Mr. Kamran Rauf Kiyani is an entrepreneur, who is passionate about leveraging technology as a tool to solve people’s problems at the workplace. He regularly speaks at conferences about technology and the future of work. Mr. Kamran has founded three companies: “Zaheen Systems” (a drone tech company), GEM (a training and consulting firm focused on technology in business) and “Scoute.AI” (a psychographic technology company).
He completed his BS in Actuarial Science from Purdue University and also holds a Master’s degree in Technology Design from Harvard University.
Hiba interviewed Mr. Kamran to learn more about his views regarding the spiritual, economical, and intellectual growth of the Muslim world.
What should be every believer’s priority in these trying times?
Firstly, we should be active and vigilant during this pandemic. Islam is best practiced in congregation. In these isolated times, we need to create the environment of a congregation in our homes, so that we feel connected to our faith.
Secondly, we have to ensure that the entire Muslim community survives and thrives. This means helping others financially and emotionally. Various Muslim organizations are providing welfare services and they need our support.
Finally, we need to play our part in minimizing the spread of the Covid-19 virus by following the guidelines set by the authorities.
What direction should parents give to the youth today?
People do not choose the spiritual path on logic alone. Their emotions play an important role. The youth need guidance to understand Islam as a spiritual system. Parents should create a friendly environment for their children to learn and ask questions, so that they may feel at ease learning about religion.
Secondly, parents need to understand that it is not their responsibility to choose a job or a profession for their children. The role of a parent is to guide and train them. The child’s ambitions and feelings matter. A parent should be mindful that with this freedom of choice come boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable professions that should be clearly defined from an early age. Lastly, children need encouragement and constructive feedback from their parents.
What is critical for the youth to understand and execute?
People say that it is important to follow your passion. I think this is incomplete advice. Before choosing a career, there are a few questions which a youngster should consider:
Is it Islamically permissible to pursue this career?
Will this career be an in-demand skill in the long run?
Does it enable one to earn enough to support one’s family?
Am I cut out for the kind of work it will involve?
A good way to assess these practical aspects is to interact with some people who are already working in that field and doing well.
Also, it is extremely important for everyone to have the knowledge of Fiqh (jurisprudence). Mistakes are made when we follow others without any understanding. Consider the history of coffee-drinking.
Coffee-drinking started in Yemen in the late fifteenth century. The word coffee is of Arabic origin and in Yemen it earned the name Qahwah. The name Mocha also originated in Yemen – the port city of Al-Mokha. Muslims were the first people to use it during Ramadan for staying awake to pray Qiyam at night. Some Islamic scholars became suspicious of the nature of coffee and a popular Fatwa was passed declaring it as Haram. It remained Haram, until later on it was declared as Halal once again. If someone were to learn of this today, they would think it absurd that coffee would be Haram. T
We need to learn about the origin of things and ask experts for gaining a better understanding. Our progress may be limited if we jump to conclusions or decide without proper knowledge.
How do you see the Muslim world developing economically?
Two new camps are emerging in the Muslim world, and over the next 30-40 years, one of them will become very strong. Several Muslim countries in this camp will become industrial powerhouses. The trade routes from the East to the West pass through the Muslim world, and this can help increase the average income, provide stability and create opportunities for the youth. Pakistan is expected to play an important role in this development and I hope and pray that our forthcoming generations will play their role as leaders in the developed world.
Who has been your mentor?
I have had many mentors and many instructors in life. Picking one is problematic, because everyone has some experiences you can learn from. I have also worked in many fields, such as Islamic studies and history, under the guidance of different instructors. People need mentors for every field they want to pursue.
Any recommended sources of inspiration for our readers to lead a wholesome life?
My source of inspiration is a Hadeeth of our Prophet (sa): “The best among you are those who learn the Quran and teach it.” (Bukhari)
It took many years for me to discover that this is not limited to becoming a Quran teacher. We must learn the Quran to implement it in our lives and become role models through our words and actions at all times, regardless of profession.
How will you advise those people who consider the Quran as an ‘obsolete’ source of guidance?
My advice would be for them to read the first five verses of the Quran revealed to humankind. In these verses, Allah (swt) mentions two types of knowledge as His blessing on humankind:
the divine knowledge revealed by Him, which we could never have gained on our own;
the knowledge taught to us by the pen, which we have the ability to discover through research and experimentation.
Both these blessings are mentioned in His first communication through the Prophet (sa). Both are meant to bring us closer to our Rabb.
What has been your greatest lesson in life?
My greatest life lesson started with a simple statement I read in a book. When translated in English, it says: “The objective of a Muslim’s life is greater than life itself.”
This statement tells us that there is a higher purpose in life. We were sent into this world for a reason, and we must differentiate between our objectives and our desires. Since we have a limited amount of time in this world, we must prioritise our objectives and work hard towards our goals.
While I enjoy my work and pursue it with zeal, I have to keep reminding myself of our real objective in this world. So I keep resetting priorities and manage my time to fulfil both my worldly goals and the Muslim’s mission in this world. Muslims should not, under any circumstance, forget that we came to this world to serve Allah (swt) and His creation.