Muslim Lifestyle New Muslims

Work and Spiritually: Where Do They Meet?


With sincere intentions and noble efforts you can hopefully recreate some of that much needed spiritual reformation.

For many of us as Muslims out in the working world or even at home, it can be a challenge to sustain our spirituality post-Ramadan. Many people I know complain of the need to reform their spiritual habits and I count being in in good companionship as one of the vital ways to continually boost your spiritual development.

In the modern day, it is easy to slip out of the ‘spiritually developing’ zone, especially when you are in a non-Muslim environment and don’t have the same network of ‘sisterhood’ or ‘brotherhood’ to encourage your spiritual growth let alone as much free time.

I know of many friends who are in professions such as doctors, lawyers and even bankers who feel this ‘void’ in spirituality after venturing out into the working world. They feel a real dip in their faith and are crying out for ways to stay in touch with their spirituality in the workplace.

This article is an attempt at providing practical ways for spiritual reformation that I have personally adopted to use in the working world. Although it will be a real challenge for many, with sincere intentions and noble efforts you can hopefully recreate some of that much needed spiritual reformation.

1- Find Good Work Buddies

Although it’s easier to surround yourself with Muslims, I have personally found that even being in the presence of people from other faiths can strengthen your own faith. It is important to find a work buddy who you can openly discuss your faith with and be in good company. Even if it can’t be a Muslim colleague, then at least a colleague who understands and respects you and your faith values. I often find that non-Muslim colleagues are more interested in chatting about general life matters, so find areas of common interest before you start talking to them about matters related to your faith.

For those of us fortunate to work in a predominantly Muslim environment, having good company is still important as we can often lose ourselves amidst work. In our office, we’ve started a regular 10 minute reminder with the sisters once a week which we rotate between staff to help us remind each other of how to strive to be better Muslims – it’s often the spiritual dose we need for the rest of the week’s work!

2- Talk about Faith

One of the beauties of working with non-Muslim colleagues is that there is a natural sense of curiosity about you as a Muslim, but also at a human level so ensure you break down any barriers and connect with them at a human level first. Find out about their life outside of work without prying too much of course! This always opens doors to then talking about more personal matters like your faith.

Hopefully by developing a bond with your colleagues which goes beyond work you can comfortably and confidently talk about what it is like being a Muslim. Being a visible Muslim woman at work, maybe through wearing the hijab, is a walking da`wah opportunity, as every action and conversation teaches others about Islam.

Also, I have often found my non-Muslim friends have niggling questions about Islam which I am able to talk to them about openly once we’ve built a good working relationship.

3- Read, Read and Read!

There is one practice I have continued since university to develop myself spiritually, which is reading books – the more I read the more I realize how little I actually know! It is vital you read Islamic books on spiritual development such as Al-Ghazali’s works. You can even fit this reading into your travel time to work as I often do by reading on my Kindle.

balanced life

Despite the challenges, it is really important to have a work-life balance for your wellbeing.

During lunch breaks you can also read articles which will boost your faith and remind you of Allah through websites such as Muslim Matters, Suhaib Webb or to keep you stimulated and get a refreshing ‘spiritual break’.

4- Attend a Regular Circle/Class

Despite the demands on your time as a professional Muslim and even at home, it is really important to have a work-life balance for your wellbeing. One of the ways to boost your spirituality is to attend a regular class, even if it is online rather than in person, to surround yourself with like-minded people as well as to continue to benefit in the pursuit of knowledge.

Find out what local circles are taking place, some workplaces even have Muslim associations and events you can attend or better still set one up of your own! I often tell sisters that they need to ensure they invest in themselves to grow spiritually and emotionally.

5- Use Salah to Re-focus

We are blessed as Muslims to have the daily salah, yet so many of us rush through prayer in a bid to get other work done.

Instead, we should use salah to refocus and re-energized ourselves for work. I often find that when I have a difficult task to do at work, just switching off and going to pray helps me come back more focused to tackle the task.

Also, prayer is a constant reminder that we are dependent on Allah’s Help to succeed at work and any task which lies ahead. So capitalize on this spiritual booster in your working day!

Once you’ve started to take the above steps, make du`aa’ that Allah places blessing in your work and time through your endeavors to better yourself. Remind yourself of the importance of holding onto your faith values and how you are an ambassador for Islam through your actions in the workplace. Hopefully, using the steps above you can begin to make spiritual reformations at work and beyond.

Productive Muslim is a Muslim who is striving for the highest station in Jannah (Paradise) by making the best of all the resources around her.




His Life New Muslims

Time Management & Punctuality: Lessons from the Prophet (Part 2)

By Yuksel A. Aslandogan

Part 1


A very punctual time keeper, the Prophet did not waste even the smallest amount of time.

Various accounts of the Prophet’s daily life tell us that he was very careful in the observation of his daily schedule. We understand this particularly from the observation that when the Prophet changed his schedule, this was a cause for worry in the community.

For instance, one Companion relates: “The Messenger of God (upon whom be peace and blessings) left his home at a time when normally nobody saw him outside.” (Ibn Al-Athir)

Another one is: “The Messenger of God ascended to the pulpit. He was never seen on the pulpit except on Fridays before.” (Ibn Majah)

Night Activities

The narrations from his companions tell us that the Prophet used to divide his night into three segments. One segment was dedicated to worship, one to his family and one segment to his personal matters. At times, he is seen as giving his personal time to his community in meeting with them and trying to address their needs.

The Prophet was observed to halt his daily activities after sunset. This does not mean, however, that he rested for the remainder of the evening; he sometimes held meetings after evening or night prayer.

As a general principle, he did not like sleeping before the night prayer or talking after it (Al-Bukhari). His wife `A’ishah (may God be pleased with her) reports that the Prophet used to sleep during the early part of the night and wake up for worship during the later part. (Ibn Majah). On exceptional circumstances, the Prophet was observed to stay awake and deal with community affairs until late hours of the night.

The night stances (Qiyam Al-layl), the hours he spent in worship, reflection and prayers all occupy an important place in the Prophet’s life. He is reported to have spent on average between 2/3 to 3/4 of each night in worship, remembrance, reflection, and supplication.

This corresponds to a period of 4 to 7 hours each night, depending on the season. He explains this emphasis on night prayers in the following way: “God descends to the first heaven of the earth every night and announces, ‘Is there anyone who repents; I will forgive, is there anyone who prays; I will accept,’ and this continues until early dawn”. (Ibn Majah & Ibn Al-Athir)

He also likened his night stances to those of the Prophet David: “The best nightly prayer in God’s sight is that of David. He used to sleep during the early part of the night, then wake up and spend a third of the night in prayers and sleep a little again before dawn” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim & An-Nasa’i)

Daytime Activities

The Prophet prohibited his Companions from sleeping after the Morning Prayer. He used to stay at the mosque until sunrise and have group conversations with his companions. The subjects of these conversations were both religious as well as entertaining, for example, poetry would be read or the dreams of the previous night would be related. It is understood that these hours were spent in a felicitous way, with Companions laughing at times and the Prophet smiling. (An-Nasa’i & Muslim)

The Prophet underlines the significance of these hours held for him with the following saying: “Sitting together with a group of companions and remembering God with them after the Morning Prayer until the sunrise is more valuable to me than fighting in the cause of God. The same is true for the hours after the afternoon prayer before sunset”. (Ibn Al-Athir)

Following the conversation with his Companions, the Prophet would then spend time with his family. On days when he was not fasting, he would have breakfast during this period. He is known to have eaten two meals each day, a late breakfast and a dinner.

Towards noon, he would take a nap and encourage others to do the same, as this would help them to stay awake at night for prayers. After the Noon Prayers came the time for community matters.

The Afternoon Prayer was followed by time for the family once again. In the Makkan period, the Prophet was married to Khadijah for 25 years, his only wife during this time. His multiple marriages occurred after she had passed away, when he was already over 50. The reasons and occasions for these marriages form the subject of a separate article.

But suffice it to say that in general these marriages could be categorized into three types: (1) Marrying the widow of a martyr to take care of her and to honor the family. (2) Marrying the daughter or other relative of a community leader to establish family ties with that community to avoid armed conflicts. (3) Marriage with a woman of a special status so that woman could become a teacher and role model for Muslim women. This third function was especially important, as the aspects of faith that pertain to special circumstances of women could only be taught by the experience of the wives of the Prophet.

The Prophet was observed to visit and spend equal, fixed times with his wives during his family time.

Human Biorhythm & Activity Changes

Researchers on human biorhythms tell us that multiple periodic biorhythms operate within the human body with different cycle times, changing from 90 minutes (ultradian) to daily (circadian), to longer than a day. (Smolensky, 2001)

As the human body operates with chemicals, hormones, and electrical signals, it needs to replenish these resources once in a while. (Chafetz, 1992) One mechanism for achieving this is having a short break such as a nap (Rossi 1991, Mednick 2002) and another is to change one’s activity when feeling tired.

The Prophet Muhammad points to this important fact by saying “Relieve us O Bilal!” Bilal was the chief caller to prayer. The Prophet was indicating that they were tired and less productive in the activity in which they were involved and that it was a good time to take a break and pray. “Relieve us” means “Please make the call to prayer” so the community will gather in the mosque for a congregational prayer.

The interweaving of different activities in his daily schedule is another indication that the Prophet was cognizant of the effect of the biorhythm on one’s productivity.

The popular mental picture of the Prophet Muhammad in the non-Muslim world depicts a person who spent most of his time in the battlefield or enjoying the spoils of war. Nothing can be further from truth. In this article we examined the life of the Prophet Muhammad from a time management perspective.

All in Moderation

The picture that emerges from this analysis is very different from the popular perception in the west. We learn that the Prophet spent most of his time engaged in worship, prayer, remembrance, and supplications.

The next two most important activities in his life were community matters, including spreading God’s message and family matters. We also learn that the Prophet was a very punctual time keeper. He did not waste even the smallest amount of time and admonished those who did.

We learn that he kept a tight daily schedule to the extent that his companions became worried when this schedule was not observed. He designated certain days and hours of each day for certain activities. He encouraged staying awake after dawn and having a short nap at noon.

He practiced such principles as eating moderately, sleeping moderately, and talking moderately, all of which ultimately help with better time management. He took advantage of every discretionary moment in life for remembering God and offering prayers. Every activity in his life was guided by his main goal of living and sharing God’s religion for a happy life on the Earth and in the Hereafter.

Interestingly, many of these practices are now recognized and recommended by modern experts of time management.

In summary, we witness a life that was lived fully and productively, yet opportunities for smiling were not neglected.


Source: The Fountain Magazine



His Life New Muslims

The Prophet and Time Management

By Yuksel A. Aslandogan


While always confident of God’s help, the Messenger was also a master of skillful time management.

In the preface to his book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, Michael Hart noted the supreme success of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) on both the religious and secular level (Hart, 1978).

The Muslim community, which started as four individuals, himself, his wife Khadijah, his close friend Abu Bakr, and his cousin `Ali, reached over a hundred thousand Companions by his death in 23 years. Only ten thousand or so of these Companions are buried in the graveyard at Medina today, as most of them died in remote lands spreading the message (Gulen, 2000).

Contrary to the common perception in the West, the Prophet Muhammad did not spend most of his time in battle fields or even involved in political affairs. The total number of casualties in the battles in which he participated throughout his life is not even 800.

Instead, the activities that occupied most of his daily life were worship, prayers, and supplications, followed by family and community affairs, including conveying God’s message to his people.

While always confident of God’s help, the Messenger was also a master of skillful time management. Here we will review some of the time management practices that he employed in his life.

Four principles emerge as we examine the life of the Prophet Muhammad from a time management perspective (Canan, 1994). Interestingly, these are also the principles agreed upon by most contemporary experts of time management (Taylor 1998, Jasper 1999, Covey, Morgenstern, 2000). These are:

1- Appreciation of the value of time and, consequently, making the best use of every piece of available time.

2- The guidance of a mission, a set of values, and priorities in planning every activity.

3- Establishment of a time policy or a time budget.

4- The scheduling and completion of activities within allocated time slots.

Now we will give examples of how these principles were put to practice in the prophetic tradition.

Appreciation of the Value of Time

The value of time is emphasized in many verses of the Qur’an and in many prophetic sayings. In particular, God swears by time at the beginning of the 103rd chapter Al-`Asr in the Qur’an, meaning “time through the ages” or “afternoon.”

It is the general opinion of the interpreters of the Qur’an that such references are intended to draw attention to those concepts and emphasize their importance. The remaining two verses of this short chapter reinforce this view:

By the (token of) time (through the ages)! Verily man is in a state of loss. Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to steadfastness. (Al-`Asr 103:1-3)

Another such oath is to be found at the beginning of 93rd Chapter, Ad-Duha or “The Morning Hours”:

By the morning hours, And by the night when it is still. (Ad-Duha 93:1-2)

In the prayer books attributed to the Prophet Muhammad we see that there are prayers for every occasion. Examples include prayers for beginning an activity, beginning a meal, ending a meal, leaving for a journey, returning from a journey, during the journey, looking in a mirror, during ill health, for rain, against excessive rain, against cold or extreme heat, when entering the bathroom, when exiting the bathroom, and countless others.

From these prayers we learn that there is almost no time slot in the Prophet’s life that was not occupied with a useful activity or a prayer. It was observed on one occasion that the Prophet refused to greet a person who was sitting idly. He greets the very same person on his way back upon seeing them occupied with an activity.

The following Prophetic saying summarizes his attitude: “The majority of humanity is at a loss as they do not recognize the value of two of God’s gifts: Health and (discretionary) time.” (Al-Bukhari)

Guidance of a Mission

After receiving the divine call, the life of the Prophet Muhammad was focused on living and conveying the message. His ultimate goal was to fulfill his mission as a servant and messenger of God. This involved two aspects: On the personal front a spiritual ascension towards the state of being a perfect human as a servant of God and on the social front sharing the faith and practicing conduct that was pleasing to God and others. His values and priorities were shaped completely by the scripture as well as by the other communications of God that he received, which did not become part of the scripture.

In his farewell sermon during his last pilgrimage, he is reported to have asked the present audience, which numbered in the tens of thousands: “Do you bear witness that I have fulfilled my mission as God’s messenger?”

Of course the answer was a resounding yes, accompanied by tears.

Weekly Time Policy

In a weak prophetic tradition narrated by Ibn `Abbas, the cousin of the Prophet, the regular activities of his days are listed: “Sunday is the day for planting seeds and construction. Monday is for travel. Tuesday is for giving blood. Wednesday is for acquisition and alms giving. Thursday is for bringing community matters to the governor. Friday is for weddings and spending time with your family. Saturday is for hunting for livelihood.”

The authenticity of this narration is weak and therefore we cannot conclude that it is obligatory to perform these duties on these days. However, it does give the idea of designating specific days of the week for specific projects or activities. In another prophetic tradition, the Prophet was heard to say, “Seek knowledge on every Monday”

Other prophetic sayings emphasize the importance of Friday as a day of festivity and the early part of Friday as the time to clean the body and care for one’s clothing. Another established prophetic tradition is to fast voluntarily on Mondays and Thursdays.

From the observations of his Companions it has been firmly established that the Prophet (peace be upon him) established a weekly schedule with preferred activities on each day.

Daily Time Policy

The most detailed information about the time management of the Prophet Muhammad is available concerning his daily schedule. Two types of activities occupied his time: The spontaneous (un-programmed) activities and the regular (programmed) activities.

The spontaneous activities included giving an audience to an envoy or a representative group, the meeting of an urgent need, or helping a stranger who spontaneously sought help. Such activities were accommodated within the time slots that were not dedicated to programmed activities.

Furthermore, if a representative body were to arrive in Madinah for a one-off meeting, then it would be scheduled at the first available time. However, if the group was to stay in Medina for a while, then the meetings with this group were included in the regular plan of activities.

An example of such accommodation can be seen in the case of the representative group from the Tribe of Thaqif. As the group was to stay in Madinah for a while, the Prophet visited them and talked with them after each night prayer. When one evening he delayed his visit, the group asked him: “O Messenger of God, you did not come at the time you used to come today; you were late, what is the reason for this?”

Regular/Scheduled Activities

Regular prayer times form the framework around which all other regular activities are scheduled. Two aspects of the Prophet’s daily schedule were (first): The same activities were scheduled in the same time period every day, and (second) each activity had a designated time limit.

Regular daily prayers are ordered by God at specific times:”set up Regular Prayers: For such prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times” (An-Nisaa’4:103) and the start and end times for each prayer were taught to the Prophet Muhammad by the Archangel Gabriel.

In authentic prophetic traditions we learn that Archangel Gabriel asked the Prophet Muhammad to join him in performing each prayer at the beginning of the time period time throughout one day.

The next day, they performed each prayer at the very end of the period that was dedicated to that prayer. The Prophet said “The best of deeds in God’s sight is the prayer that is performed in time”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

While the beginning time for each prayer period is preferred, the prayer can be done anytime between these limits. If the time limit is exceeded even by a minute, the prayer is invalidated and the person has to perform a makeup prayer in the next period.

It is easy to see that regular observation of these prayer times gives a person a high level of time consciousness. It also reveals the fallacy of the view that precise timing and punctuality are modern traditions.


Source: The Fountain Magazine


Yuksel A. Aslandogan is the Vice President of Institute of Interfaith Dialog, Houston, Texas.