One might ask what is the relationship, if any, between our sins and our productivity level?
As Muslims, we believe that our success in life comes from Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) and that barakah or “Divine Goodness” in our time/money/projects is one of the key ingredients to productivity and success. Anything that turns us away from Allah’s path or displeases Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) could potentially lead to a drop in our productivity and success in general.
This might seem as an overstatement and many of you might argue otherwise stating examples of extremely productive and successful people who commit sins all the time…but we’ll address this later.
First, let us establish the link between sins and it’s negative effect on productivity, both on an individual level and community level. There are many verses in the Quran and ahadeeth of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that explain the effect of sins on a person from a psychological and spiritual point of view.
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, “…Knowledge is light that Allaah causes to reach the heart, and sin extinguishes that light.”
As a Productive Muslim, your key to living a successful life and preparing successfully for the Hereafter is knowledge and if you extinguish that light of knowledge with sin, you’ll find yourself stumbling in the dark, not sure which path to take. If you want to stay intelligent, sharp, and creative, stay away from sin. I cannot emphasise how important this is; we could give ourselves a huge intellectual advantage by staying away from sins (think about it, instead of your mind being pre-occupied by a haram relationship or a harmful addiction, you will be dedicating your full mental capacity towards productive pursuits).
It is narrated that Thawbaan said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘A man is deprived of provision because of the sins that he commits.’” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 4022, classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah).” This hadeeth links to a fundamental belief a Muslim has is that their provision and sustenance is in Allah’s hand, not Mr. boss. Staying away from sins will go along way to ensure sustenance and provision for you from your Lord. Muslims who are productive and achieve great things in life, not only are they hard working, but they seem to get things easy all the time. Do you want to know why their things are smooth-sailing, it’s because they fear Allah and Allah puts barakah in their work and makes it easy for them to achieve things.
Before I continue, I just want to say, I know his might sound a bit too “preachy” and it’s hard to explain some of these concepts if you haven’t experienced it, but sins have an effect on you in ways you can’t imagine, the least of it is affecting your productivity level. Next time you can’t focus, can’t work, ask yourself why, what’s “blocking” you, and you’d probably remember a sin that you’ve committed – get up and pray 2 rak’ah or give charity and notice that “blocking” being removed and you being able to function properly.
Finally, one of the great teachings of Islam is discipline. Praying 5 times a day takes discipline, fasting for an entire month takes discipline, holding your tongue and protecting your chastity takes discipline. If you cannot control yourself to do these acts of worship or stay away from sin, then you cannot have discipline in any area of your life, and being productive is largely dependent on being extremely disciplined. “Sin weakens a person’s willpower. It gradually strengthens his will to commit sin and weakens his will to repent until there is no will in his heart to repent at all.”
We’ve covered the effect of sin from an individual point of view, now let’s look at the effect of sin on a society level.
Shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah beautifully said:
“By Allah, sins effect the security of a land; they effect its ease, its prosperity, its economy; and they effect the hearts of its people. Sins cause alienation between people. Sins cause one Muslim to regard his Muslim brother as if he were upon a religion other than Islam.
But if we sought to rectify ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and those in our areas, and everyone we are able to rectify, if we mutually encouraged good and forbade evil, if we assisted those who do this with wisdom and wise admonition- then it would produce unity and harmony.”