intention for oneself, such as preventing himself from consuming the illegal, unlawful wealth, preventing himself from begging to others, strengthening himself to perform obedience and righteous deeds in Allah’s Cause, Maintaining good relations with kith and kin, doing good to relatives, and other forms of pious intentions.

Pious intentions for others such as participating in fulfilling the needs of society-which is considered as fardhu kifayah (an obligation for society altogether), opening work fields, participating in freeing the nation from dependency to other people, etc.

Intention is the trading of the knowledgeable. The value of a deed may be multiplied due to the gathering of several pious intentions in one occasion. Indeed, it is an easy thing for those whom Allah make ease of.

Second: A noble manner
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Reward and Chastisement

Reward and chastisement depend on the kind of deed, according to Allah’s law. This is the reason Allah created heavens and earth, as mentioned in His decree, which can be translated as,

“(Even though you have the right to speak evil if you are wronged), if you keep doing good – whether openly or secretly – or at least pardon the evil (then that is the attribute of Allah). Allah is All-Pardoning and He has all the power to chastise.” (QS. An-Nisa/The Women: 149)

And His decree,

“Rather, let them forgive and forbear. Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? Allah is Ever Forgiving, Most Merciful. “ (QS. An-Nur/The Light: 22)

The Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,

“Whoever does not love (for others), then he is not loved”
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Question and Answer: Property Business

I have a business of properties (such as real estate developer and property trading). In running it, I try to do transaction with minimum, even without payment in advance. For example, mr. A has land worth 1 billion, and by an agreement I buy it and should settle the payment in a certain time period. During that time, I try to resell the land to get some profit, while the certificate is still in A’s hand.

businessnf properties

Is such transaction against the hadith which mentions that one shouldn’t sell things that are not in his possession?
If I based my practice on a hadith from ‘Aisha, which mentions that it is allowed to buy things with debt until a certain period of time, is it alright for me to buy and to pay it to it’s first owner?

(The question is included in the discussion of “Capital Money is not Everything”, Muslim Entrepreneur Magazine, issue 03, vol. 1/15 March 2009).

Abu Fathan
Semarang, Indonesia

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