Harun Rashid of Islamic Design House on Difficult Conversations

Episode 13

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Hosted by
Maruf Yusupov

I help people discover their purpose in life and follow their passion to live in prosperity.

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Harun Rashid is a serial entrepreneur. He is also the co-founder of Islamic Design House – a pioneering modest fashion brand.

In recent years, he was involved in MEN – Muslim Enterperenuer Network and Leverage Program where his integrity was put to test.

It was a difficult conversation. However, we still need to talk about these issues in our community to learn from our mistakes.

I hope you will enjoy this episode and let us know what you think.

Learning never stops…

–Harun Rashid

Show Notes

Islamic Design House
www.islamicdesignhouse.com

Interview transcript

Maruf: Hey, Assalamualaikum! Welcome to the show Muslims On Fire. And this is your host Maruf. Today, I have a friend from the UK. His name is Harun Rashid. I want to make a quick clarification or disclaimer whatever you want. 

So how do I know he’s not paying anything to come to the show and it wasn’t hard on his PhD. I feel I came to him to teach the show. So having said that we invite guests. There are like over on with additional. Assalamualaikum, Harun. Welcome to the show.

Harun: Waalaikumsalam! Thank you for having me, Maruf. It’s a great pleasure. And hopefully, I would do some justice to in a conversation. 

Maruf: Yeah, let’s hope so. So however, how are things?

Harun: Great, Alhamdulillah! You know how life is. Sometimes it’s up and sometimes it’s down. It’s great. 

Maruf: It’s good. Okay, so if you’re ready, we’re gonna dip dive. 

Harun: Fire away. 

Maruf: Okay, sounds good. So, Harun, tell us about your childhood. Where did you grow up? Your early childhood memories and what shaped you who you are today? 

Harun: You know, it’s an interesting point to start. But yeah, I mean, I originally came from Bangladesh. I was born in Bangladesh and I grew up and I came to London with my parents when I was eight years old, I believe. 

And I didn’t go to school here in London until I was I think almost 10. So, I had you know a little late start to school, but I think I caught up fast enough and haven’t done too bad for myself. Okay, despite not gonna have English as a first language. 

And having to learn at a much later age than most of the people that I went to school with. And, yeah, so you could say I was raised in London, spent the last 30 years in London, mostly. 

But obviously, you know, I’ve traveled extensively as well, which I’m very fortunate to have done. But yeah, I went to school then college also went to university. I was initially studying to get into science perhap into medicine as well. 

But I went to university for about a year and after you know one year. I kind of felt a bit lost that you know, I didn’t know what my purpose of why I was in university. So I took one year out. 

Maruf: Okay.

Harun: And In that year, I actually got into it and I got into not that the programming side but more Network inside and I did really well and I realized that I loved it very much as a consumer. 

Maruf: You say networking, right? When you say networking. You mean the real networking, lan networks or you mean the networking with people? What do you mean by that? 

Harun: No. I mean the network IT infrastructure.  

Maruf: Okay, cool. Like real networking.

Harun: Exactly. But networking with students. So, I got into networking. I did my CCNA and I did really well in my exams and I kind of realize that you know what I can. I liked IT a lot and I liked working. I’m good with my hands. I’m a very practical person, you know.

And I enjoy doing things that involve some level or in fact a lot of physical activity and this one networking requires and I know I was in love. Within one year, I managed to get myself a really good job within a school where I was managing nearly 1500 computers. And they kind of put the system. So that’s cool.

Maruf: So you were a sysadmin that’s what called I guess, right? You know, there is his admin. I guess it’s called the what’s called, right? 

Harun: Yes. I was networking admin and I was managing all the server’s, the router, the swiss, all these information. 

Maruf: And I could have never guessed you would tell me this. Because I would have guessed maybe you learn marketing.

But you’re telling me that you actually came from the networking spear that I guess. 

Harun: Not many people knew this. I think that was my early years of my interests includeing computers.

And you know back then not many people you have to build a computer and nothing you have to build a computer. Then you could actually charge quite a bit of money back then, you know, to build a computer for somebody you’re talking about anywhere from five hundred to a couple of thousand pounds.

Because not many people. You had to be better than computers didn’t even come as cheap as they do nowadays. And, yeah, while actually working for this organization, I realized that you know, my real potential was in entrepreneurship. 

And basically, in fact, even would be businesses about the little bit here and there and I didn’t do too well. Obviously, they weren’t successful projects, but I had my first taste of business when I was 18. And then subsequently at the age of 19 to 21 and then I didn’t do anything again until 23.

Maruf: Let me ask you a question. I just don’t understand like, to go into your mind and you were born in Bangladesh. As you said you came when you were 8 you started squad 10. I want to go a little bit back there. So do it two years of Gap. Why was it late to start school at 10 instead of you right away? Because you need to learn English or?

Harun: No. I think It was just getting a place in the school through some difficulties and we had to move locations as well. 

So, you know, it wasn’t easy. Because you know my father surprisingly he had a very tough life as well, you know his whole life. And I kind of like , you know, my family said that you know, I’m kind of making his part. 

But he was very honest and very religious. So, you know, we didn’t have a house that my father put that we lived in, you know, it was nowhere close to you know, where my father had something established that I could build from and to be everything from ground zero.

As you know, my father was a very simple man as well, you know, he didn’t believe in, you know, acquiring wealth and this and I had a lot of great teaching from my father which had shaped my own life and my own decisions up until now.

Maruf: Why do you think acquiring wealth was not part of his main goal in life?

Harun: You know, he was a very religious man and he was very God-fearing and he had his eyes set on you know, always talk about you know, the hereafter and you know, since I remember. 

I never saw him miss, you know, these prayers or statues were really grown on a daily basis. So, you know that love for the Dunya did not exist in him and he brought us up with that foot, you know, however like his life. 

He had done a lot. You know, he lived, he traveled the world. He even carried many jobs. It was also into business a large part of his life. So those stories kind of like movies that inspired me.

You know, two things that I chose to do in my life as well, you know, both my personality character, you know, some of the choices that I’ve made my life no really inspired by the life of my own father.

Maruf: I see. I mean, what’s your thought on wealth? 

Harun: I thought wealth is tools or it’s not the end itself. It’s a means to an end. So if you have you know good ambitions in life and you want to do good in life. And if you have will often you can use it as a tool to be able to achieve those things. 

It’s not an end in itself right in a wealth certainly is not going to make you happy. It’s in fact a huge button. You know, making money is not difficult, keeping money is very difficult, you know and managing money is very difficult and it comes with great responsibility. 

So for me really my aspiration is wealth, you know, if I’ve always been somebody who if I had the money I would spend it and my first point to spend the chair has always been to help people and you know, I’m glad and I’m the oldest in my family. 

So I helped my family and I had a lot of family back in Bangladesh who depend on you know need to provide, on a monthly basis. In fact, some  people, some families, some people who were not well, you know, and I’m always ready to help. So I don’t believe in both, here. 

Maduf: That’s great. So let’s go back to your school time. So when you were studying you started school. You don’t want to think since we did right to really find out about people’s journeys that you know, I mean in a nutshell everybody is when we were born, we grow up, we’re trying to figure out the world, what it is and how we’re going to lead our life. 

And what that thing is like to actually pursue what you really want to do in life. I mean, this actually, begins to shape up at school. Here’s that little something happened to you to do when you are studying different subjects to figure out some of the subjects that I kind of jumped at. You really want to pursue or you know, you were just living your life and I just want to deep dive on that.

Harun: Very interesting question. Actually in the felt when I was in school. I really loved school. I loved going to school and I think in my entire school years. 

I think I probably skip school one day intentionally, right? But I really love going to school and I love learning as well and challenging myself. But generally when I was in school, you know, I was a very shy individuality people who knew me now, would never believe if I told them that I was a very shy boy. 

And with a kid that sits at the back of the class, okay, and doesn’t make a squeak. And you know that doesn’t make a noise. Basically,  that’s because you know, my parents really, you know drilled in us that we needed to do our very best to do, be the very best and try very hard and do well in life.

And not become independent very early. In fact, you know many people don’t know this and I didn’t get to share this with you, but my very first job was when I was 12 years old. And I was getting paid 50 penis in an hour. Right now, it was like one of these markets. 

So technically I had been working since I was 12 and I had never been out of a job or doing something for that long period of time. But my kind of passion in school towards a particular subject was really science. I loved science and you know.

Maruf: Especially science like chemistry or biology or math or talk about which was?

Harun: Yeah. So, basically, science in biology, right? 

I didn’t like chemistry that much. I was great into that when I went to college. I did biology chemistry and mats my elements and you know, I knew that I had a disadvantage because I started very late. 

My other fellow students and friends. They were speaking fluent English and I wasn’t speaking fluent English. I struggled with pronouncing lots of words and putting sentences together. 

So I used to get teased a little bit, you know, by kids which kind of, at that time, affected my self confidence. I think I really came out of my shell and built on my confidence when I was in my, you know, early 20s.

Maruf: It’s a long time and doesn’t it?

Harun: Oh, yeah truly but one thing, you know, I’m very grateful, you know, I think God’s given me the courage to not to have you know taken those say criticisms or you know, being called names, you know, I got very bad eyesight. 

So I just wear glasses, you know some people still call me, you know for Rice goggle eyes those kind of you know, teasing name-calling but I didn’t take these and then, you know, look at myself in a negative way. 

But rather I took these and I thought to myself you know what I want to improve, I’m gonna fight, I’m going to be better. I’m going to get better and I’m going to do amazing things. So and those you know Ambitions. Let’s say were in a self-inflicted meaning, you know put into myself to a summation. 

Then it seems like you know, I came to learn about Tony Robbins and Les Brown and all these personal trainer Gurus many years later, but I was doing a lot of things that they were teaching without even knowing what all of this was. 

And so and I think I’ve always been up for a challenge, you know learning something new and what I find is people who are up for challenges and you know one another And you know do new things and ready to try new things often make it look more mistakes than those who don’t do anything right.

So you were interested in science, then how do you from that point to studying networks of computers? I just wanted to know the connection. 

Harun: Yeah!

Maruf: Why didn’t you end it as a doctor, Right? That’s why yeah, much more money, I guess.

Harun: That was the purpose of going towards  and I was at University and one day I found myself looking at my record at a very thick book like Mili a 500 page thick book that said, you know this cell. 

Okay, and we know that in 1. There’s like I think 10 million cells or something. And I’m studying that one particular cell and it just didn’t down me that you know, what am I really learning useful knowledge or completely and useful knowledge. 

And literally that moment I decided that you know what I need to take in some time. Up to try and really discover what I want to do and that was towards the end of my first year at University.

And I literally took that is a year-round and I never went back. I didn’t quite complete my bachelor’s degree, but learning never stops. I think you know the man and learning the I did there after you know in particular around Business and Entrepreneurship, you know, it’s probably equivalent to a couple of you know, doctrines. 

Maruf: I see. I understand. You’re saying that you started your journey as like to be a doctor probably that’s why you were selling your biology, right? So after studying here you find out well, maybe it’s not for me. I want to take a timeout. I want to ponder upon you know what I’m really interested in.

As you said kind of follow the different path like networking nothing people but in computers, right, so you are studying you’re finished you mentioned you were you were kind of working at one of the school’s is I believe.

And then you’re mentioning you start a couple business, somewhere success summer. So I mean you gotta learn to couple small system failures. Can you mention those businesses? I want to understand how you start.

You know something just to give me some people not everybody starts. 

Harun: Yeah! 

Maruf: Really great business idea or until what really happens is essentially. As an entrepreneur your life is like you’re going to start an idea. It fails you going to study get it fails, but every time along the path, you’re learning something right to towards, Inshallah. 

That’s hopefully this better and one day one of those ideas works and that’s good enough, right not everyone. 

Harun: Exactly.

Maruf: One day succeed. That’s what we see in society. So that’s why we enjoy messing backstories. Go ahead. 

Harun: Yeah. So the first business I started was, you know, 18 or 19, that’s when I kind of got into learning about how to build computers. I watched one of my friends do it and just watched him. I kind of learn how to build computers. 

Maruf: What year are you talking about? Was it, early 90s or ?

Harun: 1997 I think. Early 2000s around that time. So I realized I was quite good at it. I knew where I needed to buy parts from and you know, I started getting people asking me to build computers for them. 

So I thought okay, you know what, I was doing it in my bedroom. And you know, I had all these comparative parts in my bedroom. There wasn’t a lot of space. There were three bedroom flat so you can imagine there was an amount of space. 

So I moved to those relatives, a guy who had a video shop with the rent out in a VCRs back then. 

Maruf: Yeah, I like blockbuster. 

Harun: Yeah, like Blockbusters, right? So he had a little shop in the High Street and he had a room at the fact that he was using so I see look at them here in this room up from you. I’ll see you monthly extra amount of money.

I can’t remember what it was a small amount. And I kind of set up a little shop there. So I told all my customers, clients to meet me there and it kind of started from there, but what I quickly realize is that you know, the likes of PC World Currys were offering computers where people can pay monthly, right? 

Very high speed computers where people could pay monthly. So I know that you know, there’s no longer activity in this business because you know, people can go to truste businesses. Very large businesses.

Maruf: Like Dell? 

Harun: Yeah, Dell. I can tell you that they were offering, you know computers for 500 pounds in a 495. And you could actually pay monthly. Why would they come to me? And I think that was the right decision. 

I kind of packed everything up because I realized you know what this is. There’s no longer activity in it. Give me some earning for about a year or so. You know, which was good. And that was my very first.

Maruf: You learned something useful. You learn a lot of things like customer service. 

Harun: That’s right. Absolutely. I mean I should get a lot of repeat business from people for repairs and upgrades and also a lot of business came to optimization. I don’t think I ever advertised once, right? 

And then after that about a year after doing this I put into a partnership with another friend of mine and it was kind of like a networking business, right? And to be honest. If I’m absolutely honest it was complete, you know savior as a business model, right? 

Maruf: What was it? What was it about? Can you be more?

Harun: It was a networking business. It was one of those very early networking businesses. We’re just honest. I can’t remember the details of it, but it’s to do with the internet and something to do with the internet, right?

I didn’t delve into it too long. I was seven months at most and I realized you know what the business model isn’t right and to be honest, it was more like a pyramid to kind of system and multi-level marketing system which is something that I actually from a very early age to realize that. You know what I didn’t like kind of business model networking.

Maruf: Was it networking like in people or in computers? 

Harun: No, it was in people. 

Maruf: Okay. I have never heard much ligament or.

Harun: And then after that I added another friend of mine and we started importing exporting furniture from China. 

Maruf:Okay.

Harun: And that was pretty good because we managed to get some really good contracts, but what happened was our supplier when Boston Bank of the one that was located in UK and my business partner who was a super-selfish guy friend. 

And I was you know still very shy at that time and you know, I didn’t understand sales and marketing and had to do all this stuff and it was supposed to take care of all those side of business and up more on the operation side.

And he was kind of like lost hearts and you know, he was a bit disheartened once supply when births and I’m proud of myself. 

motivate him to get back to the business through and eventually after trying for about four weeks. 

I realized he was completely lost motivation and I couldn’t possibly do this myself and kind of active him. But I tell you one common thing that I learned from those three attempts a business is that I realized at the first instant of experiencing a problem in the business.

I could get in the town and I gave up, right? The first challenge that I face, I actually just put in the town and I gave up there wasn’t many ways. These pieces could be remodeled and you know, lots of things could have been done in order to make them work, Right?

But you know, I faced my book salad and I gave up so when it came to my fourth business which by then I was 24 years old, right? And I had been working. So this school for almost two years and I was into my third year. And one thing which was my Islamic design, Islamic clothing design.

Maruf: This is your fourth business, right? 

Harun: This is the forth business which you know without going into details of the business. 

I knew nothing about it. In fact, it was inspired by my mother and my sister because my sister’s used to ask my mother to make jilbob’s for them. So they had to go to buy Fabrics from market and bring it to my mother and she knew how to stitch.

So she would make it for them and it kind of just click in me that I know there’s a demand for this because my mother had orders of 1215 borders lined up from my sisters and their friends, right?

And she’s charging 10 to a power outage and I thought, wow, okay, you know and I kind of drove into it when I realized okay, if we can get this designed into shop it wasn’t this idea was that simple like it was just you know, I’ll get my sister’s to help me design some of these.

And I’ll get them made by manufacturer and I’ll give them into shops and girls would go and buy and so am I simple of an idea as it was. But one thing I said to myself is that you know, and I still do affirmations every single morning and pretty much throughout the day.

Any time I look in the mirror that no matter what happens, I will not give up, I will not throw in the towel and that’s what I was determined. Like, you know that I’m not gonna give up no matter what challenge I face. And you can imagine, there were thousands of challenges in this business.

Maruf: I don’t know, if you are familiar with the information, cause I think it is from the,  What’s called, self helping tips, right? 

Although some people do this information. So yeah, I just want to understand something that you learn from somewhere to from someone that permissions is going to be helpful or you just started doing this on your own. I just want to know. What were the inspiration, actually?

Harun: Yeah, it’s funny like, you know, I actually was just doing it to myself. Okay, and I didn’t realize you know. Yeah, I didn’t realize there’s a whole science behind it.

And many years later, right? And it just you know, I would say to myself, things like, you know, if someone else can do well in life or someone else can be successful is why can’t you write you know, what is it that person has that you don’t have, right?

You have a brain, you have hands, your legs, you know, you got a mouth, you have the ability to learn should be, you could do it too, Right? So I would kind of do a lot of those self-reflections, right? 

And the other thing was like don’t ever give up and you know when you face the situation, isn’t it? I never see the problem. I see it as a challenge, right? So even now like any situation that I faced, I didn’t see it as a problem. 

I see it as a challenge that just needs that I need to overcome and the way I’m going to do it is to learn some new information or learning something new or finding somebody who can you know teach you to be a showing tomorrow, right? And that’s all. 

The only difference between a myth challenge has been able to overcome it is me whether I know the information on how to overcome this challenge, but I understand each other well enough or if I know somebody who can actually help me. 

So I immediately go into discovering and finding, you know looking out for the people that I know around me who can help me and start, you know, doing shooters and asking questions and so on. 

And that’s been really what helped me, you know throughout my life is overcoming many challenges that are hard. 

Maruf: Good. So, tell us more about Islamic Design House. So this is how it started and how you guys developed it over the years. 

Harun: Yes, literally like, you know, it just was inspired in 2000. I still remember quite vividly. It was the month of Ramadan and night of Qadar and I just suddenly, you know, I realized that this is what I got to do and you know ideas started flowing in my mind.

And I tell this story and I was told this story before even in front of hundreds of people and I was at a friend’s house and I said to him listen, I think I’ve got a really good idea, right?

And can you give me some paper and pen to write it down. 

And he didn’t have a paper and pen he went running to the toilet and got me some toilet tissue paper and he could have like a broken pencil, right? And I started writing down all these ideas about I don’t know where they came from honestly, you know, like it’s almost you know intuition. 

It’s almost divine inspiration, I honestly l had no idea. I just came from my adult. Unnecessarily, you know about this before but you know, I was thinking about marketing, sales, how to do the production, even design ideas and I started joining it down. 

And I realized by the end of it I had about 10 toilet tissue papers where I have written up all these ideas and we realized they were running late for the night prayer. So I fold it all up putting my back up again and we went to the Mosque and when I got that break to Allah that you know, what if this is a good idea, let it be  made it happen. 

From that every day on work right in the later on I found with a few other friends of mine that to raise more capital we did that and I remember, you know, getting my first tenfold samples done and putting it in a suitcase and going up and down the country to meet, you know back then in a Facebook advertising. And all that wasn’t. 

Maruf: It was just starting  Facebook.

Harin: So I actually went through the yellow pages and I found about 200 addresses of Islamic shops around the country, right? And I saw what I did is I sent 200 letters out to everybody, right even emailing wasn’t so common. 

I said 200 letters out and then I called followed up with a call to the Squadron jobs, right? I managed to get through 50.

Maruf: 55 percent response to meet those.

All right, then I planned out a route to meet those shops over in two weeks. 

So, I was on the road for two weeks with my suitcase and those samples in my bag and I went and met them and a hundred twenty had

18 people placed an order. 

Maruf: So that’s a real entrepreneurship, right? You have an idea, you bet, you pick up your suitcase, so you can go. 

Harun: I am telling you that was like hard work, you know, and it taught me a lot and I tell you the biggest lesson is of me by doing that is that  it’s possible and I can do it, I would do anything to do it. And so how do I tell you what the amazing thing is, it’s almost 15 years, now.

This business, right? And it’s still out of those 18 very beginning people. There’s a handful of them still buying products from us,right? And they often ask about me. Obviously. I don’t deal with the cells directly, write. 

But they often ask about you, where I am and some of them still call and say hi. Hello. How’s it going? Obviously, others have gone out of business, but those who are still running cold often call me because we had then gone from you know that initial order. Only 500 pieces to you know, doing 50 to 60,000 pieces a year. 

You know, run on the line, went from you know, just UK to International, we’re now in our products are distributed to buy 60 plus countries where on Amazon UK, Canada US, India, you know, we got 26 retail franchises across the globe. 

So, you know it just what that really taught me that you know what people say your mind to something and you’re determined and you’re ready to put the sacrificing and the Timing. I mean I had to sacrifice a lot for that. 

I even moved out and lived in Egypt for four years. 

Maruf: Really, I didn’t know that.

Harun: Yeah. From 2008 to 2012, we set up a factory there. I ran the factory employed at about 50 employees. You know, I was a new Egyptians. So it was a big challenge. No one could be the options within close that down.

And then move to India where we now just have contracts with factories produce. Okay, and it came to about 10 years and that eating with my partners and I sent you know, we need to give it and change our strategy. 

And they didn’t quite and actually my strategy was bag on you know going back, you know in hindsight right now and they even agree and we had a kind of difference in strategy and Direction and I said look, you know, I think it’s about time that I moved on to something different, right? 

Maruf: So, I mean if you don’t mind answering, what was the strategy like you guys are different like you want to do something differently and ideas?

Harun: Yeah, absolutely. So I wanted to take, not our company towards a marketplace platform, right? 

Maruf: Okay. Like Aneesa. 

Harun: Exactly. It’s interesting because I know whether these are found very well and in fact it has any, right? That’s right. Yeah. We had met up and we had conversations many times and he actually really admired stomach designers at that time and it’s looking at us for inspiration.

And you will just beginning we’re only already, you know, six seven years into our business, right? So I want you to take the company to pull to a Marketplace. Because we’re number one in within the Islamic clothing space, right? 

We’re doing pioneering stuff, you know breaking stuff like, you know, very creative and innovative stuff we were doing and we actually had a massive distribution Network, right? And I realized that in a given hour and it took us like almost seven eight years to build this distribution network.

And it takes eight to ten years to become a mature company and we were planning to buy that time. Very good infrastructure, very good company structure we had about I don’t know almost 30 plus employees, you know, office in UK office in India,office in US. 

You know, I realized that this upcoming designers, upcoming bloggers on Instagram, you know, and they’ll Poco ideas of their clothing but they can’t penetrate the market people, you know, they don’t have the access to the market. They don’t have the distribution and we have that. 

So my idea was again very simple that we become a marketplace platform all these designers also bloggers who can who can host their designs on our platform, right? Because we got the distribution. We got the reach. 

Okay, they will sell we take a small cut from whatever cell right and am going from there. But of course, you know, when you have partners you have differences in direction and strategy when different opinions. 

So, I had overwhelming majority of opinion on my business partners where no let’s A and see if they stabilized it right where those really want to Was controlling because of that I really can’t do something unless my heart is in it sure let’s have a hundred percent my heart is into something and then you find me and relentless video is very focused. 

And so my heart wasn’t in it, you know, it’s dark he was gone. So we kind of sat that I’m going to resign from my role, but I’m still a shareholder of a company. 

Maruf: That’s right.

Harun: And I’m going to go try new things.

Maruf: Absolutely! So that will be very high and know to and the focus but that’s not the case, right? That’s the biggest elephant in the room. We had talken. So let’s jump into it. Tell me. 

Harun: Yes. So if it’s really what happened after I just was 2014 or 13 really and at that time I started, you know, I had a lot, you know a huge idea in my head, which is I realized that you know, and by the way voluntarily in my spare time.

I was putting a lot of entrepreneurs, you know. Look up coming to me asking for advice and a lot of my advice that I would give was benefiting them and businesses. I realized. You know what?

Maruf: So here’s a success, right? Because they saw you did this. 

Harun: Yeah, exactly. And I actually enjoyed sharing what I learned like completely without any reservation, right, everything. Like, you know, some people in a whole thing in I was given everything that I knew and I got right and anybody who asked to spend days and Nights, you know talking to somebody, right? 

And I wouldn’t get bored or exhausted, right? That’s how much energy I had for that, right? And this is when this idea of the almost him entrepreneur network came into my mind which is you know to set up a platform where it’s got a huge knowledge bank. 

And people can access it for a very affordable price a monthly subscription. Okay, but it would give people information which would enable, you know to inspire them motivate them and educate them, right? 

Maruf: Okay. Wasn’t it 2014?

Harun: Yeah. So 2014 is the one. I did an initial test for this, right? I didn’t have them and believe me within a week. They haven’t got filled up right, you know over and I think hundred people. 

And we had 150 people who wanted those another 50 extra people on the waiting list, right? Then I realized there’s actually a good market place again, and they’ve been called an inspirational evening with Muslim entrepreneurs, right? And you know, I Just reached out to my friends who were alone.

Maruf: You’re alone to sell this up or you were with someone else to sell it?

Harun: No. I had other people up, you know, some of these people, you know, and we kind of brainstormed.

And we just collaborated together to do it, right? But you know, who really took it to the next level was obviously myself because you know, not everybody could start something usually ends up finishing, you know, right?

So although I had a lot of collaborators, you know, they were all like, do all the hard work. So, you know, I thought okay, let’s do this, but it was a real eye-opener that actually there’s a real need for this fight. 

So I started working on the plans on how we’re going to do this started contacting, you know people that I knew people are my friends were wearing to business and to all willing to provide in a content and get into interviews and share what they knew and each of them had, you know expertise in different areas.

And I specifically wanted to call it Muslim Entrepreneur Network because it was you know network means it’s open to everybody right? You know, it’s not a private club or anything. It’s not a group. It’s not a you know, it’s open to everybody, right?

And my ideas to create this ecosystem where by you know, the people who get inspired they do their business. They can offer their business services to the community right at good prices of rate the discount Club. Please connect the visit ecosystem. If anybody, you know, was running some services than the people within the network can you know utilize that service, right?

Maruf: It’s not only more people coming to this also the offering service to each other. Is that correct? 

Harun: Yeah, absolutely, right. So, at that point it came to 2015 and it was February 2015 when I did that first event, right? At that event, where I met as you know, Garun Qureshi came to that event. In fact, right and we then had a chat after the event. 

And he told me about what he’s doing on Amazon and decided what he’s been doing. And it was quite successful at it, right and he showed me all that he was doing and I shared my idea about the network.

And  he also was you know, he said that he wanted Inspire Muslims basic, right? And he’s done this course. It’s an Amazon course and so many people are benefiting from it and I particularly do have a specific model if you know what I mean a step-by-step model.

My stuff was going to be a lot of general advice and people can take whatever suited them or whatever benefits them. Anyway, we kind of met up subsequently after a few times and realized that our ideas were somewhat along the same lines. 

Maruf: Okay.

Harun: And we decided to shake on it and work together and combine those ideas into one right and build one project, right, which was the most important. It was great. I think it was fantastic. 

And you attest to that and many others would attest to that. We grew it very rapidly by French but a Facebook group. It was the hundreds and thousands followers. We did global events in Egypt, Palestine, UK. 

It was you know getting this Global reach right, you know hundreds of thousands on our mailing list them and really at the onset it was all about providing a huge amount of value right and then later the idea was to give them a specific business model, right? 

And it was an incentive not to be from us directly. It was to embrace the talents the experience within the community and utilize that in order to you know, so like I did what a course called was the end of 2016 called Eco Empires Academy rights.

Maruf: With another brother. What was his name? 

Harun: Exactly. It was with Reduan Mahmoud. Yeah. It was exactly and he’s doing very well to the young kid. And the whole idea of that program was and 80% of the content of that program was provided by him. 

And the whole idea was for us to show how that was our really pilot test by the way, right? It was a pilot. It wasn’t the BN and all of everything, right? It was a complete pilot to basically see what it’s because he got inspired. 

He got into Amazon through the Muslim Entrepreneur Network almost a year, but it is phenomenally well, right? Then he got into software. I really think the kid is in my opinion a genius. Very small kid, very hardworking as well, right? 

I think it was right to do something with him in collaboration, right? And as you know, obviously Conversa, we introduced Conversa to the community, you know with much regret some mine now. 

Maruf: So, before you get to jump  there, I want to highlight something. So when you started Muslim Entrepreneur Nerwork because some people like easy to judge it. So, I mean to be honest like even for our Muslims On Fire ,right?

It’s a podcast but eventually I mean we’ll see how it goes. Eventually it goes well, I have a plan to introduce Academy, you know, so where people can teach and maybe something similar to networking as you’ve mentioned or people come together and learn and maybe you know do the extension services. 

Actually, I was talking about another brother and maybe you know, I don’t know if you know him. He’s from Australia, but he’s originally from Bosnia. He was talking about his city in a very small setup which is called Medina rather.

As I think he says what you’re here called, so  there’s a couple of seven to eight Muslims right to come and the higher the same place that they need something, they use the service from each other and they also refer other clients to other you know, partners. 

So these examples are very small. But if you look at a larger context, this is what you guys were about to do right and that’s that’s not a multi-level marketing is just a normal thing to do. It’s nothing fishy, but it’s nothing. I mean, it’s a little shady but it’s a legit business is a business idea. 

This was I’m trying to pinpoint, right, but up until we come to the next section of years isn’t the we what would you say you? Don’t you say so? 

Harun: Yeah, absolutely! Look, Maruf. There are many successful business networks out there right now, many right and Valley as an example. 

None of them are this many and I research many of them and you know, there are many that are very successful. So what we did. It wasn’t anything unusual. The whole idea was to inspire as many Muslims as possible to consider entrepreneurship as an alternative to basically earn an income for themselves. 

Okay, other than just a 9 to 5 job necessarily right and you know the business model we had was very affordable the program we had and it was very successful was received by hundreds of thousands people globally, right? 

And we were in a very short amount of time. In fact, managed to grow a very active engaged Community, right? You know what to do, you know in years time and if you’re thinking of doing this, I would really give it another shot at it, right? 

I loved too many things in the process of right and I think if I did it again, I do a much better job at it, you know, and I’ve considered that I considered doing it again right with obviously lots of tweaks and changes and lots of things right that learn from this process.

But you know, it was a very successful project that we did.

Maruf: I see. So, let’s go to the next point. Before I want to say. Just go ahead and then I will tell you why from my personal point of view can make some things might have gone wrong. But anyway, so you said you guys were introduced to Commersa, right? Or how’d it go? 

Harun: Yeah. So what happened was, you know, Harun Quraish come here is to a mastermind that he signed up that calmed us but used to do which is you know, left a lot of people out of pocket and I think it’s worth mentioning that his public news. 

Now, you know, he’s arrested in Dubai, you know for fraud in a lot of people and you know, we knew very little about them and for me in particular went by a lot of trust in Qureshi for having done his duty legions and it shines. 

But the point is we introduce them, you know, and for the initially it was just a matter of him providing content right is supposed to be a Billion dollar man, $500 man, right? 

It’s publicized all over the Internet and he supposed to you know be an experienced entrepreneur businessman, you know, it was meant to add value to this network by providing content, right? He did he did provide some content to you know, and people inspired by him, you know without a doubt.

And I think that was his a few right that was his main appeal. Obviously, you know, nobody even us knew what the hidden agenda was, right?

Maruf: I mean it was whatever. So I think you know one of the issues which is really tricky about this whole case is that as you know, relationships are built on trust, right? 

Harun:Yeah. 

Maruf: So here’s the thing, my personal take on this like, you trusted him like you saw him climbing to Qureshi, right? And I don’t know if you knew about his history, he came from the I-era right position. 

He did an excellent job. There were a lot of good brothers during Dawa. And you naturally give a lot of you know credit, right? So when you and Haron right coming together and promoting another Muslim, you know, like, you know come so what people did is that they trust you special effects like some Design House on Haron. 

It is the Amazon business. Okay, this is Alexa. Okay. We also give some gift to you know, automatically transfer trust from you to come and I think that’s what makes many people angry, I guess. If calm came right away on his own right?

And then started doing this thing like personally. It was very difficult for me to do right because he was born in trust from you guys and you gave him a platform and even to this podcast, some people were not quite happy. Why am I giving you the platform? 

And I think there’s always a story we can learn and share. So I think that’s what happened right? And I think I don’t know if you remember me. Actually asked him about at least three people. 

I mean, are we even you know them so one from you and one from Haron himself and one from another brother who also used to come by, you know, I don’t think so. Every time I see some guys I wasn’t guys there’s something not quite even going that they always know that’s fine. 

That’s good. You know, something I never did business with her commiserate everybody. These courses but for me when I want to be honest, if anybody it’s not only Muslims anybody who talks about the how much they are making every month or every week online to be honest and promoting them. 

For me, it’s the first signal, you know, yeah, why on Earth you want to show me your money? What’s your point? I mean for me most of the people who do that. My personal opinion, I don’t have to you know, anybody like their life is going empty. 

They have this only way that legitimize that they have done something wrong to be honest. Okay, we don’t as people we know Bill Gates we know even awesome people. I didn’t ever come and say I’m making this much because we know how much you make the forbes list them as rich people so you don’t have to do that. But anyway, so I think that’s what happened. So I think let’s  jump to the leverage program. Tell us more about and what it was. 

Harun: If I can add to spot one sure on point with you as well. Just elaborate something. Yeah. A lot of people have criticized me and said to me that oh, you knew this from the beginning that’s absolutely rubbish.

Because the thing is you mentioned, you know, Arun for example who worked for Albina right?  I was one of the main guys who made enough and what it was and he was no malfunction brother-in-law. He was a very respectful individual person.

Maruf: Exactly. 

Harun: Many people don’t know he was.

Maeuf: He wasn’t the same shoes as you write. He wouldn’t trust later on he had it on Facebook. This is that he claims that there’s nothing to do. But so what I’m saying is exactly that’s what it was.

Harun: And he lost a lot of money through with come and the brothers, right? And in business trust is a big thing, right? Because you can even write contracts between people but if people don’t honor it does not vary much that you can do other than spend a lot of money through legals in order to enforce that contract, right? 

And sometimes you don’t have that, right?

So in business trust is very important in business at Russell and together if I take on trust. We trust to put on anything and we didn’t put it right until that person does something to break that. 

Maruf: So you did better? 

Harun: Exactly. I’m one of those people that gives the benefit of the doubt right from the onset. I’m not one of those people that is over skeptical from the beginning if I was like that then  I wouldn’t have done or been able to learn what I have done in my life.

Okay, because you just hate it. It prevents you from doing things. They disabled from doing things. I’ll take action right and you’re right first played a big factor and there was a lot of you know, it was quite an intentionally and meticulously done these trust.

You know, if they know people were praying with you people were asking with you people, you know, leading the prayer and reciting beautifully, you know and saying all those all those things that was, you know, very in the you couldn’t think otherwise, right?

And I don’t consider myself as a very clever intelligent individual right but these people have told a lot of very clever individual people, right? And I have to manage to take money from these people, you know what amounted to be now. 

Nothing at the end, right? And so it’s like they were very talented at it. We would know the real, about look the thing if you’re a Critic of yourself, right and if you’re the best critical of yourself, you don’t need people you don’t need people to criticize you. 

And I have spent a lot of time doing self-reflection and I realized my mistakes and I should have done better. Okay, definitely do a lot more due diligence again about it is taking you know, people’s work for things,right?

And sometimes, unfortunately, reality, like this is not good enough. Now those experiences, what it does to a lot of people is it makes them, you know everywhere they never do this again. They never trust anybody again.

Maruf: They find the balance. Isn’t it a very fine balance?

Harun; exactly. But for me, what is done for me is it just taught me, you know that I need to be a lot more careful next time. It hasn’t made me think that I’m not going to do business again. It has made me think that I’m not going to trust somebody again. 

I’m not going to get into the partnership again. No, no far from that, right? I’m gonna do partnership with people. I’m going to get into busy people. I’m gonna do business again, but I’m just going to make sure that I’ve learned my lessons from those experiences and you know, improve that right and so wanna look at the result. 

He’s got into prison by right because he just didn’t do it to me and other people that we know of space do it to people all over the world, right? And that was their game plan. You understand right from day one befriending people building trust and then, you know finding weapons to take what you learn more. 

Maruf: Tell me more about the leverage program itself and what it was. And do you remember we had this meeting so I know sometimes you know, I would come to London. That’s why I don’t respect you is that so even though we had I mean, we have never done business together, right? 

Let’s be honest. I never paid you, you never paid me for any services. So sometimes it’s just a fellow, entrepreneurs, Muslims and brothers, I guess who would sit down and one of the times I remember you came and we were sitting and I think we’re eating chicken curry or something. 

I’ll ask. I’m doing this leverage program you explain to me explain the same thing to you again, but then I will ask you the same question. 

Harun: Well, look, let me give it to you in another way, right? So come obviously introduces brother. Okay, he was invited to an event and he spoke at an event and this is the first time he mentioned the word leverage, right? 

Whereby, you know, and it was in kind of in line with you know, the ethos of the Muslim entrepreneur Network, which is to build a community a network of people who help support each other and throw the ecosystem, right? 

But you know, to be honest, I’ll be absolutely honest with you. Okay. This is what people will be shocked by a wouldn’t book one novel right? I had no idea. That program was launched or is going to be launched against you was to my surprise. 

And just to put some perspective with the timeline book December 2016 is when we launched the comment by thing happening right effect between myself and Haron. We had agreed that we want to launch another course or another program until four to six months later.

Okay, because we need to support that community again. We need to develop this one particular program. More again because this was a pilot, right? He had an amazing amount of value for our people to take action for good results.

And obviously you had some people complaining are really people when you really look deep down didn’t take any action, right and we know that right? 

Maruf: So you came to work. We know the

real Commerce Works Amazon works, exactly. But the thing is to you to do the workers this what people think. 

They think they don’t do anything. They just don’t normally. it’s not the case because what as I also mentioned we did some Amazon. I don’t like E-commerce. I know it works.

Harun: We never promoted as a get-rich-quick scheme all that stuff that people have put the we always said it’s hard work. 

Here the steps but it’s going to take you a while to get those steps done right to master the steps and you know, he is the blueprint but it’s gonna take a while to master and understanding and gross the steps. Anyway, so December 2016, okay. I remember the exact day 28 So 21st of December 2013 when we stopped taking on enrollment from students for this program. 

And the ideal goes to support them over the next eight to ten weeks again, and the course was the 10-week program, right? January 7th or around the 7th of January almost 12 or 50 days later Haron announced the leverage program by his doing with Rocky Mirza, right on his own. You know was on the web on he’s gone completely on your own without asking.

Maruf: You were his partner,right?

Harun: That’s right. Exactly. 

Maruf: So, I even went exactly so you are in Muslims Entrepreneur Network. You two together are co-partners like you and Harun.

Harun: Yeah, right. 

Maruf: Okay. So and he announces leverage in seventh of after a couple of you agreed with the road waiting for this for five months. But after a couple of weeks were two weeks. He announced leveled his work without telling you anything is what you’re saying? 

Harun: Absolutely, right. I found that  from the internet myself, right? I’m online on Facebook. Yeah from a posting on Facebook post that you made and I still got that Facebook post right that discovery program is launching with Rocky companies and brother, right?

And the offer that was made. We’ll build you a profitable business within five thousand pounds within 12 months and if we don’t do it and you’re not satisfied, then.

Maruf: We’ll return. Wait here.This only spoke once a true event is what happened until then. 

Harun: Yes, that’s right. I don’t know him for a short time.

Maruf:  Until then, he only spoke at once, but you’re the one of your events. That’s it. 

Harun: Exactly almost a year back, by the way. In December 7th, right when we did our first Muslim Entrepreneur Network event. We had almost 300 people and that’s where we first floated the idea of leverage and I didn’t see him after that at all. 

Okay, but I heard this announcement online. I immediately got on the phone.

Maruf: Haron must have taken some time for him to prepare before he launched anything right? So maybe he was doing something under the cover like I mean he was doing silently. 

Harun: Absolutely. He was meeting him privately and discussing with him and you know and they were planning the whole thing and I was completely oblivious of this, right? 

Maruf: What the hell was the launch is a Muslim Entrelreneur Network. That’s what I really want to know. He’s on his own.

Harun: So when I found out I called got on the phone with her operation. I said, you know, what is this that you just posted, right? And it was quite a heated discussion. 

You know where I said look we said we’re not going to launch anything. Another four to six months because we’ve got, you know exist supporters to deliver to support and deliver something to write and you just not come in and propose this and the offer you put like you’re guaranteeing first economically, that’s not right.

And secondly how the hell you are going to give a business to, you know, thousands of people right within 12 months, right? And this is where he is shortly that rookie has these businesses already making money right and they were going to give it to the members who sign up to this, right? 

Maruf:So what do you mean like Rocky gives business to the subscribers like who signs the course? 

Harun: Yeah. Apparently he already had these businesses, already making money right? What they were at that point. It was unclear right here anyway. Then I met up with Rocky subsequently. 

And I say, you know, what is this gonna do to make this bold promise again to people how you are going to deliver this and will lie here like all throughout okay. I wasn’t worried. Okay. I’ve got this, I’m gonna do this is my responsibility. I’m going to deliver it.

Maruf: But I was on your name exactly,right? 

Harun: Exactly. Right. Anyway, a lot of without going into much detail. A lot of assurances were provided that this was going to get delivered and this was already in place. They had thousands of businesses that were making.

You know online content based e-commerce businesses making money, which is what gonna be given to be, right? I said after getting a lot of reassurance has is when I said, okay, I will stand behind this right and let me tell you see this model. 

I got these reassurances from him while in a must hit, right, in the Masjid right in the prayer Hall of the Masjid again, right? So you tell me how not to believe an individual like when they’ve just prayed with you and they just didn’t do our and then we sit down for a meeting.

And this is where I’m getting all these resources, right? How are you not supposed to believe people right? 

Maruf: Anyways, very evasive, right? 

Harun: Exactly. Right. It was you know, and on faith and on trust I went along with it again and was part of the management team that then to collate and operations team, right? 

Maruf: So here’s the thing. So explain to me the leverage program again, the officially the offer urges.

Harun: The initial offer was to build people a content-based website that was going to make money. Okay, that makes money creating content.

And it could be through lead generation that comes from these websites. Okay could be through advertising, right? Okay, but pretty quickly within 3-4 months the direction changed to the fitness franchise. And supposedly he had thousands of fitness franchises running throughout the country.

Okay, and I never got the idea where they are, how they are set up and where they were right. They are just there, right? They are just less by the words. 

Maruf: So here’s the thing for us. Yeah. Here’s the thing that time you said something similar for me and even then I mean until now what does it really make clear to me is that the question is how? Look so what do part of Haron was saying? This case, Rocky says I’m going to give it to you.

Your business work, right then why give it to someone else? What does this make sense? It doesn’t make sense, right, unless of course this gets old but that investor or the buyer has to give the multiplication of the yearly revenue or the rear the profit for up to six years. 

For example, 10 years or five years. Then I can say okay I can do it or not. But just giving away doesn’t make sense to me, right at a speech. 

Harun: So yeah, you know, I didn’t make sense. And the thing about these people was that they were brilliant at instilling trust in people right by saying the right thing by doing the right things and many people they still trust. 

I mean I’m an individual. They managed to do it on stage in front of thousands of people. Do you understand right? And you know when people are very good at it. Okay, and this is the bread and butter, you know, they do it like it’s the back of the hand, right?

And they know how to do this. So, you know, long story short basically a year went I thought okay. You know what? I’m going to give it a yeah, okay. I’m going to see that because he said by the end of one year, right? Okay. This is when the real penny drop for me, right which is there was really nothing, right? 

And the business model got changed about 3-4 times along the way right and in this you and like, you know stick myself right now. It’s like what you know, what the hell’s going on here. What the hell have you done, right?Okay, you know, we saw socket itself understood. 

Maruc: So 2017 like Iran. Was it the March? Was introduced to leverage?

Harun: Yeah.

Maruf: Along after three months it is changing to Fitness, right? And another thing to counter them things about now you guys are being promised this and that but what’s going on and at the back of your head is like yours like alarms are going bong bong bong.

You know something he doesn’t make sense of yourself keeping the pressure on what’s going on. I just wanna understand.

Harun: Maruf, I am so going, you know, like the house is on fire right triangle smoke alarm spine upright and you’ve known me for many years, right and I’m a very open person, right?

So, you know, I helped many meetings and helped them to account for the deliverables. Okay, but what I notice is that I’ve been excluded out of meetings. Okay, they were making, you know having meetings probably between themselves.

And I was completely out of it because they knew that I would question things right and I would object to things right and in order to avoid those objections and questions and continue doing things right. I’ll be excluded at meeting with them, things to be done. 

Honest to God and this is beggars belief and many people would find it shocking to the belief that a lot of things that were done. I found that posting done you understand right after it was done, right? And so, you know towards the end of that one year like It was like enough is enough for me, right?

Maruf: So, here’s my question. Okay look, up until now, right the people and the believe your story but what really bothers them is that let’s even say to Haron was not in the future. Why would it take you so long to come up with a saying that enough is enough? 

Like why I’ve not after three months, later after 6 month, but after a year, yeah what I want to do?

Haeun: Yeah, very good question. So initially, You know, after 3-4 months and I wasn’t too concerned about those points, right, because some you can say, you know explanations were given why something couldn’t get done. 

Okay. Yeah, we know insisting has happened problems. 

Maruf: To start your own business,right?

Harun: Exactly. Right. So, you know for me then my real yardstick was one year. Okay, one year is more than enough for you to start a business or for you to know in a really stop or get a business going but also.

Maruf: Coming after you and what you find is coming, right? 

Harun: Yeah, exactly. And by the year you made some big promises to be when you already said that but all this stuff is available and you’re going to reveal in one year and exactly the same story that was fed to the public and the members said to me, they understand right.

And honestly whenever I got a bit, you know, let’s say excited about, you know, knowing more information the you know, I was quite quickly to this shut down, right? And almost like, you know disliked again and to be like that I was the black sheep in the group if you want to see that way, right? 

This is so one year for me. That’s when the penny dropped right and yeah, you’re right a lot of people ask me. Why didn’t you just come out and you know just blow the trumpet. Well, I couldn’t okay because for me the way I realized that you know what I need to be, I felt responsible for so many people attending to this through me okay. And you know what? I need to get the money back to them.

Maruf: So it was the to be sabotaging the whole operation, right? You say let’s come after six months eight a single work and we might come back and say look, how do you can give us a year right? Otherwise, they wouldn’t give it to you. Is that something?

Harun: That’s one thing. The other thing is that I know these people they’re just blame it on me and say or nothing were because of him is gonna publicly and said this and he said that right that’s one thing it’s accessing while I had to steal some level of connection with them again. 

I want to use that connection. You don’t get as much money back to people as possible. And I did a lot of the refunds that the process right was me pushing. You know for that too for that to happen, right and eventually, you know that I was completely cut out but I tell you another thing happened which really left me traumatized, you know for good part of the whole last. 

In April, once that year was about 2:00 a.m. I took a two-week break and I went abroad right I had some time to take care of and during that period that the consent or knowledge. They try to add me as a director in the Muslim Entrepreneur Network company. The Soul Direction show that was Haron Qureishi, right in this is quite public knowledge. I’ve been a non-muslim on the companies House website, right?

But why at that point they tried to add me as a director. Okay, right. It’s something that I realized months later.

Maruf: Shift the center possibilities. 

Harun: Exactly shift the responsibility legally officially over to me to what happened gone on to understand right? So it’s almost like, you know, let’s put it in layman’s terms. They wanted to turn me into a scapegoat and basically put me under the bus and run with yoga. You understand, right? 

Maruf: You and Haron were the co-founders. I’d let’s note on the paper as you are the 50/50 case, is that correct? 

Harun: No, some companies Haron Qureishi assault director shareholder of the other social entrepreneur network. The company was officially Incorporated 2016 October, right?

And by the way, I didn’t mention to you but you know, the left reach money that came into the account was all taken away out and shifted to Dubai and XYZ place. 

Maruf: So when did that happen?

Harun: Yeah, this happened during the 2017 right when I was not the director shareholder in the company.

Maruf: So do you have access to the bank or not?

Harun: No, I can’t.

Maruf: So you’re not the shareholder. You’re not the director right. I’ve only found the right there. I thought you are the co-founder like partners 50/50. You’re none of those. 

Harun: No. So, we founded the Muslim Entrepreneur Network, right? We found this in the Muslim Entrepreneur Network. 

Maruf: Wait, Muslim Entrepreneur Network is a company or as entity, right? Okay, and that entity does it ever anywhere mention Harun Rashid is a co-founder of the partner of the director. Whatever it is in a capacity only belongs to Haron Quraishi?

Harun: Yeah. So here’s the thing right? I was meant to be added as a partner. Okay in the companies, we found it together. That I had a hundred and one excuses why couldn’t be done today or tomorrow or this or that right? 

Eventually, I thought okay, you know what we’re brothers is trust again. It doesn’t trust. Yeah, we’re growing the business together. But what I didn’t realize is that come April 2018 when they’ve completely zeroed out the bank account.

And people are expecting refunds and nobody’s difference between what they saw. Oh, let’s shift the responsibility to him officially blame all on him.

Maruf: If it makes complete sense now because if you wanted to be director if you’re not going far officially you have that access to bank accounts, right?So you are in darkness.

Harun: Exactly. 

Maruf: I mean to be honest forget about you like I mean if I go to in a business partnership with anybody else no matter whoever it is, right. You could be my best friend or anybody. The first thing, what we do is sit down and discuss the who does what? And what’s the fair percentage than we put it in a paper and I think.

Harun: You’re absolutely right. Again in hindsight group against another thing should have been done differently, right even given many other things, right? And these are my lessons of my own life, right? 

I told you I spent a good part of last year as you know, reflecting on a lot of those things, right and I’m not going to make those same mistakes going forward right? No matter who is. Even if it’s my own brother. 

I’m doing a little business with right but at the same time lot of this Yeah, right down on you know, Brotherhood or Sisterhood or do you understand right my advice to anybody out there is no matter who is again, you know you are which is exactly what you said, you know put things on piece of paper on a piece of paper officially do everything right. 

So that things can be you know people the right people can be held to account Indians go patient right again. This is my lesson and some people think what an idiot how stupid are you? 

Maruf: Okay only you can look back. 

Harun: Yeah, exactly, and people are right right. I would never dispute that you are right. It was a very stupid thing to do. It was a very indotive thing to do, right and the good nature that don’t rely.

And the good nature of people right people screw you because of money, people screw you because of wealth, fame okay, you know people just don’t give a shit right at the same time. Don’t get fooled by seeing somebody praying or making duaa and giving you religious talk and same things. Okay, right. Don’t do that, right? 

Don’t take someone’s word for it when they turn around. So I’ve done this business. I’ve done that business right? In fact that took your time. Even if you have to take as much time as you need to get about the incident be absolutely sure this will you do.

I’m getting too big and no I couldn’t have realized the importance of this lesson and I know go through what I went through and I know made the decision that I made right and and this has changed me forever. You know without a doubt. 

Maruf: So I saw after a year you came out I guess you would, Iremember. Yeah, you were posting some concerns that you are the first from the management team they came out on this anybody from the management that regret their actions. Do you know? 

Harun: Oh, I mean they were doing people employees very similar employees. They all left the company they all knew them but I felt a sense of responsibility to make a public statement because obviously, you know, people came Into the program knowing me as a person in the public.

Okay because of my profile and I thought it was my responsibility and I was not shy of it. I was not ashamed if you know, I have a lot of regrets and ashamed of a lot of things that went on. Okay, but there’s a reason why I didn’t come a little early enough. 

I’ve actually, Maruf, my number is still the same. My Facebook is open. People from their fridge, people from other programs that also have lost money with this. Individuals have contacted me again and I’m in discussion and conversation with the I spended vast majority of my time last year trying to hold these people to account. 

I’ve been interviewed by the gulf news. I’ve been interviewed by 10 local newspapers there, UK by then. I’ve openly and frankly and honestly spoke to them and shared everything I’ve said evidence is with them to which they made a judgment that I wasn’t the one.

I was into it, right so look at this newspaper article and you read those reports. You will see that you know the blame isn’t they have not blamed me because they saw actual evidence right of money being moved or who were moving the money, you know, who were the ones pushing for this right? 

Just because you know somebody and by the way when they tried to add me in the company’s how they spelled my name wrong twice. So if they had explicit permission from me, right, how would they spell my name wrong, twice.

And that’s for me is, you know is God’s justice in some way of protecting me, you know that they spelled my name wrong twice trying to add me means I did not give them any explicit. 

I did not give him an explicit instruction to add me as the director of the company. You understand right? And this is them doing this after having taken the money out and I kind of discovered right the financial irregularities that existed in the place right? 

And this is what I said, you know enough is enough. Okay people need to know about it. And of course priority to that I had loads of heated discussions and meetings with them, you know new bus stop beating, you know, where I try to hold them to cut I in fact even gave them an opportunity to set things right.

You know, I said expression set things right and I’m going to give you time to set things right but before I blow the little bit right to set things. 

Maruf: I understand. So something like In Dubai, you would be heard the Comas residences pollute news. So what is happening in UK? Anything? 

Harun: Yeah, so my public statement without and I’m being taken to court by Rocky and you know for libel and defamation.You know that I defamed them and I said which are not true. But you know, they made a claim against me right some fighting that.

Maruf: Wait. So did they are the ones who are seeking to court, you’re taking them to court? Harun: You know, that’s the irony of things. But I’m quite confident. I put enough to get in. I’ve got plenty of evidence inside in order to be able to come out to this as a winner but showing approving that, you know, those grave wrong done to the community.

And I made a public statement in order to protect the community and to make investors and the general public aware of what had gone on and what kind of people that You know they were dealing with.

Maruf: We would thank you. Thank you for sharing this as usually sorry. Usually we don’t go into this detail. But usually we just met them or life stories, but I think this was very much needed because the community was as you remember from the post through asking a couple of questions. 

But having said that look, thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing your story and a final note. What advice would you give you know, to people who said we learn from Your case make it brief unless we get a hit. 

Harun: Yeah. I mean, look I’m from the London business almost 15 years. I’ve done many business. I’ve been in partnership. 

I’ve been after many types of different businesses. My only advice that people would be that don’t look at some of the situation’s you encounter as problems. Look at them as challenges. 

Okay, and you’re probably one person away from knowing the solution to that challenge or one book away from one bit of information away from going to look up this challenge, you’re gonna face the challenges.

For me, I’m yet to face my greatest challenge yet. Okay, that’s the way I look at it. Right. There’s not much bigger challenges. I want to go in and do bigger and better things.I’ve accumulated a lot of experience and knowledge from these many years of being in a business situation. 

My aim is to use these this, you know, in order to do even you know, greater things, you know, and actually, you know my own ambition my own challenge myself. So if anybody’s out there and they face problems, you know the face they’re there in situation right now see them as challenges. 

You will overcome them confidently. I can go right and you’re yet to come to your bracelet current challenges only preparing you for the next challenge. 

Maruf: So I guess all this you’re still optimistic things will turn out.

Harun: Absolutely, I’m absolutely on fire like a fire you’re gonna see some new stuff for me coming soon. No in this teaching, but I’m on to doing some new new business and totally different amazing stuff with making some amazing people and the amazing thing.

My rules are that I’ll handle for the people that know me. Okay are the very people that I have the less it’ll have a reputation with they know they knew me from before and this what has happened. They’ve judged for what it is. 

Okay, right and they’re still willing to do business right your friend of mine. You mean from before him yet? You know me from doing a me and after many reaching out and we’re having a nice conversation here, right? 

And we’ve had lots of pleasant conversations over the company last year. A friend actually called me and said how you are doing. Are you keeping up, you know anything I can do to help let me know and this is what’s beautiful about it, right? 

And why because what did I take any money from you? Did you ever experience me trying to take money from is no, right? Those people know me, I have a very good reputation with them. People don’t know me and they’re sitting you know, and like they don’t make the effort to reach out to the side of you that is to say there’s not much I can do about that to be honest. And you know, they welcome their own opinion. 

Maruf: I mean, I respect you for this keeping a positive attitude. I think in the end, we always have hope right. Otherwise, I’d hope to do say it for the show. I will disclaimer but I am very fit again. 

I didn’t take money and you can get any guys who come on the show. I never took money from them yet. Not so promoting yourself. And so I didn’t get anything. I just remembered something.I took something from you. But I mean you gave it as a gift. Do you remember what it is?

Harun: Yeah. 

Maruf: What is it? 

Harun: Sorry, say that again. 

Maruf: But actually you give me a gift. Do you remember that a couple of years ago? 

Harun: I gave you a gift. What was it? 

Maruf: You don’t remember. So one of the times I was visiting your office. You would give me this prayer Matt. 

Harun: Yeah. 

Maruf: So that’s in my office? I prayed everyday on that. So every time I pray, I take a favor and what I say, I will remember that.

Harun: I just want to mention a couple of months ago. You recommended the book called Beach Failing Again by the founder of PayPal and trouble. Yeah exactly. I immediately went and bought that book and I couldn’t put it down until I finished the book. 

I’ve said it’s really inspired me on you think that I’m doing at the moment. So yeahI what I’m saying is I will remember you for the gift and may Allah make it easy because in the end thank you. It is what it is. None of us know what’s in our hearts, right? Only Allah knows.

Harun: Yeah.

Maruf: And as you said we’ll give the benefit of that to each other and I sincerely wish you bro.

And on the right side, that’s the wish. 

Harun: Thank you very much. Thank you for having me and thank you for allowing me to share the details and all this information and look forward to seeing you soon. It’s a pleasure. 

Maruf: Assalamu alaikum.

Harun: Walaikumussalam.

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Episode 13