By: Umm Salih
“Please wait for just five minutes, dinner is almost ready. Do eat before leaving,” requested his aunt.
“No, Jazak Allah Khair! I am already late. I’ll eat at home InshaAllah,” replied the nephew with a smile.
Only an hour had passed after Salim left that she heard her mobile phone ringing.
“Yes, yes…Oh no! Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon!” Nasreen was in total shock; Salim had been hit by a speeding van on the highway and had died on spot.
“If only I could have stopped him for dinner! He was right here in front of me minutes ago…Oh! How I wish!’ she thought with tears in her eyes.
Insha’allah. In our workbook, we will teach the basics of Arabic, step by step prayers with word for word translations, and several surahs with Tajweed. This workbook will include both Arabic and transliteration.
Alhamdulillah, Allah s.w.t. has blessed all of us to be in this blessed month of Ramadan and he has blessed you guys to be watching this video this very moment. Now in this blessed month of Ramadan, there are three stops or there are three stations that you don’t ever want to miss and subhanAllah, this is the mercy of this blessed month that Allah s.w.t has given us these three stops or stations for this blessed month.
The first station, the first stop comes where the Prophet s.a.w. said, Whosoever does qiyam, i.e. taraweeh in the month of Ramadan, Allah s.w.t inshaAllah forgive all of his previous sins.
The second station is…Whosoever fasts in the month of Ramadan with imaan and hoping the reward from Allah s.w.t., Allah s.w.t will forgive all of his previous sins.
And the third stop or station comes which is (Arabic) whosoever does qiyaam or tahajjud and taraweeh on the night of laylatul qadr, Allah s.w.t shall forgive all his previous sins.
This is the fifth of a series of seven articles on ‘Productive Thinking’. The series aims to address the challenges that Muslims face on many different levels when it comes to productivity. These levels include: the mental, emotional and physical levels. This series will tackle thinking and mindset on the mental level; negative emotions like anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, fear, etc., on the emotional level; and habits on the physical level. (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4)
Are You Being Effective?
This article will discuss the four levels of behaviour or activities that can be used to measure our effectiveness. To be successful in this world and the next, we have to be ‘doing the right things’ — effectiveness — before ‘doing things right’ — efficiency. You can say you have been busy, but have you been busy just for the sake of being busy; or have you been busy being productive and effective? By being aware of these four levels, you can easily gauge the level of your effectiveness and productivity, In sha Allah.
The Four Levels of Behaviour: Pain, Pleasure, Benefit and Harm
We live in a world of dichotomy and opposites. It is only through opposites that we know the true nature of things. As human beings, we are driven by pain and pleasure. We no doubt like to do things that are pleasing, easy, as well as make us feel good, regardless of their actual benefit. However, as Allah (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an:
“And have [we not] shown him the two ways? But he has not broken through the difficult pass. And what can make you know what is [breaking through] the difficult pass?”
[Qur’an: Chapter 90, Verses 10-12].
A tafsir (exegesis) of the above verses indicates that the easy way is easy at the start, but will be hard later on and there will be consequences. The hard way is hard initially, but the ultimate ending will be good and easy. The hard way involves working for what is beneficial in this world and the next, and continuing to strive for goals and ambitions that may not always feel good or easy.
One of my favorite quotes by a teacher of mine is: “You will have a hard life if you live it the easy way. You will have an easy life if you live it the hard way.”
The Four Levels of Behaviour in Depth
The four levels can be illustrated by means of the following diagram:
The Four Levels of Behaviour Diagram
Although at first glance one might see enhanced productivity simply through outsourcing all growth, is there not a form of deen-centered productivity that takes root when we return to the soil?
Everything is almost always available. For those of us living in the industrialized world, our homes are a stone’s throw from major retailers, where goods of all season are almost always available. And for those who do not back up to shopping malls, the Internet malls are merely a click away. I recall the Internet boom in a major urban center in the mid-1990s when we could get nearly anything delivered, day or night. But, I also recall resisting such immediate consumption.
What about growing your own cherry tomatoes? And what about the joy of nurturing them, from start to delectable (small) finish, and then sharing the harvest? As ‘convenience’ and ‘choice’ become the hallmarks of our era, is it not time to reflect on what we may be giving up by our own consumptive patterns? How may we integrate different practices, for our own mental and physical well-being and ultimately the well-being of our planet, not to mention our own spiritual growth? What about reconsidering embedded notions of productivity (e.g. units processed per minute) and imagine instead our productivity as a function of how connected we are to our Creator (glorified and exalted be He), all while keeping our feet firmly rooted in the ground? Gardening has real power here, and the following tips will, In sha Allah, inspire you to grow your own greens.
Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. You’ve got to find the treasure, so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense. Paulo Coelho
Carving a career path is not about choosing something that is popular, one that everyone else seems to be doing or one that gives you the highest financial returns. For Muslims, it is of utmost importance that we choose the right career path as it is a decision that will affect our productivity. It also has the potential to make or break not only our worldly life but also our hereafter.
By choosing a profession that benefits the Ummah, our career will not only be a source of permissible income for us, but it is also a form of social productivity that brings not only the Muslim Ummah closer to Allah (glorified and exalted be He) but also provides opportunities for non-Muslims to come to the same path. This will benefit us in the world and our status will be elevated in the hereafter as well, In sha Allah. Indeed earning a halal income based on our own efforts is encouraged by the prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).
Abu Hurairah said: ”The Messenger of Allah said: ‘if one of you were to carry a bundle of firewood on his back and sell it, that would be better than asking a man who may or may not give him something.”‘ [Sunan an-Nasa’i]
So how exactly do we choose a career from an Islamic perspective and a path that will benefit the Ummah? Below are some pointers that will help us to at least start thinking along the right lines and get the ball rolling in the way of Allah (glorified and exalted be He) and His creation.