On the morning of November 18th 2010, I was given a firm reminder of the privilege we have in our existence, and that privilege being, to exist in the first place. If you’re someone looking at how to enhance your productivity, the starting point has to be to recognize, appreciate and be thankful for the fact you have life in the first place; visit the graveyard and you will see this for the privilege it is.
I awoke to the message, that a dear brother, Feroz Ganie, the Amir of AlKauthar Durban, South Africa, returned to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. The brother, may Allah have mercy on his soul and grant him Firdous Al Aala, left this world, and left a major whole in our team. Feroz, a key part of the efforts to mature the Dawah in South Africa will be sorely missed, however his passing, should be a time for all of us to reflect. All of us need to take a step back from our lives, and maybe even our roles in the efforts we are making for this religion and think about the reality of our existence and how quickly it could come to an end.
Every single one of us is busy, and yet every single one of us has no idea at what point we will return to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, and start our reckoning. Brothers and sisters, this is a firm reminder for all of us that the journey to enhanced productivity has to start with being thankful that you exist in the first place. Subsequently, if you can remind yourself of that, and regularly, what you should find is that you are able to achieve so much more.
Why will this be the case? Well, simply because when you reflect on the fact you are alive and then look at what you are seeking to achieve in life, what you should find is that you are able to make active efforts to change certain things in your life. These changes are things you are aware of, but make no dedicated effort to change, because in the back of your mind, you’re confident in seeing old age. You may remember death, but when you imagine it for yourself, your hair is white, you have children and even grandchildren, but do you have a guarantee for that?
Certainly, you, and the other 6 billion people you share this planet with, do not. Therefore, the crux to improving yourself and achieving your ambitions and making the most of your time, is actually starting with today, and being cognizant that tomorrow is an unknown.
Think about the companions (radiAllahu anhum) for a moment – they achieved so much, with such little resource. Why? Well amongst the reasons for this is the mindset they had, summarized so well by the famous son of the leader of the Muslims, Ibn Umar used to say: “In the evening do not expect [to live until] the morning, and in the morning do not expect [to live until] the evening. Take [advantage of] your health before times of sickness, and [take advantage of] your life before your death.” [Bukhari]
Therefore in our journey toward enhanced productivity, we should start by remembering the present is the only definite you have, as the next hour or day is not a guaranteed to us.
If you can do this, then inshaAllahu Ta’ala you will find that your productivity will also grow exponentially. When you live for today, you will inevitably purify your intention. And a pure intention will bring a strange phenomenon, something in Arabic called, ‘barakah’ and something that does not really translate.
It’s a strange thing, it cannot be described, it cannot be seen, it cannot be heard, but when you have it, you know it. When Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala puts barakah in your time, and rewards your pure intention with this barakah, what you will find is, you can achieve so much more, both in yourself and both with those whom also have it.
In the contemporary world of Dawah, you will see projects run across multiple time zones, meetings being held with people literally on every corner of the earth, and like the old saying, ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ you will find an unquantifiable strength emerge. This comes from the barakah of people coming together with pure hearts, and pursing the path, which leads to Paradise.
Therefore the lesson of the day is, see everyday as your last, and take nothing for granted. With that I ask you all to put things in perspective, your projects, your relationships and your intentions, and see your productivity rocket. This post was inspired by the death of a dear brother, whom I never met, never spoke to, never even saw, and yet he touched my heart, as his very existence bought me comfort for the work he sought to do to raise the banner of tawheed in South Africa. I ask you all to make a sincere du’a for our brother, Feroz, that Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala accepts his great works for AlKauthar in South Africa, and reward the short life he had with Firdaus Al Aala.
Continued – Series on Increasing Productivity
About the Author: Azim Kidwai is the UK Head of Making People Smile at Mercy Mission