For some in their youth, the idea of working may not seem like a blessing at all. After all, the focus is so skewed towards enjoyment and leisure that when the time comes to working, the individual does not want to give up the habit of no responsibilities and leisurely time.
On the flip side, there are some who are given the upbringing of focusing on the best jobs that pay the highest wages and nothing less than this standard is sufficient for them. They are then dismayed when they enter their first job with a sense of entitlement and ego and find out that working is actually difficult and requires real graft and commitment. They then switch from jobs to jobs, quitting them in short periods of time whilst looking for that dream job which was promised them in their youth by others and by the society and it’s expectations.
Dear brothers and sisters, the reminder will delve into this further but before that the imam reminded us of the following ayat from the Glorious Quran in relation to this point.
In Sura Al-Mulk, ayat 15 it is translated to say:
He is the One Who smoothed out the earth for you, so move about in its regions and eat from His provisions. And to Him is the resurrection ˹of all˺.
From the many lessons we have for this reference, one of them is that Allah SWT is instructing us seek provisions. And how do we do that, we seek money in order to get provisions and for that we need to get a job and work. This is part of our instructions from our Creator and so we must be mindful of this when we are moving into adulthood and not fall into the trap of relying on our parents or others for provisions if we are capable of earning them with our own efforts.
Dear brothers and sisters, this does not mean we cannot be ambitious and aim to excel in our work life. Nor does it mean that any job will do and we are fulfilling our part. Allah SWT has gifted us all with different talents, skills and areas of interest and we should use them to earn in a way that is lawful and pleasing to Him.
However, alongside this we must always be mindful that the blessing of work comes from Allah SWT. How many of us are mindful of this and avoid the trap of believing its their talent or skill that has got them their job?
Yes, it is true that our education and experience plays a part but ultimately with anything in life, the final decision comes from Allah SWT. The imam reminded us of this point in Sura Al-Araf, ayat 10 which is translated to say:
We have indeed established you on earth and provided you with a means of livelihood. ˹Yet˺ you seldom give any thanks.
Dear brothers and sisters, we are warned here of becoming ungrateful in this regard. And whether the job is the CEO of a multinational corporation or one that pays minimum wage, we must be grateful to Allah SWT for this because everything comes from Allah SWT.
Alongside this reminder, we are also told in the Quran to be mindful of an act of worship that, in its very reminder, tells us that we are coming to Success. Salah is an act that no job should ever take the priority over. Even if we have to pray the minimum or find a quiet corner in the office, the prayer is like the foundation upon which our careers and jobs are built. The imam reminded us of this through Sura Al-Jumuah, ayat 10 which is translated to say:
Once the prayer is over, disperse throughout the land and seek the bounty of Allah. And remember Allah often so you may be successful.
Dear brothers and sisters, become mindful of the blessing of your work. And practically implement this mindfulness through zikr on the way in and out of work, by adhering to all the prayers throughout the day and not sacrificing your faith whilst in your job.
And in the job itself, we must remember that it is a form of dawah as we are still representing ourselves as Muslims. Therefore our manners in work go a long way in showing other people what it means to be a Muslim. We need to be the ones who can be relied upon, the ones who can be trusted & the ones who are known for their honesty at all costs.
The imam reminded us of the ayat in which Prophet Musa (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is being referred to. It is translated to say:
One of the two daughters suggested, “O my dear father! Hire him. The best man for employment is definitely the strong and trustworthy ˹one˺.”
Dear brothers and sisters, employment is pitched as a bother or a chore to the youth. On the opposite extreme, our youth is being taught that fame and immense wealth is the standard to aim for. Social media and influencers only go to promote this agenda further.
We need to educate ourselves and our youth especially that a job is only a means to provide provisions for oneself and ones family. It is a means to give to charity and its only a small part of the purpose of life. Don’t make it an obsession but work diligently, firstly in getting an education that leads to a career and then once in a job, to demonstrate to others what it means when a Muslim works.
And alongside this, remind one another that there is no shame in the provision provided by Allah SWT. Not everyone will be rich and famous and that there is no shame in having a job that brings halal provision to oneself and one’s loved ones. The best of us are those who remember this fact and work with dedication, patience, perseverance and grit. And all the while they are grateful to Allah SWT, they remember Allah SWT and they ask from Allah SWT.