Who’s Leading Team Manzil?
Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, we’re grateful to have the best of the best behind Team Manzil. The team not only brings expertise and education to the table, but they also bring so much passion for serving the community and an immense amount of dedication. Read ahead for a little more about each of Manzil’s team members.
Mohamad Sawwaf: Co-Founder & CEO of Manzil
Q: How did Manzil come about?
A: Manzil is a culmination of 10+ years in finance as a profession and academia including three graduate degrees in the fields of business, corporate governance, and Islamic Finance. After leaving the world of corporate finance, I began to put the wheels in motion to create a desperately needed solution that has been attempted many times without sustainability or mass adoption. My co-founder, Sam, whom I met at our previous startup, really was the one who encouraged me to move forward with this once he learned about this unfulfilled market opportunity.
Sam and I would meet in his basement every weeknight strategizing and planning what we needed to do to make Manzil a reality. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, but we never lost sight of the long-term goal.
Q: There are a million other jobs you could do. Why Manzil?
A: It comes down to how many lives I can impact, and Manzil was the only way to impact millions of lives potentially. There is a whole community out there that is just waiting on the sidelines and eroding their capital because they can’t deploy it in a manner that is in line with their faith.
Imagine if these products were available a generation or two ago? Where would this community’s wealth be now? How much more of an impact could they have made in this society through tax revenue via investment gains, increased employment because they can now own a business without 100 percent equity required. Not to mention the social impact because this community is a charitable one whereby they are religiously required to send 2.5 percent of their wealth annually to charitable causes and initiatives; this is most commonly known as almsgiving or Zakat.
Mustafa Elkalza: Chief Financial Officer of Manzil
Q: What drives you to do what you do every day?
A: Working at Manzil is a blessing, alhamdulillah. Being able to have your daily work be a form of worship is the ultimate goal. I’ve always been interested in Islamic Finance from my father’s influence and realized how difficult it would be to find a career path as a CPA who didn’t have to deal with some form of riba (interest).
My drive and passion for the work we do come from a very personal level. My father (May Allah have mercy upon him) worked in Islamic Finance for most of his career. His dream was to start to Islamic Bank in Canada, and in the early 2000s, he started working on it, but there were many roadblocks. Allah is the best of planners, and we truly feel the time is now for Islamic Finance to flourish in Canada and beyond.
Every second I spend working on Manzil is a reward for me and a reward for my father, and inshallah, I hope that everything we do at Manzil to help the ummah counts for him.
Sam Holako: Co-Founder & COO of Manzil
Q: What is your favourite thing about the products Manzil has created for the community?
A: Access to financial products, resources, and education is the ultimate equalizer; this is the Manzil mandate. Muslims have missed out on decades of opportunity to build wealth, and they won’t anymore. That’s powerful. Mohamad is the visionary behind Manzil, but I gave him the kick in the butt to get this going.
Ousama Alshurafa: Chief Marketing Officer of Manzil
Q: What makes the Manzil team so unique?
A: Manzil has a clear vision and purpose that is meaningful both in this world and the next. We’re all working towards the eradication of Riba from the world as well as financial inclusion for Muslims and ethical financing for humanity at large. We’re probably never going to get there, at least not in our lifetimes, but we’re going to die trying. That motivation that comes from an effort focused on making amends to God’s declared war against those who consume Riba, and the attempt to remove our Prophet’s (PBUH) curse, mentioned in the Quran and Sahih Hadith, is compelling. That motivation is really powerful!
It’s what drives us all at Manzil. Every one of us is working towards that very same goal. We’re not permitted to work on anything unless it aligns with this vision. I always audibly shared my conviction with family and friends on how the day will come when halal financing and investments would become mainstream. Manzil is more than just a company I do work for. Manzil is my “I told you so.” Every day I thank Allah for allowing and honouring me to serve the Muslim community through Manzils products and services. It’s truly humbling.
Looking ahead, inshallah, we plan on building a culture at Manzil that’s unlike anything anyone has experienced in this age. Something inspired by the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Something that will draw many non-Muslims to learning more about the beautiful religion of Islam. We are very excited about this future. Please don’t forget to include us in your daily prayers and forgive us for any shortcomings on our end.