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.
Although all social systems try to conceal poverty from their society, poverty has always been an important challenge in different societies. Poor people have always existed in the world throughout history.
Some people may not like to give charity to others. Since they think that giving charity to the poor will make them more useless and will make the view of the society unpleasant. At the time of the prophet (PBUH), the same way of thinking existed. Concerning that, this verse of the holy Quran was revealed: “When they are told, ‘Spend out of what Allah has provided you,’ the faithless say to the faithful, ‘Shall we feed [someone] whom Allah would feed if He wished? You are only in manifest error.” (36: 47)
Quran uses different words while it encourages people to give charity. Mostly used words are as follows: Infaq, Zakat, Sadaqa.
Infaq is the general word that is used for granting something to others. This is not necessarily money. Infaq includes any kind of help that we provide for those who do not have it. For example, teaching something to someone who does not have the knowledge. Or even spreading positive feelings in different gatherings that make others feel better is a kind of charity . But sadaqa refers to those kinds of donations that are material (not spiritual).
In the Quran, it is repeatedly recommended that believers should give charity to ascend the steps of spirituality; “You will never attain piety until you spend out of what you hold dear, and whatever you may spend on anything, Allah indeed knows it.” (3: 92)
Giving Alms-tax (zakat) and Infaq are always followed by the order to pray the obligatory prayers. This shows the importance of this social act; “And establish prayer and give zakah, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah. Indeed, Allah of what you do is Seeing.” (Quran 2:110)
It is so important that Allah says in the Quran “Spend in the way of Allah and do not cast yourselves with your own hands into destruction” (2: 195). The destruction that is mentioned here can be the social consequences of the capitalist system.
There are two major types of charity in Islam. These are obligatory charity and voluntary charity.
As its name shows voluntary charity is any kind of charity or almsgiving that are not obligatory for people, but they intend to pay it out to help the needy. Those who give voluntary charity are not necessarily wealthy people. But they share whatever they have, even if not that worthy, with those who may need them too.
Obligatory charities are known as Alms-tax (Zakat), khums and Kaffarah. They are not compulsory for all Muslims unless they meet the necessary criteria to pay them.
“A person will be obliged to pay Zakat if he is grown-up, of sound mind and in possession of something… The amount of money that should be paid depends on the kind of the material through which Zakat has become obligatory; these are two kinds of metal- gold, and silver-, four grains- barley, wheat, date, and raisin- as well as three kinds of animal - cow, sheep, and camel.”
“Khums becomes obligatory in seven cases, but the one which is inscribed to income is considered as the most salient kind. In this case, one has to pay one-fifth of what has remained from his income after subtracting his own expenses on the exact date that he has paid Khums in the previous year.”
Kaffarah or Fidya is the penalty imposed by Islamic law for those who commit a sin or make a mistake and wish to make it up. Kaffarah is used in the following cases:
If someone breaks his/her obligatory fast (Sawm)
If someone breaks an oath
If someone makes some specific mistakes in his/her pilgrimage (Hajj)
If someone kills a person
Allah orders Muslims to pay their penalty for their mistakes by donating to the needy. This shows the importance and the value of helping the poor.
Giving charity ‘saves the society from destruction’ (2: 195) and causes the ‘enhancement in one’s wealth’ (2: 261). Those who give charity in the way of God ‘will have no fear, nor will they grieve.’(2: 274)
Some people pay charity as a means of ‘nearness to Allah and the blessing of the prophet,’ and Allah assures them that “it shall indeed bring them nearness, and Allah will admit them into His mercy.” (9:99)
And Allah (SWT) emphasizes that “And neither do they incur any expense, big or small, nor do they cross any valley, but it is written to their account, so that Allah may reward them by the best of what they used to do.” (9: 121)
Allah (SWT) mentions in the Quran, that the reason for which He made some people wealthy and some poor, is to test His servants; “It is He who has made you successors on the earth, and raised some of you in rank above others so that He may test you in respect to what He has given you.” (6: 165) He would test His servants to see if the rich would help the poor and try to erase poverty from the society. This wealth does not necessarily refer to material properties, but it also includes social or political position.
The reason for which Muslims should give different types of charity is mentioned in the Quran; “… so that they do not circulate among the rich among you.” (59: 7). In other words, God orders you to give charity so that unlike capitalist systems, the wealth of the society does not become the property of some particular people.
Allah mentions in different verses of the Holy Quran that whatever we have is from Him, and He can take it back anytime. Quran describes the story of two men “for each of whom We had made two gardens of vines, and We had surrounded them with date palms and placed crops between them.” One of them becomes proud of what he has and says to his companion “I have more wealth than you and am stronger with respect to numbers… I do not think that this will ever perish”.
As a result of his pride and arrogance “ruin closed in on his produce, and he began to wring his hands for what he had spent on it, as it lay fallen on its trellises. He was saying, ‘I wish I had not ascribed any partner to my Lord.” (18: 32-43)
- Tafseer-e nemoone, Hadid, 7
Shaban is the eighth month on the Hijri calendar. The three months of Rajab, Sha’ban, and Ramadan are considered among the most important months in the Islamic view. The month of Sha’ban is considered to be the month of the Prophet (PBUH & HP).
In this regard, Imam Ali (AS) says,
Ramadan is the month of Allah and Sha’ban is the month of the Prophet (PBUH & HP) and Rajab is my month (1)
Various important religious events take place in Sha’ban, including,
The most important event of this month is Imam Mahdi’s birthday. Shiite Muslims celebrate this day and congratulate each other. Some also stay up on the eve of Sha’ban 15th and pray for the arrival of Imam Mahdi (AS).
In every month of the year, various prayers and practices have been recommended by the Prophet (PBUH & HP) or the Shiite Imams (AS). Among all, these three months, Rajab, Sha’ban, and Ramadan, are full of prayers and practices that you can say or do and we mention some of them for Sha’ban month below.
Fasting is one of the most important practices you can do in Sha’ban.
In this regard Imam Sadiq (AS) said,
When Sha’ban arrives, Imam Sajjad (AS) had gathered his followers and he told them: “My companions! Do you know which month is this? the Holy Prophet (PBUH & HP) said, ‘Sha’ban is my month so fast in it for my love so that you can get closer to Allah.’” (2)
Also, the Holy Prophet (PBUH & HP) said,
The heavens are decorated every Thursday in Sha’ban and the angels tell Allah, ‘O our God! Forgive the ones who fast during this month and answer their call. (3)
He also said,
Anyone who fasts on Mondays and Thursdays of Sha’ban Allah will satisfy twenty needs of them in this world and twenty needs of them in the hereafter. (4)
As you may know, fasting in Ramadan is obligatory, but in Sha’ban it’s not mandatory and yet so recommended. It has also been recommended to fast in the last days of Sha’ban so that the fasting of Sha’ban and Ramadan combine.
Imam Sajjad (AS) said,
The fasting of Sha’ban and Ramadan can meet and if you fast these two months in a row your sins will be forgiven. (5)
Also, Imam Sadiq (AS) said,
Anyone who fasts during the last three days of Sha’ban, Allah will reward them as if they fasted two months in a row (6)
You can say 70 times every day,
اَسْتَغْفِرُاللهَ وَ اَسْئَلُهُ التَّوْبَةَ: I Ask Allah for forgiveness and want him to turn back to me
اللهُمَّ إِنْ لَمْ تَكُنْ غَفَرْتَ لَنَا فِيمَا مَضَى مِنْ شَعْبَانَ فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا فِيمَا بَقِيَ مِنْهُ: O Allah! If you haven’t forgiven us in the past days of Sha’ban, then forgive us in the remaining days of it.
The al-Sha’baniah prayer
The al-Sha’baniah prayer is one of the most popular Shiite prayers. This prayer includes various spiritual subjects and so many points about the attributes of Allah and His love. This prayer is narrated by Imam Ali (AS) and it is said that all the other Imams had always read this prayer during Sha’ban.
You can hear this prayer through this link
There are some practices that are recommended to do before, during, and after our prayers, including;
Salwat is a prayer that you say to remember Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) and his progeny. This is Salawat:
اللهُمّ صَلِّ عَلی مُحَمَّد وَ آلِ مُحَمَّد و عَجِّل فَرَجَهُم
O, Allah! Bless Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad and send their savor sooner
It is recommended to say this prayer before and after every other prayer you say. Imam Sadiq (AS) said,
Anyone who has a wish should start with Salwat, then ask Allah their wish, and after that say Salawat again because Allah is so great that he wouldn’t ignore a praying that is between two accepted prayers because Salawat is always answered by Allah and there is no obstacle for it. (7)
Imam Hussain (AS) said,
The Prophet (PBUH & HP) would always raise his hands for praying like a beggar who wants food. (8)
Imam Sadiq (AS) said,
When my father was sad, he would gather all the women and the children and pray and others would say ‘Amen.’ (9)
The Sha’ban month is a great opportunity for every servant of Allah to get closer to him by praying and doing the aforementioned practices. Actually, this month makes you ready for Ramadan because you can ask Allah for forgiveness in this month and if it is accepted, which is so likely, you will enter the Ramadan month while you are pure of any sin. So, do not lose this chance.
- Vasa’il ash-Shia, Sheikh Hurr al-Ameli, vol.10, pg.493
- Bihar al-Anvar, Allamah al-Majlesi, vol.94, pg.82
- Vasa’il ash-Shia, Sheikh Hurr al-Ameli, vol.10, pg.493
- Vasa’il ash-Shia, Sheikh Hurr al-Ameli, vol.10, pg.493
- Vasa’il ash-Shia, Sheikh Hurr al-Ameli, vol.10, pg.496
- Vasa’il ash-Shia, Sheikh Hurr al-Ameli, vol.10, pg.498
- Al-Kafi, Sheikh Koleini, vol.2, pg.494
- Bihar al-Anvar, Allamah al-Majlesi, vol.90, pg.294
- Al-Kafi, Sheikh Koleini, vol.2, pg.487