In a recent interview at ProductiveMuslim.com, Shaykh Yasir Qadhi shared beautiful lessons of productivity for our listeners. There was something he said like many of our interviewees about being a productive Muslim which struck me as the golden lesson of productivity.
He said that: “The difference between a productive person and a workaholic is determined by the time spent with the family. Nobody has more priority for me than my wife and children, and Islamically, I cannot neglect them at the expense of others.”
It made me question: have our brothers and sisters who neglect their families in the name of work or even dawah failed to apply an important principle of productivity?
Unfortunately in today’s modern society, the rights of our parents and family can be suppressed for work, or personal and professional development.
One of the key rights that’s seen to be neglected recently in the name of “professional or career development” or “being proactive and active” is the right to parents. Even though good treatment of our parents has been emphasized as being second to the worship of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala). Allah says in the Qur’an:
“And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him, and goodness to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them (so much as) “Uff” nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word.” [Surah Bani Israel: 23]
Below are 3 steps we wanted to share with every ProductiveMuslim and ProductiveMuslimah to help them prioritise their parents so they are not seen to be productive at the expense of their families:
1. Prioritize your parents over tasks
The first step, is to prioritize your parents over other daily tasks. Let’s take the example of Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him), he would not even eat at the dinner table until he had seen to the needs of his mother. Or take the example of the young man whom the Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed him to look after his parents instead of going out to the battlefield with him.
The first two items on your priority list should look like this:
1. Allah & His Messenger
2. Parents & family
An email to someone can wait a couple of hours and so is that phone call able to wait, don’t make your parents wait ‘5 minutes!’.
2. Schedule quality family time
One of the struggles many people face today is the lack of family time in their schedule, yet home truly is where the heart is. This makes it imperative to schedule quality time with your family regularly.
Normally, I start my weekly scheduling by blocking out family time. Time I know I’ll be with my family and do not want anything/or anyone to disturb. It might mean you cut back on social gatherings with friends, or miss an event that can be recorded. Moreover, make sure you actually plan for this family time and don’t let it be wasted hours. Whether it’s a weekend picnic, or a meal at a favourite restaurant, or time spent to pursue a hobby together (like playing sports) or even draw a family tree – activities that develop your love for each other. Remember, every moment you lose with your family, is a moment that’ll never come back, so make the most of it regardless how busy you are.
(ps. To help you, you can use our Taskinator here so family time is not suspended at the expense of work.)
3. Express your love and affection
It’s from the signs of gratitude to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) that we look after our parents and express our love for them. Kiss their hands and forehead when greeting them in the morning, massage their feet, buy them gifts, do the shopping for them, or simply give them a warm hug – an act so simple yet lofty in reward. In a hadith, it is narrated: “A man’s spending on his family is a deed of charity.” [Sahih Bukhari Vol. 5 No. 343] so seize the opportunity because how often do we take a moment to appreciate and be thankful to our parents for all they have done for us? Here’s a video to illustrate the importance on why we should prioritise our parents first
I hope the above serves as a reminder for me and you, that no matter how important the act you are engaged in is, unless it’s an obligation to Allah– it can wait as ultimately the good treatment of our parents and family leads to success in this life and the Hereafter bi’ithnillah.
Do you have a story with your parents to share below? Maybe a story of an act of kindness you did towards them and their reaction was overwhelming for you? Or perhaps a story of neglect from you that you regret and don’t want your brothers or sisters to fall for? Please share below.
About the Author:
Beeworker is a regular contributor to ProductiveMuslim.com, her philosophy is to help revive goodness in society and live the life of a sincere and humble working Muslim. She has worked for several charities including Islamic Relief, Muslim Aid, and is also active in her community promoting access to knowledge and education. To read more of Beeworker’s articles visit: http://beeworker.blogspot.com/