We go behind the scenes with the man tipped to become Indonesia’s next president — governor of Jakarta, Joko Widodo. Joko Widodo, known as Jokowi, is a man on a mission. Since he was elected governor of Jakarta in October 2012, he has undertaken a gruelling daily schedule in his efforts to make the city more liveable for its 10 million residents. The 52-year-old’s seemingly bottomless reserves of energy have been put to the test – Jakarta has no shortage of pressing issues – but his efforts are paying dividends. Everywhere Jokowi goes, people swarm around him. His popularity has risen so rapidly that he is tipped to become Indonesia’s next president when elections are held in July.
By: Abu Bakr Islam
The company you choose to become associated with reflects on you. Just like a mirror gives you a reflection of yourself but in reality its something else. You should be able to see yourself within your companions hench why you have this relationship. As muslims brotherhood/sisterhood is key, we should always look out for each other trying to elevate our emaan. Its only natural to have your emaan go up or down and this sometimes affects us negatively as we may fall back into old habits. However a loving and true companion will always try help maintain your emaan levels. Providing you reminders being a positive example. This is the type of person we should look for in our spouses. A Lover and Friend. The sweetness of emaan is uncomparable.
Sonny Bill Williams: “I’ve just got faith in it and it has definitely helped me become the man I am today”
By: Brother Alex (Dallas, TX)
1. Practice Islam as much as you can
“He who loves my Sunnah has loved me, and he who loves me will be with me in Paradise.”
-The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Tirmidhi)
As a new Muslim, you will have trouble keeping up with prayers every day, fasting during Ramadan, and the many other practices in this religion. The struggle that we face, with such a radical change in lifestyle, is difficult and will take some time. Awkward moments are bound to happen, don’t fret. You are not expected to wake up at 4am every morning to pray tahajjud (extra night prayers). If you have problems with certain practices, then gradually work yourself into the mindset of worship. A counselor once told me when I was young, “How do you eat an elephant? Just One bite at a time.” Think of it as one step at a time. Pray to Allah (swt) and ask for Him to make it easy for you and the rest will come naturally.
Keeping up with your devotional practices is something that will strengthen your faith immensely. Read the Qur’an whenever possible. Find a collection of hadith, such as Riyadh us-Saliheen, and read it often. You will start to feel a connection to Allah (swt) and you will become used to Islam as a religion and way of life.
2. Respect your parents
“Heaven lies under the feet of your mother.”
–The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Ahmad, Nasa’i)
Keeping up a good relationship with your family is essential. Try to avoid bringing up or taking part in controversial subjects regarding religion. This is almost unavoidable, but your parents will eventually accept that Islam is not going to turn you into a terrorist if you stay calm during these tense moments. Gradually, your parents will gain some respect and understanding of Islam and may start to become genuinely interested. This is a great sign and insha’Allah, God will make a way for them to accept Islam.
What you do not want to do is act like you know everything, attempt to debate everything, or overly defend yourself in a way that might make you angry or upset. This will just cause heartache and uneasiness. Your priority now should be to work on yourself.
By: Zohra Sarwari
At ProductiveMuslimah, we believe the ultimate secret to a successful Muslimah is that she strives with sincere intentions and uses all the resources around her to achieve the highest stations in Paradise. We are always looking for the ‘secrets to productivity’ and wanted to explore how some of the Muslim women today manage time effectively and perform the best in all the roles they hold being a mother, wife, daughter, professional, activist and more! Ramadan is an especially important time for sisters to reflect and gain as much reward and forgiveness as possible from Allah . So we decided to get some of the ‘Productive Muslimahs’ of our time in the hot seat to find out their top tips and secrets to become a Productive Muslimah!
We are very excited to be joined in this special Ramadan edition by Sister Zohra Sarwari, an international author of ten groundbreaking books, coach to women and children, business coach, entrepreneur, public speaker, mother of 3, and founder of SuperCharge Homeschooling! She is in our ProductiveMuslimah hot seat today, so we asked her to tell us her secrets on how she manages to stay productive during Ramadan while juggling her family, her work and her writing!
1) We’re very excited to have you share your Secrets as a Productive Muslimah so thank you for joining us! First, tell us who inspires you to be a Productive Muslimah?
Bismillah, wal Hamdullilah. Jazak Allaah Khairan for having me here and for thinking of me as a Productive Muslimah. Alhamdullilah, my inspiration is my Lord. I love Him so much, and am thankful for guidance and everything else He has given me.
2) Masha Allah you currently home-school your children and have set up a fantastic website, full of resources to help parents with homeschooling (SuperCharge Homeschooling). What was the deciding factor that led you to homeschooling your children? What benefits have you seen that could not be achieved with regular schooling?
The deciding factor for me was when I learned what would benefit me after I die. Since my children would be one of those cases, I needed to invest in them so that they may benefit me when I need it most insha’Allaah. Benefits I have seen are alhamdullilah many. Better tarbiyah, praying 5 times a day, fasting the month of Ramadan and other days, learning the Qur’aan, and wanting to memorize it in sha Allah. Also graduating from secular studies early in sha Allah.
3) What advice would you give to mothers who find the idea of homeschooling daunting? Is it accessible to all?
Lol….homeschooling is TOUGH. I will not lie and say it is super easy. As with anything else you must put in the time and effort to achieve the results that you want. However, my secret ingredient is making du’aa to Allah and asking Him for help in whatever areas that I need. Alhamdullilah that is how I have made it this far, believing in my dream of raising righteous children for the sake of Allah, and asking Him help doing it. Without Allah, I could not have done it. Alhamdullilah. (All praise truly belongs to Him.)
4) Alhamdulilah, the blessed month of Ramadan is upon us. How do you manage teaching your children during this busy time?
During this beautiful month we cutback on the dunya studies, and focus more on fasting, reading the Qur’an with meaning (tafsir), and learning something new for our deen. In sha Allah this year’s goal is to memorize Allah’s names and attributes; while we have done some of them in the past, this year I really want us to know it inside out in sha Allah. Again, all with the help of Allah .
5) For mothers, Ramadan tends to be a month spent living in the kitchen, and when they’re not there then they’re engaged with some other household responsibilities. How can they make time for themselves to be spiritually productive and to feel that they have made the most of productivity during Ramadan?
First of all, the concept of us cooking all day must be deleted especially in this month. We need to make a schedule and write down what we are cooking which days, how long each meal should take, and if we are eating leftovers the next day. We should really try to make it where our meal or meals do not take more than 1 hour each day. I personally like cooking extra and eating leftovers. As much as I love my family and friends, I do not like to attend iftar parties, as it will take away from my ibadah time. This month we have no time to waste, and Allah knows best. Also while cooking they [sisters] could listen to the Qur’an or a lecture so that they may be rewarded that way as well in sha Allah.
6) It is important of course, to get the whole family involved in activities during Ramadan. How can mothers work with children to instill an understanding and spirit of Ramadan within them?
By making a schedule of exactly what they are doing each day, and what their goals for Ramadan are. Ramadan should be fun for kids, and they should get rewarded for even the small deeds that they do.
7) What is your role as a wife within your family during Ramadan, and how has this helped your family’s overall productivity?
My role is to make sure I wake up early and cook and get food ready for everyone, to inspire them through out the day, reward them here and there, and share our schedule daily so that we are all on the same page. This way they see the goals we have and they want to achieve it as well in sha Allah.
8) Jazakillah khayr for all of your advice Sister Zohra. Can you give us any last words of advice to mothers so they can enjoy a productive Ramadan? Any advice, tips, something that worked with you, anything behind the scenes, something you tried last Ramadan that worked wonders?
I would say make your intention to make each Ramadan as if it is your last one. Think of each day as one you may not be here for next year. Plan accordingly, be happy, and be SUPER patient as shaytaan is locked up! Make a schedule and stick with it. Ask your kids to share any knowledge that they obtain during dinner time. Make Ramadan about fasting, not about eating. How you behave and act is what your kids will learn in sha Allah! Jazak Allah Khairan!
Well thank you to Sister Zohra for the wonderful advice and practical tips – there you have it sisters! Let us know your thoughts and comment below, and don’t forget to look out for our next instalment of ‘Secrets of a Productive Muslimah’!
http://www.democracynow.org – New details have emerged about the FBI’s efforts to turn Muslim Americans living abroad into government informants. An exposé in Mother Jones magazine chronicles the story of an American named named Naji Mansour who was living in Kenya. After he refused to become an informant he saw his life, and his family’s life, turned upside down. He was detained, repeatedly interrogated and ultimately forced into exile in Sudan, unable to see his children for years. Mansour began recording his conversations with the FBI. During one call, an agent informs Mansour that he might get “hit by a car.” Mansour’s story is the focus of a new piece in Mother Jones titled, “This American Refused to Become an FBI Informant. Then the Government Made His Family’s Life Hell.” We speak with Naji Mansour in Sudan and Nick Baumann, who investigated the story for Mother Jones.
Click here to watch the full interview on Democracy Now!:
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There is a profound statement by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah which says: ‘Women are one half of society which gives birth to the other half so it is as if they are the entire society.’
If women make up nearly all of society, shouldn’t we be striving to be productive in this life for the next? Yet we know it’s no easy task being a Muslimah today! In fact, being a sister, mother, wife, professional and more means a Muslimah in the modern day can find herself struggling to be productive, trying to juggle all the tasks on that ever-growing to-do list. Here’s the good news though: at Productive Muslim we believe in starting off with a sincere intention and working hard to reach our end goal.
So “who’s a Productive Muslimah?” I hear you asking. We believe a productive Muslimah is a woman who uses all the resources around her with a mission to live her life to excellence, ultimately working to achieve the highest stations in Jannah. Once a Muslimah in the world is armed with these tools she can achieve some great things insha Allah!
In this article we’re going to start exploring the top 10 tips to becoming a Productive Muslimah and we’ll look at the practical steps you can take to live a more productive life.
1. Have sincere intentions
At Productive Muslim we have a motto which says: ‘Have sincere intentions and work hard’. This is the motto of the life of a productive Muslimah. By beginning with sincere intentions in any of our actions, whether as a working professional by going to work with a good intention to bring about positive difference or as a busy wife or mother looking after the family, we are able to gain rewards and blessings in our actions so start off with a sincere intention always!
2. Be proactive
One of the best lessons I’ve learnt in life is that in order to be productive, we need to be proactive. This doesn’t mean in order to be productive you have to be busy; in fact, busy people may be unproductive. Instead, you must focus your energy on being active in areas which will bring about benefit to your overall life goals insha Allah. For example, one of the ways I am proactive is by attending personal and spiritual development courses and then sharing that with others through writing articles or delivering talks. We find that in the example of the historical and contemporary figures, being proactive is one of the traits of successful Muslimahs.
3. Seek knowledge
It is often said that if you ‘educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a nation’ which highlights the importance of sisters continuously seeking knowledge.
To become a productive Muslimah, seek out courses from those available online through various Islamic organisations to offline seminars and courses locally which will help to develop your knowledge. In the modern era, accessing books on Kindle and in libraries and bookshops means you can read up on almost any subject that you need to develop your knowledge in and then impart it to your children, families and wider community.