World Famous Chocolate Brand Godiva Partners with Muslim Ad Network for Eid al-Fitr Promotion

With a Belgian heritage dating back to 1926, GODIVA Chocolatier is the global leader in premium chocolate. Inspired by the values of Lady Godiva – her passion, generosity, and pioneering spirit — GODIVA’s legendary name has become a universal symbol of luxury, quality and the most delicious chocolate.191071_ramadan_36ballotin

The chocolatier has a presence in more than 80 countries with over 500 boutiques, in addition to a presence in Global Travel Retail, department and specialty stores, and online.

GODIVA offers a range of chocolate creations and is dedicated to innovation and excellence in the Belgian tradition.

From its famous truffles and shell-molded chocolate pieces to its European-style biscuits, individually wrapped chocolates, gourmet coffees, hot cocoa and other indulgences, GODIVA is committed to bringing the ultimate chocolate experience to the world.

For the second year in a row, GODIVA is offering a delicious way to partake in Eid al-Fitr celebrations. The chocolatier has customized two of its iconic gold ballotins with a design created specifically for Ramadan with limited-edition packaging.

The luxurious design is available on 19- and 36-piece ballotins, and features a medallion inspired by familiar patterns and motifs found in Islamic architecture and tradition. Each ballotin includes an assortment of milk, dark, and white chocolate, to enjoy as a delicious reward during this month’s celebrations.

Purchase Godiva Eid Boxes

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Balancing Spirituality and Consumption in Ramadan

If there is one month in the year when Muslims increase their acts of worship, it’s the blessed month of Ramadan. This includes everything from engaging in the required 5 daily prayers, reading the Qu’ran, meeting with our family and friends to break our fast on a consistent basis, concentrating extra hard this month on fasting not just from eating, but also controlling our ears and eyes as well.  

However, while spirituality is often emphasized and consumption is perceived as a negative habit during the blessed month, we must not forget a saying from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) regarding Giving Gifts during this time.

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him said:

Give each other gifts and you will love each other.”

This prophetic statement tells us that we shouldn’t be worried if God will be upset at us if we go shopping during this blessed month of Ramadan to buy gifts for our loved ones.  As the Hadith says, giving gifts to one another will increase our love and affection towards one another.  It’s not the Gift that you bought that counts, its the thought that counts most.  This builds a stronger relationship amongst people and repairs any damage in where there was a fragile relationship.  

The Prophet (peace be upon him) “used to accept gifts and used to give something in return.” 

Gift giving increases love and affection among people.  For this the gift does not have to be given on a particular occasion or of a particular standard. Whatever is given to promote harmony between Muslims, seeking with this God’s Pleasure, will be a source of happiness on the Day of Judgement. The more we love God, the more we will love His creation and desire to give people good things, good sentiments and good advice.

If we give presents to each other because it is the Sunnah of God’s Beloved Messenger and because following his Sunnah will make God pleased with us, then this gift giving is praiseworthy. On the other hand, if we give gifts in order to receive something in return, then this type of gift giving will bring us no lasting good. When we give presents in order to show off what we can afford to give, this arrogance invites God’s wrath and punishment.

Muslim Consumption during this month is very high as we are doing Iftars (break fast) which we either Cater or make the food to feed a large group of people.  We have gatherings at the masjid after Taraweeh where we discuss topics on Islam called Qiyam and a way to do more ibaadah at night at the masjid.  But the Muslim Market is the busiest during Ramadan because of how important this month is in all levels.  

People are buying gifts  and restaurants are very busy due to the increase of activity during Ramadan by Muslims.  In Muslim Countries such as Pakistan, it is known that during Ramadan all the shopkeepers are open all day into the night because of how busy they get because of the shopping of clothe, gifts, toys, food during this month.  It is the busiest month out of the year because Eid is around the corner and Muslim Consumption is at an all time high around the world.

We must be conscious of the Muslim Market and how it has evolved from nothing to an increase of Muslim Companies opening up daily all around the world to meet the demands of the evergrowing Muslim Population.  

Muslims make up 1.6 Billion, or 23% of the Worlds Population, making it the 2nd Largest Religion and Fastest Growing Religion in the world (Accoring to Pew Research)

The Muslim Consumption has increased and even Non-Muslim Companies must cater to Muslims because of the ever-growing population.

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Ramadan Shopping: How Brands are Catering to the Muslim Market

While the blessed month of Ramadan is not necessarily a time where Muslims think about shopping and consumption, rather re-connecting with the spiritual.

One trend that can’t be denied is the rise of consumer brands which are using this time of the year to tailor and spark increased engagement with the Muslim market.

We’ve been noticing some of the most popular brands capitalizing on this and wanted to share what we found below.

Brands Catering to Muslims in Ramadan

1) Godiva:

Last year, Godiva, a manufacturer of premium chocolates introduced Ramadan gift boxes.

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Description

“Present friends and family with GODIVA for a delicious — and much-appreciated — end to the day. Or share it during your Eid al-Fitr celebrations. Our Gold Ballotin features a Ramadan decorated ribbon and pick. As always, it’s filled with an irresistible assortment of pralines, ganaches, caramels, and nuts and fruits in milk, dark, and white chocolate. 36 pcs.”

2) Edible Arrangements

Edible arrangements, the US based franchising business that specializes in fresh fruit arrangements created the “Ramadan Kareem Bouquet™ Dipped Strawberries & Pineapple”.

Ramadan - edible arrangements

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

“A beautiful centerpiece overflowing with juicy pineapple daisies, strawberries, honeydew, cantaloupe, grapes, fresh orange slices, and topped with a constellation of pineapple stars and a single crescent moon. A delicious addition to any Ramadan gathering.”

3) Coca-Cola

The world’s leading carbonated soft drink company has shown a much higher attentiveness to Muslims around the world during this time.

Incorporating Ramadan themed packaging for their products (as seen below) coupled with seasoned commercials.

cola_muslim_ramadan

So, which brands have you seen catering to Muslims around Ramadan? Share your thoughts and experiences below.

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Supernatural Thriller “Jinn” in Theaters 4-4-2014

Based on Arabic mythology, Director Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad’s upcoming action film Jinn, is a thrilling fusion of fantasy and reality. Ancient Arabic legend states that God created three entities: man from clay, angels from light, and a race called Jinn from smokeless fire.

This legend is retold through a crisp and contemporary lens, poising the Jinn as a terrifying and evil spirit that begins terrifying modern society.

Jinn Movie Poster Official 2

The film focuses on protagonist Shawn, played by Dominic Rains, and his wife Jasmine, played by Serinda Swan, as they discover a supernatural force that confronts them. Through his quest Shawn finds a diverse collection of allies and friends including Father Westhoff, played by William Atheron, and mental patient Ali, played by Faran Tahir.

Jinn Trailer

What makes jinn unique is its blending of mysticism, fantasy, science fiction, and lore, bringing legend from deep rooted culture onto the movie screen.

Drawing from its complex history, this film takes an equally complex nature, discussing a wide variety of themes and thought-provoking questions. Faith, religion, and fiction are brought into play all with stunning special effects and thrills.

Don’t forget to tell your friends about Jinn in theaters this Friday. See where’s playing  http://jinnthemovie.com/listings 

For more about Jinn visit- http://www.jinnthemovie.com

Follow updates on the official Jinn Facebook and Twitter Pages

* This is a sponsored post 

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Top 10 Characteristics of a Muslim Professional

At Muslim Ad Network, we pride ourselves to follow the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) teachings. This blog post will go through the top Ten Characteristics we feel are necessary of a Muslim Professional.

Below are some saying from the Prophet (PBUH) and Ayah from the Quran that is a reminder for all of us as Muslims:

“They believe in God and the Last Day, and enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and vie with one another in doing good works and these are among the righteous.”– Quran 3:114

Allah says in the Quran: “And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose. Verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion” – (Surah Al-Talaq)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “If only you relied on Allah a true reliance, He would provide sustenance for you just as He does the birds: They fly out in the morning empty and return in the afternoon with full stomachs. (Ahmad, An-Nasa’I, Ibn Majah, Al-Hakim and At-Tirmidhi)

1) Accountability - The first characteristic of a Muslim Professional is being Accountable.

  • Always keep your word. The Prophet (PBUH) says, Each time you keep a commitment you are rewarded by Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) for obeying Him. If you mix a few drops of wine in a glass full of water, it spoils the whole glass of water and makes it unfit for consumption. Similarly, dishonesty in any sphere of your life permeates and corrupts your entire nature and eeman. When a person’s words carry no weight, it only reveals his/her treacherous nature. [Baihaqi]

  • We have often seen that one of the biggest things Muslims are known for is fulfilling what you have committed to doing.  We must make our Niat (intention) to complete the task at hand and to be able to deliver on time.  This is what it means to be Accountable.

2)  Courtesy - We treat our fellow co-workers, managers, customers, subordinates, and partners with courtesy and follow the steps of our Prophet (PBUH).

  • Abu Darda (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Nothing will be heavier on the Day of Resurrection in the scale of the believer than good manners. Allah hates one who utters foul or coarse language.” [Tirmidhi]
  • We as Muslims, need to set an example of what it means to be a Muslim.  For example, if we always cursed and portrayed negative habits at the workplace, our fellow Non-Muslims that you work with will have a negative perception of Islam.  Therefore, if a positive courteous image is portrayed, then they will be drawn towards Islam and will have a positive image of Muslims.  We need to be ambassadors of Islam and should know that as a Muslim Professional we always must have the highest of courtesy.

3) Respect –  We as Muslims must give respect to our fellow brothers / sisters at all times.

  • He Is Not Quality Muslim Who Does Not Show Kindness To The Young Ones And Respect To The Older Ones.   [Tirmidhi]
  • This is a basic principle of a Muslim to be able to control your ego, your anger at times when things are not going the way they are supposed to.  As a Muslim, we must give respect at all times regardless of the situation and whether things are going the way you want them to go.
  • We have seen in our countries back home and even Muslims abroad in America, that our ego overtakes what Islam teaches us and that is to be respectful towards everyone, not just Muslims.  As a Muslim Professional, this is one of the most basic characteristics that we must all strive to have.

4)  Honesty – When making decisions / taking actions, we must remember that our religion teaches being truthful. We make sure that in every dealing that we have with our peers, superiors, or customers, we are always being honest even if it may not make us look good, Honesty in Eyes of Allah is obligatory, and the right way.

  • Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, truthfulness leads to righteousness and righteousness leads to Paradise. A man may speak the truth until he is recorded with Allah as truthful. Verily, falsehood leads to wickedness and wickedness leads to the Hellfire. A man may tell lies until he is recorded with Allah as a liar.” [Sahih Muslim]

  • Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The buyer and the seller have the option of canceling or confirming the bargain unless they separate, and if they spoke the truth and made clear the defects of the goods, then they would be blessed in their bargain, and if they told lies and hid some facts, their bargain would be deprived of Allah’s blessings”.( Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 34, Number 293)

  • The Hadith tveaches us that if we want barakah in our jobs, careers, businesses, organizations, we must be honest and not try to take advtantage of another individual or party be knowingly decieving them and lying to them.  As a Muslim Professional, it is expected for you to follow the teachings of Allah and our Prophet (PBUH) to be truthful when speaking or conducting business.  Any transaction that is made on lies, there will be bigotry, no barakah, no blessings from Allah in that transaction.  It will end up hurting you more then you think you will gain from it.

5)  Punctuality –  We are always on time, Punctuality is about keeping an amaanah (Trust أمانة).  The hadith below teaches us that we as Muslim Professionals should follow the prophet’s sayings of prayers being on time.  Therefore, if there are meetings, events, calls, then we must adhere to the time and be there on time as the Prophet has taught us.

  • Narrated Jarir bin ‘Abdullah: I gave the pledge of allegiance to Allah’s Apostle for to offer prayers perfectly, to pay Zakat regularly, and to give good advice to every Muslim.
  • As a Muslim Professional, the precedence that should be set is for us to always be on time and not be late.  Our Niat (intention) must be to conduct business in a timely manner and not being punctual.  This is a sunnah that the prophet teaches us even in our daily 5 prayers.  The reward of praying salah on time is much greater then praying salah after the time it was prescribed.  We can use the same example when coming to meetings, joining calls, or being somewhere to conduct business.

6)  Tranquility – As a Muslim, we must show calmness at all times and be in a state of peace.  We can get tied up in long meetings, disagreements, heated discussions, arguments.

As a Muslim Professional, you must be able to show patience and calm, being in a untroubled state.  This will cause a more positive working environment and provide everyone comfort when speaking to each other and speaking their mind.  Having a state of Tranquility (calmness) will bring ease and stress-free working environment.

  • Allah says: “Those who believe and whose hearts find tranquility in the remembrance of Allah, verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find tranquility.” [Surah Ar-Radd: 28]

  • Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Richness is not having many possessions. Rather, true richness is the richness of the soul.”

  • Al-Bara reported: A man was reciting the chapter of the cave (surah al-kahf) and there was a horse tied with two ropes at his side, a cloud overshadowed him, and it came nearer and nearer as his horse became frightened of it. He went to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, in the morning and mentioned that to him. The Prophet said, “Continue reciting. Verily, that was tranquility which came down for the recitation of the Quran.”

7)  Focus –  We remain focused on the task at hand and the goal ahead. We navigate through obstacles or setbacks but never lose sight of where we are headed and are focused to get the job done regardless of the challenges faced.

  • Our prophet would go through battles during Ramadan and through hard times, but he remained focused to the duty of his people.  This is a reminder from Allah that we must focus on our priorities and stick to them and don’t lose sight!

8)  Self-Critical –  As a Muslim, We must look our selves in the mirror first before pointing out faults of others.

  • The Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘Blessed is he who preoccupies himself with his own defects, rather than those of others.’ (Musnad Al-Bazzâr)

  • We must be able to look ourselves in the mirror first before we point out faults of others.  We must be non-judgmental and not make presumptions as Muslims.

  • As a Muslim Professional, this is very important, when there is a conflict or a critical situation, then one must look at himself first before standing ground and being firm in their own opinion.  This will help resolve issues and conflicts and will avoid conflicts to drag on and grow bigger and bigger.

9)  Ethics –  We strive to choose the option that is based on sound Islamic tenets, even when other alternatives appear more profitable/easier in the short run.   We must always choose the right thing to do, and not undermine Allah’s injunctions or any individual(s).

  • “The noblest of you in the sight of Allāh is the best of you in conduct” (49:13).

10)  Faith –  We have faith in Allah in whatever we do as a professionals.  We must remember that Allah is the king of kings and the best planner.  We always begin with saying ‘Bismillah’ and always end with saying ‘Alhamdulillah’.  It’s a blessing what he has given to us to allow us to succeed in our professional careers.

  • “They believe in God and the Last Day, and enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and vie with one another in doing good works and these are among the righteous.” – Quran 3:114

  • Allah says in the Quran: “And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose. Verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion” (Surah Al-Talaq)

  • Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “If only you relied on Allah a true reliance, He would provide sustenance for you just as He does the birds: They fly out in the morning empty and return in the afternoon with full stomachs. (Ahmad, An-Nasa’I, Ibn Majah, Al-Hakim and At-Tirmidhi)

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Shura In Business

Internalizing the Concept of Shura in the Corporate World

As “Muslim” Ad Network, one of our main organizational goal is to inculcate Islamic business practices as part of our daily operations.  The obvious source is our Prophet who prior to attaining Prophethood, was a businessman taking numerous trips throughout Arabia.

His vast business experience helped him in dealing with people with great care. He often used to mention the names of people and tribes whom he met in his journeys. People were often amazed of his knowledge of people and their regions. The Prophet emphasized that honesty and kind dealings with customers are the secrets of success in business. He said, “The truthful and honest merchant is associated with the Prophets, the upright and the martyrs” (Al-Tirmidhi). “God shows mercy to a person who is kindly when he sells, when he buys and when he makes a claim” (Al-Bukhari). The Prophet gave many teachings on business and economic issues, he covered almost every aspect of business and economics. – Dr. Muzammil Siddiqui

Besides honesty and truthfulness, Shura is a crucial part of the Islamic organizational system be it in the political, business or family sphere.  It allows common people to participate in the decision-making process and helps create an organization that engages actively with leaders.  In today’s business parlance, it is more commonly referred to as ‘bottoms-up decision making’ contrasted with the more traditional and hierarchical ‘top-down’ decision making.  Whether one is better than the other depends on the organization and the type of decision to be made.  But with the way the Prophet provided a practical example of how he implemented Shura, we find a sweet spot.

Consultation is important in building a solid relationship between the leader and the organization.  It is important to note that Shura does not equate majority rule.  The final decision does rest with the leader (Amir).  The Prophet provided numerous examples of him taking Shura from his companions where his decision was inline with the suggestions of his companions.  The most notable examples are during the time of the Battle of Uhad and Khandaq where he preferred the decision of his companions over his.  What makes this action incredible is that the Prophet and companions around him fully know that the Prophet receives divine guidance.  There is no need for the Prophet to consult anyone since he knows that the decision he will come up with will be the best.  However, he still solicited input from his companion and in some cases overrode his opinion and went with the suggestions of his companion.  The pre-war council of battle of Uhad and Khandaq provide prime examples of that.

However, in some cases the Prophet, after consulting with his companion, still decided against the suggestion and opinions of others.  At the time of signing of Treaty of Hudaibia, most if not all of the companion were not in favor of the terms.  However, the Prophet made his divine judgement and signed the treaty.  This shows that it is not necessary to always go with the majority after conducting Shura.  However, it is still paramount to conduct a Shura before making the decision.  From an organizational perspective, a CEO or leader should consult with his prior to important decision and then use his/her best judgement to make the final call.  The organization should respect that decision and march ahead.  Of course it is the duty of the leader to motivate and convince his organization that the decision made is the best for the business.

Key learning from the Prophet’s examples provide us with an understanding of why Shura is important:

  • Shura allows various points of views to be brought to the table.  Each person brings his/unique life experiences into the suggestions that may fit the situation at hand better than that of just the leader.
  • By discussion, multiple ideas can be brought together and morphed into a more optimum decision
  • Shura makes the people feel empowered and increases the self-esteem of the organization.  A leader by asking his team of their opinions, implicitly induces confidence and self-worth in each person on the team.

The last point above becomes crucial when developing leadership within a corporate organization is a key objective.  Investing in developing leadership within the organization is a requirement for company to thrive in today’s global, knowledge and data based economy.

 

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Travel…the new Halal destination

For the longest time, the primary focus of the vast majority of Muslims was to find sources of Halal Food.  Over the years, the halal food industry grew from local butchers and grocery stores to restaurants to big name brands.  Travel is the new Halal focus now and is poised tapping into another huge but under-served market.  The global Muslim Travel industry by some estimates  is worth about $130B in 2013 expecting to grow to $200B by 2020.  Bear n mind this is excluding religious travel for Hajj or Umrah.  It represents almost 12% of total global tourism market and is bigger than the US travel market.

New companies like HalalTripCrescentrating and others are bringing the Muslim travel ecosystem into the digital age of web 2.0 and mobile.  An industry that was dominated by offline travel agents is now getting disrupted by new entrants who are vying to become the next TripAdvisor and Travelocity for the Muslim market.

The big factor driving this growth potential is the change in Muslim demographics.  Whereas before Muslim travel was limited to the small elites, they are now joined by the growing middle class of young Muslim consumers.  The consumers represent 2nd generation Muslims born and raised in North America and Europe to immigrant parents who are now entering the professional and highly educated work force in droves with a greater portion of disposable income.  Additionally Muslims from traditionally ‘Islamic’ countries like Malaysia and Indonesia who have benefited from the rising economic tide in their respective countries are also looking to find travel destinations suitable with their Islamic beliefs.  These consumers are tech savvy and expect and demand products and services that offer them with a Muslim-centric experience while drawing from tools developed by successful mainstream web companies.

Halal Travel is more than just providing a list of halal restaurants available in a destination.  Companies who offer a carefully curated experience combining travel information that includes Muslim history, mosques, restaurants and ways to connect with the local community albeit for a short period of time stand to connect with their customers at a deep level.  IslamiCity has been successfully operating an annual tour to destinations like China and Spain for a number of years.  There are countless other permutations of providing such packages and services.  It is encouraging to see the industry becoming more dynamic as it tries to connect with their Muslim consumers.

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Top 4 Websites For Finding Your Next Halal Experience

1) Zabihah.com

This one is a no brainer. With over 10,000 reviewed restaurants and  markets worldwide, zabihah.com has helped promote the expansion of the halal restaurant industry in the West and is credited by many restaurants for making the provision of halal meals economically viable.

Currently, up to 20% of zabihah.com’s 10 million annual users access restaurant listings and reviews through mobile devices such as the iPhone, which alone has had 100,000 application downloads since its launch.

Over a decade of precise market data from our global user base has provided zabihah.com with unprecedented consumer demographic information and marketing opportunities that will benefit the worldwide Halal industry as it continues to develop.

2) CrescentTours.com

The world’s leading independent Halal Tourism specialist, crescent tours offers quality halal leisure holidays and Islamic Heritage Tours.

Crescent ToursCrescent Tours is a global brand with a state-of-art information website, which provides its customers full unbiased information and allows booking their dream halal holidays online, fully tailored to their individual needs.

All accommodation facilities are operated in accordance with Islamic norms. Resorts and hotels with Crescent Tours do not serve alcohol and have separate swimming pools and beach, leisure areas and spa facilities for men and women. All our entertainment programs are within norms of Islam too.

3) CrescentRating.com

The vision is clear. To enable Muslims to explore the world with a peace of mind by leading the growth of “Halal Friendly Travel” to benefit Travelers, Travel Service providers, Our Shareholders and the Community as a whole.

CrescentRating has also developed the world first rating system to rate Travel & Hospitality Services and Facilities for Halal Friendliness. These include the availability of Halal Food or information on Halal Food, Prayer information, etc.

With the growth of Muslim travelers forecasted to outpace the growth of other travel segments, Halal Friendly Travel market is increasingly becoming a key segment for the travel industry and sites like CrescentRating offer a valuable resource to Muslim consumers.

4) Yelp.com

While Yelp isn’t a niche directly/website for the Muslim consumer, it
does offer a large database of halal restaurants.  Yelp_Logo_No_Outline_Color

Just in NYC alone, you can find over 2,000+ halal restaurants on Yelp.  Of course, the legitimacy of each listing can be further validated.

In Q3 of 2013, Yelp had a monthly average of 117 million unique visitors and more importantly Yelpers have written more than 47 million reviews.

This certainly plays a huge role in helping consumers make more educated decisions.

There you have it. While the Muslim market is steadily growing, new websites are being produced each year around halal tourism and finding local restaurants.

If there are any other websites you’re using, feel free to drop a line below and share it with us!

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