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.
Mary is one of the outstanding personalities and a distinguished woman in the Abrahamic religions. In Islam, Mary is considered as one of the four celestial women of Paradise, an exemplary role model and a leader of the women of the universe
In the Quran, no woman has been mentioned by her proper name except Mary, and interestingly, her name occurs 34 times in the Quran [i]. Also, a chapter of the Quran was named after her.
Mary was a daughter of Imran and Hannah. Imran, a progeny of Solomon son of David, was one of the leading religious scholars of his time. According to the reports, following a prayer request of Hannah for a child, they were blessed at old age with a baby girl named Mary. However, Imran died before the birth of Mary.
Meanwhile, according to a narration , it was said that Imran had informed his wife of a son who by Allah’s permission could heal the blind and raise the dead to life. Thus, Hannah has vowed to devote the child to the service of the Lord in the Sanctuary.
The Quran says:
“When the wife of Imran said, ‘My Lord, I dedicate to You in consecration what is in my belly. Accept it from me; indeed You are the All-hearing, the All-knowing” (3: 35)
Meanwhile, since the conceived child was a girl, who could not be allowed to serve in the sanctuary due to her weakness and menses, Hannah was amazed, and she exclaimed bashfully:
“When she bore her, she said, ‘My Lord, I have borne a female [child]’—and Allah knew better what she had borne, and the male [child she expected] was no match for the female [child she had borne] —‘and I have named her Mary…” (3: 36)
However, contrary to her expectation, Allah graciously accepted her vow by permitting her daughter; Mary to serve the Lord in the Sanctuary:
“Thereupon her Lord accepted her with a gracious acceptance, and made her grow up in a worthy fashion…” (3: 37)
After that, Hannah took her baby to the Sanctuary, and she handed her over to the custodians of the House of God while she returned home.
There were disputes among the custodians of the Sanctuary about taking charge of the guardianship of Mary. Every one of them wished to take the responsibility, but Zakariyya told them he was more worthy of her since her aunt was his wife.
They later agreed on casting a lot by throwing their pens with which they wrote the Torah in water to decide the guardianship of Mary. In line with a divine will, only the Zakariyya’s pen surfaced over the water while the remaining ones submerged. Thus, Zakariyyah finally took charge of the guardianship of Mary.
“…and He charged Zechariah with her care…” (3: 37)
When Mary attained puberty, a separate room was built for her in the temple so that she may have a maximum concentration on her devotions. Thus, none was allowed to see her or talk with her except Zakariyya, who made provisions for her needs. According to the Quranic report, every time Zakariyya entered her sanctuary to see her, he found some food in her room.
“…Whenever Zechariah visited her in the sanctuary, he would find provisions with her. He said, ‘O Mary, from where does this come for you?’ She said, ‘It comes from Allah. Allah provides whomever He wishes without any reckoning.” (3: 37)
One day, the Gabriel in the guise of a handsome man [ii] appeared to Mary but she was frightened, and she sought refuge from Allah against him. But he responded that he was a messenger of her Lord to give her a glad tiding of a pure boy.
“…We sent to her Our Spirit, and he became incarnate for her as a well-proportioned human. She said, ‘I seek the protection of the All-beneficent from you, should you be Godwary! He said, ‘I am only a messenger of your Lord that I may give you a pure son.” (19: 17-19)
However, Mary enquired on the possibility of having a child while not being touched by any man. The Gabriel told her that creating a child out of a virgin and without a father is not difficult for God [iii]. After that, Mary by the decree of Allah became pregnant of Jesus, who shall be a sign for the humankind and a mercy to the world. In order to avoid people’s accusations, Mary retreated to a remote place where no one could see her.
However, at the time of childbirth, apart from loneliness, she went through severe pains to such an extent that she aspired for death [iv]. Then, a voice called unto her to console her not to grieve, and she was commanded by Allah to eat from the fresh dates, drink from the spring water and to refresh her eyes by the newly born baby [v].
In addition, Mary was henceforth commanded by Allah to refrain from talking to people for a particular time, but her child would be allowed to speak on her behalf and defend her chastity. Finally, Mary brought her miraculous baby to her people while carrying him in her arms. Some of them accused her of adultery [vi], but in line with divine command, she remained silent while pointing to her new baby.
Thus, Jesus while in his cradle testified to the divinity of Allah, his servitude to Him and finally attested to the chastity of her mother [vii].
In Islam, Mary is held in high esteem, and she acquired an elevated status among the women of the world. She was considered a perfect personality for emulation by the women of the world.
However, Islam in a very strong term repudiates the belief in the divinity of Mary or her being considered a mother of God. She is indeed a chosen and purified servant of God, and she was chosen above the women of the world.
[ii] (19: 17)
[iii] (19: 20-21)
[iv] (19: 23)
[v] (19: 24-26)
[vi] (19: 27-28)
[vii] (19: 30-33)
- Majlisi, Muhammad-Baqir, “Bihar-ul-'Anwar” (Beirut Edition), Vol. 14, P. 203, Hadith 15.
In the first part of the article, some stress relieving practices were discussed. Here we complete the list with other advises proposed for facing stress in Islam.
Isolation is undoubtedly the worst way to deal with depression, although some have a completely opposite view on this matter. In general, upholding kinship with relatives and visiting them regularly, benefits one from their social and emotional support . And particularly, in the case of having a problem as serious as depression, they will not leave their loved ones alone and will help to find the resources to get him/her treated. That’s why keeping family ties is strongly emphasized and recommended in Islamic teachings .
Gathering frequently with supportive friends can also play a big role in making depression more manageable and relieving stress in Islam. In Islamic resources, trustworthy friends are known to be like one’s eyes and hands, and family and properties of a person; they are rare and invaluable , and they can help a lot to deal with such disorders.
It is stated in Surah Rum that God has created mates for the human beings which are the source of solace and comfort to them (30:21). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that after Islam, nothing is more beneficial than a righteous, kind, Muslim wife who brings a smile to the face when looking at her . That is within a lawful (Halal) marriage that both sides receive pure affection and emotional support from each other; respond safely to their sexual urge; help and encourage each other to achieve their goals, promote their social statue and get a better economic situation. Moreover, the researchers suggest that marriage provides the companionship and emotional support needed to help alleviate depression . Hence, many of one’s worries might fade in a successful marriage .
Looking clean and nice is one of the manners of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It makes one look good, feel good, be confident and attract the company of people and their respect which consequently helps one’s stress to be healed. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to put on perfume and always advised others to do so . On the contrary, looking disheveled has always been blamed in Islamic teachings and narrations since it is believed that one should make the most of the blessings of life . The effect of having a clean and nice appearance and smelling good manifests itself in a healthy, joyful individual .
Doing sport and healthy entertainments are highly advised in Islam due to its wonderful benefits on one’s peace and success. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that a wise person divides his daily schedule to four parts and dedicates one of them to lawful (Halal) and healthy entertainment which comforts heart and mind . Imam Ali (AS) has emphasized the impacts of cheerful moments and the state of being happy on one’s soul and mind, too [11, 12]. However, entertainment should not be confused with useless activities. Doing sports especially horse riding, shooting and swimming are encouraged in Islam [13, 14]. On the contrary, playing marbles, gambling or any kind of activity with the intent of winning money or material goods , and any entertainment which is a waste of time (like sitting in front of the TV all day and doing nothing else) are absolutely forbidden. That is due to the fact that one gains nothing for doing such activities but loses time and energy, and Muslims are warned neither to lose nor to cause damage.
One of the psychological impacts of giving charity is the joy that the donor will experience in his/her heart. Acts of charity and helping others might happen in several forms, like watering a plant, teaching, helping deaf (without nagging and complaining) to communicate with others and being tolerant towards people . In Surah Baqara, it is said that those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, will be surely rewarded by their Lord. Moreover, they will not fear, nor will they grieve (2:262).
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 216.
- what does islam say about maintaining family ties
- M. al-Kulaynī, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 248.
- Shaykh Tusi, “Tahdhib al-ahkam fi sharh al-muqni'a”. vol. 7, p. 278, T. 4.
- Frech, A. and Williams, K., 2007. Depression and the psychological benefits of entering marriage. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 48(2), pp.149-163.
- stress in life
- M. al-Kulaynī, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 6, p. 510.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 164.
- H. F. Tabarsi, “Makarim al-akhlaq”, p. 42.
- Shaykh Sadouq, “Ma'ani l-akhbar”, p. 334.
- “Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim”, T. 3992.
- “Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim”, T. 3993.
- Al Suyuti, “Jami al-saghir”, vol. 1, p. 38.
- Al Suyuti, “Jami al-saghir”, vol. 1, p. 627.
- Ibn Babawayh, “Al-Khisal”, p. 331.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 547.