As many of you probably know, we have a blog category called the ‘gratitude’ series. Once a month, someone in the office gets picked to write about what they have shukr (gratitude) for.

When I received the blog post schedule, I was surprised to note that my post is to be submitted on my birthday. "What a coincidence," I thought, and so in true birthday fashion, I decided to write about gratitude to Allah for one’s parents.

My role at SHUKR is to manage the formal business departments. Much of what I learned about business and management came far earlier than my university studies. At a very young age, I would often listen to my father expounding on how prudent financial discipline and ethical business principles are applied in business. As a result, these teachings have been ingrained in my approach to management and have affected SHUKR’s policies in many ways.

My father would often tell me stories about my grandfather, who was a modestly successful businessman. In the early days, before they achieved their success, the family experienced financial hardship; at times, there would not be any food for them to eat. Yet despite their poverty, my grandfather was highly ethical in his business dealings. My father related how on one occasion when my grandfather was first starting out in business, he would sell ready-made tea from his small grocery shop. One customer returned to him complaining that the tea he had just purchased was not very good. My grandfather asked him to return the tea so he could refund the money. The customer informed him that he had completely drunk the tea and so there was nothing to return. My grandfather smiled and refunded him in full.

Just last week I received a call from our Retail Sector: “Our After-Sales department needs guidance on how to deal with an unusual case: A sister had purchased an item two years ago that was defective upon arrival. However, she didn’t inform us until last week - two years after receiving it. How should we deal with it?” I didn’t have to think twice; the ingrained principles taught by my father at such a young age naturally kicked in: “Give the customer a gift voucher for the full amount plus free shipping when she uses the voucher."

Above: Jaafar Malik, Managing Partner, SHUKR Clothing

My father’s teachings were based upon honesty, hard work, and fulfilling one’s responsibilities. I ask God to give us all success in applying these principles in our lives.

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وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا

"And out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say, "my Lord! Bestow on them Thy Mercy, even as they cherished me in childhood." Quran 17:24