Islam encourages its followers to strive and find sustenance in life. As Muslims, we need to realize that working is an obligation that has to be carried out. It is through work that we are able to fulfil our responsibilities such as providing for our wives, children, and parents. Additionally, we are also able to perform acts of worship such as making zakat and donations. Let us observe what Allah mentioned in Surah Al-Qasas verse 77:
Which means: “But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And do not desire corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.”[Al-Quran, Surah Al-Qasas, verse 77].
Hence, the work we do must be carried out with honesty. Every task we perform in order to find halal sustenance is a form of servitude towards Allah. In fact, Rasulullah himself has shown us several work ethics for us to emulate. Therefore, allow me to share several guidelines that we can gather from the Sunnah of the Prophet to incorporate in our working life.
The First Guideline: Always Be Productive.
Rasulullah encouraged us to perform our tasks to the best of our abilities. Read this hadith reported by Ibnu Majah:
Which means: “If one of you were to take his rope (or ropes) and go to the mountains, and bring a bundle of firewood on his back to sell, and thus become independent of means, that would be better for him than begging from people who may either give him something or not give him anything.”[Narrated by Ibnu Majah].
A believer is productive. He does not sit still, doing nothing whilst complaining about the lack of time and wealth. Regardless of the challenges that he is facing in life, a believer will not simply rely on help from others; he will also play his part in acquiring what is needed to provide for himself and his family.
The Second Guideline: Be Smart in Managing Time and The Tasks that Have Been Given.
In this case, Rasulullah gave us numerous reminders to help us make full use of our time and do not idle it away. Rasulullah said in a hadith reported by Imam Al-Bukhari which means:
“There are two blessings which many people waste: health and free time.”[Narrated by Al-Bukhari].
Hence, whenever we are instructed to complete a certain task within a specific period of time, we should not delay nor should we postpone it to the next day. On the contrary, we must train ourselves to manage time well and prioritize the job that has been tasked upon us.
Indeed, a believer must always be mindful of his time. We are taught by this religion to be disciplined. Throughout each and every day of our lives, we are taught to be mindful of time. What are the prayer timings? When are the beginning and the end of Ramadan? When are the beginning and the end of other months in the Islamic calendar?
Every passing second is extremely valuable. It is the foundation for every person to produce and perform quality work. By paying attention and managing time well, we are trained to become more disciplined and efficient in our daily tasks. When we organize the tasks that we receive, the quality of our work will significantly improve.
An employee who manages situations smartly will not be easily shaken when faced with numerous tasks and responsibilities. This is because every second spent in the office is fully utilized. He carries out his given duties with trustworthiness and will not be easily distracted by the likes of his phone, social media and more.
The term “insyaAllah” that we have been taught should not be used as an excuse to procrastinate our work, as to how some people have done. Instead the blessed phrase – which means: “If Allah wills it” – is a manifestation of a person’s faith. A person who utters this phrase is surrendering all of his affairs to God, and he accepts that he is only capable of planning and that God is the One who determines everything.
The Last Guideline: Always Strive to Enhance Our Skills.
Islam encourages us to gain knowledge that will benefit us. Listen to Allah SWT. mentioned in the Quran when addressing Rasulullah in Surah Taha, verse 114:
Which means: “And say (O Muhammad), ‘My Lord, increase me in knowledge.’”[Al-Quran, Surah Taha, verse 114].
This is such an appropriate reminder in today’s context, be it in the working world or otherwise. A believer will always have thirst for knowledge. This is because knowledge is the light that illuminates the difference between truth and falsehood. Knowledge enables a person to know Al-Khaliq; his Creator. Knowledge also elevates his status and through knowledge, a person can attain glory. Through knowledge, a person becomes humble, because he acknowledges that Allah. is the source of all knowledge.
In the working world, we recognize the fact that the world is constantly changing, due to rapid economic and technological developments. Something that used to be the norm in the past might not be relevant anymore nowadays. Therefore, it is our personal responsibility that, when faced with this challenge, we prepare ourselves by gaining knowledge and acquiring skills that are applicable and appropriate in today’s context. So let us grab the opportunity that has been laid out for us to improve our skills, whether it is by attending training courses, continuing our studies, or equipping ourselves with brand new skills.
As the ummah who loves the Prophet Muhammad, it is only fitting that we do our best to emulate his character and carry out what has been requested of us. Therefore, let us put due effort to fulfil our daily duties. With Allah’s will, our hard work will result in a prosperous and successful society in this world and the hereafter.