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The Andalus Institute, & Making Money the Halal Way




Author: Althea Chokwe

To the outsider, Islam is a strict religion. Extending past tenets and a holy book, Islam is meant to be a way of life for its nearly two billion adherents. The terms halal and haram are thrown around often, but their meaning is tremendous to the faith. Halal is “permissible,” and haram is the exact opposite; these two categories are used to classify everything from food to music to legal matters. An interesting aspect of this black-and-white system pertains to financials and business ventures. No Muslim is allowed to engage in business that goes against the religion; working while in accordance with religious doctrine is mandated. Although most settle with an average line of work, some go out of the way to promote Islamic values and be successful simultaneously, a decision considered most ideal.

For Muhammad Al Andalusi, a philosophy as this is part-and-parcel with his calling. 27 years old and living in Saudi Arabia with a wife and kids, Al Andalusi relies on teaching Arabic to fund a fast-paced, flexible lifestyle, often documenting his travels through the Middle East and elsewhere on social media. The entrepreneur founded the Andalus Institute in 2019, intending to help other Muslims learn classical Arabic, the language of the Qur’an. A job like this definitely earns the halal stamp, but it continues further to the point of actively contributing to Islam. Knowledge of Arabic is seen as preferable, if not mandatory, since Muslims value the original Qur’an more than any translated version.

While Al Andalusi does not engage in the field of Islamic theology, his institute piques Muslims’ intellectual curiosity, plus that of others learning Arabic for professional and social reasons. Besides an understanding of and appreciation for the Qur’an, the Andalus Institute represents Al Andalusi’s decade-long quest to learn Arabic in its most eloquent form, an uphill battle that required him to relocate from Europe to Egypt for six long years. These studies forced the entrepreneur to change his daily habits and mindset drastically. Attaining multiple years of progress in Arabic within a year alone made Al Andalusi downgrade to a phone that was obsolete compared to the regular smartphone model. In his own words, Muhammad saved time without the distraction of an app-laden device, a tactic that he directly credits with his quick advance in the Arabic field.

The intense focus with which Muhammad perfects his craft is part of his spoken philosophy of seeking elm, or knowledge. Al Andalusi, as a teacher, uses every opportunity he can to communicate some rule or tip of the Arabic lexicon on Instagram and Facebook. His job consumes every part of his life, an observation that elucidates the level of commitment Al Andalusi has for the school he created. He already enjoys respect and awe amongst the online Muslim community, with other high-profile influencers recommending the Andalus Institute to non-Arabic speakers. Considering the importance of Qur’an recitation and study, teaching classical Arabic was always going to be a successful endeavor. Before 2019, Al Andalusi had worked on other online startups for a European audience whilst in the United Kingdom, yet he could not maintain an acceptable profit margin. One day, it reached the point where the Spanish native took time off and locked himself away, minimizing contact with even his family. He read for hours at a time, patiently waiting for a better business idea to manifest itself. That period was a time for questioning and soul-searching, which was logical because entrepreneurship is an extremely volatile field. Additionally, Al Andalusi had dropped out of school at the age of 16. He recalls not being interested in the traditional Western system anymore, a strong opinion for a teenager. Al Andalusi had no regrets, but paying off a $9,000 debt would not be easy without a university degree.

That same introspection is what Al Andalusi teaches each cohort that enrolls in the institute. There is no point in striving for a higher purpose such as religion without looking after oneself first. At the start of the program, everyone listens to a video of Al Andalusi outlining the study and sleep habits he expects them to adapt to maximize their productivity. In case you were wondering, the entire curriculum is meant to be finished within 15 months. Of course, one can stay as long as they like and there is lifetime access to the user portal, but the Andalus Institute makes sure to boast that students, as long as they do as they are told, become fluent within the intended time frame. While everyone is different in terms of goals and outside commitments, mental preparation is Al Andalusi’s way of ensuring no one overstays their visit. For a $2,000 price tag (at a generous discount of $997 for the time being), such guidance and care make the offering quite appealing to even the busiest customer.

In all honesty, the scaffolding and design of the Andalus Institute stem, for the most part, from Al Andalusi’s personal experiences. The vocabulary-first methodology is what the founder used to learn, not just Arabic, but French and English, also, as if the features of the school are what Al Andalusi wishes he once had to facilitate his own educational experience. Even the students notice and it is apparent that this modus operandi builds trust between a business and the clientele. Couple this with Muhammad’s constant presence on social media, giving the world a glimpse of behind-the-scenes goings-on, his followers feel that they know him through and through.

The language guru is a great friend of transparency, a trait that renders him approachable, as well. For a mostly Muslim consumer base, his willingness to discuss personal views on Islamic decrees and to differentiate himself from other influencers with a scholarly, studious persona is highly attractive. Even if the rest of the world may view Islam as narrow-minded, harsh, or unaccommodating, practicing Muslims love it precisely for the motivation and high standards set. And, while the halal versus haram debate is at times head-scratching and mind-bending, there are many answers to secular questions overlooked.

Al Andalusi proves that it is possible to financially thrive and be an ardent follower of the Islamic faith simultaneously. And he can show that he is right: the Andalus Institute rakes in between $20K and $50K each month, starting to do so only six months after its inception. With the advent of other Islam-centered YouTube channels and startups, the online presence of yet another Muslim entrepreneur is speaking to a wider trend of more representation and diversity. As a result, due to the rarity of his sort, Al Andalusi has gained much loyalty. Identity is not the sole reason, but years of working on his main money-making skill are significant in explaining Muhammad’s success thus far. Through a halal business, Al Andalusi relates to his audience in a powerful way. The businessman is their fellow Muslim, advertising a product where they all benefit in a plethora of ways, most notably spiritually, making the institute’s program irresistible for followers to not purchase. It is apparent that relatability and authenticity are integral in the business model of the Andalus Institute.

You can connect with the author on LinkedIn here.

The idea of Bigtime Daily landed this engineer cum journalist from a multi-national company to the digital avenue. Matthew brought life to this idea and rendered all that was necessary to create an interactive and attractive platform for the readers. Apart from managing the platform, he also contributes his expertise in business niche.

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The Ultimate Guide to the Essential Social Skills in Business




Effective communication and strong relationships are essential for success in the workplace. One factor that can greatly influence these qualities is emotional intelligence, often abbreviated as EQ. EQ refers to the ability to identify, understand, and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Research has shown that individuals with high levels of EQ are better equipped to handle stress, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively with others (Chamorro-Premuzic & Sanger, 2016).

Research has consistently shown that emotional intelligence (EQ) is an important predictor of job performance and success in the workplace. EQ is comprised of a set of skills that allow individuals to recognize, understand, and regulate their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. In addition, individuals with high EQ are better able to communicate effectively, build relationships, and navigate complex social situations. As a result, they are often viewed as effective leaders and collaborators, and are more likely to achieve their personal and professional goals.

In fact, a number of studies have demonstrated the significant impact that EQ has on job performance and success. For example, one study of 85 upper-level managers found that those with higher EQ scores were rated as more effective leaders by their subordinates (Law, Wong, & Song, 2004). Another study of 151 employees found that those with higher EQ were more likely to be promoted within their organization over a five-year period (Carmeli, Brueller, & Dutton, 2009). These findings highlight the importance of EQ in the workplace and suggest that developing these skills can lead to significant benefits for both individuals and organizations.

According to a study conducted by TalentSmart, a leading provider of EQ assessments, EQ is responsible for 58% of success in all job types (Bradberry & Greaves, 2009). In contrast, IQ only accounts for about 4% of success in the workplace. This suggests that EQ is a crucial skill set for individuals in any professional field. Fortunately, EQ is a skill that can be developed and honed over time with practice and awareness.

There are several key components of EQ that are particularly important for success in the workplace. These include: 

Self-Regulation: This refers to your capacity to recognize and control your emotions. Sometimes treating them when they arise may be necessary. Understanding how to manage your anger is essential. However, it can also cover how to control the feelings you’ll experience.

Self-Awareness: This implies recognizing and understanding your own feelings. Do noisy places make you nervous? Do other people talking over you make you angry? Knowing these truths about yourself shows that you are working on your self-awareness. Being conscious of yourself is necessary for this phase, which can be more complex than it sounds.

Socialization: This category focuses on your capacity to manage social interactions and direct relationships. It doesn’t entail dominating others but knowing how to work with others to achieve your goals. This could entail presenting your ideas to coworkers, leading a team, or resolving a personal disagreement.

Motivation: Strong motivators include external forces like money, status, or suffering. Internal motivation, however, plays a significant role in Goleman’s concept. By doing so, you demonstrate your ability to control your cause and initiate or continue initiatives of your own volition rather than in response to external demands.

Empathy: It’s equally critical to be sensitive to others’ feelings. This may entail learning to identify different emotional states in individuals — for example, can you tell the difference between someone at ease and someone anxious? — but it also requires comprehension of how other people may react to their current situation. Empathy is one of the essential traits in business and business leadership.

A thought leader in this space, Michael Ventura has built a career advising organizations on the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace. In his book, Applied Empathy, Ventura highlights the value of empathy in business and provides strategies for developing and applying this skill set. With two decades of experience as a leader, facilitator, and educator, Ventura’s work has made impact in with prestigious institutions such as Princeton University and the United Nations as well as corporate clients such as Google and Nike.

Through his work, Ventura advises leaders to focus on the development of EQ in order to help individuals improve their communication, collaboration, and leadership skills, ultimately leading to greater success in the workplace. Experts like Ventura continue to support the growing body of research on the value of EQ in business, and the evidence that organizations who invest in the EQ of their teams help to create a more empathetic and successful professional environment.

And it’s worth noting that EQ isn’t just important for individual success in the workplace, but also for overall organizational success. A study by the Center for Creative Leadership found that EQ was a better predictor of success than IQ or technical skills in the workplace, and that teams with higher levels of EQ tend to be more effective and productive (Boyatzis, Goleman, & Rhee, 1999). By cultivating a culture of empathy and emotional intelligence, organizations can improve their overall performance and create a more positive work environment for their employees.

In conclusion, emotional intelligence is a crucial component of success in the workplace, and individuals and organizations alike should prioritize the development of these skills. The ones that do not only develop a leading edge in their category, but also become a meaningful place to work for their teams. And in today’s rapidly changing talent landscape, the retention of highly capable, emotionally intelligent leaders is one of the greatest keys to unlocking success.


Boyatzis, R. E., Goleman, D., & Rhee, K. S. (1999). Clustering competence in emotional intelligence: Insights from the emotional competence inventory (ECI). In R. Bar-On & J. D. A. Parker (Eds.), Handbook of emotional intelligence (pp. 343-362). Jossey-Bass.

Bradberry, T., & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional intelligence 2.0. TalentSmart.

Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Sanger, M. N. (2016). Does employee happiness matter? Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 3(2), 168-191.

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