Being a good businessman. A story about honesty for teenagers

There was once a young boy named Ahmed.  He went to school and learnt his lessons.  He always tried to do his best.  He prayed to Allah that he might learn everything that he needed to know to become a businessman like his father.

When the time came Ahmed started to help his father in his work. Ahmed had a handsome face and people liked him to get them chai and to carry their shopping for them.  Life was simple, chai had a price, everyone knew it.  The sweet drink made customers happy.

Ahmed's customers liked his smiling face.

Ahmed’s customers liked his smiling face.

As for carrying cases some people were generous, others were not.  In the end Ahmed picked up about the same amount of money every week.

Ahmed had learnt the Holy Koran at the mosque.  He had learnt that it is important to be honest, but with time he started to notice that his father was not always honest with his customers.  Sometimes his father would say one thing and do another.  The customers would be puzzled and some would think, “Ah, this is a language problem,” or that the customs were different in Ahmed’s country.  But what Ahmed’s father did not take into consideration is that people have long memories and that people know other people.  When it came to recommending a taxi driver or a business man, for every customer who was cheated, ten customers might go to other business men for their trade as a result.

A person’s good name is worth more than silver or gold.  Silver or gold come and go,  but a good name, once it has gone will take a long time to regain and more usually, once it has gone, it has gone forever.  Other people are very willing to spread news of a bad name.  This is because they do not wish their friends to have a bad experience and be cheated, or because they themselves, if they are tradesmen, may benefit from work that might have gone to the dishonest businessman.

Ahmed had two choices.  He realised he could either try to make his father change his ways or he could set up in his own name resolved to be completely honest.  If a customer thinks they are being cheated they may become frustrated and angry.  They feel like they are ‘juggling with sand’, so they take their custom elsewhere for their own peace of mind.

Ahmed decided to speak to his father about his concerns.  His father said, “God does not expect me to be perfect, if I am honest ninety percent of the time,  God will not judge me to be a bad man?”

“I am not thinking about God judging you, Father.  I am thinking about our good name.  It is people who will be judging you right now.  If we cheat even only ten percent, they could easily ruin our reputation, and they certainly would not come back or send their friends to us.”  Ahmed’s father scratched his chin.  “I have never thought of it like that.  You could be right, son.  I think I will have to give this some consideration.”

Ahmed was pleased that his father was willing to change his dishonest ways.  He felt their future would be more secure if they were always dependable.  What do you think?

Questions

Do you know any traders or business people that you or your parents can trust completely?

Would you go to a different trader if you already knew one who would always be honest with you and everyone else?

Would you return to someone and ask them to work for you if they had cheated you or your friends before?

Not every one believes in God, those who do often think that God is watching what they do. Whether or not God is watching we can be sure that people are watching and noticing what we do. 

If we all act in ways that we would like other people to act towards us, what effect would that have on all our lives?