"I made the most courageous decision of reopening and restarting the factory, which had been closed for ten years..."
Author: Aysha Sanober
Girls are pampered and sheltered in our orthodox conservative society and are not allowed to gain knowledge and fly high.
Khadijah Binte Khuwaylid, the first wife of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), was a wealthy tradeswoman, the richest woman in Mecca, who exported goods as far away as Syria. To manage her large business, she employed several males, and to do so then in Arabia, necessitated that you have a high level of understanding and wisdom.
One of the sayings of our beloved prophet Muhammad (PBUH) “If you educate a boy..you educate a person, but If you educate a girl..you educate a family(nation)and benefit an entire community” .she is raising the future generation.
I am the only daughter and daughter-in-law, who got married at the age of 15 after completing my tenth grade to one of the leather industry's biggest names.
As life is not always rosy and has its ups and downs, likewise even our life had twists & turns with trials & tribulations. My husband is the only son of the greatest philanthropists and business tycoons in the Ambur Leather Tanning Industry.
My father-in-law's demise in the year 2008 shattered my husband very badly. He could not manage the vast empire due to his soft reserved nature and lack of experience, which had already brought dry days in our lives when the factory had gone bankrupt. His kindness and trust issues with wrong people had given him lessons for life. He had always been compared to his father's aura, intelligence, and brilliance.
My husband-My Inspiration, Who had encouraged me to take the most courageous decisions of reopening and restarting the factory, which had been closed for ten years following his Father’s death. In 2018, I entered into the business of leather and footwear by starting small with the supply of reinforcement technical textile to the footwear industry, which had never been seen or heard in the history of Ambur where women stepped out in a male-oriented industry. There were blame games and taunts thrown towards me; when women support another woman, incredible things happen, and I am lucky to have my mother in law who had been super strong by standing with me by letting me conquer in a society where a woman can't even step out, let alone in a male-dominated industry.
I was tortured a lot by society to take my steps backward. I was labeled as a "bad example" and was given so many false allegations on my name. My character was assassinated to make me look weak, but Alhamdulillah Allah has always been kind to me and my family. My husband has been a rock-solid supporter through these three years of my entrepreneurship journey where I raised my voice for the change towards empowerment of Muslim women. I had to approach the executive members of “All India Muslim Personal Law Board” for help to guide me on the fatwa regarding “women in business.” They were super supportive by advising me not to deviate from my path and get going for my goals, not bothering about what society has to say as “Islam allows women to do business accordingly to the shariah rules.” I am not answerable to anyone but the Almighty Allah alone.
Despite all the difficulties and challenges, “I always believed in myself,” and people were pointing fingers at me, labeling me a “loser,” but that never mattered to me at all as I am a student of learning and I believed in “Learn before you Earn”..we need to learn about our product that we sell & you can never sell your product if you have no knowledge about the pros & cons of it., I had gained experiences and learned new things each day. I accepted failure positively as it taught me lessons to improve & I traveled extensively, meeting new people and connecting to learn until one day when Allah brought me to the Ministry of Commerce UAE, Dubai's Business Women Council, where I was introduced to UN women delegates.
I participated with the government and international organizations to promote women's empowerment by organizing programs with the EDII for women in the areas of capacity building, skill development, mentoring, financial help, and entrepreneurship guidance, among other things.
I first learned about LedBy from one of the Tamil Nadu government's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)cell executives. She sent me a link to the articles, and I found your vision to be both motivating and honorable. We need a platform like this so that more Muslim women are recognized for who they are and how far they've come so that they keep inspiring and pushing other women in their community as well!