Do you have Aspendicitis?

Oct 10 - Do you have AspendicitisBy Noorjehan Arif and Sumaira Dada

Of the five questions on the Day of Judgement, one will be: “How did you spend your income?” (At-Tirmidhi) It is imperative that, as Muslims, we scrutinize our spending habits and control the urge to splurge. In order to help control our spending habits, we need to remind ourselves of the divine injunction in this regard: “Verily, spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin (devils), and the Shaitan (Devil) is ever ungrateful to his Lord.” (Al-Isra 17:27)

How do People Control the Urge to Splurge?

Perveen Wali, a grandmother of three, says that she controls the urge to spend by not going out of the house very often. Besides, her mobility is limited. Apparently, that is a blessing in disguise.

Uzma, a lecturer at a business school, quips: “I don’t have to control the urge to spend. It looks at my wallet and controls itself.”

Sadia Hassan, a postgraduate student, surprises us by saying that she hardly gets an urge to spend. In fact, her mother jokes that she likes to go shopping with her, because Sadia doesn’t make her spend much! So, how does Sadia control the urge to splurge? She does it by thinking and evaluating that the more material possessions she has, the more she’ll have to account for before Allah (swt).

Sadia Jibran, a mother of a one-year old, concedes that it’s difficult to control spending, especially after one is married. Nevertheless, she is able to control her desire to spend excessively by taking a friend along during her shopping trips, so that somebody is there to ask her whether she really needs whatever catches her eye. She agrees with a friend that hanging out at malls to window-shop is a real no-no, because window shopping leads to a lot of real shopping.

Ameera Khan thinks that giving purchases a second thought definitely controls spending on unnecessary items. She does admit, though, that it really is difficult to hold yourself back, when you know you can afford to buy something.

Your Wealth Includes a Share of the Needy

Another way to control overspending is to realize that the poor and the needy also have a right to your wealth. Allah (swt) describes the quality of the believers saying:

“And those in whose wealth there is a known right for the beggar who asks, and for the unlucky who has lost his property and wealth, (and his means of living have been straitened).” (Al-Marij 70:24-25)

A Hadeeth also reinforces the fact that the excess wealth, which remains with you, is not yours.

Abu Saeed al-Khudri (rta) reported: “While we were with the Apostle of Allah e on a journey, a person came upon his mount and began to stare on the right and on the left; (it was at this moment) that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: ‘He who has an extra mount should give that to one who has no mount for him, and he who has surplus of provisions should give them to him who has no provisions,’ and he made mention of so many kinds of wealth, until we were of the opinion that none of us has any right over the surplus.” (Muslim)

Prioritization of Spending

Prioritizing one’s spending is an effective way of controlling impulse buying. Our priorities should be according to what the Prophet (sa) has outlined.

Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated that the Prophet (sa) commanded to give Sadaqah. A man said: “Apostle of Allah, I have a Dinar.” He said: “Spend it on yourself.” He again said: “I have another.” He said: “Spend it on your children.” He again said: “I have another.” He said: “Spend it on your wife.” He again said: “I have another.” He said: “Spend it on your servant.” He finally said: “I have another.” He replied: “You know best (what to do with it).” (Abu Dawood)

One of the ways to control overspending is to know the right place to shop for your needs. Here’s a list of affordable places that you can go to for your essential shopping needs.

Sunday Bazaar

Spend some time in Sunday Bazaar and you will get the most amazing of options on the most outrageous of bargains. Make sure that you bargain for at least half the price and settle for a maximum of two thirds, for whatever you want to purchase! Everything you need is available at these Bazaars from books to clothes, to groceries, to shoes and more!

100 (or 50) Rupees Shops

Want to purchase gifts, but don’t know what to buy and how much to spend? These questions will become easier, when you visit the 100 or 50 Rupees shop. You will find a multitude of items at reasonable prices, and you can pick up some nice bargain items for your friends and family!

Discount Book Stores

Are you fond of buying books? Rejoice, for there are a number of discount book shops and stalls, which will have the books of your choice. A little time and a little money can go a long way in finding the books of your choice. Some of these stores also buy and sell books giving one an opportunity to swap old books with the new unread collection that they stock.

Specialized Bazaars

Each city and locality has some specialized Bazaars, where you can get things of your choice. From stationery to cosmetics and more, you will be able to get items cheaper here than in shops near your place, because this is where other shops buy all their items from, on wholesale rates.

Believe that You Can Change

The more you think of ways to control your spending habits, the more ideas you are likely to come up with.

People go as far as suggesting that one should freeze all credit cards and pay for purchases in cash. Others add items to their wish list, give them a second thought and then decide, whether to buy or not. Still others make a proper budget, compare items before purchasing them and refuse to be deceived by attractive advertisements and promotions.

It also facilitates mingling with simple people. Most of us also spend in competition with others, on stuff we can easily do without.

At the end of the day, it’s all about wanting to control the ability to spend and not become a victim of aspendicitis (an inability to control the amount one spends).

Pinching Paisas…

quart jar full of coins, pennies,nickels,dimes and quarters, with clipping path

Hiba continues its series on money management. In the second article of this series, Sumaira Dada, Noorjehan Arif and Aisha Ashraf Jangda talk to people and get tips on how to save money.

Whether you call it using resources responsibly, saving for future generations or just plain pinching Paisas, you know exactly what we are getting at. During the times of rising prices and falling incomes, we all need to look around for little tips on saving money. Here’s what we found.

First Step

The first step, in order to reduce the mountain of unpaid bills, is to start cutting off unnecessary expenses. Beena, a homemaker, cut down all the imported cosmetic items she used to buy. She started using local products instead. She also started making clothes for her children out of her old ones, all by herself! Monia, a Quran teacher, states that understanding the Quran helps in controlling her spending habit. On a witty note, she claims that wearing an Abaya helps reduce spending on clothes!

To cut the rising costs of electricity and fuel, you can control the excessive use of air conditioners during summer. Having mint-lemon drinks and wearing cotton and lawn clothes can do wonders in keeping you cooler! In winter, a better idea is to use warm clothes and blankets, which can help you, cut down on the fuel bill and also keep you warm.

Second Step

The second step is to be creative in fulfilling your needs. One enterprising grandmother used to make quilt blankets out of old cloth pieces! An aunt, who is known in the family for her taste in furniture, reused an antique sideboard from her mother, got it polished and painted so well that now she has placed it in her drawing room. A friend of my mother had a great idea of saving money on buying expensive paintings to put up around the house. She framed the 500-piece cardboard puzzles that her teenage children had discarded and hung them on the walls. Trust me; a framed puzzle usually catches any guest’s eye, just as it caught ours!

Third step

The third step is to start saving money with a group of like-minded people. Monia gives the idea of a Voluntary Committee (VC), a pool of funds, where every member puts in a certain amount of money on a monthly basis. At the end of the month, the entire amount accrues to a certain member. This helps to save a significant amount of money with little hassle. This discipline can be taught to teenagers as well, with an adult involved in safeguarding the money.

Quick Advice: Preparing an emergency fund is also very useful, as emergencies such as a job loss, illness, home or auto repairs, can be a significant drain on the finances. Most experts agree that you should keep between three and six months worth of your living expenses set aside in your emergency fund. Evaluation of your situation and the number of children in your family will determine what amount is best for you. Initially, you can begin with Rs.1000 a month and then increase the amount gradually. After a few months, you won’t even notice that Rs.1000 is missing, so you would be able to increase the amount you put aside. The best way to get started would probably be through your bank. Open up a new account in an Islamic Bank, if you currently don’t have one, and begin to save in it. The next step is to get into the habit of making regular deposits into this account. Once you make saving automatic, you won’t even have to think about it.

Working People

1) Saving Money at Lunchtime

We’ve all heard the advice to bring lunch from home to save money. But does it mean missing out on eating out with your co-workers?

  • Ask a few colleagues, if they’d like to join you in brown bagging lunch. Chances are they’d like to save money, too. You can set up a potluck in the break room or kitchen with everyone’s leftovers or favorite sandwiches. Not only you will get to know your colleagues better, but you will also be able to try a variety of foods. This may lead to recipe-swapping.
  • Avoid eating unnecessary and unhealthy snacks like chips, biscuits and ice-cream at work. They may be excellent munchies and you may want a crunch during that afternoon slump, but fresh fruits or vegetables brought along from home are more healthy and lighter on the stomach as well as your wallet.
  • Avoid eating out too often. Eating out is extremely expensive, and it leads to overeating, since the sizes of portions are larger than usual. If everyone at work decides to eat out, you could either eat your own food by staying back or simply order the cheapest option on the menu.

2) Saving Money on Commuting

Do you cringe at the price of filling up your gas tank? Consider cutting your fuel costs and saving wear and tear on your car by changing your commute. See if you can:

  • Search for an alternative route.
  • Avoid rush hours. Go to work half an hour earlier and leave an hour later.
  • Carpool with a co-worker or someone who works nearby.
  • Take a bus. You may enjoy the time usually used in driving to read or listen to translation of the Quran on your mobile.
  • Get your chores done along the way. Pick up grocery items or laundry, while you are coming back from work. This can save you time, money and fuel.

Save Money on Gifts

Have you ever had to give gifts to co-workers, because they’ve just got married or someone has just had a baby? Most organizations have a policy, where you can give a gift to colleagues or customers financed by the department budget. Find out if your organization has such a policy and utilize it, thereby saving your personal income.

Another way to save on gifts is to pass on gifts that you have received from others or be a little creative and design a card or clothes or even bake a cake. You can also pick a bunch of flowers from your garden. In fact, there are endless options of saving money on gifts – all it takes is some creativity and a willingness to pinch Paisas!

The Blogging Muslimah

Vol 7 - Issue 1 The blogging MuslimahBy Noorjehan Arif and Sadaf Farooqi

She sets out for a walk in the park near her home, with her toddler safely packed in his stroller. Along the way, she pauses to snap pictures of a beautiful flower and the picturesque landscape. As her son chews on his snack, she takes another snap of him holding his apple. After an hour or so, she returns home to check on the dinner in the oven. When it is ready, she intends to take a picture of it too. She proceeds to log on to her online Quran Tafseer class on the computer, for which she has registered as a student, as her toddler plays with his toys in the living room.

At night, when the family has retired to bed, she turns on her husband’s laptop and logs onto her blog. She starts typing a blog post about her day: the trip to the park; the special recipe she baked; and what she learned in the class. She uploads the digital photographs into the post. A few minutes of formatting, followed by a preview, make her smile with satisfaction as she clicks on the “Publish” button.

The next morning after breakfast, she checks her blog to find a few comments under her post, left by Muslim sisters scattered around the world. They have subscribed to her blog feed and have already read her post. She spends a half-hour or so responding to their queries.

Whether it is Europe, North America, or the UAE, Muslim women and girls are turning to the blogosphere to share their life experiences with like-minded global readers. Having to live somewhat isolated from their immediate families after marriage, in small communities having very few Muslims, they do not feel lonely because their blogging makes them feel part of an online sisterhood.

It is not just personalized blogs that Muslimahs use to connect to the world from within their cozy homes. There are several group-blogs that publish posts written by a variety of different bloggers, a few times a week. An example of this is America’s “Grow Mama Grow” blog (, where young Muslim mothers share experiences and inspirational stories with each other.

A special benefit of blogging is the ease with which one can connect with women having similar challenges, e.g., having to raise speciAl-needs children, for instance, a child with autism or dyslexia.

Dealing with two children – an infant and a child afflicted by autism – juggling a work-at-home job and, in the middle of it all, getting all the household chores done, Zeba calls herself a “Road Warrior Momma of a special lil boy with Autism and a special lil girl with especially big hair!” She makes blogging an outlet to let people know how she is faring. She also uses it for her brainstorming sessions, as a relaxation technique and a way to update her family about her life. Her blog/online diary ( is a means of getting feedback from her friends as well!

Muslim Mom ( writes about her actions and reactions to her son’s activities and indicates the various techniques she employs for enhancing her son’s development and mental growth. She also discusses the various ways Islam can be incorporated in her son’s life, in order to strengthen his Deen in the face of the religious and cultural differences around him.

MMT is yet another blog, which focuses on the intricacies this home-schooling mother faces in raising her children as well as provides lessons of parenting that can be used by any mother. She also gives references to mom blogs in different parts of the world that talk about the ways of raising children in various environments and countries, including Gaza Strip, Syria, India and Pakistan.

Thanks to the blogosphere, a homebound Muslimah raising young children can now have a significant impact on a global level, by blogging from within her home to a diverse and unrestricted reader audience. She feels part of a huge community and, therefore, keeps loneliness at bay because of the positive impact she is having on so many people’s lives!

Making a Business Plan

Vol 6 - Issue 3 Making a business planIn the final article of the home business series, Noorjehan Arif explains the why and how of a business plan.

Before establishing a home business, it is imperative that you create a sound business plan. A business plan is not just a concept, but it’s a way of life. It defines the why, how, what, where and when of the home business you are going to set up. The idea is to create a path and define the pros and cons of your business, along with the route you should take for developing and expanding your business.

Why Create a Business Plan

A business plan can help in various ways. A business idea is born in the head, while a business plan incubates that idea, inking the advantages, disadvantages, financial requirements, human resource requirements, projections and products and their features, among other things. Thus, your plan helps you pave the road that will help you successfully launch that idea. A business plan is also created for users other than yourself. For example, you may want to obtain funds from any large organization. In that case, the organization would like to know how sensibly you have planned out the usage of their funds. In such a case, a business plan is going to be quite helpful.

Components of a Business Plan 

A business plan consists of the following elements: 

Executive Summary 

An executive summary is going to be helpful if you want to present your plan to another person or company. It will define and summarize the very essential elements of your plan and present them in a succinct manner for those who want to glean only the basics of the business. 

Description of the Business 

This includes such details as what is the business about and why it is going to be undertaken. Analysis of the market and competition; products and services, delivery, placement and pricing; organizational structure and personnel, structure of the business (whether it is a sole proprietorship, partnership etc.); plans for marketing and advertising, financial details and production of the products or distribution of services, all become an essential part of this section.

Financial Planning

For financial planning, you would have to make different budgets, incorporating your expenses and revenue. Then, you would have to make cash flow statements to see how much in actual cash you would expect to earn and utilize. At the start of the business, startup costs and maintenance costs along with other financial aspects of business would have to be analyzed. This planning will help you evaluate the difference in the budget and the actual earning and expenses for a particular year.

Plan of Action 

Considering the range of items included in the business plan, you would need to assign a timeline to the items in order to get them done. Such time lines need to be realistic, but ambitious to help increase efficiency of the business. Additionally, it will help in streamlining the sequence and phases of the activities that need to be done.

Industry, Market and the Offerings 

It is generally helpful and interesting to conduct a small industry research on how receptive the market would be towards the service or product being launched. It may help in avoiding negative surprises later on.

The Final Word

A business plan, be it formal or informal, can be a very essential tool for establishing and running a business successfully, depending on how well it is structured and researched, and how much effort is put in it. If done properly, it can become the ultimate guide to the future of your business.

What’s the Big Deal?

Vol 6 - Issue 3 Idea of Remarriage

By Noorjehan Arif

Islam defines the role of men and women in very clear-cut terms, unlike what is construed by the media, other countries and sometimes even by us, Muslims. It is the ignorance of basic Islamic principles, which creates a rift between what is right in Islam and what the culture and society considers correct. And more often than not, individuals feel pressured to do what the society demands, rather than what their religion permits. One such principle is the act of re-marriage after the death of one’s spouse.

Ideally, a widow / widower has enough maturity to decide, whomever he/she wishes to re-marry. However, our society creates several problems and barriers, especially for the widows, towards their remarriage. Even divorced men and widowers sometimes face considerable issues in their remarriage.

The Sad Reality

Khurram’s wife died in a car accident. He’s about forty-five years old and decided that he should re-marry, so that his children would have a mother to take care of them. Today, he has a young wife; however, life is not easy for him. His children are against their stepmother, and Khurram’s parents believe that his wife does not like her in-laws or step children. Khurram is caught in the middle of the tussle between his wife, his children and his parents. Neither of them wants to live with the other and that is a source of considerable mental stress for Khurram.

Such are the deplorable conditions of the societal concept of re-marriage. Also, the following fears prevent the bereaved spouse from entering into another marriage.

Fear of Children

Although widowers with young children tend to get married earlier, mainly because they need someone to look after the kids, the ones with older children face many difficulties in doing the same. The older children raise a huge fuss and tend to boycott their parent for even thinking of such a thing.

Fear of Step Relations

Widows with young children can never be sure, if their second husband will really accept and provide for those, who are not his biological offspring. She also fears that the step-father may harm the children in her absence. In many cases, the widow is forced to leave her children with their grandparents, in order to get re-married. In such a scenario, the widow feels it is better to stay single for the sake of her children.

Fear of People

Gossiping relatives, skeptical colleagues and nosy, interfering neighbours can make life hell for any sane individual who gets re-married. Snide comments never stop pouring, and this fear of people and their comments is what prevents a widow or widower from even contemplating a second marriage.

The Islamic Perspective

To re-evaluate and establish the concept of remarriage in line with Islamic teachings, we have to consider the Islamic rulings regarding it.

First, there is the concept of Iddah, which is obligatory for every widow. After that, widows can re-marry, as per the following Quranic Ayah: “And those of you who die and leave wives behind them, they (the wives) shall wait (as regards their marriage) for four months and ten days, then when they have fulfilled their term, there is no sin on you if they (the wives) dispose of themselves in a just and honourable manner (i.e., they can marry). And Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.” (Al-Baqarah 2:234)

In Islam, re-marriage of widows has been greatly emphasized. At the same time, it has also been often stated that people, who bring up orphans, are very dear to Allah (swt). This should give a very good idea, as to what is the reward for someone who gets married to a widow and supports her children from her deceased husband.

“A giver of maintenance to the widows and the poor is like a giver in the way of Allah (swt), an utterer of prayers all night and fasting during the day.” (Bukhari)

“I and the person, who brings up an orphan, will be like this in Heavens,” said Prophet Muhammad (sa), and he put his index and middle finger together. (Bukhari)

The Success Stories

Amid the gloomy circumstances, there is a small number of success stories, which show that not all is lost. Kamran, a father of three, lost his wife during the birth of his third daughter. While his sister adopted the new-born, Kamran decided to re-marry. In the beginning, his wife Sana faced a lot of difficulty, as everyone compared her with the first wife. But eventually, with her patience and sweet nature, she gained the respect of her in-laws. Today, she has three children of her own, and if you were to visit their home, you would not be able to tell that the elder two are her step-children.

Irfan’s wife passed away after a year long battle with cancer. It was Irfan’s family, which coaxed him into re-marriage, because the children were very small. He agreed, and, Alhumdulillah, the children are now well-adjusted with their new mother.  

Mass Media Blues

It is quite interesting and intriguing to note that while re-marriage of widows is a taboo in society, it is shown as a norm in many soap operas and drama serials. It isn’t uncommon to find every other storyline focusing on a happy marriage, which ends with the death of one spouse. The plot then goes on to show, how the widow gets married to the person she always wanted to marry in the first place; or, how she married the person, who always wanted to marry her. And then the whole process of adjustment continues. If the playwrights want to stretch the drama even further, they bring back the first husband from the dead. In the mass media, re-marriage is portrayed as the easiest and the most desirable thing to do.

On the other hand, the media also portrays many distorted facts related to re-marriage. The period of Iddah is grossly misreported to be forty days long, which is a grave error. One drama serial even went on to show how a pregnant widow got married before the delivery of her baby, which again is a mistake, as the Iddah of a pregnant widow ends after the baby is born. This particular drama serial did provoke some strong sentiments from the audience, but it goes without saying that the producers neither owned up the mistake, nor corrected it.

The Final Word

Widows and widowers have their own rights defined in Islam. They have the right to choose their life partner, in accordance with their own wishes, and cannot be forced into re-marriage without their consent. On the other hand, they cannot be prevented from entering into a re-marriage either. Instead of creating a huge fuss, whenever hearing about anyone’s re-marriage, one should learn to accept it and try to make things easier for the couple.

To protect the privacy of the individuals mentioned in this article, their names have been changed.

Tackling the Glitches

In the second part of the home business series, Noorjehan Arif discusses how to tackle the problems, which inadvertently crop up every now and then

Running any business from home is never a smooth sailing, to say the least. There are a myriad of problems which pop up, and at the end of the day, you might start wondering, if you have bitten off more than you can chew. The good news is you can manage it. What’s important is to know the issues and how to tackle them.

Kids, Kids Everywhere

A business cannot be run from home, if you are constantly involved in why Ali snatched candy from Sarah. However, it is helpful if you entertain the idea of employing your own children in your home-run business. Have you ever played house with your siblings? Then why don’t you teach your own children to play office? Children love to act like elders and mimic them. If you pick up the newspaper during your morning tea, will Ali do the same? Hasn’t Sarah always yearned to pour tea for you? This is, then, the best time to teach your children some business management skills.

In cases, when you do not want your personal and professional life to clash, because Ali is misbehaving, while you are discussing a critical project with one of your customers, you can bring them as partners instead, or ask your spouse to take some of the work responsibilities. Even your maid could work part time for you, filing and taking some phone calls you want to avoid, or you can take in young interns, who are ready to do all sorts of odd jobs for you.

If all else fails to enlist good help, technology can be your next best friend, or perhaps in this case your secretary and employee all in one. You can use an answering and caller identification machine to capture your calls, a laptop to take your work along when you have to wait for your child’s school to be over, a personal digital assistant (PDA) to keep track of meetings, reminders, calls to make and other odds and ends. You have several other options available as well, like a virtual assistant online that can do all sorts of documentation and typing work.

Take the example of Shahnaz, who had a partner in her business, and, hence, responsibilities could be shared. However, in partnerships one needs to be careful and vigilant, particularly in cases, where money is directly involved. Irfana had her sister working with her, who eventually took over the management of the parlour, while Irfana could be more proactive in terms of the strategic planning of the business. But Irfana was still extremely careful, as she used an auditor friend to audit the revenues of the parlor every year.

Once the business is running, the autopilot is set and all things are smoothly proceeding, with everyone knowing their responsibilities, it becomes easier to take on the ‘curveballs’ in a more headstrong manner. Curveballs, such as Ali being down with fever, or Sarah sick with measles, can easily be overcome, if things are running smoothly. However, there are several problems that need to be addressed, before a newly launched business can be run smoothly.

Financial Glitches

Financial aspects of the business have to be well thought out and a complete budget needs to be set, before embarking on the business. The primary reason for a budget is the fact that financial elements make or break the business. Improper management of cash and revenues may result in bankruptcy in an adverse scenario, and micro managing cash to meet expenses in a less adverse condition. The Internet offers several books and websites with templates and help material for the purpose of creating a budget and evaluating it.

Demarcating Work and Personal Life


Another problem one encounters, when running a business from home, is juggling work and personal life. Boundaries tend to merge, when, for instance, Ali has to be picked up from school and a customer wants to have a meeting at the same time. Time management is often an important and, at times, the most critical element. Shahnaz and Irfana both had a separate business outside of their house, but their overlapping suggestion was to have defined time blocks for work that takes higher priority. If one has a driver to pick up children from school, then the next priority is the customer’s meeting. But if a driver is out of the question, the priority will be the children. Such times can be blocked and made non-negotiable on the table, when dealing with customers.

Stress, motivation and efficiency problems can also result in cases, when a loved one is sick, or when children have vacations or when other personal and family issues crop up. Defining a time boundary, when you plan to work solely on your business and allocating the rest to personal life, can help define and set limits to the interruptions that are allowed during ‘business hours’. It can also reduce the amount of stress and guilt that one may feel about neglecting family life.

Moving on to issues regarding setting up the business, incorporating it, registering brands and trademarks, there are quite a few organizations that one has to go through and deposit guarantees and cash in order to get things going.

Marketing your Business

Marketing and publicity are another element in one’s business that involves a lot of effort and hard work. Even though Ali, Sarah, the spouse and the nosey neighbour mean well, when they go around claiming your business and your work to be top class, marketing is much more detailed and hectic than that. Networking comes into play, when one has to promote the business and make it top notch.

Shahnaz and her partner are socialites and love to socialize with all sorts of people. They decided to put their networking skills to good use, when they opened their boutique, and promoted it with the use of the business cards, which they sent out to each and every person they knew. In a very short time, the boutique had customers raving about their clothes and handbags.

Irfana, on the other hand, utilized the locality in her favour and sent each and every house near the parlour a flyer to market the services being offered. Marketing worked – the place was thronging with women of all ages. Depending on the circumstances and the type of business, there are various elements of marketing and publicity one can employ, from publishing an advertisement in a newspaper or magazine, to utilizing a social network, to simply putting up a web presence. Using a small website, or even marketing through online advertisements can bring in a good amount of sales and publicity.

In the next issue, we will take the financial aspect of a home business a little farther and discuss how to make a business plan

Setting up a Home Business

Vol 6 - Issue 1 Setting up a home BusinessBy Noorjehan Arif

When both parents are working, it is difficult to figure out where the children should go and how they should be managed. When one is single, he or she does not have to worry about nagging children, the house falling apart, dirty laundry and what not. In quite a few cases, both men and women decide to have a home setup where they could work, earn money and still keep the house sane.

Home Business Options

There are various opportunities that women, especially of today, can explore to set up a home business: a daycare center, spa or beauty salon, or a boutique. However, there are various other options, which can also be considered:

Catering services – one can run a catering business from home to serve small gatherings and parties, such as business lunches in offices. Unique food combinations like Chinese and Oriental options are appreciated by people nowadays because of their health benefits. Regular options of Biryani and Haleem can also be an alternative. Of course, the service would run as a made-to-order arrangement to avoid waste and the hassle of storing extra food.

Grocery purchase services – due to the growing number of working women nowadays, grocery shopping has becoming a trying chore. To serve the need, one can advertise grocery purchasing services. You can earn commission and enlist the help of your children as well, making it a fun-filled family activity, rather than a business.

Event planning services – if one lives in a metropolitan city, there is always something happening. Even small cities always have weddings, engagements, Nikahs, business dinners and other social events that need to be organized. One can become a specialized business event or wedding planner, or a generalized event planner and organize various aspects of such events. Word of caution though that only the most social and outgoing people can pull this off.

A home-based business is ideal for those busy mothers who have children to look after, a home to cater to and a demanding husband. This kind of a setup, however, has its limitations because people might not take the business seriously and instead, consider it a hobby. There could also be personal interruptions like Ali snatching candy from Sarah or Sarah waking up from a bad dream.

Setting up a Home Office

To avoid mixing home and business, a part time or even a full-time office can be set up in a portion of one’s house. This, of course, depends on the type of business you have decided on. Setting up a separate office requires lots of work and involves obtaining the necessary office furniture, stationery and equipment.


Finding premises in a suitable location can be tough, considering the various options and critical factors to evaluate:

First and foremost is the cost of the location. If the rent space is costly, it may create a cash flow crunch too early in the business, which could prove detrimental to the business. On the other hand, choosing a cheap location might create a negative impression about you and the business setup.

A suitable community is also very important. If you have a problem adjusting to your surrounding environment and community, it will be very difficult to work in such circumstances, and most probably, your business would not flourish.

Another factor is competition. If the surrounding area has similar businesses and offices that are catering to a similar target market, it might become difficult to get established. You might infringe on the rights of others or spend most of your time fighting against the competition to obtain a limited number of customers.

Accessibility is another major factor to evaluate, when choosing a suitable location for the office. If customers will be visiting the office, it is important that it is visible and easy to find.

How did they Start?

Shahnaz runs a boutique that she established with a friend, who was her partner in the business as well. First, she established contacts with various people, who could help her in marketing the clothes and handbags she was making herself. Her partner would get all the material that would be required for the clothes and bags (fabric, beads, threads, etc.)

“At first, there was a nervous energy in both of us, because we were going to establish something of our own that we had to run profitably,” she said. “Then, this feeling turned to exhilaration when we made our first sales. But our target was maintaining healthy cash flows. Of course, a business needs cash coming in more than cash going out. Running on credit can create big problems, and we did not want to do that. After five years in business, we still run on cash and quite profitably.”

Irfana is an enterprising woman, who is currently settled in Australia. She owns an apartment in the posh area of Defence. She started her own beauty parlor ten years ago with the help of her husband and her sister. To start off with her own parlor, she needed to know the basic functions and tricks of the trade. Hence, she took various expensive courses across the city to learn the professional ways of makeup and beauty care. She used her knowledge on her clients and also employed a professional makeup artist for her parlor.

However, one must consider prayers as the only means of achieving success in any endeavor – without Allah (swt) being on our side, nothing has any worth.

Now that we have set up our business and prayed to Allah (swt) for its success, in the next article in this series we shall look into marketing and administrative issues to manage our business successfully, Insha’Allah.

Gleaning Ideas from the Web

The World Wide Web is a wondrous option to search for business ideas, articles and material to help setting up any kind of business. Here are some helpful links:

One of the most helpful sites across the web is It has various links and articles on how to set up a business and help material on managing it.

Another website similar in content is with scores of helpful articles and links.

Other helpful sites include: and Various business ideas and helpful material can be gleaned from these websites. Of course, one can use Google to search for other options and further help.

Top Home Business Options

  • Boutique
  • Hair and beauty salon
  • Daycare center
  • Food catering services
  • Grocery purchase services
  • Event planning services
  • Life coaching services (including tuitions)
  • Magazine and article writing
  • Landscaping
  • Interior decoration
  • Arts & Crafts

Top Must-Have Office Items

  • Business cards
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Stationery items
  • Files, papers and binders
  • Filing cabinet
  • Internet connection
  • Chairs and tables
  • Photocopying machine
  • Phone and fax line with a fax machine and answering machine
  • Computer and printer

Beauty and well-being

By Noorjehan Arif

Home Improvement

Though it’s a truly thankless task, cleaning behind your fridge will keep it running longer and more efficiently.

An almost fool-proof tip for removing pen (ink) marks from clothing or carpet is hairspray. Just spray on, leave for a few seconds and wipe with damp cloth.

Home Remedies


Don’t lie flat on your back. Heartburn is caused by the acid in your stomach moving upward to your esophagus. So if you are flat on a bed, it is a little more difficult for the acid to go down.

Coffee and chocolate can inflame heartburn – so avoid them, if you can.

Bladder stones

Boil 2 figs in 1 cup of water. Drink daily for a month.

Personal Grooming

Facial cleanser: Mix 2 tbsp cornflour, 2 tbsp glycerin, and ½ cup water until smooth. Heat in a small pan placed in a water bath inside another pan. Heat until thick and clear; it will have the consistency of pudding. Do not boil. Cool completely. Use in place of soap to cleanse your skin. (If mixture is too thick, you may thin it by adding a little water – 1 tbsp at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.)

Yellow teeth: Mix salt with finely powdered rind of lime. Use this as teeth powder frequently.

Perk up your Home

Noorjehan Arif gives tips on low budget makeovers for your home

The house is a home lived in with love and a sense of belonging. Yet, with time, homes tend to lose their charm to the people living in them. More charm can be invoked and the home can be made to look elegant and well designed with a few changes only. Full-fledged innovations and renovations, exploiting a lot of time, money and effort are not required. Here is what you can do with minimum budget, time, and effort.

  1. Flowers are the best way to improve on the freshness and appeal of any room. A glass vase filled with flowers can add to charm. Large vases with drooping and twisted flower arrangements look better in larger parts of the house like the living room or the guest room making them the focal point of that room. While small arrangements blend well with smaller parts of the house like bedrooms.
  2. Cushions decoratively piled on a bed or sofa can compliment an otherwise drab look. They add a touch of comfort and luxury to a room especially if they are made of lace, velvet, chenille or luxurious, textured fabrics like silk. Additionally, they can add new dimensions to the room by their different shapes and sizes. Larger sized cushions can be placed beside the bed for an extra seating place, while small cushions can be strewn around on the bed and on chairs.
  3. Simply changing or adding colours can do wonders for any room. Splashes of colours in children’s or teen’s bedrooms can make them ‘ultra-cool’. Bed sheets and curtains are one certain way to do that. Brightly patterned bed sheets and light coloured curtains will light up the room without too much of a hassle.
  4. For bed sheets, go for bold designs and prints to add colours but make sure the base colour (background) is light or pastel. Light or pastel base colors will help in blending of the particulars with the room’s general décor while the bright patterns will add the much-required colour. A breezy fresh look can be created for the room by sheer curtains as well. In case you are livening up a serious person’s room, simple non-patterned curtains and bed sheets, or ones with slight patterns and light base colours work marvelously.
  5. One sure-fire way of “doing-up” a room or the entire home for that matter, is eliminating clutter. Clutter not only takes up a lot of space, it also makes any room unappealing for living in. So, clear away paper work, trash and old items, and utilize or give away things you don’t need. Clearly, your home will feel more restful and peaceful to live in.
  6. Frames are another easy way to add a new look to any room of the home. There are several types of frames including pictures, collage or glass paintings. You can have a pick from various shapes, sizes, types like glass or canvas paintings and kinds of frames. Several types of wall hangings can be arranged on the wall including mail sorters, key holders, or even simple hangings like those, which have an Ayah or Surah written or painted on them.
  7. If you have some money to spare in your budget then scour flea markets (Sunday Bazar) etc., a sure and easy way to find cheap and quality stuff to decorate your home. There are several things to choose from in such flea markets. From table lamps to decorative paper weights and from different types of racks for your kitchen like spice racks and cutlery racks, to small decorative pieces for the living room, there is a choice for each and every person while little money is required to splash on such items.
  8. You have thought of it all, your home looks gorgeous ready to be featured in those beautiful home magazines, think again. You can do one more thing – rearrange the furniture. This one aspect of home décor has such limitless possibilities that you are sure to find one that will make your home a dream home for yourself and your family. You can put sofas diagonally against the wall and create a wide space look, or eliminate a piece of furniture to clear up space. It all depends on you and your creative ideas.
  9. Bookshelves have a very special purpose and that is to provide space for those volumes of books, which otherwise you would have to store in boxes. Put a few articles on the shelves, which hold a special meaning to you, like that mug your friend gave you on last Eid.