“Motivation is the secret of life,” writes the renowned businessman Mansour Amer, who started life as a public prosecutor and lawyer, in his book of reflections and advice How the Greatest Motivates Us, which appeared earlier this year. “With it hope prevails and without it despair reigns and the meaning of life is lost. This small book includes contemplations on how God Almighty motivates His creation, man, and how we can draw inspiration from this motivation to develop a methodology for living.”
In the legal arena Amer saw how, while misdemeanour is punished, good deeds are not rewarded. God’s approach is different, however, since He places positive motivation, not fear of punishment at the core of His judgement. In this and other ways Amer connects his understanding of Quranic precepts with his experience in businesses, illustrating each point with a verse of the Holy Book in which he finds a basis for encouraging investment, rectifying tax evasion and many other economic needs. This should all be done in the context of divine love, he insists: “If we are to be inspired by God’s method, then we should use love to motivate people.”
According to Shawki Ibrahim Allam, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, who wrote the foreword of the book, “The core of this book is calling on whoever is leading a successful life to pay attention to his religion and reflect on the verses of the Holy Quran, trying to benefit people through providing ideas fitting their daily life and culture. As a result, we find among the themes the writer discussed ‘motivation for engaging with taxpayers’, ‘motivation for complying with public laws’, ‘motivation for receiving a bonus’, ‘motivation for opening a bank account in the afterlife’, and ‘motivation for taking out insurance policies for young children’, even ‘motivation for visiting Egypt’”.
Allam mentioned in his forward that the author is aware that Islam is a religion that regulates human life and is linked to all aspects of human activities whenever and wherever people are. The main theme of the book is how religion is based on motivation and encouraging people for good deeds and good rewards in this life and the next.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 24 October, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.