When we talk about the Hospitality Industry, it is always about providing the best services to the customers, assisting our guests with their needs, and always put on a huge smile on your face. If you’ve read books related to the hospitality industry, I’m sure you’ve come across these words: “Customers are always right”. Well surely, as hoteliers, we must always bare that in mind. I, being a hotelier myself, still remember what my Hospitality lecturer told us in our very first class during our first semester. These are the exact words that he said: “Customers are always right. Bullshit!” We were shocked, but it’s the truth. So basically, what we can say about hospitality industry is satisfying customers’ needs and wants.

But what I’m writing today isn’t about who’s always right or wrong. I’m writing about what and how the Hotel and Tourism Industry truly is in the perspectives of Islam and I’ll show you that this industry is actually more than what have been said.

Why am I writing this? Simple. 3 reasons:
1) Because I attended a seminar organized by my University,
2) Because writing has always been my passion, AND
3) A young man with unbelievably good looks told me to do so. *wink*

Hotel & Tourism Management in the Perspectives of Islam Seminar was organized by the Jabatan Mufti Negeri Pulau Pinang and the Centre of Islamic Thinking and Understanding (CITU) of Universiti Teknologi MARA Pulau Pinang. The seminar was divided into 3 sessions. The first and second session were held in the morning while the third session was held in the afternoon, after the Zohor prayers.

I was only told about the seminar a day before and wasn’t really expecting this. When I entered the hall (still not knowing who organized the seminar), I looked around and I saw all the girls including my lady lecturers were wearing tudung (head scarves). So I asked my friend did I get into the wrong hall, and she said no. I asked her again, why are these people wearing tudung because I know most of the people in the hall and some of them don’t wear tudung. And she said it’s because the Jabatan Mufti Pulau Pinang is the one organizing it. So there you go.

The first session of the seminar was lead by Haji Razwan bin Resat, the General Manager of De Palma Hotel. The first thing he talked about was the current scenarios in the hotel industry. He said that the Bumiputeras and the Muslims are the least people who work in the hotel industry. Next he talked about Ruhiyyah approach, in other words, the spiritual approach in the application. There are no exceptions in terms of law, acts, ordinance and enactments which binded the hotel service industry. The Syari’ah approach is an obligation, not an alternative for the hotel service owned by Muslims. Throughout the 2 hour session, Haji Razwan talked mainly about the characteristics of Syari’ah compliance hotel. What are the characteristics you might ask? This is what I can summarize.

The Syari’ah compliance hotel status puts the Halal recognition as a pre-requisite to qualify the labeling compliance. The Halal Kitchen recognition alone doesn’t fulfill the compliance pre-requisite, if there are any on going businesses forbidden by Syara’. Any trade using the Muamalah method is accepted orally in all products selling and services contracts. There are no allocations for any business documentations which have Riba’ elements. All employees should follow the Islam’s dress code which requires us to cover our ‘Aurat. In addition, the Syari’ah compliance hotel also provides a lot of amenities and facilities for their Muslim employees and Muslim guests in order to perform their religion obligation such as their Solat (prayers) and Zakat.

In conclusion, Muslims can work hard in order to work or even manage the hotel industry. But they would have to follow the guidelines already mentioned in the Qur’an in order to be more successful and blessed in whatever we do.