During an interview with MBMuslima Magazine last year, I discussed the answer to a very commonly asked question- What is Productivity? Whilst ProductiveMuslim.com doesn’t have all the answers, here are some possible responses to the ever burning questions on productivity:
1) What is productivity?
Productivity has many definitions, and many people I’ve asked explain it in different ways. Perhaps to me, Productivity is that positive constant energy which leads you to take practical steps to achieve one goal after another. It starts with taking a simple step of action, and focusing on your task at hand until you complete it. Productivity comes naturally when you’re excited about something, but may be harder to come when you’re bored or don’t like a task. Therefore, productivity can sometimes be taken as a measure of how passionate you’re about the task at hand.
2) Productivity is such an interesting topic. It can be used for permissible/beneficial things (Halal) as well as prohibited/harmful things (Haram). Can you elaborate on this?
If we define the result of productivity as a positive beneficial outcome, it’s hard to imagine productivity to lead or be used for Haram. In fact, in my view, prohibited and harmful things are ‘productivity killers’. They distract the person from their true purpose in life, thus distracting them from achieving their true potential to be productive.
Productivity occupies the person in beneficial ways, kills boredom, benefits others, and helps them grow; therefore it can only lead towards good inshaAllah.
The one thing I’d add is that for us as Muslims, in order for our productivity to be rewarded by Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), we need to have the right intentions in place. We have a motto at ProductiveMuslim.com which says “Have good intentions and work hard!”
3) What is Islam’s view on productivity as you see it?
Islam being more than a religion but a way of life lends itself naturally to a productive way of life. In fact, this is our main message on ProductiveMuslim.com: how does Islam inspire us to become productive? If we look into the whole structure of Islam, from defining our purpose of life, to regulating our eating/drinking and arranging our time around Salah, we can see how Islam is a natural way of life designed to develop our productivity levels!
If we look into the early Muslims, they didn’t set out to be productive, but they practiced Islam and followed its traditions so well which made them productive pioneers of their time. Islam gives us focus, purpose, and goals; all 3 important ingredients for anybody to be productive.
Islam also gives us the spiritual tools to be productive. Remember productivity is not only about physical actions, it’s connected to our state of mind, our emotions and our soul. A person whose at peace with his/her soul, heart and mind will be much more productive compared to a person who’s depressed for example.
Unfortunately today, people don’t see Islam as a religion that encourages productivity; they accuse it of being a ‘backward’ religion and that it makes people lazy and unproductive. InshaAllah with initiative such as ProductiveMuslim.com and others, we can correct this misunderstanding and inspire many Muslims to become productive through Islam inshaAllah!
4) What is the best way a Muslim can be productive?
There are 2 approaches for the Muslim to choose from in order to start treading on the productivity path: A top-down approach, and bottom up approach.
1. The Top-Down Approach simply begins with the Muslim/Muslimah having a clear vision of what they want to achieve, they have a clear understanding of their purpose and what Allah created them for. This vision/purpose drives them to being productive throughout their life, achieving many mini-goals, all leading towards achieving their ultimate vision.
2. The Bottom-Up Approach is for those who don’t have a vision yet, but want to be productive. My suggestion to them is to get involved in as many interesting projects as they can, this will inshaAllah open doors for them they never thought of before, and set them on a productive path towards finding their vision and purpose inshaAllah.
Which approach to choose from is up to the individual, but in either case, sitting idle is not an option!
5) First and foremost we must be productive with our Deen. However, it is also very important to be productive towards our society. What are your thoughts on this?
Very true. As mentioned above, being productive in our Deen lends itself naturally to being productive in our Dunya. The moment we focus our lives to obey Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) and His Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him), and we start building a truly Islamic lifestyle, you’ll notice the immense productivity that you suddenly have. You’ll be wasting less time and will be much more active in your home, your mosque, and community.
Productivity is not a selfish endeavor, in fact, the measure of a truly productive person is not how many tasks they get done, but how they can balance the different responsibilities in their lives whilst adding value in each of their different focus areas: family, work, community, personal/religious development..etc
6) What advice do you have for a Muslim or Muslimah who wants to be more productive but is having trouble with this?
There’s a lot I could say but perhaps I can summarize my advice in 5 sentences:
– Remember Death.
– Life is short.
– Know who your Creator is and know why He created you.
– Don’t listen to Shaytaan, he just wants you to make you lazy.
– Discipline yourself.
Oh and visit ProductiveMuslim.com :P!