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I Have a Dream

Assalam-o-Alaikam! It was 1990, when I started my career in Pakistan as a professional coach, consultant and a management trainer in the areas of human resources, organizational change, total quality, ISO 9000, business effectiveness, personal empowerment and peak performance. Progressing very rapidly in my career, I became a Director in a “Big 6” international management consulting firm in 1993 at the age of 30 years. During my career, I have had several opportunities to get trained at world’s premiere institutions by top names. These programs on human resource management, human behavior and psychology, organizational change, etc. brought me closer to religion “Islam”. It was 1995, when I left my job for research and exploration and became a “free-lance” consultant, trainer and a coach.

I believed that Islam was meant to be more than just a religious dogma, as it presented a complete code of life, which provided guidelines for a successful, happy and peaceful society. These guidelines addressed every aspect of life:

 

At the individual level: it deals with personal success, health, wellness, relationships, and the like.

 

At the family level: it provides guidelines for building happy and peaceful families by addressing various issues such as the rights and obligations of every family member towards the other et cetera

 

At the organizational level: it focuses on creating and managing successful businesses, and provides guidelines in many areas such as leadership, business ethics, consumer rights, worker-manager relations and obligations, resource management, role of the organization regarding the community, and so forth.

 

At the national level: it offers a complete blueprint of how a true welfare state should be. It points out the roles and obligations of all its members and it talks about several systems including educational, political, defense, economic (including banking and taxation) and governance.

 

At the universal level: it tackles questions regarding international relations, trade, diversity, human rights, minority rights, social responsibility, environmental protection and so on.

 

My “free-lance” role gave me more flexibility and independence to allocate timings for readings and research on Islamic principles, and testing my hypotheses by applying these principles on individual, group, organizational as well as the societal life. What I discovered was that libraries were full of volumes and volumes of information about Islam and its applications, in dedicated sections marked “Religion” and/or “Islam”, but there was nothing much about Islam in those subjects that either attracted our youngsters or the subjects that they studied in their schools and colleges. As a result, out youngsters never knew what Islam was ought to be, rather they perceived it to be no more than a religious doctrine, having nothing much to do with modern life.

The more I studied and practiced principles of Islam in my coaching, training and consulting work, more resolute I became in my original hypothesis about Islam, being a complete “code of life”.

In 1995, I set-up a vision for myself, a vision of “enhancing the quality of life for individuals, families, organizations, societies and ultimately the entire human system through developing an understanding of Islamic principles in modern minds”. It was a vivid vision, without having a clue as to “how”? During the next many years of my research and practicing of my learning, this vision became clearer and I started sharing my learning through my seminars, training, consulting, coaching and publications. It was for the first time that such a work was being pursued that connected the longstanding teachings of Islam with modern behavioral and management sciences.

Alhamdullilah, I have been very successful in breaking the popular myth “What Islam has to do with modern life?”, in the mind of our young generation through my public seminars, training programs and my publications including “The Road to Success”, “Born Again – 365 Days to a Healthy and Peaceful Life”, “Together Forever”, “Change your Lens, Change Your World”,  ”30 Second Manager”, “30 Second Successories”, and “Choose or Be Chosen”. However, a more comprehensive and consolidated effort was required for the corporate world.

 

My first book on management, “30 Second Manager”, relating 500 global best management and leadership practices with the teachings of Islam was published in 2000. The book was much appreciated at several forums and provided me an opportunity to visit “Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) annual convention in the USA. I received much appreciation for my efforts of relating Islam with global best practices in the areas of personal mastery, success, relationship and management. It was there that the dream of an Islamic organization responsible for researching and introducing best practices and standards in various disciplines first transpired.

 

For the next few years, I continued challenging my dream and finding ways and means to make it a reality. Having convinced on the dream and with an action plan, it was 2003, when for the first time, I shared my dream of an International Islamic Standards organization, in an international HR conference in Islamabad[1].

 

I prepared my first version of HR standards in 2004, followed by second in 2005 and third in 2007. Since then, I have been practising it in my corporate consulting practice, without naming it “Islamic Standards”. After being thoroughly convinced about the applicability and practicality of these standards, I am now making it available to public, fulfilling my commitment to several of my client organizations as well as to general public audience, with whom I have been sharing my dream, seeking their blessings on my vision.

 

These HR standards can act as guidelines to professionals in other areas, to come forward and start developing Shariah-based Standards in other functional areas of management such as[2]:

 

§ accounting and finance,

§ purchasing and procurement,

§ production, operations and quality management,

§ marketing, advertising and sales,

§ supply chain management;

§ etc.

 

Moreover, standards in other disciplines, such as health, engineering, politics, banking, commerce and trade, environment, social accountability, governance, etc. can also be developed. The research, development and publishing of Standards is one task, which may be achieved by committed individuals or smaller groups. However, establishing a complete infrastructure to research and market these Islamic Standards and providing awareness and training, and certification of auditors as well as certification of certification bodies to provide third-party audit services to organizations desiring to achieve the certification against various Islamic Standards is a gigantic task, beyond the resources and capacities of individuals.

 

I have a dream……………….

 

I have a dream that such an Islamic International Standards Organization (IISO) be formed with the support of influential Islamic groups and professionals, preferably in Malaysia, Indonesia or Pakistan. As a first step the IISO should be entrusted with the task of consolidating all the existing Islamic Standards i.e. in Banking, Economics, Accounting and HR under the umbrella of IISO. I believe that the time is ripe and individuals, organizations or professional groups should come together to make it a living reality. The establishment of different organizations may not be as difficult task, as establishment of one IISO[3]. It is only through IISO that we can ultimately establish a “SC” (i.e. Shariah Compliant) mark as powerful as “CE®” mark.

 

I am very content with that little work that I have done so far with my modest resources and am resolute that InshaAllah, I would continue doing more as much as possible. There is a lot more that is required and also could be done, if we came together. I am sure that Allah is not going to hold me responsible for something that I never had. However, there are people and organizations, which have more resources and could contribute in making this happen. In the words of Qu’ran:

 

And hold fast, all together, by the rope which God (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves………. (3:103)

To each is a goal to which God turns him; then strive together (as in a race) towards all that is good. Wheresoever ye are, God will bring you Together. For God Hath power over all things. (2: 148)

 

This will be the greatest gift from seasoned Muslims for the new generation of young Muslims, who do not find Islam having much in it for a successful life. If we did it, this legacy would last much longer than any other thing. I volunteer my services for this cause.

 

May Allah be our Guide and Helper in this effort! Wassalam.

 

 

Faiez Hassan (Seyal)

Ist Ramazan, September 14, 2007


[1] Download the paper here.

[2] Some guidelines in these areas are provided in “30-Second Manager – A Rare Collection of Global Best Management Practices”, by Faiez Hassan (Seyal) published by Ace One (2000-2007).

[3] A Proposed Strategic Framework for IISO, listing the vision mission, objectives, values, action plan for IISO is available on request from the author at info@faiez.co.