Survival tips during economic recession: Perspective from Islam

The Nigeria’s situation (recession) is like custard that has become watery in the course of preparation.
Adding more water is tantamount to doing what we make you to remain poor. But putting it back on fire to become tick is similar to spotting opportunities and employing financial literacy skills to better your life.

How do we spot opportunities? According to the Holy Quran “There is nothing for man but what he strives for.” (Q53:39). Noble Prophet Muhammad (May Allah bless him) says, “Keep doing good all your life, and avail yourselves for the winds of Allah’s mercy. For indeed, Allah Ta’ala has certain winds of mercy which He sends on whomever He wishes among His slaves. Ask Allah to conceal your faults and to keep you safe from danger.”

Similarly, Sayidina Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) says, “Opportunity passes away like the cloud; therefore, make use of good opportunities.” Therefore, spotting opportunities is one of those skills that have to be honed. Some people have a gift for it, and others have to work hard just to become adequate in it.

Here are a few things to actively lookout for in your everyday life in order to spot new opportunities: A large gathering of people (human traffic), for instance brand marketers mount bill boards where there are lots of human traffic; street hawking (though illegal), mounting a dry cleaning collection centers at religious centers- mosques, churches (where people gather weekly), providing umbrella/plastic chairs for people at BRT bus stop as it’s done in a particular embassy with lots of visa applicants, Nigerian immigration recruitment saga- some others who knew how to spot opportunities made a lot of money on that day selling white vests and snickers, photocopying, measuring candidates’ height and weight on scales etc….

There possibly are no nations with more opportunities than Nigeria. It’s a highly populated nation with lots of problems, complaints, trends and unhappy people. It’s an epitome of opportunity. What more can one ask for?

Now, let’s get practical. What opportunities can you see around you?
I see Boko haram, I see ISIS, I see power failure in Nigeria, I see high unemployment rate, I see poor education system, I see cancer…. What do you see? Come up with solutions to those problems.

Consequently, after spotting opportunities, the next step is to jump at them. And you need a bit of financial literacy to literally “continue to make your “own custard” get sticker.

In the present situation, this entails inter alia: Don’t make all your money readily available; pay yourself first; save half of your monetary gift; invest in real estates, shares etc; be multi-skilled (watch repairers, audio radio cassette sellers, etc getting phased out); keep updating yourselves (ICT is taking over jobs.

Concerning the scenario of custard in the introductory part of the article, the interesting piece found in Ajetomsblogs stated below perfectly describes those who choose to continue adding water to the already watery custard, it’s titled “how to remain poor”
• Never wake up early. Keep stretching and turning in bed until you get too hungry to continue dozing. If there are no bed bugs, why hurry to get up?

• Never plan how to spend your money. Whenever you get money, start spending it right away and when it’s finished, you try to count and recall how you spent it.

• Don’t think of saving until you have real big money. How can you save when you earn so little? Those telling you to save are not sympathetic to your burning needs.

• Don’t engage in activities usually reserved for the “uneducated”. How can you, a graduate, engage in petty trade, network marketing or home-based production? That’s for people who never went to school!

• Don’t think of starting a business until an angel comes from heaven and gives you capital. How do they expect you to invest before you get millions? Even though more than half the businesses in your town were started with little capital, you as a smart person can only start with millions.

• Complain about everything except your own attitude and laziness. Blame the system, the government and the banks that refused to lend you money. They are all bad and do not want you to get rich.

• Spend more than you earn. To achieve this, buy consumer products on credit and keep borrowing from friends and employers.

• Compete in dressing. Make sure you’re wearing the latest clothes. Intimidate the congregation with your trendy fashions every Sunday. Whenever your neighbor buys a new phone, you get one that is more expensive.

• Get yourself a nice second hand car that costs more than three times your yearly salary.

• Give your children everything they ask for since you’re such a loving parent. They should not struggle for anything because you do not want them to suffer that way, they will grow up lazy and hence poor enough to ensure they can’t help you at old age.
In conclusion, the Almighty has stated clearly that He will not change the condition of a people until they change themselves. Truly, Allah does not change the condition of a person until they change what is in themselves.” (Q13:11).

• Imam Moruf Onike Abdul-Azeez is the deputy chief missionary, NASFAT World headquarters

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