Thursday, 17 January 2019

Five Beautiful Lessons of Productivity from Islam

Have you ever wondered and reflected upon the beautifully comprehensive principles of productivity in Islam? It is fascinating that Islam, as a faith, has cultivated some of the most noble leaders and this is no accident or coincidence given the completeness of our religion in promoting productivity.

There are five beautiful lessons of productivity in Islam which can be derived from the teachings in the Quran and Sunnah. Here they are listed below:

Having Faith (With Conviction & Purpose)

The very first pillar upon which a Muslim can become productive (with the goal and aim of being productive for the Hereafter) is that of having faith. Remember the numerous times in a day when you raise your finger and silently proclaim in your heart that you believe in no diety worthy of worship except Allah? Well this practice of renewing our faith is a premise on which we can increase our productivity. Declaring faith in Allah (Subahanahu Wa Ta’ala) is no light testimony to make, yet it is one of the most significant steps towards changing our selves and committing to action. As one of the pious predecessors said: “Actions are lifeless forms, but the presence of an inner reality of sincerity within them is what endows them with life-giving Spirit.” (Ibn Ata’illah’s Wisdoms) This reflects the significance of every action of the Muslim being one that is filled with purpose and meaning in life, and therefore the declaration of our faith in Allah (Subahanahu Wa Ta’ala) and His Messengers (peace be upon them all) should motivate our day to day actions as we aim for an eternal reward if it is done according to the right intentions and with true conviction and faith.

Daily Prayers (With Consistency & Focus)

We’ve written on the profound effects of the 2nd pillar of Islam – salah – in the past and its effects on building focus. It is our spiritual productivity but more interestingly this consistent act of prayer in our day instills a sense of focus that can be transferred perhaps to other areas of our work and social life. Allah says in the Quran what means:

Certainly will the believers have succeeded:They who are during their prayer humbly submissive[Surah Al Mu’minun: 1-2]
We can deduce that this spiritual obligation in our daily life is a means of releasing our inner worries and finding tranquility in our affairs from the world. In particular, this training to focus and disconnect ourselves from the world to focus on serving Allah (the Most High) is a unique quality and trait that only those who are humble and surrendering themselves wholly will find tranquility and sernity in. Much scientific research has also unveiled the increasing need for human beings to detach themselves from the world and ‘meditate’, as some refer to it, in order to be more productive and focussed in life. It is no wonder then that Allah has gifted us with the salah in our daily lives!

Giving Charity (With Selflessness & Sacrifice)

One of the most important lessons is that every pillar of our faith is interlinked and therefore the conviction to living with a higher purpose in life has consequentially led me to meet with people who have demonstrated selflessness and sacrifice through their charitable actions. Whilst our charity is an obligation, it is a means of purficiation not only of our wealth but also in reminding us that we are obliged and under duty to help those less fortunate than us – with whatever resource and means we have. What is striking then is that this cornerstone of our lives as Muslims can make us one of the most useful people in our society and our world at large where numerous trials, suffering and injustices exist. The act of giving in charity is also one which reinforces the proactive nature of the Muslim as the Prophet (peace be upon him) advised his Companions that ’Every good deed is charity’ (Hadith). Therefore we must strive to increase our good deeds in whatever way we can insha Allah.

Regular Fasting (With Discipline & Restraint)

Developing discipline in our actions is perhaps one of the greatest struggles many of us face in our lifetime, yet Islam is a personal development programme in a holistic sense, which is combined in our fasting not only in Ramadan which teaches us restraint and discipline, but also how to slay our desires of the world. There are ample benefits of fasting, both from a medical and spiritual perspective. However, we want to focus on the great spiritual benefits fasting has for the Muslim. The act of fasting itself allows our mind to engage in acts of worship and be sincere in this action which is solely to please Allah (Subahanahu Wa Ta’ala). Therefore fasting is no easy task without conquering the self and displining ourselves to stay away from bad character traits both inside and outside of the blessed month of Ramadan.
Going on Hajj (With Diversity & Unity)

Last but by no means least, the journey through becoming productive in Islam is reflected in the difficulties, patience and efforts expended when going on the pilgrimage to Hajj. For millions of Muslims each year, this is a spiritual retreat in which we can follow the footsteps of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and join in the unity of our brotherhood and sisterhood when we travel the sacred land. What is most visible for those of us who have seen and witnessed the Hajj taking place is that there is a real sense of unity in the one most vital element that brings the Muslims together on Hajj – that is their belief in Allah (Subahanahu Wa Ta’ala) and the diversity with which we come together is a reminder that to love one another based solely on our level of faith is indeed a heart-rendering experience of meeting Muslims from all over the world.

In summary, Islam is a religion that inherently requires the Muslim to be proactive with purpose and therefore all of these pillars combined reflect that as an Ummah we can be more productive Insha Allah!

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