If you feel you are not doing enough in your life and need to be a more productive Muslim, here we suggest some tips on planning a more productive lifestyle based on Islamic teachings. But before starting to review the tips on how to be a more productive Muslim, we should answer a "WHY" question? "Why do we want to or have to be more productive?"
Merging into life routines can be hugely devastating for human beings. At the same time, many may not even recognize the fact that they are gradually being merged into their habits, and one day, they look back and look over their life, finding it all wasted. To avoid experiencing such hard and disappointing moments in life, Allah Almighty guides us through the Quran and the Islamic lifestyle provided in it.
Allah (SWT) introduces the ultimate goal of human creation as worshipping Him; "I did not create the jinn and the humans except that they may worship Me." (51: 56)
However, it is essential for human beings to understand the meaning of worshipping Allah (SWT). If, by glorifying Him, Allah (SWT) meant that people should spend all their time praying and fasting, then there was no need for all the other rulings and laws that the Quran describes regarding human beings' daily life including social, economic, political, etc. issues.
The meaning of worshipping Allah (SWT) lies in the believers' understanding of the reason behind their behaviors and every single act and thought that they have; that is Allah Almighty's acceptance and satisfaction. It is crucial to keep in mind that worshipping Allah is not limited to praying and fasting, but every act of believers that is done in the way of gaining Allah's satisfaction is counted as worship. That is why He recommends that all our deeds and actions should have a divine tint; "The coloring of Allah, and who colors better than Allah? And Him do we worship." (2: 138)
Therefore, one can easily conclude that living an idle life is far from what Allah has expected from us. Allah (SWT) in the Quran encourages people not to waste even a single moment in their life when He says, "So when you are done, appoint, and supplicate your Lord." (94: 7 – 8)
The above verses show that for a more productive life, people should always have plans for their days, weeks, and years, so when they finish one task, they know what they should do next. Imam Musa al-Kazim (AS) says: "try that your daily time is divided into segments. One part for worshipping your Lord. One part for earning allowed (Halal) livelihood, a part for socializing with trustworthy friends, and another exclusively devoted to Lawful (Halal) pleasure with the family. 
We should still keep in mind that everything may not go exactly as we plan and not get disappointed if our plans do not go very well. Allah (SWT) says:
"Yet it may be that you dislike something, which is good for you, and it may be that you love something, which is bad for you, and Allah knows, and you do not know." (2: 216)
Therefore, keep a "to-do list" of your goals and plans for your years, months, weeks, and days. That will help you find less time in front of the TV, thinking that there is nothing else left to be done.
In the Quran, Allah counts some habits of those prosperous people. If we pay special attention to them, they help us have a more productive life.
Vain talk does not necessarily apply to speaking to others. But any type of futile habit will take away one's prosperity, among which we can name unproductive use of social networks, useless friendships, ineffective discussions, etc.
Being humble and putting effort into reaching a humble character helps us be free from all useless social conflicts. Many people in human history wasted their lives looking abnormally beautiful or earning huge wealth. While the real prosperity belongs to those who beautify their soul, "Felicitous is he who purifies himself, celebrates the Name of his Lord, and prays. But you prefer the life of this world, while the Hereafter is better and more lasting." (87: 14- 17)
Many people pay a lot of attention to their conversations with other people. So much that after each party or gathering, their mind is so busy analyzing what others told them and find out if they meant to humiliate or disrespect them. This habit takes a lot of energy from a person and prevents him/her from being a productive person. Therefore, Allah (SWT) suggests that if one wants to be a real servant of Him, he/ she should ignore all the things that may take away his concentration in serving Allah (SWT).
There is nothing that people can not reach by their imagination and creativity. However, without effort and hard work, nothing is attainable. Through hard work, practice, and persistence human beings can gain what they plan for. Therefore, after planning for your life, and setting your goals that have a tint of God, you have to work hard and "… and once you are resolved, put your trust in Allah…" (3: 159)
Allah also orders people to be careful about the health of their body and soul at the same time when He provides them with sleeping habits: "Stand vigil through the night, except for a little [of it], a half, or reduce a little from that, or add to it, and recite the Quran in a measured tone." (73: 2- 4)
One may say that the above verses apply only to the Prophet (PBUH&HP), but whoever follows these habits will achieve high spiritual levels; "And keep vigil for a part of the night, as a supererogatory [devotion] for you. It may be that your Lord will raise you to a praiseworthy station." (17: 79) Studying the biography of great believers, one can realize that the night watch was one of the most explicit parts of their daily routine.
Allah (SWT) also orders people to watch what they eat, as eating habits have a significant effect on the human body and soul: "Let man consider his food" (80: 24) Having a healthy body and soul will help people to be more productive.
One great habit that can help people have a more productive life, as recommended by Allah (SWT), is reciting the Quran: "…So recite as much of the Quran as is feasible. …" (73: 20)
Reading the Quran and contemplating over its stories, examples and even rulings can help us have a more creative and analytic mind, and this is aside from the miraculous impact that reciting the Quran has on human soul and body "We send down in the Quran that which is a cure and mercy for the faithful…" (17: 82)
In the Quran, Allah (SWT) has always put faith beside practice, which shows the importance of taking action instead of being passive human beings: "By time! Man is indeed in loss, except those who have faith and do righteous deeds, and enjoin one another to [follow] the truth, and enjoin one another to patience." (103: 1- 3)
Imam Ali (AS), in his letter to his son, Imam Hasan (AS), says: "My son! Know that you were created for the Hereafter, not for this world, for extinction (in this world), not for permanence, and death, not for life. You are in an abode from which you must depart, in a place from which you acquire your provisions, and on a path to the Hereafter." 
It is vital to keep in mind that we are not going to live in this world forever. We are here for a short time, and we need to prepare for the real life as mentioned in the Quran: "The life of this world is nothing but diversion and play, but the abode of the Hereafter is indeed Life (itself), had they known!" (29:64). Therefore, if we live every moment of our life knowing that we are traveling to the real world any moment, then we will try our best to make the best out of our time, energy, and talents.
In sum, having a more productive life is a necessity for all Muslims, and to improve one's productivity, planning a life based on the Quran and Islamic teachings can be a great guideline.
- Ibn Shu’bah ,Tuhaf al-Uqul, P. 409-410.
- Allamah Sharif Razi,Nahj al-Balaghah, letter 31.
There is no doubt among us that after our dear Prophet Mohammad (PBUH&HP), our twelve Imams (AS) are the most important figures of our religion. On that account, today we want to get to know more about our first imam and the first male convert of the religion birth matter and conditions.
The faithless say, ‘You have not been sent [by Allah].’ Say, ‘Allah suffices as a witness between me and you, and he who possesses the knowledge of the Book’
The Holy Quran (13:43)
And among the people is he who sells his soul seeking the pleasure of Allah, and Allah is most kind to [His] servants
The Holy Quran (2:207)
If the two of you repent to Allah... for your hearts have certainly swerved, and if you back each other against him, then [know that] Allah is indeed his guardian, and his supporters are Gabriel, the righteous among the faithful and, thereafter, the angels...
The Holy Quran (66:4)
If we seek the true meaning of these three verses above of our holy book, they all seek Ali (AS) as their primary target and guide us to some aspects of his life. our dear imam has been implicitly described by The Quran many times that shows us His great importance in our religion.
No one can fully describe the contributions of Imam Ali (AS) to his religion and the people and if anyone dares to do so, he can merely show a drop of the sea. That said we are about to speak about the first question that may occur to our mind: how was our first Imam born?
Thirty years after the “year of the elephant” (*) occurrence, in the 13th of Rajab (March 8), when Prophet Mohammad (PBUH&HP) was 30 years old, 10 years before our dear The Prophet (PBUH&HP) received the first revelation from the angel Gabriel and 23 years before the great migration of Muslims from Mecca to Medina.
At this time, our dear imam's pregnant mother (Fatima Daughter of Asad) was praying at Kaaba. She felt an immense amount of delivery pain that she fled to Kaaba from that pain. Suddenly the wall of Kaaba has moved apart and given shelter to her for 3 whole days. After these days, she came out of Kaaba with her dear son, our first imam, Ali b. Abi Talib (AS). Imam’s delivery was a great honor that happened to no one And after yet; walls moving apart, mother’s presence in the holy site of Islam, and the unique birth in Kaaba were all the signs of the greatness of son of Kaaba.
Fatima Daughter of Asad was the second woman that converted to Islam (after Prophet’s wife, Khadija” SA”). She had the honor of taking care of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) from the age of eight until his youth in her (Abu-Talib) house. Their relation was as much close that Prophet (PBUH&HP) called she “mother” So we can see the early strings of Prophet (PBUH&HP) calling Imam Ali (AS) his brother.
1.Sheikh Mofid (died in 413th AH): our first imam, Ali b. Abi Talib (AS) was born on Friday the 13th of Rajab and thirty years after the year of the elephant in Mecca. No one ever has been born in Kaaba before and after him. His delivery was the great honor that God granted him to show his dignity over other men of his age.
2. Allamah Al-Hilli (died in 726th AH): Imam Ali (PBUH) was born on Friday the 13th of Rajab and thirty years after the occurrence of the year of the elephant. No one before and after him, was born in Kaaba at that time, The Prophet (PBUH&HP) was thirty years old.
Many of the Sunni scholars Believe that Imam’s birth routine was in Kaaba and some of them even think this matter exclusively was only for the Imam.
We will name some of them briefly and look at their point of view:
1. Al-Hakim al-Nishapuri (died in 658th lunar year): a lot of Consecutive narrations have pointed that Fatima bt. Asad have delivered Ali b. Abi Talib in the Kaaba.
2. Sibt ibn al-Jawzi Hanafi (died in 654th lunar year): It has been narrated that when Fatima bt. Asad was pregnant and doing tawaf around the Kaaba, she sensed an immense delivery pain that she fled to Kaaba from the pain; when suddenly Kaaba’s door got opened to her so she went into the Kaaba and gave birth to his child.
Syed Ismail Himayari (who died in 173th AH) was one of the greatest poets of Arabic literature. He wrote a poem about this unique birth:
His mother gave birth to him in God’s safe site; God’s house and masque was his birthplace
He was pure and noble; her mother, her child, and her birthplace too
In one of the darkest nights, he appeared with lunar purity
No child other than Amine’s child is honored like him
- Kitab al-Kafi (first Volume – page 452)
- Kitab al-Irshad (first Volume – page 5)
- I'lam al-Wara bi A'lam al-Huda (first Volume – page 306)
- Bihar al-Anwar (35th Volume – page 182)
- Description of Nahj al-Balagha (first Volume – page 6)
- Manaqib Ale Abi Talib (third Volume – page 307)
- Rawżat al-Vaeezin (page 81)
* In that year, Kaaba invaded by faithless king Abraha and his great elephant army and ironically saved by Allah himself with an army of birds carrying small stones by their pecks that penetrate the elephant's body and skull and all of them got killed, and Kaaba was saved.
In all books of success and in all seminars on the same topic, gratitude and being grateful is introduced as one of the most important keys to success. For example, Brian Tracy says “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” or as Oprah Winfrey puts it: “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” 
In this text we try to see if these types of sayings and ideas about gratitude and its impact on one’s life are accepted in Islam.
There are a few verses in the Quran that talk about the importance of gratitude and the consequences of showing both gratitude and ingratitude. To understand the meaning of gratitude and thanking God and His creations, it is important to have a deeper understanding of the Arabic root of the words gratitude (Shukr) and ingratitude (Kufr).
Allah Says in the Quran “… and thank Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me.” (2: 125) do not be ungrateful to me in Arabic is “wa la takfurun” that again comes from the root word “kufr”. The meaning of the word “kufr” is to cover or hide something. 
It is interesting that in another verse of the Quran the word farmer is also related to the root word “Kufr”; “…like rain, whose growth impresses the farmer…” (52: 20) and the farmer in the Quran is mentioned as “Kuffar”. The Quran commentators believe that the word “Kuffar” is used for farmers, since the farmer hides the seeds under the soil. 
Therefore, ingratitude or ungratefulness in the Quran is used about people who see, feel and use the blessings of Allah (SWT) but they ignore those blessings in different ways such as complaining about what they have, keep asking for things they are not blessed with by the wisdom of God, or more importantly not using the blessings that Allah has given them properly.
On the other hand, the Arabic word “shukr” which is used for gratefulness and showing gratitude means, “to reveal” something. Therefore, the concept of gratefulness and gratitude is to see, feel and use the blessings of Allah, while at the same time trying to use these blessings in the right way.
There are different ways of showing gratitude for different blessings of God. For example, showing gratitude for the health is not possible while laying down in front of TV for hours and saying, “thank God for my health”. Instead, showing gratitude for one’s health is possible when, for example, one takes care of his/her health and uses his/her strength in helping the religion of Allah and helping other servants of His. There are thousands of ways in showing gratitude for our health, wealth, knowledge, good family and friends, etc. the key point is showing gratitude is to see the blessings and use them in the best possible ways.
A great definition for gratitude is explained by Imam Al-Sadiq (AS): “The least kind of gratitude is when a person knows the blessing is (directly) from God and does not know any reason for it except Him and when he/she is happy with what God has given him/her and does not commit sins through His blessings. And, he/she does not use the blessings of God as a means for opposing his commands.” 
What happens to those who are grateful and those who are not? Does it make any difference? As human beings, we expect others to be grateful to us if we do them a favor, and it is considered rude not to thank other people’s favors. However, thanking Allah does not have any benefits for Him, or being ungrateful to Him would not harm Him in any ways. So the reason why Allah (SWT) emphasizes on thanking Him can again be understood from the Arabic words used for gratefulness and ungratefulness. If we are grateful it means that we show “Shukr” that means we reveal the blessings of Allah. Noticing these blessings is the first step to appreciate what we have and to start using them in order to achieve success in different dimensions. However, if we are not grateful it means that we are committing “Kufr,” which means we are hiding or covering the blessings of Allah, the result of which is wasting His blessings and therefore, wasting our lives.
Allah (SWT) says in the Quran: “If you are grateful, I will surely enhance you [in blessing], but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is indeed severe.” (14: 7)
It is clear as day that if one understands the value of his/her blessings, then he/she can improve the life quality of him/herself and others using those blessings. And if one wastes the blessings, it is rational to take those advantages from him/her and give the facilities to someone who can best use them in improving his/her and others’ lives.
But, unfortunately Allah mentions in the Quran that “few of My servants are grateful.” (34:13) Therefore, it would be great if we can try our best to discover and recognize even the smallest blessings that Allah (SWT) has provided us. We have no idea how using the smallest blessings can bring huge changes and improvements in our life and our soul.
Thanking Allah (SWT) for His blessings is very important. However, Allah (SWT) gives specific attention to being grateful toward other human beings. Thanking those who have favored us the most is so important in the eyes of Allah that He obliges us to be grateful to them “We have enjoined man concerning his parents: His mother carried him through weakness upon weakness, and his weaning takes two years. Give thanks to Me and to your parents. To Me is the return.” (31:14)
In mentioning the importance of this verse Imam al-Ridha (AS) says: “Allah Almighty has put gratitude and thanksgiving for Himself along with gratitude and thanks to the parents, whoever has not done the gratitude of the parents has not done the gratitude of Allah.” 
Apart from thanking Parents, thanking other people in the society is very important in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says: “He who does not give thanks to the people (for their favors) does not give thanks to God.” 
May we all start seeing and discovering the blessings that Allah (SWT) has given us and start using them to the most, so we can make a better life and afterlife for ourselves and others.
- Qara’ati, M. Tafseer-e Noor, vol. 9. p. 477
- Gilani, A commentary on Al-Mesbah Al-Shari’ah, p. 61
- Oyoun Akhbar al-Riza, vol. 1. p. 258
- Man La Yahzuruhu al-faqih, vol. 2, p, 343