Tips on Work, Life and Spirituality Balance
There is no doubt about money being a very influential part of a person’s life especially when many people are already struggling with bills, and some even resorted to taking loans and a few even ending up homeless.
When we talk about children and education, we also mean the need to allocate a great investment to place our kids in school and to make sure they are entitled to good education.
We also need to have enough financial reserves, to help us when we are sick, and when we have no medical insurance, yet the medical expenses are soaring.
These reasons are valid enough as strong motivators for a person to put a lot of emphasis on his or her job. But how far are you willing to sacrifice a fraction of your time from work to focus on the one most important aspect of life?
Some of you might ask, “What is it?”
The most easily overlooked aspect of life, which many will miss and by then will be too late to regret – spiritual development. Why aren’t most of us putting this in the right perspective? The answer is easy: because we are just blinded by the instant gratification we enjoy from our career (salary, bonuses, promotions) versus the eternal rewards promised by Allah which we can’t see.
When the week days are almost filled to the brim with work responsibilities, and the weekends are taken over by family outings and activities like shopping and watching movies, this leaves little time left for spiritual activities like learning more about the holy Quran or stories of the Prophets.
Or perhaps it’s not about not having enough time. It’s about the willingness and motivation to improve one’s quality of life – to be a step closer to Allah SWT.
The Pull of Wealth
Quality of life should not be based solely on money and status. It is the spiritual strength that determines whether you will succeed in life or not.
People of the past, in the time of the Prophet SAW, might have no money or lost their family in a battlefield, but they were not feeling demoralised and would not wail or complain because they knew that Allah SWT was with them. They felt peace in their hearts. Allah SWT sufficed to them, and when He permits it, all problems of the poor or the sick vanished. And they were also guaranteed a place in Jannah – this is the real success in life.
In the modern society, money has become too powerful and has turned some people to become inhuman. For example, people get embroiled in backbiting and office politics. People are just getting too much pressure to earn high salaries and climbing the corporate ladder because others are earning more and affording more.
To compare one’s self with someone wealthier is sheer stupidity. The faster you try to chase wealth, the more money you will lose. It’s like playing soccer, said my late teacher. The faster you run for the ball, the further the ball rolls away from you. And in the end you just end up breathless.
We should step back and reflect on the less fortunate. Then we will really start to count our blessings. There are so many needy people out there, but we don’t notice them unless their life stories are featured on TV programmes. Or perhaps we are just too busy to notice. So we don’t realise how perfectly blessed we are, and everything that we now own should be enough and may be more than enough for us.
As Muslims, we have our prayers to start and end the day. With deep realisation and appreciation of the meaning of our prayers, we will not be too easily stressed by problems in life. Allah has planned our days with breaks (our solat times), and in our solat, at the sujud – the moment our forehead touches the ground – all the extra electrostatic charges in our brain (that we accumulate from our daily activities and cause harm/stress to the body) will be discharged. This leaves the sense of peace and being mentally revived.
On top of the five daily prayers, those who are disciplined to perform the sunnah will be duly rewarded on the Earth and in the Hereafter. This is the promise of Allah SWT. The most obvious result of such discipline is having peace in life. The heart is in peace and this cannot be bought by money.
Entertainment such as favourite TV programmes, music and games is not an escape from a problem or a means to relax from life stresses. You might temporarily forget that problem, but you won’t get over it. The best way to seek a way out is to perform the solat and read the holy Quran.
You will experience the intangible benefits when these are done properly and with sincerity. This is when Allah SWT is closest to you and He will never fail to listen to His servant who recites His Words. Subconsciously, you are actually going through soul cleansing, as Allah erases the “dirt” in your heart and forgive your sins. Thus, it is more than a 2-in-1. And the effects are more long-lasting than the entertainment you get from the media.
It is the soul that needs to be fed, not the nafs (the desires) which can be likened to false hunger. As we all know, but often forget, our nafs is never satisfied.
Allah wants us to work and then invest the money wisely for the benefit of mankind. Sometimes Allah gives you a high status, but remember that having this means more accountability especially when these have to answered for in akhirah. But whatever role you play, your intention must be pure – not to seek popularity, or claim authority. In time, Allah will reward you.
Even at work, where we spend a third or more of our 24 hours, we can turn our tasks into a form of ibadah. How? Simply by telling ourselves the aim of our task is to help others and make them happy. By making others happy, insyaAllah, Allah will be pleased with us too.
Tips to Overcome Work Challenges:
- Seek to solve problems. Be the caring one, who puts others before self.
- Think of strategic approach to problems, and ask Allah to help you in every step.
- When your work is recognised, thank Allah for giving you the chance to help others.
- When your work is rejected, accept that it is Allah’s way of showing you alternative paths to success and Allah wanted to protect you from an unforeseen harm. When one door closes, other doors open.
- Do something small that will please Allah, but do it consistently.
- Know that you have greater potential, than what you think you do. Because when Allah SWT tests you, it is something that you should be able to pass.
- If you are a mother, your number one responsibility is to nurture your kids and lead them to obey Allah. Work only if you are confident that your kids will be left in good hands. Don’t work if you can be better nurturers of your kids than the nanny, or childcare teachers.