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  1. Assalaamu alaykum! Wonderful site and layout, but may I ask, why is the word privilege in the title spelled with an e instead of an i? Typo or on purpose? Please don’t take offense if my comment sounds smart alecky or anything, just trying to clarify. Salaam!

      • I think you meant “hole” rather than “whole” in the statement “… left a major whole in our team.” A really simple yet reminder!

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      QURAN AND PRODUCTIVITY
      Proactivity of the Yaseen Man

      “And there came a man running from the farthest part of the town. He said: “O my people! Obey the Messengers”.
      “Obey those who ask no wages of you (for themselves), and who are rightly guided”.
      “And why should I not worship Him (Allah Alone) Who has created me and to Whom you shall be returned?”
      “Shall I take besides Him alihah (gods)? If the Most Gracious (Allah) intends me any harm, their intercession will be of no use for me whatsoever, nor can they save me.”
      “Then verily, I should be in plain error”.
      “Verily! I have believed in your Lord, so listen to me!”.
      It was said (to him when the disbelievers killed him): “Enter Paradise.” He said: “Would that my people knew”.
      “That my Lord (Allah) has forgiven me, and made me of the honoured ones!”.
      (Surat Yaseen – Chapter 36, Verses 20-27)

      The verses above show the proactive nature that every ProductiveMuslim should have in giving dawah to people. Here’s a man (we call him the Yaseen man because the story is mentioned in Surat Yaseen), who had no need to go and proclaim his faith to his people; he could have easily sat at home, comfortably believing in Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) and letting the Messengers deal with the people. But he came running from the farthest part of town and started giving dawah. And what’s more amazing, after they killed him, and he was given Paradise, he still remembered them and said: “if only my people would know”.

      Such proactivity is missing in many Muslims these days. We’re happy to sit comfortably in our homes and never proclaim our faith to anyone nor perform any action which would have lasting social impact. We claim to be ‘peaceful’ people, yet what sort of people do not care of the eternal peace of their neighbours nor invite them to the beauty of Islam? Or don’t strive hard and work tirelessly to take care of the poor, the orphans and the widows?

      As ProductiveMuslims, we should develop a sense of proactivity and leave a social impact to those around us; this sense that it’s your responsibility to call your people, your neighbours, your society to all that’s good, including the message of Islam. Yes, it wouldn’t be easy. Perhaps you will get hurt along the way. But life’s too short to live a fearful and inactive life. The Yaseen-man knew he would probably get killed, but he weighed his options and chose to do the best action – to seek the pleasure of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala).

      SEERAH AND PRODUCTIVITY
      Two Types of Proactivity

      It is narrated by al-Mughira that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to stand (in the salah) or perform salah until both his feet or legs swelled. He was asked why (he offered such an unbearable salah). He replied: “Should I not be a thankful slave (to Allah)?” [Bukhari]

      People tend to be productive for 2 different reasons:
      1. Some are productive because they have to, E.g. being productive at work so you won’t lose your job, being productive at school/uni so you won’t fail.
      2. Others are productive out of thankfulness.

      The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was productive for the latter reason. He was a thankful slave of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) and his gratitude drove him to be productive in every aspect of his life.

      When you’re productive because you have to, it will only get you so far, and eventually you won’t be able to continue as you may lose focus or grow tired of pushing yourself. But when you’re productive out of thankfulness to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) for all the blessings He bestowed upon you, it’s as if you have a burning fire within you that’s constantly fueling you to stay productive in anything you do. Whether it’s worship, work, family, or working in your community, you’ll constantly want to give your best and nothing short of excellence as a slave of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) like the Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to do.

      PRODUCTIVE ANCESTORS

      Productivity Lessons from Ibn al-Jawzi (may Allah have mercy on him)

      It is said that the best use of time and way to draw closer to Allah is through seeking knowledge. Of the prominent scholars who displayed such excellence in the pursuit of knowledge was Imam Abu’l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi, he was born in 508AH and died in 597AH. He lived for 89 years and wrote over five hundred books.

      Here is some of Ibn al-Jawzi’s biography in order to perceive how he was very aware of time and its value. He, may Allah have mercy on him, wrote in one of his books: ‘One must know the value of his time and its great importance, so that he should not waste even one moment except in worship, and should use it for the best, in order of priority, in speech and action. One’s intention to seek goodness must ever be present, with no slackness, as much as the body is able to bear, for as the hadith says: “The intention of the believer is better than his action”. [Al-Tabarani] (1)

      Our productive predecessors highlight that most people nowadays waste time in useless matters. Only the successful realise the nobleness of time; Ibn al-Jawzi (rah) said: “I saw many people who do not know the true meaning of life. For there are those who have been blessed by Allah by being rich and not needing to work, and you find them sitting in the markets most of the day looking at people, watching many an evil thing. Some of them play chess, others pass their time telling stories..”

      “I discovered that Allah, Glorified be He, did not guide people to the realisation of the nobleness of time and the importance of times of health, except the successful ones whom He blessed and guided, And no one will be granted such goodness except persons of the greatest fortune.”
      [Excerpt from ‘The Value of Time’ p 32-34]

      Lessons:

      1. Reflect on your purpose in life
      2. Be grateful for good health
      3. Make dua for Allah to bless your time
      4. Minimise time spent in social gatherings
      5. Leave irrelevant matters

      (1) Noted as a weak hadith.

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      9th annual RIS Convention returns this winter from Dec. 24-26, 2010 – Come listen to international speakers discuss this year’s theme “Rules for the Road of Live: Reviving the 10 Commandments in the Modern World” – visit http://revivingtheislamicspirit.com for more information.

      New Posts:

      Productivity Lessons from the Hijrah (Part 1)
      http://www.productivemuslim.com/productivity-lessons-from-the-hijrah-part-1

      Investing our time (Our life’s most precious assets) Part 2 of 2: http://www.productivemuslim.com/investing-our-time-our-lifes-most-precious-assets-part-2-of-2/

      Investing our time (Our life’s most precious assets) Part 1 of 2: http://www.productivemuslim.com/investing-our-time-our-lifes-most-precious-assets-part-1-of-2/

      Did Muhammad (peace be upon him) Multi-task?: http://www.productivemuslim.com/did-muhammad-peace-be-upon-him-multi-task/

      3 Powerful Tips to Overcome Fear: http://www.productivemuslim.com/3-powerful-tips-to-overcome-fear/
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      QURAN AND PRODUCTIVITY

      Nuh and Fighting Mockery
      And it was revealed to Nuh (Noah): “None of your people will believe except those who have believed already. So be not sad because of what they used to do.
      And construct the ship under Our Eyes and with Our Revelation, and call not upon Me on behalf of those who did wrong; they are surely to be drowned.”
      And as he was constructing the ship, whenever the chiefs of his people passed by him, they mocked at him. He said: “If you mock at us, so do we mock at you likewise for your mocking. [11:36-38]

      Nuh (Peace be upon him) was made fun of for building an ark in the middle of the desert. But Nuh knew what was coming and saw the end in sight and realised who will be truly laughing in the end.

      Sometimes in life, we can be considered strangers; praying 5 times a day, not having “fun” (defined as drinking alcohol, going clubbing, outside marriage relationships..etc) and people mock us day and night. They see us ‘too serious’, tell us to take a ‘chill pill’ and enjoy life to the fullest. But we keep the end in sight, see the bigger picture and understand Whose path we’re following.

      Mockery is probably the biggest challenge to people becoming productive, especially becoming productive for the sake of Islam and doing dawah-related work. Sometimes this mockery can be from the closest people, including parents and siblings. But if you remember Who you’re doing this for, and see the bigger picture of rewards in Akhira and Allah’s (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) pleasure, it should be easier for you to fight this mockery just like Nuh (Peace be upon him) did and keep treading the path to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) with determined action.

      SEERAH AND PRODUCTIVITY

      In the 6th year of Hijrah, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) gave us a powerful example of the leader who has a long-term view of success rather than a short term one. He (Peace be upon him) saw a vision wherein he entered Makkah and circumambulated the Ka’aba. The vision did not specify a date or year of when he’ll enter Makkah, but Prophet Muhmmad (Peace be upon him) commanded his men to prepare for Umrah.

      Before reaching Makkah with his companions, the people of Quraish came and met with the Prophet (Peace be upon him) urging him not to make Umrah this year. Quraish made a pact with him stipulating that the Muslims shall not perform their pilgrimage this year but shall wait till next year. And no man shall come from Quraish without the authorization of his master seeking refuge with the Muslims but he shall be returned to Quraish. And that no man from the Muslims shall come to Quraish seeking refuge but he shall be allowed to stay with Quraish. They also agreed to refrain from fighting for ten years and that whosoever wished to enter into Muhammad’s pact and treaty could do so, and whosoever wished to enter into Quraish’s pact and treaty could do so. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) agreed to this truce which was named “The Truce of Al-Hudaibiyya”.

      When the Muslims saw the Prophet (Peace be upon him) accept this pact they were dumb-struck. How could he possibly accept such a one-sided and unjust treaty (in their estimation)? However, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) commanded them to return and they did.

      Little did the Muslims know at that time, that this treaty was the secret of success for the Prophet’s conquering of Makkah in a few years time. The truce gave the Prophet and his companions a breathing space to concentrate their efforts on giving Dawah instead of defending Medina and fighting Quraish. This won the Prophet (Peace be upon him) many allies whom he could called upon when Quraish broke their treaty and Muhammad (Peace be upon him) decided to enter Makkah.

      Morale of the story: As a leader, always look for long-term gains rather than short-term success.

      PRODUCTIVE ANCESTORS

      Imam An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him)

      Many of us have come across the treasures created by this productive ancestor. Imaam Muhyee al-Din Aboo Zakariya Yahyaa bin Sharaf al-Nawawee was born in the village of Nawa in the vicinity of Damascus in 631 AH. He grew up in Nawa and at the age of nineteen went to study in Damascus which was considered the center of learning and scholarship.

      During his stay at Damascus, Imaam Nawawee studied from more than twenty celebrated teachers, regarded as authorities in their fields and disciplines. He studied Hadith, Islamic jurisprudence and principles, syntax and Etymology from great scholars.

      Imaam Nawawee had an endless thirst for knowledge. He used to read twelve lessons daily and wrote commentaries on every lesson. Whatever books he read, he would write marginal notes and explanations on each book. His intelligence, hard work, love, devotion and absorption in his studies amazed his teachers and they became fond of him and began to praise and admire him. Allaah (Subhanhu wa Ta’ala) had also conferred upon him the gift of fast memorization and depth of thought. Imaam Nawawee made full benefit of these blessins and potentialities and earned the highest degree of honor. Imaam Nawawee led a life of singular piety, righteousness and simplicity.

      Imaam Nawawee had a short life but during this short period, he had written a large number of books on different subjects. Every work has been recognized as a valuable treasure of knowledge. Among them are, Riyaad as-Saaliheein, Arba’een and al-Adhkaar.

      Lessons:

      1. Have sincere intentions
      2. Make notes on what you read
      3. Develop a love for good knowledge
      4. Work hard to excel at what you do
      5. Use your skills and gifts from Allah for spreading good

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      9th annual RIS Convention returns this winter from Dec. 24-26, 2010 – Come listen to international speakers discuss this year’s theme “Rules for the Road of Live: Reviving the 10 Commandments in the Modern World” – visit http://revivingtheislamicspirit.com for more information.

      New Posts:

      Friday Naseeha: http://www.youtube.com/user/productivemuslim

      Increasing Productivity: Lesson No. 2- Noble Company: http://www.productivemuslim.com/increasing-productivity-lesson-2-noble-company/
      Guest Post: 18 Ways to Achieve Greatness through Gratefulness: http://www.productivemuslim.com/18-ways-to-achieve-greatness-through-gratefulness/
      Productivity Lessons from the Hijrah (Part 2): http://www.productivemuslim.com/productivity-lessons-from-the-hijrah-part-2/
      Guest Post: Combating Negative Thinking!: http://www.productivemuslim.com/combating-negative-thinking/
      Interview with Productive Muslim – Baba Ali: http://www.productivemuslim.com/interview-with-productive-muslim-baba-ali/

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    • Increasing Productivity: Lesson No. 2- Noble Company
      Dec 10, 2010 11:55 pm | ProductiveMuslim

      A few days ago, I participated in a charity fundraiser, the 841 Challenge,
      part of a campaign to raise £25,000 for Mercy Mission. The mission was very
      simple, to try and cross 8 European countries within 4 days. The time flew,
      as did our shuttle, as we managed to get across 8 European countries within
      the time set, through great team work, and pretty much keeping the car
      running most of the time.

      The trip was a great success, not because we successfully completed the
      trial, not because we raised thousands of pounds for charity, not because we
      planned out the biggest project Mercy Mission will launch in 2011
      insha’Allah through this, but because I matured my understanding of the
      importance of relationships.

      When I went about setting myself a challenge to raise money for the
      charitable organisation I live my life with, Mercy Mission, I had a couple
      of people who emerged immediately, as people eager to help. And help they
      have. From the point of concept to delivery, they have been critical in
      ensuring that the objectives have been realised, and insha’Allah this will
      be written in their scale of good deeds.

      Allah Subhanhu wa Ta’ala says:

      _”Cooperate in righteousness and God-consciousness”. [Quran 5:2]_

      And to be honest, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has blessed me over the last
      ten years to meet the people who apply this verse in their lives, and the
      two I have taken the trip with just solidified my already concrete faith in
      this.

      As we look to get more from our day, time, existence, it is of paramount
      importance that we both recognize and actively seek out those relationships
      which will allow us to be more productive. Our individual contribution to
      humanity will never be optimized without the right company, and therefore,
      we need to actively build and mature the nobility of our company.

      The brothers I have taken my trip with, have humbled me with their
      sincerity, generosity, and commitment to the greater good in the face of
      adversity. Their company has been a privilege and even as I write this, I
      reflect on how I would not have been able to entertain this challenge if
      Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) not blessed me with their company. The Messenger
      of Allah (peace be upon him) has said: “Allâh supports His slave as long as
      the slave is supportive of his brother.” [Muslim]

      And this came through every moment of the trip, both before and during. The
      trip had some very difficult times, as I assure you driving through the Alps
      in the winter is difficult enough, let alone at night, in freezing
      temperatures, with limited visibility. Having a solid co-driver made the
      difference.

      The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The believer to the believer is like
      a solid building, one part supports the other.” [Bukhari & Muslim]. And he
      interlaced his fingers to demonstrate this. I assure you, when sleep was
      trying to make us pull up and stop, and potentially compromise the ability
      to succeed, it was the team spirit that kept our morale high, and at times
      RedBull too (!)

      Therefore, the point to consider here is, does the company you keep add
      value to your life now and your hereafter? Does the company you keep remind
      you of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala)? Does the company you keep call you to
      good deeds? All these are questions we need to consider, and the some of the
      criteria with which we should measure each contact in our phone book
      against. If you are with people that are competing for good, you will find
      you are inclined to doing a greater amount of good, and vice versa. This is
      why we find we are ‘on the religion of our companions’, and thus those
      around us can have a profound impact on our lives.

      One of the companions (may Allah be pleased with him) famously shared with
      the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), how in his company his emaan was
      so high and his desire for good, however when away from our beloved his
      state was different. And ultimately to a lesser degree we as individuals
      will all have this, that when we are with noble company, we have a greater
      desire to do good and concerted effort to stay away from satanic whisper.
      This is natural, but also is something we should use in our favor, and make
      our friends from the noble people, and build our productivity with other
      people who call to goodness.

    • Interview with Productive Muslim – Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips
      Dec 12, 2010 09:22 pm | ProductiveMuslim

      _Alhamdulillah, We had the privilege to speak to Dr. Bilal Philips to get an
      insight into productive life._

      Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips was born in Jamaica, but grew up in Canada, where
      he accepted Islam in 1972. He completed a diploma in Arabic and a B.A. from
      the College of Islamic Disciplines (Usool ad-Deen) at the Islamic University
      of Madeenah in 1979. At the University of Riyadh, College of Education, he
      completed a M.A. in Islamic Theology in 1985, and in the department of
      Islamic Studies at the University of Wales, he completed a Ph.D. in Islamic
      Theology in 1994.

      Abu Ameenah taught Islamic Education and Arabic in private schools in Riyadh
      for over ten years and for three years he lectured M.Ed. students in the
      Islamic Studies department of Shariff Kabunsuan Islamic University in
      Cotobato City, Mindanao, Philippines. Since 1994 he has founded and directed
      the Islamic Information Center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (which is now
      known as Discover Islam) and the Foreign Literature Department of Dar al
      Fatah Islamic Press in Sharjah, UAE. Presently, he is a lecturer of Arabic
      and Islamic Studies at the American University in Dubai and Ajman University
      in Ajman, UAE.

      Read more about his [1]Islamic Online University
      Links:
      1. http://www.islamiconlineuniversity.com

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    • Race Towards Good Deeds
      Dec 13, 2010 11:49 pm | ProductiveMuslim

      A neighbour of mine had a knee operation about a month ago, and for a month
      I’ve been telling myself to go visit him. Everyday I delayed it till the
      next day, and never got around it. Last week, I made the utmost preparation
      to go see him and I told myself “No excuses! I have to visit this
      brother.” I go pray Maghreb planning to see him after salah and subhanaAllah
      – there he was in the mosque before me with the rest of the brothers feeling
      better and able to walk.

      _May Allah forgive me_

      I felt so bad, and couldn’t stop rebuking myself for missing such a huge
      reward and opportunity to visit a neighbour, a Muslim brother, in his time
      of need. I remembered the Hadeeth Qudsi where Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala)
      would say to a person on the Day of Judgement: “O son of Adam I was sick and
      you did not visit Me. He would say: O my Lord; how could I visit You and You
      are the Lord of the worlds? Thereupon He would say: Didn’t you know that
      such and such servant of Mine was sick but you did not visit him and were
      you not aware that if you had visited him, you would have found Me by
      him?” (Muslim).

      _May Allah forgive me_

      Sometimes we keep putting off good deeds, and delay performing them but can
      any of us guarantee we have tomorrow? I remembered the hadeeth of the
      Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) which promised great reward for someone
      visiting the sick, He (Peace be upon him) said: “There is not a Muslim that
      visits another in the morning except that 70,000 angels ask forgiveness for
      him until the night, and if he visits him at night then 70,000 angels ask
      forgiveness for him until the morning, and he will have earned a garden in
      paradise” (At-Tirmidhi).

      _May Allah forgive me_

      Reflecting deeply on the failure to hasten towards good deeds on this
      occasion, I remembered the hadeeth, where the caller of heaven would say to
      the person visiting the sick: “You have done well and your walk was good
      also, and you have earned a place in paradise” (At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah).
      So why do we still not run towards opportunities to do good deeds presented
      before us?

      _May Allah forgive me_

      Brothers and sisters, the most important lesson to take away is that we
      should not delay, and hasten towards good deeds.

      Allah says in the Quran: “Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your
      Lord, and for a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and
      of the earth, prepared for the righteous” (Al-Imran, Chapter #3, Verse
      #133). We should not forget that our brothers and sisters in Islam have
      rights over us, and there should be no excuses to seek those good deeds out.
      You might have a busy life, but if you want to know what true productivity
      means in Islam, it’s making sure that you do not miss these
      “opportunities” and “golden” moments to be with your brother and sister in
      their time of need. Ultimately it might be an act which saves you in the
      Hereafter. Make time for them and Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) will reward
      you, bless you, and make time for you inshaAllah.

      I hope that this message to race towards good deeds reaches you and and that
      it becomes a mean for Allah to forgive me.

      Read more: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ProductiveMuslim/~3/gnyrRBK63eM/
      Comments: http://www.productivemuslim.com/race-towards-good-deeds/#comments

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  2. MasyaAllah.. At the time where I was a little bit lost, the advice ‘see everyday as your last, and take nothing for granted’ wakes me up again.. InsyaAllah I will try to practice this now. Jazakallahu khair.