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Presented at the Global Entrepreneuship Week held at the Senate Hall Universiti Brunei on 20th November 2008 by Dr Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. MB ChB (MUK), MPH (Harvard), DrPH (Harvard) Professor of Epidemiology and Islamic Medicine Institute of Medicine Universiti Brunei 

1.1 Self-improvement is active and not passive: You can not improve yourself without effort. You must make the intention to be a better person and take action to achieve your goals.

1.2 Know your objectives: The three ultimate objectives are pleasure of Allah, ridha & marudhaat al llaah[1], wisdom, hikmah, and success, falaah in the dunia and in the aakhirat in the knowledge that the ultimate success is that of the hereafter[2].

1.4 Develop a positive attitude: Develop a positive attitude and be optimistic. You can succeed in the long-run if you do not become pessimistic and give up.

1.3 Futuristic outlook: You should consider yourself as living in the future. Always prepare for the future (both what remains of your life on earth and life in the hereafter.


1.4 Assertiveness: Assertiveness is a feeling of self-worth in dealing with others. Learn to state your opinion without being hostile. Learn to defend your position without being defensive.

1.5 Self-discipline: Control your whims and emotions. Act according to long-term and not short-term interests. Do not act impulsively. Follow your head and not your emotions. Trust your instincts.

1.6 Self-confidence: Self-confidence is to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, to be comfortable with what you are, and to be psychologically secure. True confidence is expressed and shows quietly.

1.7 Self-esteem: You can raise your self-esteem by being secure psychologically about yourself. You must accept and appreciate what you are.

1.8 Self-reliance: Rely on yourself in solving problems. It is only emotionally mature individuals who can rely on themselves.

1.9 Project a positive image: Projecting a positive image helps build credibility and leads to success. Your image is projected by your communication with others, physical appearance, manners, etiquette, sensitivity, voice, handshake, posture, manner of walking, smiling, and body language.

1.10 Lead a principled and purposive life: You must be guided in life by high moral principles and not expediency. You must make responsible choices and stick with their consequences. You must set and stick to personal goals, both long and short term.

2.1 A role model: walking Qur’an: Undertake good acts and words. Say good or keep quiet. Share with and help. Give charity continuously; it cleanses both your wealth and your soul. Put interests of your brothers in front of yours, iithaar. Respect the rights of the older people[3]. Remove any annoyance from the public road[4].

2.1 Da’awa: Dawa is conveying the message of Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims. Dawa helps you improve yourself. The challenge is that you have to live up to certain standards if you to talk to others about Islam.

2.2 Enjoining the good, amr, and forbidding the bad, nahy: Play your role according to your knowledge and ability in amr and nahy. Amr and nahy are necessary for the maintenance of morality.

2.3 Improvement of the community, al islaah: You have to work towards social improvement, islaah, by fostering good behavior. If communities believe and have taqwa they get bounties from Allah. If they transgress they deteriorate. Allah does not change the original position of a community unless and until they themselves do evils that necessitate that change[5].  

3.1 Entrepreneurship is part of Islamic culture: Entrepreneurship means working hard to achieve financial independence while contributing to social improvement. You should be engaged in producing goods and services or trading them. Our ummat has historically been a community of traders. Brunei entered history as a trading empire.  We need to restore the successes and glories of our ancestors. You must seek your fortunes in your country and other countries. The two most important ingredients of success in entrepreneurship are commitment and hard work.

3.2 Commitment,  ikhlaas al niyyat: Commitment is expressed in the intention[6]. Work is the consequence of the intention. Every work is rewarded according to the intention behind it[7]. The niyyat must be constant and consistent throughout the whole period of performance until completion. The best of work is that which is consistent and continuous[8].

3.3 Work, ‘amal : Work is responsibility. All human endeavors are ‘ibadat whether inside or outside the masjid as long as they are performed with a good niyyat. There is reward, good or bad, for work done. Work can be good or can also be bad. Bad work can be decorated to make it appear good. Good work reflects underlying iman. Good work is rewarded in the hereafter and also on earth. Work must be performed with the purest of intentions.

3.4 Towards economic independence: Entrepreneurship requires developing initiative, optimism, and self-confidence in order to bolster your creativity. It requires leaving the comfort zone of stable government jobs to the uncertain world of business. Take calculated risks. Look for opportunities and exploit them. Perseverance and determination are necessary for continued success.

[1] Qur’an 2:207
[2] Qur’an 4:13
[3] Tirmidhi
[4] Bukhari
[5] Qur’an 8:53, 13:11
[6] Ahmad
[7] Bukhari
[8] Bukhari


Writings of Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr

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