5 Productivity Lessons That We Can Learn From Salah
The world today is going through strange and uncertain times. Covid-19 has brought changes that will likely leave permanent marks on our lives. From our social lives to our work lives, everything is different. What once seemed normal is now anything but, because these strange times have defined a new normal for us. With all of these dramatic changes come uncertainties about what the future holds. The world has never seemed so unpredictable!
During such times of uncertainties, we should make sure to hold on to the certainties. Salah is one of these: a major pillar of our deen, and we are commanded to pray our 5 daily salawaat. Allah says in the Quran:
Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them, And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith]. (2:3-4)
Being certain in our faith we pray to Allah five times a day.
Salah - An Appreciation
Salah is a means for us to appreciate our Master. We appreciate His supreme authority over everything and over what happens to us. In Covid19 times, we also experienced how insignificant is our authority over what happens to us and we also experienced the absolute authority that Allah has over us. Allah says in the Quran:
O you who believe! Bow down, and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord and do good that you may be successful. (22:77)
The first step in appreciating Allah is Salah. How much we appreciate our salawaat is how much we appreciate Allah. How active and vigilant we are in getting out of bed. How lazy we feel while making it to the masjid. How bored we are when the recitation is not entertaining enough. All of these are good indicators of where we stand in our appreciation to Allah.
The Secret to a Successful Life
We hear this 5 times a day during adhan;
‘Come to prayer, come to success’
We all want to live a successful life, and we all strive to find the secret to one: at work, in business, in our social lives, and our family lives. Again, we all wish to lead a successful life. We may read volumes of books or articles to find that secret, but the answer is actually simple: the secret has been disclosed by the Master of whatever exists, existed and will come into existence, and it is ‘Come to prayer, come to success."
Success comes from salah, but just performing salah is not enough; we are also commanded to work hard and rely upon Allah. We must spend our days and nights thoughtfully, productively.
In this article, we will explore 5 of the many lessons on productivity one can learn from Salah.
1. Be well prepared beforehand for what you are about to do
We all know that a prerequisite for Salah is a properly done wudhu. We start by saying ‘Bismillah’ and wash thoroughy each part of our bodies that is required to be washed. We then make an intention in our hearts to make our Salawaat only for the sake of Allah. All of these prerequisites are necessary to be fulfilled before we start performing Salah, and not completing any one of these will nullify our prayer.
Whenever you are going to do something, whether it be a business meeting or a presentation or any other important task, don't just go in there without making sure that you are thoroughly prepared!
This is a lesson that our daily Salawaat teaches us: that we need to be prepared for whatever it is that we intend to do. Do it with complete preparation and with a good intention.
2. Focus management
What is required of the worshipper is to show humility [khushoo‘] in his prayer and to have complete focus of mind, because Allah, May He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Certainly the believers have succeeded, They who are during their prayer humbly submissive” Al-Mu’minoon (23:1-2)
When we perform salah, we may struggle to focus sometimes. There may be distractions and our thoughts are sometimes scattered. There are whispers from the shaitaan and we may start to think about our work or what we are going to eat. But the real test comes when we shun all these thoughts and focus on our Salah. We are required to do this. When the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) saw a man who did not pray in a calm and unhurried manner – rather he pecked his way through the prayer – he instructed that man to repeat his prayer, and said: “Pray, for you have not prayed.”
This very important aspect of Salah teaches us to never lose focus on what we are doing. We are at work and we have a deadline coming up but we have 20 tabs opened in our laptop and none of them is work related. This is the situation of a distracted person.
Similarly, our time is like water, which once spilled can never return back. Removing all the distracting thoughts and focusing on our Salah is what we are doing 5 times a day. This will improve our focus in general as well because Salah is a perfect practice that Allah has ordained for us 5 times a day. And we all know that “practice makes us perfect”!
Think of your distractions as a bucket of water and each distraction makes a hole in that bucket. We need to block that hole in order to retain the water inside.
3. Time management
Allah has enjoined upon His slaves five prayers throughout the day and night, at specific times decreed by the wisdom of Allah, so that the slave may be in contact with his Lord in these prayers throughout all of these times. They are for the heart like water is for a tree, given to it time after time, not all in one go and then stopped.
Allah the exalted commanded in the Quran:
“…. Perform the regular Prayer. The Prayer is enjoined upon the believers at stated times”, (4:103)
There is a specific time slot for each Salah. The best Salah is performed at the earliest. Salah is the foundation of time management. A person is tested for punctuality five times a day. Once we start performing the five daily salawaat on time, our whole day is organized into a structure. Daily salawaat holds our day together. The purpose of time management is to effectively channel time into doing things that take us closer to our goals. Five salawaat of the day divide our day into five timeslots. We can plan our day around the prayer times. This gives us a virtual deadline for our tasks and it changes our mindset from “I have a whole day for it” to “let me finish this before Asr Salah”. It also gives us a break from work to refresh our minds and hearts through the remembrance of Allah so that we resume our work with a new energy.
4. Lead a balanced life
Admittedly every one of us has been, on occasion, overwhelmed by life. It can be difficult to find time for our social lives; alternatively our work can get compromised due to our socializing. When this happens, something has to give: we either abstain from taking a break from work in exchange for some family time, or we may perform poorly at work. Both of these situations are contrary to how Islam teaches us to live, as the essence of Islam is balance and harmony in every aspect of life.
Allah Almighty says in the Quran:
“…. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship…” (2:185)
Allah has commanded us to fulfill all of our duties and obligations, including the rights of people and rights of Allah. One example of this is that Allah has obligated us to keep the ties of kinship. This can only be done if we manage our lives effectively, making sure that each of our obligations are fulfilled. We must, of course, tend to work, but we must also take time out from work for our families, society and most importantly for remembering Allah SWT.
Salah teaches us this important lesson in life: take a break! Take a break from the vicious cycle of work and take time out to remember Allah, to recharge your mind, to help others and to lead a balanced life.
5. Lead a purpose-driven life
When we stand up to pray, we make intention to submit before Allah, to humble ourselves before our Master. We have a purpose in our minds; we know that this is the purpose of our lives because Allah says in the Quran:
“And We have not created the jinn and the mankind except so that they worship Me” (51:56)
When we fulfill the basic purpose of our lives five times a day, we get to practice. We practice prioritizing what is important and what needs to be done. We remove all distractions, we take a break from work, because now it’s time for me to fulfill the purpose for which I was created. When this becomes our day-to-day attitude towards Salah, it will eventually become an attitude towards life in general. We will no longer be doing things without a purpose behind it. Salah is a perfect practice to lead a purpose-driven life.
tl;dr Islam teaches us moderation and harmony in every aspect of life. Following the teaching of Quran and sunnah will help us lead a balanced and successful life. There are our bodily needs that are fulfilled by healthy food and exercise, our mental and emotional needs that are fulfilled through success in our relationships and keeping the ties of kinship and our spiritual needs that are fulfilled through the remembrance of Allah. When all of these needs are fulfilled, only then we can truly become productive Muslims.
We now realize that Salah is a great blessing from Allah. It holds our day together and teaches us important life lessons. One of the things recommended for a person struggling to be regular in their Salawaat is that they always be in a state of wudhu so that they will be ready for salah as soon as the adhan is called, so that they can pray at the earliest.
The Wudhu Socks make it easier and more convenient to keep your wudhu throughout your day. Our socks are made to be waterproof, breathable, comfortable and stylish, so they can be worn comfortably throughout the whole day.
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