Part 1 | The CallWhen Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) completed the But he relied upon Allah and did his best: he climbedstructure of the Ka’bah, Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) Mount Arafat and called out in his loudest voice, “Ocommanded him to call the people to Hajj. Ibrahim People! Verily Allah has prescribed upon you(Peace be upon him) got confused he said, “O Allah! Hajj, so perform Hajj.”How shall my voice reach all of those people?” Every human being on earth at that time heard thatAllah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) told him that his duty call and Hajj began since that day. Allah (Subhanahuwas only to give the call, and it was up to Allah to wa ta’ala) revealed in the Qur’an:make it reach the people. We should never stop ourselves from making theHere we have a beau- “And proclaim the Hajj among mankind. Theytiful productivity les- will come to thee on foot and (mounted) onson; don’t worry every camel, lean on account of journeysabout the results/ through deep and distant mountain highways”.outcome of your (Surat Al-Hajj, Ayat 28)effort; rather, worryabout making the necessary effort to achieve something just becauseeffort and ensuring you do the task to the best ofyour ability. If Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) saw that we think the results are impossible to achieve.the expected outcome of his task is impossible, he Do your part and leave the rest upon Allahwould have given up and there would have been no (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala).Hajj. http://productivemuslim.com/ 2 http://productivemuslim.com/
There are 2 important ingredients for Ibrahim’s suc- I’ve always been in awe at the verse that talks aboutcess in this task : Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) and Ismail (Peace be up- on him) building the house of Allah. The verse says:1. He took all necessary means to complete his task; he went to the highest mountain at that time, mount Arafat, and called with his loudest “And remember Abraham and Ismail raised the voice. foundations of the House (With this prayer): “Our2. He was sincere! He sincerely believed that Allah Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For Thou art (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) would deliver his call to all mankind. the All-Hearing, the All-knowing” . (Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 127)These 2 ingredients - sincerity and hard work - arethe ingredients for true success in dunya and akhira.One of the most respected scholars I know of our Notice that although they were doing the most nobletime gave me advice I’ll never forget it: “have good task on earth at that moment, they weren’t arrogantintentions and work hard”. I’ve carried this message about it and asked Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) to ac-wherever I’ve gone and it’s a formula of success I try cept it from them.to live by.Write this message down, place it somewhere on When you’re being productive, always be humbleyour desk, and remind yourself daily to have good in- about it and don’t boast. Remember, it is Allahtentions and work hard in whatever you do and see (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) who gave you the means tohow Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) will open the doors be productive at that time, so be thankful and alwaysof success for you, inshaAllah! ask Him to accept from you your hard work. http://productivemuslim.com/ 3 http://productivemuslim.com/
Notice how their prayer ended with “For Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-knowing.” Imagine if in all our work we remember that Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) is watching us and knows what we’re doing; how will our work be? What sort of tasks will we choose to do? What would happen to our level of productivity? How far would we go to ensure that the task is done perfectly or in an excellent manner? Here’s a practical homework exercise for you: pick a task you need to do, perhaps something you’ve been procrastinating upon for a long time, and ask your- self, “If I was to do this task sincerely for Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) knowing that Allah Allah says in the Quran about the building of the (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) is watching me do it, how Ka’bah: should I go about it and get it done?” The answer may surprise you.“And remember Abraham and Ismailraised the foundations of the House(With this prayer): “Our Lord! Accept(this service) from us: For Thou art theAll-Hearing, the All-knowing” . (Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 127) http://productivemuslim.com/ 4 http://productivemuslim.com/
So far we’ve derived 2 lessons from the story of Ibra- Try your best when you undertake a task, project, orhim (Peace be upon him) and Ismail (Peace be upon good deed that you do it with other people – whetherhim) building the Ka’aba: it’s with your spouse, children, co-workers, friends, or even random people who passionately belief in your task. Working with someone, or within a team, will im-1. When you’re being productive, be humble and don’t mensely help you keep up the productivity and workboast, but thank Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) and ask hard to get the work done inshaAllah.Him to accept from you.2. Whenever you approach a new task, you should re-member that Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) is watchingyou and you should try your best to do the task sin-cerely for Him.A final lesson that we can draw from the story is thefollowing; notice how Ibrahim (Peace be upon him)and Ismail (Peace be upon him) were working togeth-er to build the Kaa’ba. Good companionship (whetherrelated or unrelated) is a true helper in making youproductive.Sometimes being along or doing something alone canbe discouraging and you might easily give up, but ifyou work with people and work within a team, it’llforce you to be productive. 5 http://productivemuslim.com/ http://productivemuslim.com/
Part 2 | PersistenceNow we move to a different Hajj story: the story of to have this belief that Allah will not forsake you.Hajar (May Allah be pleased with her) and her son Is- You’re a Muslim, you believe in Him; He’ll not forsakemail (Peace be upon him). you. Do your best in all your endeavours regardless of the trials you face, and Allah will not forsake you. This feeling of certainty in Allah’s help will boost yourIbrahim (Peace be upon him) woke up one day and productivity when you feel like giving up.asked Hajar to prepare herself and baby Ismail for a Hajar went on nursing Ismail and drinking from thelong travel. Ibrahim and Hajar kept walking, crossed a water until it was all used up. She became very thirstyfertile land followed by barren mountains till they ar- and the child was crying. She left him on the al-Marwarived at the Arabian Desert. Ibrahim brought Hajar to a hill and hurried to the nearest hill, as-Safa.high hill called al-Marwa, made her and her baby situnder a tree, placed a bag of dates and some waternear her, and simply walked away. She stood there and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She descended from as-Safa,You can imagine Hajar’s reaction at this - she ran after crossed the valley running, and reached al-Marwa hill.him and said, “Are you going to leave us in this desert She stood and started looking but could not see any-where there is no one to keep us company?” She re- body. She kept running between as-Safa and al-peated this many times, but he would not look back at Marwa seven times. When she reached al-Marwa forher. Finally she asked, “Has Allah ordered you to do the last time, she was exhausted - and there, the mir-so?” He said, ‘Yes.” She replied, “Then He will not ne- acle happened! Angel Jibreel dug the earth until waterglect us.” flowed underneath Ismail (Peace be upon him) & Zam-This story teaches us a very beautiful lesson: When zam was born!Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) is testing you, you need http://productivemuslim.com/ 6 http://productivemuslim.com/
I always ask this question to my students; Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) saw a vision of himselfWhy did Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) make Hajar slaughtering his son, knowing that it’s a command from(May Allah be pleased with her) run 7 times before Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), he spoke to his son Ismailthis miracle happened? (Peace be upon him) about his vision and the obedient son dutifully agreed. As Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) was taking his son to the slaughter location, shaytaanIf He (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) wanted, he could have pro- appeared 3 times in 3 different locations “advising” Ib-vided her with Zamzam without her even lifting a finger, rahim to abandon his task and go back home with hisbut there’s a lesson here for all mankind: you need to son. Angel Jibreel came down and told Ibrahim that thiswork hard for miracles to happen! is shaytaan trying to tempt him from obeying Allah, he should throw 7 pebbles at him and he’ll disappear.The sky does NOT rain gold - you have to be proactive,do your best, and push yourself; and Allah will provide When they reached the designated spot, Ibrahim placedfrom where you didn’t expect! his son Ismail face down on the ground, reached for his son’s neck with the knife and pulled it! Nothing hap-This is a message to the Ummah of Islam: Sitting down pened. He did it again, nothing happened. He tried aand doing nothing for the Ummah and hoping that our third time but still, nothing happened and the miracleUmmah’s situation will change does not grant us victory. occurred. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) says in the Quran:We need active societies, people who care more about “So when they had both submitted their wills (tothose around them than their own comforts. Each one of Allah, and he had laid him prostrate on hisus needs to be productive in an area of our lives, and forehead (for sacrifice), We called out to him “Oboost those around us to be productive as well. This is Abraham!” “Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!”how we’ll rise as an Ummah, inshaAllah. – thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial- And We ransomedThe story of Ibrahim’s (Peace be upon him) sacrifice of him with a momentous sacrifice: And We left (thisIsmail (Peace be upon him) is probably the most famous blessing) for him among generations (to come) instory of Hajj and one that we all memorize. later times” (Al-Saffat, Verses 103-108). 7 http://productivemuslim.com/ http://productivemuslim.com/
What productivity lessons can we learn from this story?Here’s the productivity lesson I wanted to share with you: remember the part when Shaytaan was coming to“advise” Ibrahim not to obey Allah? This is the sort of “advice” that we mostly fall for each day that makes us un-productive! Shaytaan each day turns up and tells you “no need to work on that project...it’s too hard, leave it today,you seem tired”…OR “you can’t do that, you’re too young/old/incompetent/busy to work on this project, someoneelse will do it.”Day in and day out, he comes to us and distracts us, acting as our trusted advisor to stay away from good deedsand keep us lazy and unproductive. Today, I want you to pelt shaytaan with stones of knowledge, hard work, sin-cerity and perseverance whenever you hear such ‘advice’ from him! 8 http://productivemuslim.com/ http://productivemuslim.com/
Part 3 | The New YearEven though there are no prescribed celebrations for a newyear in Islam, however, it’s always good to take such occasionsas opportunities to reflect on how well you’ve performed overthe past year, in terms of dunya and akhira, as well as whatyou want to achieve over the coming year.When reflecting back, if you see that you were successful inachieving lots of good deeds and good work, then say “Al-Hamdulillah!” and ask Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) for more inthe coming year.If you see otherwise, then ask Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) for forgiveness and start a new sheet with the new yearpromising yourself to do better, inshaAllah. http://productivemuslim.com/ 9 http://productivemuslim.com/
When we think about the Hijrah (migration of the This spiritual migration won’t be easy and might beProphet from Makkah to Medina), we rarely imagine challenging at times, but if done for the sake of Allahthe difficulty it must have been for our beloved (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), it will be beneficial in theProphet (Peace be upon him) and his companions to end inshaAllah.leave their homes, their businesses, their families,and migrate to a different new city. Can you imagineyourself doing it? Leaving all the comforts you’ve Here’s an article I wrote on Productivity lessons frombuilt over the years in your hometown and simply the Hijrah, which I hope you’ll find beneficial:starting a new life in a new town? http://www.productivemuslim.com/productivity- lessons-from-the-hijrah-part-2/It’s not easy. But sometimes such migration is need-ed in order to kick start a new life and propel us to-wards productive pursuits just like it was needed at Hope you like it!the time of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in orderfor Islam to find a new home in Medina and be ableto spread more freely in the Arabian peninsula.Today I invite you all to a spiritual form of Hijrah, aHijrah for the sake of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala)from sins to good deeds, from bad friends to goodfriends, from non-halal job to a halal job, from livingfor dunya to living for akhira, and of course from un-productivity to productivity! http://productivemuslim.com/ 10 http://productivemuslim.com/
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