Do you remember Ramadan? The high imaan, the sweetness in prayer, the love for reading Qur’an – nearly four months later, it is just as important to try and keep the imaan high, although this can be hard, especially when we are caught up in work.
For many of us as Muslimahs out in the working world or even at home, it can be a challenge to sustain our spirituality post-Ramadhan. Many sisters I know complain of the need to reform their spiritual habits and I count being in in good companionship as one of the vital ways to continually boost your spiritual development.
In the modern day, it is easy to slip out of the ‘spiritually developing’ zone, especially when you are in a non-Muslim environment and don’t have the same network of ‘sisterhood’ to encourage your spiritual growth let alone as much free time. I know of many friends who are in professions such as doctors, lawyers and even bankers who feel this ‘void’ in spirituality after venturing out into the working world. They feel a real dip in their faith and are crying out for ways to stay in touch with their spirituality in the workplace.
This article is an attempt at providing practical ways for spiritual reformation that I have personally adopted to use in the working world. Although it will be a real challenge for many, with sincere intentions and noble efforts you can hopefully recreate some of that much needed spiritual reformation.
1. Find good work buddies
Although it’s easier to surround yourself with Muslims, I have personally found that even being in the presence of people from other faiths can strengthen your own faith. It is important to find a work buddy who you can openly discuss your faith with and be in good company. Even if it can’t be a Muslim colleague, then at least a colleague who understands and respects you and your faith values. I often find that non-Muslim colleagues are more interested in chatting about general life matters, so find areas of common interest before you start talking to them about matters related to your faith. For those of us fortunate to work in a predominantly Muslim environment, having good company is still important as we can often lose ourselves amidst work. In our office, we’ve started a regular 10 minute reminder with the sisters once a week which we rotate between staff to help us remind each other of how to strive to be better Muslims – it’s often the spiritual dose we need for the rest of the week’s work!
2. Talk about faith
One of the beauties of working with non-Muslim colleagues is that there is a natural sense of curiosity about you as a Muslim, but also at a human level so ensure you break down any barriers and connect with them at a human level first. Find out about their life outside of work without prying too much of course! This always opens doors to then talking about more personal matters like your faith. Hopefully by developing a bond with your colleagues which goes beyond work you can comfortably and confidently talk about what it is like being a Muslim. Being a visible Muslimah at work, maybe through wearing the hijab, is a walking da’wah opportunity, as every action and conversation teaches others about Islam. Also, I have often found my non-Muslim friends have niggling questions about Islam which I am able to talk to them about openly once we’ve built a good working relationship.
3. Read, read and read!
There is one practice I have continued since university to develop myself spiritually, which is reading books – the more I read the more I realise how little I actually know! It is vital you read Islamic books on spiritual development such as Al-Ghazali’s works. You can even fit this reading into your travel time to work as I often do by reading on my Kindle. During lunch breaks you can also read articles which will boost your faith and remind you of Allah through websites such as MuslimMatters, Suhaib Webb or ProductiveMuslim.com to keep you stimulated and get a refreshing ‘spiritual break’. Check out my previous article where I recommended 10 books for productive Muslimahs!
4. Attend a regular circle/class
Despite the demands on your time as a professional Muslimah and even at home, it is really important to have a work-life balance for your wellbeing. One of the ways to boost your spirituality is to attend a regular class, even if it is online rather than in person, to surround yourself with like-minded people as well as to continue to benefit in the pursuit of knowledge. Find out what local circles are taking place; some workplaces even have Muslim associations and events you can attend or better still set one up of your own! I often tell sisters that they need to ensure they invest in themselves to grow spiritually and emotionally.
5. Use salah to re-focus
We are blessed as Muslims to have the daily salah, yet so many of us rush through prayer in a bid to get other work done. Instead, we should use salah to refocus and re-energise ourselves for work. I often find that when I have a difficult task to do at work, just switching off and going to pray helps me come back more focussed to tackle the task. Also, prayer is a constant reminder that we are dependent on Allah’s Help to succeed at work and any task which lies ahead. So capitalise on this spiritual booster in your working day! Remember, you can use other means of connecting with Allah if you can’t pray.
Once you’ve started to take the above steps, make du’a that Allah places barakah in your work and time through your endeavours to better yourself. Remind yourself of the importance of holding onto your faith values and how you are an ambassador for Islam through your actions in the workplace. Hopefully, using the steps above you can begin to make spiritual reformations at work and beyond.