They say a clever man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. How many books have you read and learned from? Most people say that they don’t have time to read, but that is because they haven’t discovered that reading is a time machine!
Just one book may save you up to 59 years of your life. It could tell you the wrong path before you ever went down it. How productive is that! It is little wonder then that the Productive Muslim Academy is launching a book club in collaboration with QUAKE Books, the book review site that doesn’t ask whether a book was “good” or “bad” , rather “how much did it shake you?”
Allah’s first revelation to Prophet Muhammad was what is now the first five verses of Surat Al-’Alaq [Chapter 96 of the Noble Qur’an]. It laid down the foundation of the Islamic belief system; it shook our dearest Prophet to the core. So what did Allah say?
“Read in the name of your Lord who created -Created man from a clinging substance. Read, and your Lord is the most Generous – Who taught by the pen – Taught man that which he knew not.” [Qur’an: Chapter 96: Verses 1-5]
So yes, what was Allah’s first command and Angel Gabriel’s first instructions in the Cave of Hira? “Iqra”, translated as recite or read. So what was Muhammad’s first task as our prophet? Yes that’s right. Iqra. To read.
We all know we should read as Muslims. We all instinctively know that reading is somehow good for us. We know that reading provides us with ilm (knowledge) and that the pen and book are absolutely fundamental to our straight path towards Allah .
Despite this consensus amongst the Ummah, I would be a wealthy man indeed if I charged a dollar (or a pound, or a euro) every time I heard the phrase “But I don’t have time to read” or “if I had time to read” or “when I retire/go on holiday I will read but I can’t right now, I don’t have time.”
The problem with these types of responses is that not only are they terrible excuses, but they are also among the greatest lies that shaytan keeps on our lips, without ever breaking a sweat. Simply put, not having time to read is a sure fire way to remain unproductive, unfulfilled and unhappy.
Perhaps, you- my dearest brothers and sisters- think I am exaggerating. But I can assure you that I am not. I will let you in on a little known secret, one that will change your life, the way you view your religion, your family and your job.
Reading is a time machine
It is. It takes you back in time, to another place different to your own, compresses your timeline and gives you it back further down the line. The Lord is indeed most Generous… right?
Before you switch internet tabs or google something else, think about it. What must be learned and experienced in a lifetime of say 60 years, or more, can be written down in a year or two and read in a week. If you really want what you read to be integrated into your mindset and day-to-day activities, most of the effort will take between 30 days and six months. The jury is still out on the exact number of months needed but even with the most conservative of estimates that is still a saving of 59 years.
How productive is that? And that is just one book. Imagine the possibilities if you read one book a month…
Told you, reading is a time machine.
Communicating more precisely
Continuously spending time with a book will help you communicate more precisely with your spouse, children, parents and colleagues. By expanding your vocabulary, you can express meanings that will help you become more effective at home and at work. Deep reading will help you exercise discipline over distractions that fritter away your attention. It will enable you to process your thoughts and actions better, given that neurons that fire together, wire together. It will make you more productive and more successful.
Getting the answers you need
Reading helps you scratch your own itch. Instead of asking the same questions over and over and getting the same answers from the same people, you can grab a book (physical, e-book or even audio) written by someone who has trodden the path before you, who has experienced what you are going through and come out successfully of the other side.
Saving a lot of time
Reading the right book represents massive gains in time-saving and productivity, not to mention ease. Life is not meant to be hard, so why make it harder on yourself when Allah makes it simple. Why go through the brambles if someone has cut a path? In addition, the ability to build on the foundations laid by someone else can provide a sense of vigour, purpose and vision.
The Book Club!
So now that we’ve established why reading is the epitome of productivity, the next most important question is what should you read?
Well, Productive Muslim has made that easy for you by teaming up with me, Kai Whiting, a fellow productive Muslim, and founder of QUAKE Books. Together we will bring to your attention a book per month to read and discuss, with challenges to work on within the Productive Muslim Academy’s new Book Club. [You can join the academy to learn more about that, and get even more gems on mastering life and productivity].
The first book in this series is, in my opinion, THE productivity book especially written for us Muslims, that is Mohammed Faris’ The Productive Muslim, which I reviewed here, if you are still looking to buy or borrow a copy.
If you have already got one and you want to double down on your productivity, please join us this August 1st for the first week of the rest of your reading life. Enrollment in the book club comes with activity worksheets/timetable and a monthly webinar providing you with a chance to ask questions and get answers, to ensure you get the most out of your learning, insha’Allah.
And if you have any questions for me right now, just post them below and I will be very happy to respond. I hope to see you all in my time machine, anytime soon!
FAQ: ProductiveMuslim Academy Book Club in Collaboration with QUAKE Books
How many books will feature in the Book Club?
We will review 12 books in total per year. That is one per month. The book selected will support the monthly theme being developed by Productive Muslim. There will be supplementary material to support what you are reading and to help you grow. This includes a webinar at the end of the month and weekly timetable worksheets and questions. Some of the supplementary material will be covered in other Productive Muslim Academy courses. This will be clearly stated in the worksheet for the week.
Does that mean that the Book Club is only available to Productive Muslim Academy Subscribers?
Yes, the Book Club is only available to Productive Muslim Academy subscribers. This is because the lessons learnt and the discussions held in the Book Club relate to the other modules in the Academy, which will accelerate and balance your learning.
Is there a monthly subscription to join the Book Club?
If you are already a member of the Productive Muslim Academy, you will get the Book Club as part of your package. If not, the monthly subscription is that of the Productive Muslim Academy charge.
How will I know if I like the book on offer?
I will review all books on QUAKE Books prior to offering them in the Productive Muslim Academy. An example of which is for our August book The Productive Muslim by Mohammed Faris, aka Abu Productive. Please note that the QUAKE Books book reviews are not written for a Muslim audience, although of course as a Muslim I do write from a Muslim perspective. They do not represent the views and/or opinion of Productive Muslim and are my own.
If I subscribe to the Productive Muslim Academy and join the Book Club, will you provide the book free of charge?
No, we will not provide the book free of charge. Being an avid reader and a productive Muslim myself, I think it is important to take responsibility for your reading and learning. Part of this responsibility is choosing to invest in your development. We do announce the book on the Facebook platform and on the Productive Muslim website, in advance, which gives you the opportunity to request it from your library if cost is particularly prohibitive.
Where can I buy the book?
I have placed links on all QUAKE Books reviews to enable you to buy the book on Amazon from various countries. I suggest that you may also request it from local bookstores or the library using the books ISBN.
Can I join the Book Club halfway through the month?
Of course, all the material will be available in the Book Club module within the Academy, allowing you to read at your own pace and to catch up if necessary. Of course you will get the most benefit by reading alongside us, but that is certainly not a reason to put your reading off!
I have another question that is not answered here:
No problem, you may ask me here.