It is the responsibility of a Muslim man to earn for himself and his family a pure and halal sustenance. Whether you are a very humble, lowly paid servant or a prestigious professional with a highly lucrative income, feeding your family with halal sustenance can be a means of earning immense rewards from Allah if you do it according to the commands of Allah the Most High and the Sunnah of Nabi Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him).
Given below are some of the occupations and professions that you may be involved in and how you can turn these careers into means of earning great blessings from Allah (praise be to Him who is pure and elevated).
An employee: Work with all sincerity and trust. Try to train yourself to work efficiently. Maintain strict punctuality. Have good relationships with your colleagues and co-worker even if they are not Muslims. Always be content. Never ever think of taking anything that does not belong to you even if you are in a great need. This way you will win the confidence of your employer and insha Allah, Allah will soon open ways for you from somewhere you never expected.
A businessman: Whether you own a small shop or a large supermarket, be considerate about your customers all the time. See that you always give them the best. Never hide any faults or defects that might be in the items you are selling. If they return anything for one reason or another, never say ‘No’ to them. Accept back the item and give them full refund. Sahaba who went to various countries won people into Islam merely by showing great qualities of muamalat (business dealings) that were present in them through the influence of their Great Master Nabi Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him). Always ensure that you stock halal items in your establishment. Lastly, treat all your employees with respect and always think of their needs.
An industrialist: if you are involved in the manufacturing business, especially that of the food products, you have to establish the best Islamic ways of manufacturing your products. If you are in the production of food items then ensure that the raw materials you use in the manufacture of your products should not be from haram or doubtful sources. The meat you use should be from animals slaughtered in the Zabihah way (slaughtered according to Islamic rites in order to be suitable for consumption). You should also understand that preparing Halal food also requires that it should be prepared in the most hygienic manner, meeting international food safety standards. In short, it should be contamination-free, chemical-free, healthy food. That way you will not only win many customers but you will also gain the pleasure of The Almighty Allah.
One very important aspect that we tend to overlook when investing our capital in our business is the source of that capital. It must be a pure source and it should not in the form of a loan obtained from a bank on payment of interest or any money acquired through unjust means.
Also ensure that you give justice to your workers. Give them fair wages. The yardstick of justice, fairness, kindness, treating the employee as one would love to be treated and avoiding exploitation are the principles fixed by Islam. These should be kept in view while fixing wages and in the general employer-employee relationships.
A farmer: Allah has given you a very special responsibility- that of feeding the Ummah with food crops, halal meat and dairy products. This job brings you very close to Allah because you depend on Him to bring rain and various other weather conditions that are required to grow crops in your farm. Allah says in the Noble Qur’an:
Let man look at his food
We make the rain pour forth in abundance
Then We cause the earth to part into clefts
We then grow on the earth grains
…olives, date palms…
…fruit and fodder…
for your benefit and for the benefit of your animals
Surah `Abasa: verses 24-32
It is very essential to thank Allah all the time and take care of all the beings that are in your farm – human workers as well as animals. You have to fulfill the rights of the people working in your farm by paying them well. The animals that you keep in your farm must be treated in the best possible manner. Animals are living creatures with feelings and connection to the larger spiritual and physical world. You must consider their lives worthwhile and cherished. You have to ensure that they are properly fed and are taken to the veterinary centres when they are suffering from any illness.
An architect, a structural engineer or any other professional involved in construction work: Being one of the professionals mentioned here, you might have been partly responsible for bringing into existence a tall building resembling Burj Khalifa or an extraordinarily beautiful structure like Taj Mahal. You may start considering yourself a highly skilled person in your profession and this can breed a sense of pride in you. While you may be basking in the glory of your success you should not forget that everything of this world is transitory. It is going to come down one day. Whereas you should give full justice to the responsibilities your profession demands, your main concern should be to prepare for the life of the hereafter which is going to be your permanent abode. You should always be humble towards people and especially in front of Allah. Thank Allah profusely for whatever favors He has granted you, whether connected with the abundance of your resources or with your intellectual abilities.
A teacher: Your students are trusts handed to you by their parents. Teach them with all sincerity, whether they are Muslims or not. The principle quality you have to maintain is ‘love’. Give love to these children and Allah will make it easy for them to absorb whatever you teach them. As a Muslim teacher teaching in a non-Muslim country, you are able to manifest the importance of Islam through your behavior. When the students and their parents will see the pure and pristine Islamic etiquettes in you then they will be inspired to accept Islam. In this manner, a good Muslim teacher is a also good da’ee (caller to the Faith) as he is able to spread Islam through his good behavior. Impart to them the best tarbiyat (right upbringing). However, make sure that the lessons you are asked to teach them do not go against the Shariah.
A Doctor: Being a doctor you are in one unique profession that offers you the opportunity to achieve dual-purpose objective in life:
- Coming very close to Allah: A doctor or any other person connected to the medical profession can come very close to Allah if he ponders on the amazing way Allah has created the human body and the way each organ functions. Allah Ta’ala urges man to examine his own physical features in the following ayat:
“Do they not reflect in themselves?”
Surah Ar Rum verse 8
At times a surgeon operates on the human body and its interior organs are displayed right in front of his eyes. If the operation involves the open heart surgery where the chest is cut open and surgery is performed on the muscles, valves, or arteries of the heart, he gets the opportunity to witness the wonderful functions this organ performs. This is just one organ. The human body contains approximately 79 organs. The brain, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, tongue, teeth, lungs, kidneys, liver, etc. are all wonders from Allah and each one has a unique function or functions to perform.
- Serving the humanity: A doctor can serve humanity like no other professional can. For any person, a good health is a vital thing and he is ready to do anything to achieve it. You are in a profession where Allah has granted you to become the means of achieving that ‘good health’.
However, there are some conditions that you have to fulfill to achieve the two purposes mentioned above:
Firstly, you must treat your patients with the intention of pleasing Allah only and without the element of greed involved in it. Consider your patients as persons very close to you. Some time back a doctor passed away in India and his funeral was attended by thousands of people, all wailing beyond control. The reason? He never charged his patients more than twenty rupees per visit and as a result he had attained the title “Rs 20 doctor”!
Secondly, if as a surgeon, you are about to operate on your patient then offer two rakats of Salatul Hajat (a prayer offered for the accomplishment of particular purpose or need). While performing the surgery it is very important to constantly make zikr of Allah the Most High. Allah will insha Allah make things easy for you and He may grant you success in your endeavour.
Thirdly, if an operation goes well and the patient starts recovering then you must thank Allah profusely and offer your gratitude to Him in whatever way you can. This is the time when the element of pride must never enter your heart.
Out of numerous occupations and professions only seven have been touched briefly here. Due to some limitations like space, time, etc. it is beyond our reach to deal with all the occupations. However, given below are some vital points that can help you in whatever job or occupation you are involved in:
- i) Never miss a single one of your five-time Salah, however busy you may be. Salah has been given the status of a head in a body as illustrated in the hadith given below:
Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates: The Messenger of Allah (Allah’s peace blessings be upon him) stated the following: “The place of prayer (Salah) in religion is like the place of the head in the body.” (Majmau’l-Awsat, Imam Tabarani, Mu’jamu’s-Saghir)
- ii) A deception runs deep through many of us that if Allah has given you a lot of wealth it means that Allah is pleased with you. You easily confuse material “success” as a criterion of the pleasure of Allah. You tend to forget that Allah gives the luxury and the materials of this lowly life to even the worst criminals and tyrants, such as Fir’aun and Qaroon, and Allah withholds it from some of His closest fellows. We all know that Allah’s most beloved servant Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) spent his entire life in extreme poverty, so much so that according to a hadith for three consecutive crescents no fire used to burn in his house (i.e. nothing used to be cooked).
iii) As a Muslim, you have got to firmly believe that all the wealth of this world belongs to Allah. Humans are only the appointed trustees to manage and distribute the wealth among them and among those who are needy. If Allah has endowed you with plenty of wealth then ensure that besides paying zakat that is mandatory on you, you have to look at the needs of the poor, the deprived ones and the physically handicapped ones around you. Support charities like orphanages, widow homes etc. Many Muslims are starving due to the ongoing wars. Donate freely to some reliable NGO’s that are helping these people who are suffering immensely. Lastly, but most importantly, give plenty to Sadaqatul-Jaria projects like building masajid, madaris etc.
A very special occupation: In conclusion here is one work, occupation, profession or whatever you want to call it that is unique in every respect. If you were to write about it and even if you fill volumes you cannot give justice to it. The occupation we are talking about is that of a ‘housewife’. A housewife is a woman whose responsibility is running or managing her family’s home—caring for her children and giving them proper Islamic tarbiyat (training or upbringing); cooking, and storing food for the family; arranging to buy goods that the family needs in everyday life; housekeeping and maintaining the home – and the one who is not employed outside the home.
However, the most important role she has to play is that of an ‘ideal wife’. Allah says in His Nobel Qur’an:
“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.”
Surah Ar Rum verse 21
She has to be his solace, his right hand in every respect – the one who shares his problems, guards his wealth, saves him from indulging in haram. And what reward she gets for being an ideal wife? In a hadith Nabi Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: “If a woman dies while her husband is pleased with her, she will enter Paradise.” (al-Tirmidhi, ibn Majah and al-Hakim).
Allah, the Most High, has created a woman and molded her in such a way that she fits perfectly in that occupation.
May Allah guide us to give justice to whatever profession we are in such a manner that we win His pleasure. Ameen.
And Allah the Most High knows best.