A few days ago, I participated in a charity fundraiser, the 841 Challenge, part of a campaign to raise £25,000 for Mercy Mission. The mission was very simple, to try and cross 8 European countries within 4 days. The time flew, as did our shuttle, as we managed to get across 8 European countries within the time set, through great team work, and pretty much keeping the car running most of the time.
The trip was a great success, not because we successfully completed the trial, not because we raised thousands of pounds for charity, not because we planned out the biggest project Mercy Mission will launch in 2011 insha’Allah through this, but because I matured my understanding of the importance of relationships.
When I went about setting myself a challenge to raise money for the charitable organisation I live my life with, Mercy Mission, I had a couple of people who emerged immediately, as people eager to help. And help they have. From the point of concept to delivery, they have been critical in ensuring that the objectives have been realised, and insha’Allah this will be written in their scale of good deeds.
Allah Subhanhu wa Ta’ala says:
“Cooperate in righteousness and God-consciousness”. [Qur’an Chapter 5 Verse 2]
And to be honest, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has blessed me over the last ten years to meet the people who apply this verse in their lives, and the two I have taken the trip with just solidified my already concrete faith in this.
As we look to get more from our day, time, existence, it is of paramount importance that we both recognize and actively seek out those relationships which will allow us to be more productive. Our individual contribution to humanity will never be optimized without the right company, and therefore, we need to actively build and mature the nobility of our company.
The brothers I have taken my trip with, have humbled me with their sincerity, generosity, and commitment to the greater good in the face of adversity. Their company has been a privilege and even as I write this, I reflect on how I would not have been able to entertain this challenge if Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) not blessed me with their company. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) has said: “Allâh supports His slave as long as the slave is supportive of his brother.” [Muslim]
And this came through every moment of the trip, both before and during. The trip had some very difficult times, as I assure you driving through the Alps in the winter is difficult enough, let alone at night, in freezing temperatures, with limited visibility. Having a solid co-driver made the difference.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The believer to the believer is like a solid building, one part supports the other.” [Bukhari & Muslim]. And he interlaced his fingers to demonstrate this. I assure you, when sleep was trying to make us pull up and stop, and potentially compromise the ability to succeed, it was the team spirit that kept our morale high, and at times RedBull too (!)
Therefore, the point to consider here is, does the company you keep add value to your life now and your hereafter? Does the company you keep remind you of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala)? Does the company you keep call you to good deeds? All these are questions we need to consider, and the some of the criteria with which we should measure each contact in our phone book against. If you are with people that are competing for good, you will find you are inclined to doing a greater amount of good, and vice versa. This is why we find we are ‘on the religion of our companions’, and thus those around us can have a profound impact on our lives.
One of the companions (may Allah be pleased with him) famously shared with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), how in his company his emaan was so high and his desire for good, however when away from our beloved his state was different. And ultimately to a lesser degree we as individuals will all have this, that when we are with noble company, we have a greater desire to do good and concerted effort to stay away from satanic whisper. This is natural, but also is something we should use in our favor, and make our friends from the noble people, and build our productivity with other people who call to goodness.
On a most practical level what this means is today, identify people/organisations with a value base which you find personal alignment with, and invest your time with them. Invest your time in your Akhira, by reaching out to people who are also working hard for the same destination. As the quality of your company matures, you will find the barakah in your relationships excels and ultimately so does your productivity.
With that, this is an open invite to all aspiring productive Muslims, reach out to productivemuslim.com, and see how you can help the development of the concept and the ultimately add value for the Muslims and the wider society we live in.
Continued – Series on Increasing Productivity
About the Author:Azim Kidwai is an aspiring ProductiveMuslim and General Manager of Mercy Mission.