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8 Productivity Lessons From Surah Al-Layl

What is wealth? Some would say the riches of this life— cars, phones and houses. Others would say their wealth is the spiritual hap...

What is wealth? Some would say the riches of this life— cars, phones and houses. Others would say their wealth is the spiritual happiness they feel in their relationships with others.
There's a surah in the Quran that explains the link to your deeds and your wealth in this life and the next. It's time to learn how to be productive— through Surah Al-Layl!
In this week's central ayah Allah 'azza wa jall says: Certainly, your efforts and deeds are diverse. [Quran, 92:4]
By the night as it envelops; And by the day as it appears in brightness; And by Him Who created male and female; Certainly, your efforts and deeds are diverse (different in aims and purposes). [Quran, 92:1-4] {وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَىٰ ﴿١﴾ وَالنَّهَارِ إِذَا تَجَلَّىٰ ﴿٢﴾ وَمَا خَلَقَ الذَّكَرَ وَالْأُنثَىٰ ﴿٣﴾ إِنَّ سَعْيَكُمْ لَشَتَّ

1. Know who deserves your best.

Look at these amazing things Allah 'azza wa jall created: the darkness of the night and the brightness of the day and the male and female as two opposites, not only in humans but in animals and plants as well. Know that no matter how dark the night, the brightness of the day will follow, and let this inspire you to battle your problems and stress, knowing that after difficulty comes ease.

Reflecting on night and day and female and male qualities in creation should humble you and make you realize two things: there is a creator, and this creator fully deserves to be obeyed.

  2. Keep renewing your intention.

Allah says: inna sa'yakum lashattacertainly your efforts and deeds are diverse.  Sa'aykum comes from sa'ee, which means walking or pacing fast, and when something important is concerning you, you walk fast.
What do your deeds show of what is important to you? There are huge differences in the deeds and works of people, the energy spent in them, and their goals; are they for Allah 'azza wa jall or for a temporary objective in this world?
Whatever you do for Allah will stay forever. In daily life we sometimes seem to lose track of the purpose of things we do and we forget about making our intention for Allah in both big and small daily deeds and efforts. For example, if you go to work in order to provide for your family and thereby please Allah, cook for your family for the sake of Allah, and even sleep reviving the sunan of sleeping and in order to be stronger to worship, you are transforming all your "wordly" deeds into deeds for His sake!
A good tip to keep renewing your emaan and intention is to repeatedly say during the day: laa ilaaha illAllah.

 As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allah and fears Him, And believes in Al-Husna. We will make smooth for him the path of ease (goodness). [Quran, 92:5-7] {فَأَمَّا مَنْ أَعْطَىٰ وَاتَّقَىٰ ﴿٥﴾ وَصَدَّقَ بِالْحُسْنَىٰ ﴿٦﴾ فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْيُسْرَىٰ ﴿٧﴾

3. Check your expenditures.

Looking at the money you spend; how much is for the sake of Allah? Wealth can be a blessing and a trial. How can you turn your material wealth into spiritual wealth in the Hereafter and purify your soul instead of corrupting it? By paying zakat, by spending for the needs of your family, by giving voluntary charity (sadaqah) with your time and money and even by doing da'wah! Look at your expenditures, and order them according to priority for your Hereafter!

4. Balance fear and hope.

One of the best pieces of productivity advice is to fear Allah in everything you do. Be motivated out of fear of His punishment as well as out of good hope in His reward, and let this balance be reflected in all your efforts.
Some people say, it seems I can never stop sinning, or, it's so hard to stay on the right path. And although they know the good path, some still willingly go for the bad path, while others will follow the good path while they know the evil path.
Know that one thing is for sure: when you make that sincere effort and strive for Him, Allah will make the path to good easy for you. All you need to do is keep begging Him.
But he who is greedy miser and thinks himself self-sufficient. And gives the lie to Al-Husna; We will make smooth for him the path for evil; And what will his wealth benefit him when he goes down (in destruction). [Quran, 92:8-11]
وَأَمَّا مَن بَخِلَ وَاسْتَغْنَىٰ ﴿٨﴾ وَكَذَّبَ بِالْحُسْنَىٰ ﴿٩﴾ فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْعُسْرَىٰ ﴿١٠﴾ وَمَا يُغْنِي
عَنْهُ مَالُهُ إِذَا تَرَدَّىٰ

5. Don't ever think you are self-sufficient.

When people have power and wealth they often think they are not in need of Allah because in their mind wealth represents power. One enormous disease therefore is istaghnaa— thinking we are free of need. In your daily life, keep reminding yourself you need Allah 'azza wa jall for everything, and stay humble no matter how much money you earn, how many friends you have, or how beautiful you are.

Truly, on Us is (to give) guidance. And truly, to Us (belong) the last (Hereafter) and the first (this world).
[Quran, 92:12-1]

6. Know that guidance comes from Allah only.

Some believers become proud of their good deeds. Know that you cannot get guidance by deeds alone, you always have to keep begging Allah for hidaayah (guidance). That's why in Surah Al Fatiha we Muslims keep saying: ihdinas siraatal mustaqeem– guide us on the straight path. Say this with your heart each time you pray!
Therefore I have warned you of a Fire blazing fiercely (Hell). None shall enter it save the most wretched, who denies and turns away. [Quran, 92:14-15]

7. Think of how hard you are trying to follow the sunnah.

Once the Prophet salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: 'All of my followers will enter Paradise on the Day of Judgment except for whoever refuses.' He was asked, 'Who would refuse, O Messenger of Allah?' He replied, 'Whoever obeys me, he will enter Paradise, and whoever disobeys me, then he has refused.' [Al-Bukhaari] Make an effort to study the sunnah and to stick to it, and ask Allah to protect you from the fire each day.
And the righteous will be far removed from it (Hell). He who spends his wealth for increase in self-purification, And have in his mind no favour from anyone for which a reward is expected in return, Except only the desire to seek the Countenance of his Lord, the Most High; He surely will be pleased (when he will enter Paradise).  [Quran, 92: 17-21]

8. Don't expect a reward from anyone but Allah.

I can't believe I did all of that for him and he treats me like this? I went out of my way for her, and she doesn't even do this for me?
Sound familiar? Instead of expecting rewards from others, try to focus on your reward with Allah whenever you do something for others so you won't get disappointed so quickly. Only Allah is Ash-Shakoor, The Most Appreciative of your intentions and deeds!

May Allah 'azza wa jall enable us to live by the guidance of the Quran, ameen.
Praying you will benefit,
Khawlah bint Yahya – United Kingdom