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.
In the Quran it is stated that every creature on the earth is created to serve human begins (2:29); this includes animals . Of many benefits of animals to humans are the meat that comes from fish and chickens, the milk from cows and sheep, utilizing horses, oxen, and camels for farming and transport, doing medical research on animals, using trained dogs to detect drugs and guide blinds. But, are we, as Muslims, allowed to treat animals in Islam and exploit them as we wish? Here is the answer.
Animals’ Rights in Islam
Allah, who has given every animal some specific abilities like the ability to fly, swim or gallop in respectively birds, fish, and horses, has considered their rights, too. Although humans are allowed to benefit from everything created by Allah , they have responsibilities towards every creature as the vicegerent of Allah on the earth . Being created with a higher intellect than animals, we must balance our use of animals with our primary role as a caretaker on the earth.
Animals have been domesticated and trained from a long time ago to perform some tasks and to provide some products for the human. Horses and elephants are still used on farms to provide the tractive force. Camels, donkeys, horses, and dogs are utilized for transport, either riding or pulling wagons. Lions, elephants, monkeys and many other animals are used in circuses to entertain audiences. Some others like dogs and monkeys assist disabled people, while others are kept as pets.
In all these cases, the very first thing that Islam requires Muslims to do is feeding the animal on sufficient and proper food, quenching its thirst, keeping it in a comfortable place, and maintaining its physical health . Of other rights of animals on his owner is that he/she should not hit the animal or harm it, but he might whip the animal to prevent escaping or stampede .
In a saying, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) forbids hitting the animals in the face, since the animals pray and praise God with that . Knowing these rights and considerations, imprisoning animals in cages, forcing them to perform something to amuse humans in circuses and causing extreme pain and suffering to them are all against the Islamic rules and forbidden (Haram) . Islam also prohibits insulting and cursing the animals; Imam Ali (AS) said: “Do not hit the animals on the face and do not curse them, otherwise Allah curses who has cursed them” .
Moreover, the animal should not be burdened with a load that it cannot bear and should not be overtasked either . Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) orders in a saying that: “Do not ride an animal beyond its power and ability” , . And, “When you stop riding the animal, do not keep on sitting on them and do not start (a lengthy) conversation with others (while seated on the animal); instead, descend and (let the animal rest, and) then talk” .
If the animal is weak, it is said that: “when riding a weak animal, let it rest when reaching pastures. If the land is arid and barren, pass it quickly; and, if it is fertile and green, let the animal rest there” (Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)) . Imam Ali (AS) said that “Do not ride three of you (at the same time) an animal; otherwise, one of you is cursed” .
Animals for Sport and Entertainment
Playing sports, especially swimming, archery and horseback riding, are encouraged by Hadith and perceived as important to have a healthy body and brain . Although archery is recommended in Islam and hunting -under certain conditions- is allowed, targeting animals and shooting at them for fun is not permitted .
About horseback riding also, the recommendations stated above should be considered. Again, keeping some animals as pets or for the farm work is strongly exhorted in some cases, but forcing them to fight like what happens in dogfightingand cockfighting which is nowadays common in some regions, is prohibited in Islam .
Animal Slaughter and Hunting
Humans usually slaughter, hunt and fish for sustenance, which is permitted in Islam under certain conditions. But killing animals for fun and using them for target practice is strongly disapproved. Some acts of animal's protection, as not "hunting the endangered animals to save them from going extinct" is also compatible with the Islamic teachings.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: "There is no man who kills a sparrow without its deserving it, but Allah will question him about it [on the Day of Judgment]" . Of other considerations stated in the narrations of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and Imams (AS) are: not killing the livestock that provide milk or the one that is pregnant; not killing animals for no reason; not killing the animals at night (since they rest like humans at that time), unless there is a necessity; and, not burning animals alive .
Avoiding unnecessary pain and not causing suffering to the innocent creatures are repeatedly reminded in Islamic teachings. Regarding the slaughtering, for example, the regulations laid down in Islam are the least painful, some of which are: the Halal-meated animal must be alive at the time of slaughter; the animal must be watered before the slaughter; a sharp knife must be used to minimize suffering; slaughtering an animal within the sight of another animal is abominable (Makruh); the animal must show some sign of movement after being slaughtered; and, skinning or cutting any part of the animal’s body is not allowed right after the slaughter (before the animal is entirely dead) , .
Knowing this, although the methods (stunning with a blow to the head or an electric shock) used in some slaughterhouses to reduce the animal movement before slaughter might be accepted in veterinary medicine since these methods reduce the animals’ pain, they are condemned in Islam as the examples of torture to animals .
Animal Fur and Leather
Hunting and killing animals for their fur, skin, and oil have been common practices since many years ago and happened more often these days. Wearing the fur obtained from certain animals is legally permitted in Islam when it is required for warmth (16:5). However, animals raised on fur farms are usually abused and killed in brutal ways  that is against the Islamic teachings of kindness to animals; some cruel methods used by trappers to catch animals from the wild are the same .
About leather productions, even though leather products produced by applying Islamic regulations are permissible to use if the leather is obtained from abused and mistreated animals and if the animals suffer in the leather production processes, it will conflict with every Islamic standard on the matter.
- H. A. Hosseini Shah Abdolazimi, “Tafsir asna-ashari”.
- M. H. Tabataba'I, “Tafsir al-mizan”, (45 :13).
- M. H. Tabataba'I, “ Tafsir al-mizan”, (2:30).
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 64, p. 173.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 660.
- Ibn Babawayh, “Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih”, vol.4, p.9.
- animals and Islam
- Ibn Babawayh, “Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih”, vol.2, p.287.
- H. T. Nuri Ṭabarsi, “Mustadrak al-Wasail”, vol. 8, p. 258, T. 9393.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 64, p. 201.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 64, p. 214.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 22, p. 459.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 64, p. 216.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 652.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 665.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 64, p. 306.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 663.
- M. H. Banihashemi, “Towzih al masael of Maraje”.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 662.
- treating animals
Fasting in Ramadan is an essential Muslim Ritual. Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan, meaning that they try to stand against all human temptations. They do not eat and drink from dawn to dusk, besides trying not to do all the evils which they are ordered no to do, like telling lies, backbiting, etc. Quran insists on the importance of fasting in many verses. The most relevant Quranic reference to Fasting in Ramadan is as follows:
"O you who have faith! Prescribed for you is fasting as it was prescribed for those who were before you, so that you may be God-wary. That for known days. But should any of you be sick or on a journey, let it be a [similar] number of other days. Those who find it straining shall be liable to atonement by feeding a needy person. Should anyone do good of his own accord, that is better for him, and to fast is better for you, should you know." (2: 183-184)
But what are the effects and the outcomes of Fasting in Ramadan? Why does the holy Quran insist on Fasting, calling it a ritual for the believers to come to Allah's way? Let's study a few purposes and effects of fasting together.
Fasting in Ramadan is a great help in growing patience. Tolerating hunger and thirst for long hours makes one more tolerant. It augments the power of self-control, be it physically or mentally, control over habits and putting aside bad and wrong behaviors. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) calls Ramadan the month of patience: "O people, surely there is a month in which exists a night, worthier than a thousand nights, and that's the month of Ramadan. Allah obliges us to fast, and that is the month of patience." 
According to the verse above (2: 183), the purpose of Fasting is getting closer to Allah, and being more devoted to Him. This verse is referring to the reality behind those hardships, which is finding a better self and a more Allah-knowing creature. And this is the path of perfection for each of us. It brings us good, both here and in the afterlife  Besides, through submitting to Allah's will, despite its challenges and hardships, we learn to serve Him under any circumstances and lay our trusts on whatever He had destined for us. Fasting in Ramadan is a chance to remind us that Allah's command is above any of our desires and wishes, and at the same time, His will undoubtedly results in our own benefit.
Fasting is a ritual that is done just for Allah. One who fasts is only considering the satisfaction of Allah, and that is their ultimate goal. As a result, Allah gives extra values to those who fast. He considers his/her sleeping worship, his/her silence a remembrance of Allah. He accepts his/her rituals and responds to his/her Dua . Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) narrates that Allah said: "fasting is for me, and I AM the one who praises that."  This has a lot to say; it shows the greatness of the strives of human beings to keep themselves away from sins and also eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse. He has created us and knows the difficulty, and He is the one who best knows how to praise the efforts of His own creatures.
According to a research done on the effects of fasting on growing self-esteem, reducing stress and depression and better mental health on 60 medical students, it's been concluded that the test takers who fast had higher self-esteem, less depression, and anxiety, obsession, phobia, paranoid thoughts, hostility, etc. 
Besides its beneficial mental effects, Fasting has great impacts on physical health. Our body uses the sources of unused energy inside during Fasting, and that causes the repulse of many toxic combinations in our body. Some medical practitioners believe that Fasting is a great cure for cancer. It also cures many digestive diseases in the stomach, intestines, and bladder. In another study on medical students, the results showed that Fasting had a significant effect on the immunity of their cells and total better cell activity .
These are just some of the purposes of Fasting. One needs pages to write about the positive effects of this ritual. In our other articles, we will discuss Fasting more.
- Thavab-al-Ammal, p 143
- Kanzol Ammal, Hadith 564
- Savvab ol Ammal, p 77
- Saduq, "While there is no Faqih," Vol. 2. P 43
- Javanbakht, Maryam (2010) Study on the effects of fasting in the month of Ramadan on self-esteem and mental health of medical students Fundamentals of Mental Health, Pp 73-266
- The effects of Fasting from the Medical Practitioner's point of View, Zanjan University at