New Muslims: How to Be Productive?

Since 2014-04-03

You are now a Muslim, but you do not have to close the doors on yourself and ignore the world: have dreams and work hard to achieve them.

New Muslims: How to Be Productive

By Aya Timea

The biggest hardship for most Muslims is usually to keep balance between worshipping and daily life activities, as they tend to give their career or family higher priority while giving less time and energy for their spiritual life.

"I do not have time to pray sunnah now, I cannot read Quran today, I am too tired…”

Familiar excuses, aren't they?

However, many new Muslims are subjected to the other "extreme", and that is devoting their time to learn about Islam and understand it in details while neglecting their daily life.

Of course, I do not intend to say that learning about Islam is bad. In fact, seeking (Islamic) knowledge is obligatory upon every single Muslim (and is essential for new Muslims in order to strengthen their faith, otherwise they will not see the real beauty of Islam and might end up leaving it):

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

«The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim» (Ibn Majah: [224]).

God also mentions in the Quran:

Translation: {It is only those who have knowledge among His servants that fear Allah} [Fatir:28].

Translation: {And say: My Lord increase me in knowledge} [ṭā hā:114].

What I meant is devoting yourself only to learning about Islam at the expense of other important aspects in your lives, like work, study, family and friends; and it is certainly not what Islam teaches us.

We need to keep a fair balance in our life, especially as new Muslims. I know how it is being thirsty for knowledge when you enter Islam, and how bad you may feel that you do not know enough, therefore you are not a "good enough Muslim".

No one expects you to become a scholar in one month. Yes, you must do your best, but just as the Quran was revealed gradually to strengthen the faith of the believers and give them the rules moderately, approaching Islam step by step is actually the best way a new Muslim can do, simply because you must understand and believe that what you are reading is the divine truth and is something for you, not against you. So don't be in a hurry!

Did you know that the Prophet used to read the verses of the Quran and not move on to the next one until he has implemented it in his life? So let's go for quality and not quantity as Allah appreciates much more those deeds which might be small, but done continuously than those which might be bigger, but done rarely.

Time Management

As new Muslims, how can we be productive in our life after converting to Islam and keep a balance in our life? The answer is very simple, but can cause some difficulties from time to time, and this is time management.

Certainly, Prophet Muhammad is the best example of this as he used to work to provide for his family, spend (equal) time with his wives, play with his grandchildren, Hassan and Hussein, visit the sick, attend funerals, talk to his companions, eat with guests,... etc.

While he was the Messenger of Allah, which means he had a huge responsibility to convey the message what Allah had taught him, and we know that he used to also fast many days outside of Ramadan and spend hours praying at night.

So besides worshipping, he lived his life just as any other man. Because the thing is that our parents, our spouses, our friends and even our neighbors have rights upon us!.

You are now a Muslim, but you do not have to close the doors on yourself and ignore the world: have dreams and work hard to achieve them. How many Muslims do we know succeeded in earning a Master or PhD degrees while at the same time memorized the entire Quran or acquire a great knowledge of Islam?.

Mothers, who are busy with raising up children, might have a successful career as well, but also give lectures to Muslim women in their local community.

Let me tell you an example from my personal life: One of my friends, an American sister, came to Egypt all alone shortly after converting to Islam with the intention to learn Arabic as she was not satisfied with the English translations of the Islamic books and the explanation of the local imam.

She has been raised up with the principle that she has to stand on her feet; therefore she has been working since her high school years besides her studies, but successfully obtained her BA and visited several countries before leaving to Egypt.

She is now a wonderful mother who home-schools her daughter and spends a lot of time with her, runs a home, and works as an active translator besides working for her Master degree.

She never waists a minute in her life, but is very helpful and has always time for guests or if anyone needs help from her, she is always there.

She keeps a strong relationship with her non-Muslim parents, and immediately left Egypt at the time when her mother got sick.

I believe she is a wonderful example for every revert Muslim.

Be Productive

Here is some advice on how to use your time wisely in order to live a balanced and productive life as a new Muslim:

- Prioritize your daily tasks; mark the things with number 1 which must be done today, with number 2 the ones that should be done in the next 2-3 days maximum, and with number 3 which are the things that you will do in case you have some free time left.

This goes not only for your worldly activities such as work, studies, sport etc..., but also reading an Islamic book, listening to a lecture, memorizing the Quran, helping someone by a certain thing or amount of money...

The most important is that you organize your day and put as many tasks in it as you can comfortably do.

A little secret to gain some time and not end up feeling guilty that you haven't finished half of what you planned for the day: close the Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp; these should be not your priority, unless you use them for a specific purpose which is included in your daily plan.

- Connect the pleasurable with the useful. Going to work or school? Read on the way, or listen to some lectures you have downloaded previously. You can watch or listen to something when cleaning, ironing clothes, cooking or even at the gym! If you're not able to do them or feel tired, saying the dhikr will strengthen your faith and you will receive tons of rewards.

- At weekends, we usually have more free time than during the weekdays. This is the time when we can relax, go out, watch a movie, or be with family and friends. You do not have to spend the entire weekend alone with your books and ignore all the activities you enjoy.

If there is a lecture or gathering in your local Muslim community, certainly attending it and taking your (non-Muslim) parents or siblings would be the best, but if they are not willing, organize your weekend wisely.

Attend a lecture if you can, meet your Muslim friends for a couple of hours, but then be with your family, too! There are millions of halal things to do. You can also divide the weekend: one day in the mosque, spending time with Muslim friends, studying about Islam, and the other day entirely with family.

- There are many flexible opportunities online to study Arabic, learn the Quran or other fields of Islam in your free time which you can also schedule in your daily activities.

- Do not overload yourself; always put only as many tasks in your schedule as you can do easily without much stress.

- You got some extra tasks at work or you are in the exam period and feel guilty of not having time for extra worship? Don't! Clear your intention, and think what you can still do which does not take much of your time and energy in these intense days. Giving out some charity to the poor, making double efforts to focus on your prayer, saying dhikr during the break, listening to the Quran will definitely make you feel relaxed on a stressful day.

By the way, did you know that anything you do, which is halal, eating, having fun in a halal way, cleaning, working, studying,...etc. with the intention of doing it for the sake of Allah is indeed a form of worship?.

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