“When a journey is set with a clear mission and right direction, the success of reaching the destination becomes certain.” These are the words of Dr Abdul Kader Fazlani, Chairman of Sopariwala Exports Pvt. Ltd. Within just three decades Dr. Fazlani has earned international fame from his successful business venture. He has been awarded Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree and has also completed Master in International Business degree. Besides doing business, the selfless servant of humanity has tried to explore all avenues to help the less privileged, which are generally neglected by rich.
Danish Reyaz shares the key points discussed with him in an interview.
Q: Please throw some light on the business journey from a small Tendu Leaf manufacturing to taking business to multiple countries throughout the world?
It all started during a time when my father Mr. Abdul Lateef was not doing well in livelihood. His mentor Pir Sahab suggested him to do business. Following his advice, my father purchased a shop and started a small wholesale business. Initially the financial condition was so bad that he had to struggle to pay even the stamp duty. However, with the passage of time and with grace of Allah, the shop earned great reputation. After completing my studies, I approached my elder brother Mr. Abdul Gaffar to permit me to do business on my own. Upon getting his position in 1980, I started Tobacco business locally and after a short while managed to export it. God has been kind enough to succeed us in every business transaction and by making us the prime supplier of tobacco.
Can you share a set of principles that makes a business successful?
A firm faith in lord and follow what is essential in the business (as per rulings of faith) with integrity, especially abstaining from dealing with interest, paying (poor due) Zakat timely. If still one faces challenges,he/ she should remember that “indeed with every difficulty comes ease” and submit all the matters to the almighty Allah. Alhamdulillah, I believe I am doing well by following these principles.
Are there any specific reasons that you are often seen indulging yourself in a lot of social work viz-a-viz your business engagements?
Alhamdulillah, Allah has bestowed most of his blessings on me. In order to be grateful for these blessings, and create and maintain a better and stronger connection with my creator, I have to keep myself physically and spiritually connected with Him in all the acts that I do. I find the best way to do this is by serving the creation of the creator by providing Education, empowerment and better healthcare to the less privileged of the society.
Q: How is the Indian Law for Muslim businessman?
India being culturally rich and diversified, makes it a potential business hub. The good news is that it is open to all the people irrespective of their social backgrounds and faiths. I have so far not found any disparity while doing businesses like Tobacco, Oilseeds, Spices, Pulses,Rice, andFlora.
Q; Any event in your life you still remember?
Since life is full of such events, i would for the paucity of time and space, like to mention three of them:
- During my early days in business, happened to travel to Saudi Arabia to visit one of my customers there. While receiving me, he asked me about the well-being of my father, with whom he believed he had closed the deal. I quickly enquired that if he really spoke with him because it was me every time who was in contactwith him. He was astonished to know that. And appreciated my way of handling the business matters at that young age. He also advised me to support a beard, which I am following tilldate.
- I had exported one billion worth of tobacco from India to Yemen. Since the consignment was kept on the lowest floor of the ship it got decayed. At the time of unloading the material at the port, I was present there and was upset and frustrated to see the condition of the material. Meanwhile, I left for Umrah with a heavy heart. When I returned from Umrah, surprisingly, I was paid full price of the goods by the Shaikh. I asked him how this happened? You are paying me the full price of decayedmaterial? Shaikh replied that when you left, a customer came to me who urgently required material. l explained to him all the discrepancies of material. In spite of that he bought the goods and the deal got closed. You see God was kind enough and showered his blessings.
- An interesting story is related to one of my customers who happened to be a Christian lady. After finishing her shopping from my shop, she used to wait for long hours in search of a taxi driver wearing a skull cap and supporting a beard. Out of curiosity, when I asked her about this she replied that she trusts only practicing Muslims and that is why she used to wait for long hours for a Muslim driver with whom she feels safe totravel.
Q: Any food cravings you want to share?
Yes, I like to have spicy food. I am very fond of Kabab and fish. Even though I’m prescribed to refrain from eating certain food, I still cannot hold myself from tasting my favourite dishes.