Last Thursday, I was honoured to interview Sheikh Tawfique Chowdhury, the founder and director general of MercyMission and Al-Kauthar Institute. SubhanaAllah, a truly inspiring interview, and one that I highly recommend for all to listen and learn from inshaAllah!
Bissmillah wasalatu, alhamdullahi wasalam ala rasool Allah wa’ala man wallah.
Brothers and sisters, we are honored to welcome Sheikh Tawfique Chowdhury to interview him in this series of
interviews of Productive Muslims around the world. Sheikh Tawfique Chowdhury is the founder and director general of Al-Kauthar Institute and Mercy Mission. He graduated from the College of Shariah from the Islamic
University of Shariah, he is an experienced business professional, holding a CEO position for an international IT company and soon to be a
doctor. He is a corporate trainer, coach and mentor mashallah. Sheikh Tawfique, Salam Alaykum.
Wa’lakumisalam, how are you my friend?
Alhamdullilah, jazakallah khair for accepting me on this call. First question whenever anyone
reads your bio is, how did it all begin?
Well, it all began with Adam (peace be upon him) (laughter). But how did it begin with me? Well it all began with me when I went into medical
school after graduating from high school. I went to
medical school in Australia and I wasn’t practicing at the point. Then it so happened, that I passed by the Islamic Society there and
I made really good friends and became close with them and that’s when the transformation really
began. Islam has always been more than just a religion for me; it’s a lifestyle, it’s been my passion, it’s been my purpose and, it’s been my vision. As a result of
which, all the things that I have done is a combination of all that. So it all really began at that point and I have those brothers to thank. Those brothers should know that all that work, if Allah
accepts, they will rewarded for it. That’s the amazing thing about ISOC and MSA, these Muslim Student Associations, these days, they are the point of transformation for lots of people to becoming productive. So it began from
there, then I left medical school towards the end, without completing it, simply because I felt that I needed to pursue Islam far more intensely. That’s when I went to Medinah and met up with some visionary,
exemplary mashaikh and scholars, who dedicated their life, their time, their wealth and money and everything they have for the sake of Allah (glorified and exalted be He). I felt the passion, the iman in Medinah. I benefited a little from Medinah and that’s when the journey really began.
So did you plan to be a scholar, a CEO Director, a corporate trainer and a medical doctor, or did it all just fall in place? How did you plan your life
Well, unfortunately the education system doesn’t really train you to plan your life properly; they simply plan it for you. They make you study science and math to make you become an engineer, or make you study literature and biology or whatever else extra to make you a journalist, or to make you a doctor. If you’re not planning your life, someone else is already planning your life right? What usually happens generally when we don’t have a plan for our lives, our families plan our lives, the government plans our lives, our enemies plan our lives (laughter); all except for us. Alhamdullilah, from early on, one thing that my parents really instilled in me was this really great desire to succeeded in anything that I put my mind to, whatever it was in academics, debates, drawing or arts, and whether it was in writing poems, or playing tennis, or championships or whatever it is. My parents put a lot of pressure on me to be a successful person in whatever I get involved in. So based on that, whatever I really entered I put my mind to it and alhamdullliah, I did quite well, only from the barakah of Allah (glorified and exalted be He). I guess, in reality, a part of it is not planned at all, its circumstances and people planning for you, and some planning from you inshallah.
How do you manage the different focus areas, from being a shariah scholar, to having corporate training to being a medical doctor soon. Do you see them as different or all as the same thing?
That’s a good question, how do I manage it? Well, a Muslim has multiple roles in his life, and as long as they’re not conflicting they all lead to one purpose and that’s to worship Allah (glorified and exalted be He) with excellence and ihsan. So if that is the case, to worship Allah with excellence and ihsan, there must be a way I can do so, so that’s how everything fits in for me. Whether it’s learning something in Islam, whether it be medicine, whether it be business and finance stuff or whether it working in the IT field, all of it has been revolving around ihsan. It’s all around a central principle, and that is to be the most knowledgeable that I can be and the most merciful I can be on creation. So I thought long and hard how can one person do that. Initially, my parents were the ones that asked me and ordered me to study medicine, but that didn’t really work because my heart wasn’t in it, my mind wasn’t in it and I was more into studying Islam. But then when you think about it and recollect, when I got to Medinah and sat in Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mosque on the front row, and think about the purpose of life, and go to Makkah and sit on the top floor, with the wind blowing in your face and the Sheikh Sudais reciting Quran and think what is the purpose of your life? A person has to really think maturely and with a lot of collective wisdom and seek the shura of the wise people on this earth and really figure out the purpose that he has been sent here for. So if that is the case, when a person does figure what the purpose of what he’s really here for, all these other roles, whether he needs to be a doctor or whether he needs to be a CEO, if he needs to be all of that, it all falls into place. Sometimes people become too focused on the means and not the end goal. And for me, being a CEO or an IT professional or a project manager etc, they’re all means towards that one end goal, which is to worship Allah and to earn Allah’s eternal pleasure by striving with excellence to pursue the vision of the final messenger. This is my purpose, this is the purpose that I share with everyone and that I encourage all the youth and everyone out there to have. Ultimately, you’re all here in order to enter jannah, and escape jahanam and they will live this with ihsan, a combination of the highest and the noble akhlak, manners and behaviors, and that is to do what? It is to pursue the ultimate vision of the final message because that is ultimately what it means to be a follower, that you walk on path that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) walked and Allah (glorified and exalted be He) knows best.
Jazakallah khair. Something that you already alluded to in your previous answer, … they either stop there or they continue, what makes one pursue another goal and when do you say this is enough?
I think that’s a good question. For most people, unfortunately, there is a wrong way of goal setting, some people say lets plan one year ahead, and then they will say where do we go from here, lets plan another one year, sometimes they only do 6 months, some do it longer. Governments for example only last to 4-5 years, so they only plan 5 years ahead. But Islam is very different, in Islam we have a khalifa that stays with us until he passes away. The khalifa leads us with his ultimate vision that he has. So when a person has an ultimate vision, when he can close his eyes and with full clarity and certainty he can tell you, bam! smack in the face, what he wants the world to be and how he can see himself at his final and end destination. If you have an ultimate destination, for example, if get into a car and people say, hey where are you going and you say I have no idea. What are people doing with their life? People are getting into the car of life, and when people ask them where are you going, they say we don’t know. But they say let’s learn some Quran, and yeah let’s do tajweed too, some time management skills, some coaching skills, it’s a fruit salad man!
It doesn’t work like that, many people with potential, youth with potential, if they only first sat down and spent time figuring out the purpose and then figuring out the ultimate vision they need, and we know for e.g. the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, my ummah will live for 60-70. So you can think, I am 20 years old now, or 30 years old, and will most probably live, if Allah gives your life for another 30-40 years so imagine what you want the world to be from your actions and imagine what you will be 30-40 years older than what you are now. That will be your ultimate vision. This is what makes me go from one goal to the next. Is that we are always working towards the same direction in the end.
It makes complete sense, but you know it’s very hard to get into that way of thinking, where you can sit down and elevate yourself, a lot of people are busy with so many things that they don’t have the time to sit down and focus on a vision, so what advice do you give to develop a vision?
Why do you think the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) spent 8 months in the cave of Hira, what do you think he was doing? He was thinking about the purpose of this life and what he was sent here for, and he has no peace and no comfort until he could do that. So it’s not a simple thing. The Prophet said in an authentic Hadith, ‘everyone is helped with the purpose they are created (check)’. When someone wants to be productive, when a young guy says what do I do with my life, what is the typical advice given? Go to Medinah. Right? Or go to Syria, or go to Egypt and learn Arabic. It’s the same advice, but people have been created for different reasons, Khalid ibn Alwaleed was created to liberate Muslim land and to make Allah (glorified and exalted be He) supreme, he wasn’t created to be a scholar. Umar (may Allāh be pleased with him) was made to be the leader of the ummah, do you see where I’m coming from? Hurayrah was made to be the memorizer of the sunnah. So everyone was created for a purpose and they’re helped with it. It’s when we struggle against that, that we lose the potential, our momentum, and any success that we can actually have. Not everyone of us was meant to be a scholar, not everyone of us was made to be a businessman and be very wealthy. Some people are meant to be poor and excel in other things. The point I am trying to make my friend is that a person needs to spend a tremendous amount of time just pondering, ‘why you or Abdul was created specifically at this time or age’, in the 21st century, living in the West or living wherever you are. Why are you in that particular body, why in that particular family, in that particular country, in that particular situation, what does Allah (glorified and exalted be He) want from you? Allah (glorified and exalted be He) has a plan and a design and it’s up to you to discover it and the instant you discover it, you are unstoppable, you are complete, believe me. I can’t explain the power of the purpose and how it has transformed me and give me clarity and it has given me the energy. You know those days, you feel like on a long road, when all the speed bumps happen, and where are we going? We are going to Sydney, why are we going there? If my whys are not strong enough then they won’t tolerate the long road and 800km drive to Sydney. But if the purpose is very strong then believe me, it will tolerate it. So my advice is to my young brothers and sisters, mashallah you are still young, and I wish I was as young as you all, so I can go back and be productive. Because I spent a lot of time being unproductive.
Do you see a link between being productive and stumbling on your vision? For someone who is trying new ideas and trying to be active, do you think that can be a way to develop their vision?
I guess it’s one way of discovering it, you try different things and then you discover it. I mean, developing a vision would be easy by trying different things, it’s a process of developing a vision that you try to discover. You can discover the ultimate purpose through that and asking the people that know you, asking the closest friend, speak to people, like you are doing now, speaking to people out there, who have done a couple of things, and ask them a few questions e.g. what has driven them, what has made them productive and what made them have a purpose. So again my advice to all the young brothers and sisters out there is to spend good time, when was the last time you spent a whole weekend thinking what you are doing here and what you want to do by the end of your life?
I think the question is scary, that’s why most of them don’t want to sit down.
It is, it is very emotionally draining, extremely challenging, very frightening question.
You know it’s because once you have the answer, you have no choice but to follow through subhanallah.
Believe me, if you really discover what you really want to do, that’s what makes people struggle so much. Have a read about the people who have been extremely productive on this earth, read about the amazing people whether that be Richard Branson, the dragons in the dragon den, their life history, and what they have done, every one of them has their purpose, but it is not always a noble purpose - for our deen it’s a noble purpose. But the whole point is that when you do know your purpose and it drives you, then you end up achieving it. That statement is very true. You are here because you plan to be here. Or, you are here because you didn’t know to be anywhere else. The lack of planning for good health is a plan in itself for bad health. A lack of a plan, and a lack of a vision is a lack of clarity of what you want to do. Ultimately the reason why we are so unsatisfied in what we are doing, because we consider what we are doing as unproductive.
Jazakallah khair for that, now for the next question. How do you manage the resources, we have time, money and people as means to achieving the vision and purpose. How do you manage those three?
For me, it’s reminding people of the vision, developing leadership within myself, inspiring people around me and then delegating the things that don’t need to be done by myself to them so let me give you an example: most of the work that you see around me that people attributed to me, is not my own. I am only sat here in Australia, sipping some coffee and talking to you. These members are working so hard to do all the work they are doing. All I do is communicate, talk and instill my vision. I inspire and I vision with them. I set guidelines with them. The motivation and the power of the purpose and vision is enough for them to keep their interest towards working very hard. So I tend to delegate a lot, most things that I don’t need to do myself, I give away very quickly. Even in medicine, this is a very good example since many people ask how did I do all of this while studying medicine. I graduated from medicine last year, and Al Kauthar was all over the world while I was in my last year in medicine and so the question is how did we do all of this? It was all through delegation, and you can only delegate once you have people’s attention. Most team members are doing this for free, and vast majority of team members won’t do as much as anyone would do even if I paid them, and this comes about because I motivate them and inspire within them the same vision. When a man fails to inspire his wife and children to the same vision as him, that’s when he loses the leadership of his family, that’s when the children won’t listen to him, and that’s when the wife doesn’t regard him and he is in despair because he doesn’t know how to control his family. It’s about a lack of leadership and a lack of delegation. So about time, to answer your question, I have given up on managing my time. Instead of time management, I do task management. What does that mean? The principles of task management have only been talked about now in the business circle, they’re all realizing that people have been hopping on about time management but for the vast majority of the people it’s very difficult to wake early in the morning and spend 30 minutes to plan out their whole day of exactly what they will do from this minute to the other. However it’s not practical for vast majority of people. So what I do is task management, and by that I mean I first put the biggest pebbles into my box and then the small ones, meaning the most important things. So have a look, what are my objectives for this year? Based on that, I know my objectives for this month, and from there I decide the most important actions that need to be at the forefront of my mind, and based on that I prioritize and put those tasks before anything else. So that’s the way I usually do it, I do task management instead of time management and everything falls into place.
Do you schedule those tasks for a certain time, or do you do it when you have to?
You do of course, I might be exaggerating that we don’t do time management, we do. There is time management without a doubt, you do have a slot of time to read the Quran and a slot of time to read Islamic books and time with your family, team members etc.; all through the aspect of time management. But again time management is only useful when you know exactly what is your most important priorities that you have. So in that way I manage my time. I also advice that I use a lot of high tech gear, that are with me on the go, I have 5 types of phones in my bag for the different types of countries, so that once I land, I can take out the phone of that country straight away and get productive. I use the latest gadgets as much as possible. My laptops are the highest scale laptops simply because I need to be active. I have 3 hard drives in my bag, I have all sorts of wires you can think of. I have an office in my bag, so that I am productive wherever I am. So I could be in the hospital, and when I find a half an hour here, why waste time? I will pick up my blackberry and answer all the emails that I need to. I can Skype my team members straight away for a meeting, while I am doing my hospital work.
Mashallah, is there any specific device that you like to use, whether it’s an email management software or a calendar software that syncs?
I usually use Google technology for the vast majority, so between the Google technology and the Skype and Blackberry; that’s what I use most of the time. I am very high tech, for books I have the Amazon Kindle, I think the first ever kindle that was shipped out into the UK was mine. This is the way I can be productive. So that’s regarding time. Regarding money and wealth, I learnt that the more you run after money, the more it runs away, I saw this in my life and proved it to myself. So the more I run away from the money, it came to me. And Sheikh Jafir Idrees once mentioned to me something very beautiful, do what you love and money will follow. And by Allah (glorified and exalted be He) that’s exactly what happened, I did what I love and not cared at all about money and believe me, Allah (glorified and exalted be He) has given me wealth, and money and I was one of the richest students in Medinah whilst I was there. Out of the Western students, it was me and Yasir AlQadi that were rich enough and that was because we were productive. The wealth came to us, business opportunities would present itself, people would want to give us gifts, ideas will pop into our head that would make a lot of money, dawah opportunities that could have been sustainable. There are so many different ways and there is no doubt. So with the issue of money management, its simple, I simply don’t worry about it. I plan that I’m going to do this amount of productivity, e.g. this year I want to do an MBA and I don’t know where the money will come from – its approx £20-30,000. I don’t know yet. But my understanding is that once I focus on it, money will follow with opportunities around. How do I manage people? It’s all about communication, Peter Senge says in his book The Fifth Discipline, leadership issues are 90% communication issues and I realized this. It’s all about communication, the more you communicate, the more you inspire, the more you motivate and it’s all about that. Take the example of Churchill, Lincoln or Obama, what makes them leaders, what in the world did they do? They just gave great speeches, they communicated speeches that inspired and motivated people and that’s it. If you look at Churchill, he had a stutter, but when he rehearsed them so much so that they were perfect and fantastic speeches that motivated people to rise against Hitler. And this only happened because people were very careful about what they said and how they said it. So about people management, it’s about motivating them and talking to them and being a true leader is all about communication, and really using the tool of communication to inspire team members to do a lot of productivity.
Is there a structure to meeting them or do you pick up the phone and speak to them?
No, of course there is a structure and I have regular meetings with my team members. So for example, I have shura meetings with Al Kauthar every 2nd week, I have a general phone call with the managers of Al Kauthar and Mercy Mission worldwide. Every second week, I have an annual summit with members worldwide, where all the regions come together with all the managers, we have that every year so we can set the objectives every year. Every 3 months we have meeting to see if we are meeting the objectives of that year. Then I have sessions with every management team remember, a 30-60 minute phone call every week with them. I meet all the directors of Al Kauthar every second day on Skype as well as on Blackberry. As well as with my PA, I have regular communication. I am communicating with them every single day. This all falls into place, because we know exactly what needs to be done this year and we build that capacity through planning.
The question now is about managing time, money and people; how do you manage that in relation to your private and personal life, sometimes it becomes difficult, people might be calling you at home etc. How do you manage to make sure that your private life is being taken care of as well?
In all truth, that has been a learning experience. Sometimes, people fall into a place where they focus on one vision and they overlook their other roles in their family, their roles as a father, and as a husband. In one way I learnt it the hard way. Initially you become so passionate about it, and then you realize that you’re wrong and you shouldn’t do it that way. Many years ago, 7-8 years ago, that was how I was. Then I realized, it doesn’t lead to a happy family, nor to children that are happy, well-mannered, well-behaved or well-taught and this almost leads to a dysfunctional family. So you succeed in one area and not in another. Since then I realized that you must take them all with you, the family with you, you must support them, replace a time that was spent away from them with another time that they will appreciate. It’s not really about the quantity of time, in reality it’s the quality of time. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) had 9 wives whilst he was 10 years in Medinah and traveled for 3 years out of those 10 years, so if you do the calculations, as well as that he spent 10 days in every Ramadan doing I’tikaf, and in the last year 20 days, if you minus that from the 10 years you will come to a figure of 2.8 night spent with each wife. How do you make women happy by spending only 2.8 nights? We spend 70-80% of our nights with our wives, and even then they’re not happy since the quality of the interaction with them isn’t good. We should read about how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mesmerized his wives with love, romance and dedication and the way he would approach them and call them, the way he kissed them, the way he gave them attention, he didn’t bother with anything else when he was with them. It shows that it was the quality of the time that made it so special and worthwhile. There are things that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would do that made the time all worthwhile. What I suggest is that to achieve all this, you need to have a happy family, but ultimately the vision that we have for ourselves will require a lot of time away from our family. We need to be truthful about this, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) spent a lot of time traveling, battling for the sake of Allah (glorified and exalted be He). So if we want to truly achieve the dream of our ummah, from us young youth, we need to do all that. So in order to compensate we need to learn how to communicate with our family, share our vision with them and this is why visioning ultimately starts before you get married, so you know which wife to marry, how many children to have and where to live and how much income to have and what kind of profession to have. It all starts before you build your life. Later on, you end up with a wife that doesn’t support your vision or children who don’t support your vision and then your life becomes all about compromise. Rather you should lead your life, have a vast vision, share with your family and bring them on board. And compensate for the time away from them, and for the stress and anxiety and the difficulty you put them through. Compensate that with beautiful manners, by giving them the time that you do give them but making it very worthwhile. Also no distraction and making the day special and giving them gifts, pampering them, communicating with them regularly and many other things between the husband and wife themselves, this is really my advice. And again, this all starts before you get married.
Jazakallah khair, that was very insightful. My question now is, who inspired you to be become who you are today?
Who inspired me? No doubt, everyone has their ultimate as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his companions. But I guess people always need someone who is around in his time and age so he can mimic and set as bench marks for their actions. So there were individuals that I followed, when I was in school there were these Chinese kids they were so studious, they would come every day, and study all night. I would look at them, and see how much they’re doing and I would compete with them and beat them. I would simply say, I want to defeat that person, beat that person down for the sake of Allah (glorified and exalted be He). And that competitive nature was always within me and because of that I guess that drive was always there. Again when I was in high school, there were these Malaysian kids, it was a private school and I had just moved from Jeddah to Australia and I didn’t know what was happening, I was the nerd, and I focused and set them as bench marks and beat them. There have been a few people, first and foremost our sheikh Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Al-Shanqit in Medina, without a doubt he was an inspiration. The man is almost 50 years old, and he hasn’t got married, and when you ask him about it he says a person who has Allah (glorified and exalted be He) in his heart and the concern of the ummah, has little time for marriage. When he speaks, he makes the hair on your back stand up out of fear of Allah (glorified and exalted be He). So this man, he was a great inspiration for the akhlak and dedication that he gives, the way he treats people and his family, the way he deals with Allah (glorified and exalted be He) and the way he preaches, the way he dedicates himself to the cause of Islam. Because I was very much around him, and his main students, I know more about his private information that most people would not know, things not written in books or spoken about and you hear that the Sheikh drives up every single week by himself from Medinah to Jeddah, that’s 300+ kilometers, and back, just for one class between maghrib and isha and then a few days later he does that for Makkah. And he has been doing that for the past 6 years. And he hasn’t missed one week. This steadfastness for khair is amazing. It’s only one class, he isn’t explaining the whole tafseer or achieving so much output. It may be just one hadith that he explains in one class. So ultimately, you might say he doesn’t achieve that much productivity from one trip. But the point is, look at the outcome and the steadfastness and look, Allah (glorified and exalted be He) wants small actions that are done continuously and constantly. Allah loves this far more than big actions that are done every once in a while. We tend to not worship Allah (glorified and exalted be He) at all, then in Ramadan we suddenly become righteous and pious, and then we forget about Allah again. If we had something small that we did for Allah (glorified and exalted be He) that was small and consistent that would be far more beloved to Allah and a far greater excuse to enter jannah. So Sheikh Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Al-Shanqit was without a doubt a great inspiration for me and because of his travels, I love to travel. I love to spread Islam around the world and that’s why Al-Kauthar is in 5 different countries. Other people that inspired me, the salaf al salih used to say we used to take a sheikh for knowledge and one for character. The understanding being, that you take a sheikh for a particular thing that they excelled in; so if I wanted to excel in Islam then I would have the role model Sheikh Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Al-Shanqit. And if I want to excel in dawah I would have another role model. So role models are a composite of people. Brother Muntaseer, I’ve seen this brother running around like crazy and how much he has been doing. Some of my team members are role models, they have excelled themselves. Role models in business and management; I have few role models like Jack Welch, who was the CEO of GE electrics. So in every single affair, I have a role model there that I try to relate to, and imitate.
Do you have mentor that mentors you or a life coach that helps you?
Yeah, I am morally against life coaching. Although I am a coach myself, I see this life coaching getting to a level as some kind of joke, young kids, young girls, and young boys trying to life coach. I think the concept in Islam is about mentoring. Mentoring is a part of coaching, a part consulting, a part advising and a part of motivating. So mentoring is all these 4 things, and coaching is a part of mentoring. But that’s not all. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) had angel Gabriel as his mentor, so Gabriel would revise the Quran with Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in Ramadan and when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) put down his sword after a battle, he said you have put the sword down and we the angels are yet to put our swords down, so this is in a way how Gabriel corrected the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). This is the role of the mentor, he doesn’t have to better then the mentee but a mentor is basically someone who achieves a level of excellence and helps the mentee to achieve this level too. So, for me again I have mentors in all different areas and so I have a mentor for my family and that’s my wife and children. I have mentors in business issues. I have mentors in team and dawah issues. I have mentors in Islam, who I call regularly call for advice. I really recommend that you all, including yourself to find someone who is truly honest and truthful to you and will say it as it is, not too hard but at the same time not too fluffy and comforting all the time. They will say what they have to with your best interest at mind, they want you to be better than them. That’s the mentor that you really want. Otherwise you really can’t trust because very few people will want you to be better than them. That’s why your parents will be your true best friends and best mentors simply because they truly want you to be better than them. They give selfless and heartfelt advice. We need to hold on to them, consult them and never leave them. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used to consult Um Salamah (may Allāh be pleased with her) regarding matters of the world. He used to consult Gabriel and his Lord. In reality it’s not our perspective, so it’s always better to find other peoples perspective who have a more positive light than you and Allah (glorified and exalted be He) knows best.
Jazakallah. As a wrap up for this interview, any final words of advice to our productive Muslim fans ranging from 18-24 years old on how to be productive?
Yes I do. Dearest brothers and sisters in Islam I learnt that to be productive, you really need to do that what you really need to do. Let me explain that. You need to do what your purpose really is. Your life and every action you are doing now, you will question the work you are doing, the money you are earning and the people you are building. You will continue to question whilst you have no clarity to why you are here and what you should be doing. If you have not clarified that, then you will achieve success in one area, but you will live forever and the rest of your life unsatisfied and consider yourself unproductive in that area because that level of outcome has not contributed to the vision that you wanted to achieve. So to stop that, you need to ask yourself the WHY you are here, and then the WHAT. Not to say that you will discover the why in a week or so. Write it down and keep working on it, and keep working on it. It may be in a few years’ time that you truly get to the concrete why you are here and what you want to do. The ‘why that I have for myself is to earn the eternal pleasure of Allah (glorified and exalted be He), and to pursue excellence, upon the vision of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). So therefore I learnt a lot about myself, and that I have to be the most knowledgeable I can be and that I go around the world to teach. All that I learn, is to teach it, even my business skills and medicine. This is all centered on me having discovered my purpose. Once I have discovered it, Allah (glorified and exalted be He) helps me along. Once you discover the purpose, you will be helped so much so that you will be so productive. You will become visionary overnight, a leader in people’s eyes, one who has completely changed and by Allah (glorified and exalted be He) I have seen this transformation in my own brother. From being a distracted teenager, and then once he discovered his purpose and vision, all the problems like wasting money, wasting time with friends and watching TV and sitting too much on Facebook etc, these become no longer problems. Because you have this infinite desire inside within yourself to succeed according to the ultimate vision and purpose itself. So discover your purpose, work out your ultimate vision, and end destination and work back from it. Recite this to yourself every day, and make sure every single action, purchase, time and wealth is in accordance to this purpose and vision that you have. When you do that, then by Allah (glorified and exalted be He) you will become productive, people will talk about you and send salams on you, Allah (glorified and exalted be He) will brag about you to his angels, and you will walk on this earth as if you’re not even a human being. So be productive and useful, and I am saying this from understanding and experience, having wasted a lot of time myself realizing that the way to become productive is to focus on what Allah (glorified and exalted be He) has planned for me. Jazakallah khair for this opportunity, I really enjoyed it.
Jazakallah khair, that was very inspiring and insightful for me and for all the Productive Muslim fans.