There is a profound statement by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah which says: ‘Women are one half of society which gives birth to the other half so it is as if they are the entire society.’
If women make up nearly all of society, shouldn’t we be striving to be productive in this life for the next? Yet we know it’s no easy task being a Muslimah today! In fact, being a sister, mother, wife, professional and more means a Muslimah in the modern day can find herself struggling to be productive, trying to juggle all the tasks on that ever-growing to-do list. Here’s the good news though: at Productive Muslim we believe in starting off with a sincere intention and working hard to reach our end goal.
So “who’s a Productive Muslimah?” I hear you asking. We believe a productive Muslimah is a woman who uses all the resources around her with a mission to live her life to excellence, ultimately working to achieve the highest stations in Jannah. Once a Muslimah in the world is armed with these tools she can achieve some great things insha Allah!
In this article we’re going to start exploring the top 10 tips to becoming a Productive Muslimah and we’ll look at the practical steps you can take to live a more productive life.
1. Have sincere intentions
At Productive Muslim we have a motto which says: ‘Have sincere intentions and work hard’. This is the motto of the life of a productive Muslimah. By beginning with sincere intentions in any of our actions, whether as a working professional by going to work with a good intention to bring about positive difference or as a busy wife or mother looking after the family, we are able to gain rewards and blessings in our actions so start off with a sincere intention always!
2. Be proactive
One of the best lessons I’ve learnt in life is that in order to be productive, we need to be proactive. This doesn’t mean in order to be productive you have to be busy; in fact, busy people may be unproductive.Instead, you must focus your energy on being active in areas which will bring about benefit to your overall life goals insha Allah. For example, one of the ways I am proactive is by attending personal and spiritual development courses and then sharing that with others through writing articles or delivering talks. We find that in the example of the historical and contemporary figures, being proactive is one of the traits of successful Muslimahs.
3. Seek knowledge
It is often said that if you ‘educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a nation’ which highlights the importance of sisters continuously seeking knowledge. To become a productive Muslimah, seek out courses from those available online through various Islamic organisations to offline seminars and courses locally which will help to develop your knowledge. In the modern era, accessing books on Kindle and in libraries and bookshops means you can read up on almost any subject that you need to develop your knowledge in and then impart it to your children, families and wider community.
4. Plan your time effectively
One of the secrets of being productive is that you don’t waste time! One of the first things a productive Muslimah must do is plan her time effectively, this includes scheduling in time to study, work, pray and spend with family and if you have children slot in time for them and yourself so you don’t burn out. Choose wisely how you spend your time; you can use our fantastic Taskinator online to help you get started. One of the profound sayings on the benefits of utilising time well is by one of the great scholars, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah who stated: ‘If Allah wants goodness for His slave He aids him with time and makes his time a helper for him.’
5. Be self-reflective
As a proactive Muslimah, it can be difficult at times to assess how effectively you are using time and being able to fulfill all your roles. With this in mind, it is recommended you regularly take time out for self-reflection, perhaps at the end of each day you can journal what went well in your day and also be critical of how you could use your time better for the next day. Only with continual self-reflection and feedback are we able to grow, develop and become more productive insha Allah.
6. Focus on quality over quantity
There’s a hadith which often reminds me that as Muslims we need to strive to perfect whatever task or project we embark on; the Prophet (SAW) said: ‘Allah loves that when you do anything, you do it with excellence.’ [Muslim] As a Muslimah embarking on any activity, always remind yourself that it has to be quality over quantity. It’s better to excel in one area, such as writing or being a good mother, than to do a mediocre job by focussing on too many things. A productive Muslimah always strives to excel at what she does and isn’t satisfied with mediocrity.
7. Do your best!
Some of the most inspiring stories of the wives of the Prophet t and many other productive Muslimahs is that they worked hard to be the best in their roles, such as Khadijah (RA) who was a successful business woman. As a wife or a mother, you may focus on being supportive to your husband and that small action alone can be one of the ways you are a productive wife. Giving your best to your roles and task at hand requires focus and for you to expend your energy only at the task at hand.
8. Be resourceful
Living in the information and technology era, we are a generation that have been equipped with many useful technological tools, books, networks and knowledge which we can use to be more productive and organised in our lives. You can use tools online to help manage your time, such as those in our Resources section, to develop your knowledge and learn many new skills online with courses which will make you more resourceful. Use these resources to lead a more productive life.
9. Strive to benefit others
Many of the productive Muslimahs from history to modern day have achieved great things because of their understanding of this beautiful hadith where the Prophet (SAW) said: ‘The best of you are those who benefit mankind’. [Bukhari] Always ask yourself this question: ‘will my actions benefit others?’ This will help you to decide what action is worthwhile and help you set up initiatives as a mother, wife, professional or student to bring about benefit to those around you which will also benefit your own self.
10. Put your trust in Allah
Finally, the productive Muslimah, despite her striving and efforts, must always be mindful that success in achieving her goals will only come from Allah who says in the Quran: “Put your trust in Allah if you are believers indeed.” [Al-Ma’idah:23] This focus on spiritual productivity is the secret ingredient to being successful. As a Muslimah, you must work hard, contribute to society and plan your time effectively around prayers, then place your trust in Allah by always making dua for Him to help you achieve the ultimate success in this life and the Hereafter.
So that’s the top 10 secret tips to become a productive Muslimah but by no means an exhaustive list!
Lotifa Begum is the Head of Productive Muslimah at ProductiveMuslim.com. She graduated in BA Politics & East European Studies from University College London in 2011 and was the former Head Sister at the Islamic Society. She has worked with the Muslim community in the UK over the past 5 years. Currently she is the Campaigns & Development Education Coordinator at Islamic Relief UK. Lotifa was a graduate of the NicheHero Leadership Programme with Shaykh Muhammad Al Shareef, she also completed the Young Muslim Leadership Programme with the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. As former Head of Content and Research at ProductiveMuslim.com she has gained insight to a wide range of productivity related issues with the global team and delivered workshops for sisters on time management, productivity and leadership. To contact her please email firstname.lastname@example.org