Author(s): Mohammed Faris
Report Published: 7th June 2016
QUAKE Books Bonus: Exclusive Interview with Mohammed
There is no better time to read and review The Productive Muslim. The holy Islamic month of Ramadan 2016 is upon us. A third of the world’s population, myself included, is fasting during the daylight hours and standing in long prayers and supplications during the hours of darkness. Charitable acts and community building also make up the corner stone of this month, as Muslims remember the blessing of Allah and the afflictions of the poor, work together towards reducing poverty, whilst also keeping up their day job, studies, family duties and even writing a blog :).
This book, much like the articles published on its “parent site” Productive Muslim, is extremely well written and researched. It goes beyond the singularly focused “religious” aspects and calls the Muslim community into faith based action that builds on the five pillars of Islam (Salat: performing ritual prayers five times each day, Zakat: “charity” to benefit the poor and the needy, Sawm: fasting during the month of Ramadan and Hajj: the pilgrimage to Mecca).
The Productive Muslim is not just theory however. It is a thought-provoking and action driven guide which provides a holistic view of Islam that uses Quranic scripture, the latest research including that of Dr John Ratey and productivity ninja Graham Allcott, along with good plain common sense. The result after reading Faris’ book? If I am anything to go by, a Muslim who is not only more focused and effective but more aware of Allah’s presence, calling and direction in their life.
So is this book only for Muslims? Whilst this book was certainly written for Muslims in mind, non-Muslims interested in the “real” Islam, away from attention grabbing headlines, would also benefit from reading it because they will be better able to relate to the world around them.
“It’s not our hard work and achievements that matter but our sincerity and whether Allah accepts it from us. This is not a call to relax, it’s actually a call to work even harder.”
“As Muslims we’ve become no different in our pursuit for productivity and economic growth at all costs. Our understanding of productivity and human wellbeing has become separated from our faith and values.”
“As Muslims, we believe that sleep is a blessing and like every blessing it should be used to thank Him through worship, not to disobey Him – by oversleeping and missing our prayers and responsibilities.”
As Muslims go, and a sentiment sadly echoed by Faris, I am an extremely productive example. Unfortunately, many individuals that share my faith don’t share my work ethic or drive. There is a commonly held false idea that to be a good Muslim, one must solely focus on their religious duties as obligations to fulfil prior to death, rather than as part of a lifestyle.
So, I really thought that there was little The Productive Muslim could teach me and that it would just be a case of light reading that would refresh my memory. Oh dear!
Well, whilst I don’t think I will become more productive, at least not in the western sense of the word, I do have a new found appreciation as how important it is to integrate Allah into that productivity, aside from taking a break five times a day to perform prayers.
After reading this book, I am striving daily to place Allah at the centre of my growth mindset and purpose. This is extremely important given that according to the Quran, God only accepts the sacrifice of those who are mindful of Him [5.27]. I am consciously building in habits that will need to last a lifetime if my work and attitude are to remain pleasing to God…