A Muslim boy becomes a man, and a Muslim girl becomes a woman, through adherence to five important Ps: prayer, purpose, priorities, practice and persistence. Together, they lead a Muslim/Muslimah to productivity. Yet, most adults among us, including myself sometimes, will state ‘lack of time’ as their main practice and productivity barriers, when really, anything we want in life comes down to priorities and persistence. So how does one prioritise?
This is achieved by learning how to do what is essential. And how do you know as a Muslim/Muslimah what is essential for you? By praying consistently and having a clear purpose.
In Islam, prayer – both Salah and Dua – is a mindful connection with Allah . It should never be about just going through the physical rituals. Rather, it should prepare you to meet with your purpose.
Purpose is obtained by gaining knowledge about the world, working out where your interests and strengths lie and how they can be best applied to a problem you want to solve. Trust me when I say, this will become clearer as you read more books, such as the ones Abu Productive and I choose for the Productive Muslim Academy Book Club, and which I review on my site, QUAKE Books.
Priorities help us achieve our purpose, because they are a set of actions we must become accustomed to, whilst forsaking other things that we could do equally well, but which don’t align with our end goals.
This links back to the idea of focusing on and doing what is essential. Knowing what our priorities should be and how to dedicate time to them through consistent prayer and practice are significant steps in staying close to Allah .
This is, in short, why reading is so important. It is an exercise of discipline over distractions, which are things that aren’t essential and shouldn’t be prioritised on a regular basis because they fritter away our attention and move us away from the path that Allah intended for us.
Persistence is the discipline of practicing even when you don’t feel like it or when you don’t see change. Over time, it enables you to process your thoughts and actions better, given that neurons that fire together, wire together. It is something that needs to be learnt and established. In my experience, it is an attitude and action plan that is developed by copying the routine of our beloved Prophet and other good role models (Muslim and non-Muslim) who have led the way before us.
These 5 P’s naturally create the sixth one: productivity, which is the successful converging of disciplined attention and action when it comes to doing the essential. That is, the few things Allah has asked us to do. And of course, ProductiveMuslim.com is all about productivity, isn’t it? So what better way to help with productivity than support you in the art of practicing the essential – which as you might have guessed, is what October’s book in our Academy book club is all about…
So, Our Productive Muslim Academy Book Club…
To keep you focused on the essential, we will be working our way through Essentialism by Greg McKeown the whole month of October! It will help you lock onto the essential, which will give you more time, not tasks! How productive and cool is that? So, whether you are busy mum with a couple of kids, a university student, an entrepreneur or rushing around looking for work, as long as you would like to practice the art of the essential, and become comfortable with the concept of “doing less but better”, this book is for you!
As always, Academy members will have access to a tailor-made weekly worksheet, book club challenges, a monthly book club webinar and Academy support. So if you are interested in answering the following questions and improving your connection with Allah , then we invite you to join us in the Productive Muslim Academy Book Club in collaboration with QUAKE Books:
- Am I consciously acting out my choices or am I just going through the motions to please others?
- What is my role in the world as a Muslim who wants to focus on the “essential”?
- Do I celebrate the power of choice? Or do I surrender my choices to other people’s needs without asking myself: is this really my responsibility, and if it is, to what extent is it my responsibility?