By Rukshana Hassen

The Imanian Entrepreneur Challenge was initiated with several objectives in mind. As a community we needed to be reminded of ways to ‘handle’ people, to accommodate a variety of natures, accept people for who they are, avoid judging them and certainly forgive and forget towards the betterment of a peaceful future.

The next objective is to make each other understand that the quantity of ‘Rizq’ is pre-ordained and NOT obtained. That ‘Rizq is time, effort, skill, money, ideas etc, and that as Muslims we please Allah with every action we do towards living life on earth. The ability to please Allah by doing the right thing no matter how hard it gets. Learning about worshipping God as if you see Him, and even though you don’t see Him you live according to the acknowledgment that He sees you.

This challenge was designed and created for young students who were learning about financial literacy and in them we could instill values through a challenge that would provide opportunity to learn team work, time management, respect, tolerance, kindness, cooperation, perseverance, collaboration and patience.

Islamic pedagogy inspires an active approach to creating change in one’s society by changing oneself and working to be an active contribution to societal change. This challenge was created towards giving young students hands on activity to learn skills to make contributions to societal change.

When students relate academic concepts within the classroom to real life experiences outside the classroom, the application of one’s knowledge makes the knowledge meaningful and purposeful. When students draw purpose out of learning they engage themselves more sincerely and portray meaningful outcome that is devoid of waste and high in productivity. These are, I believe, deeply rooted in Islamic pedagogy.

Character education is timeless, a significant aspect of an educational system that values social justice and coherence. As educators, when we live our values, and initiate platforms to create such opportunities for students, we contribute towards change in society, and as educators we also prove to our students that we believe in them and their capacity to learn good and spread goodness.

The platform that was provided and the opportunity that knocked at their doors, paved the way to an experience of their lifetime. From the student’s perspective, the trust the school placed in them by giving them ‘real’ money to their hands to ‘invest’ and ‘handle’ provided much confidence to explore and learn by doing. Since students were given full access to cash, to spend, invest and earn it, they took the responsibility to complete the task to the best of their ability.

Secondly, since the students had to maximize profits to meet the challenge, they needed to be able to consider several ideas within the group and learn to compromise and settle on the most effective products and strategies. It was observed that they chose to place students with specific skills to tasks that suited their skills the most. While cash handling was entrusted to the student who could make calculations fast and the students with good verbal skills were placed to capitalize on marketing strategies. This was very encouraging to note, Alhamdulillah.

The students were aware that at the end of this challenge if profits were made, 50% will be distributed to charity and 50% will be for themselves. And the investment needed to be returned back to the school. They found this a motivating factor, for reasons best known and may be investigated eventually.

The practical nature of this challenge proved to be an exciting prospect to all learners. This activity-based learning platform suited all learning styles and brought about many surprising discoveries among students. One such discovery is the realization of the amount of hard work their parents put into earning money to sustain them. They were very appreciative of their parents. Alhamdulillah.

This challenge is unique because it catered towards instilling Islamic pedagogical practices within an academic learning environment that suited multiple learning styles. The value systems that were embedded into a challenge that cultivated financial literacy provided, practical ways to be an ideal Muslim and attain the pleasure of Allah. May Allah accept and protect. Ameen.