Lessons Learned From a Failed Collaboration

Background Image Credit: Cytonn Photography [Unsplash]

As an entrepreneur, and still warming my feet in the social media entrepreneurial-collaboration game, I was invited to collaborate with a named and famed business in the community around a year ago. Stepping in with big thinking around stepping out into a new territory, yet seeing it as a progressive opportunity I agreed. 

A year later, a few hiccups along the way, and now a more aware me decided to step away from this collaboration as it did not make sense to me in continuing with this project anymore. 

At this point, prepped with yet another Istekhara of many, it was finally clear to me that I didn’t want to be a part of this venture and ended it without seeing the project to its fruition. 

So, here I am sharing some of my lessons learned and mistakes made along the way, in hopes that it would help someone who is interested in meaningful collaborations with like minded individuals as well, but are as clueless as I was back then.  

Istekhara

First and foremost, seek Allah’s counsel, He knows what you do not know, and He knows what’s best for you, for your deen, dunya and akhirah. This is the first and one of the most important steps. 

Listen To Your Gut

Don’t neglect that gut feeling, it’s telling you something, if your heart is restless and something doesn’t feel right, trust that it isn’t right. Back off, this is Allah turning your heart away from it, an answer to your Istekhara. 

Research 

Find out everything you can about the person you are collaborating with. Speak to people who have worked with them before if you can. Try to get a feel of their way of doing business and again trust your gut. 

Reminder for Istekhara at this point.

Values and Ethics 

Be clear on your own values and ethics, are their methods compatible with your values?

Do you see yourself working with them long-term?

What does that look like working with them long-term?

Reminder for Istekhara at this point.

Come to Common Grounds 

I can’t emphasise the importance of this step enough. 

This is very crucial

Don’t shy away or back off from asking questions and/or answering theirs. Every doubt, every question, every circumstance needs to be taken into consideration and dissected at this point. 

Be very clear on what you’re expecting from this collaboration and respect the other parties views and considerations as well. 

Is this a collaboration or a partnership? 

Is there going to be an investment? If so then division by what percentage? 

On what terms? Are both parties agreeable on these terms? 

If there is a situation where either one of the parties decides to withdraw or back off what actions are to be taken then. 

What are your roles, what is each party bringing to the table?

Discuss every nook and cranny and be very clear, especially when money is involved, be clear on who owes whom what, keep track of every penny spent, this not only builds trust from the get go but also not being clear about it can be very serious in the sight of Allah سُبحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ. 

Narrated by Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه; The Prophet‎ﷺ‎‬ said: “The soul of the believer is suspended because of his debt until it is paid off.”

Narrated by At-Tirmidhi

Reminder for Istekhara at this point.

Written Contract 

Once everything is agreed upon, put in on paper in clear, concise and simple language, so that both the parties involved understand each other without any ambiguities and that they are on the same page.

Allah سُبحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ states in detail in the Quran about the importance of written contracts. Although the ayah here addresses the issue of loan, the scholars have beyond the shadow of a doubt pointed out the emphasis for a written agreement extending it to all kinds of business dealings and transactions.

“O you who have believed, when you contract a debt for a specified term, write it down. And let a scribe write [it] between you in justice. Let no scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught him. So let him write and let the one who has the obligation dictate. And let him fear Allah, his Lord, and not leave anything out of it. But if the one who has the obligation is of limited understanding or weak or unable to dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate in justice. And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses – so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her. And let not the witnesses refuse when they are called upon. And do not be [too] weary to write it, whether it is small or large, for its [specified] term. That is more just in the sight of Allah and stronger as evidence and more likely to prevent doubt between you, except when it is an immediate transaction which you conduct among yourselves. For [then] there is no blame upon you if you do not write it. And take witnesses when you conclude a contract. Let no scribe be harmed or any witness. For if you do so, indeed, it is [grave] disobedience in you. And fear Allah . And Allah teaches you. And Allah is Knowing of all things.”

Quran [Surah Al Baqarah:282]

Reminder for Istekhara at this point. 

Everything needs to be clear and transparent from the start, vagueness and uncertainty will only lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations leading to discord amongst Muslims and that’s the last thing we want in our community. These rules are placed in the shari’a for a reason and the wisdom behind them is priceless, there is only benefit for the believers in following through the guidance provided for us through the Quran and Sunnah. 

Tie your camel and then put your trust in Allah, leaving the camel lose, assuming the other person will tie your animal or having a lackadaisical attitude towards important transactions is clearly unprofessional, as well as unacceptable in the sight of Allah. 

A collaboration or a transaction for the sake of Allah, starting with seeking His Counsel and following His shari’a would no doubt have a blessed outcome by the Will of Allah, إن شاء الله‬. 

Seema Umm Rayyan is a Spiritual Contentment Coach and a Self Awareness Facilitator. 

She accompanies her sisters in deen in creating a life that’s pleasing to Allah سُبحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ, facilitating them in their journey discovering contentment and deep diving into the understanding of their own self and developing their self-awareness.

4 thoughts on “Lessons Learned From a Failed Collaboration

  1. A very beneficial & important article. I pray it benefits everyone. I see this collaboration coming to an end, infact, a success for you as it taught you many things, & made you aware of your strengths as well. May Allah Open up doors of khayr & barakah for you. Aameen.

    • Seema Umm Rayyan says:

      آمين يا رب…..
      ‎جزاك اللهُ خيرا‬ Naila⁩ for such a beautiful Du’aa, true there is khair in everything…… الحمد لله رب العالمين ❤️❤️❤️

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