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A 3-Step Guide to Work Happy

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We are working women and we feel unhappy. Why is that?

There are many factors that influence the level happiness of an individual. These factors include security, sense of purpose, accomplishments, financial stability, freedom, interpersonal relationships, outlook on life and this differs from person to person. In addition, for muslims, our happiness depends on how we look after our faith in everything that we do.

Here, Hijrah’s Founder and Professional Islamic and Psychiatric Counsellor, Ustazah Noraini Abdul Wahab shares 3 simple steps to having a happy working life as a muslim woman.

Step 1: Know that working is a form of ibadah.

Many women feel guilty about leaving their homes for work. This guilt affects their self esteem and they constantly struggle with their inner conflicts. If we feel this way, we might fall into the danger of burning out and feeling exhausted after a few months or years of working.

For both men and women, working is a form of ibadah.

Allah s.w.t mentioned in the Quran:

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. (51:56)

How is work worshipping Allah you wonder?

Ustazah Noraini reminds us, “The main reason we are on this earth is to serve and participate in the harmony that is encompassing life in the universe.”

We have to know that when we go to work, we are playing a part in contributing to the world’s harmony – every drop has a ripple effect that affects the universe, way more than we can comprehend.

Let’s not forget that the female companions of Rasulullah ﷺ (sahabiyaat) used to work and played a part in contributing to their community’s harmony.

Take Al-Shifa bint Abdullah r.a. as an example. Sayyidina Umar r.a. appointed her as a policewoman of the entire marketplace in Madinah because of her knowledge in the syariah laws. Her job asked that she keeps the peace in the market and reprimands those who were violating the business transaction laws of the syariah.

Or Zainab bint Abu Muawiyah r.a., wife of Abdullah ibn Masud r.a. who was the main breadwinner of her family. She made handicrafts and sold them at the marketplace. She even gave sadaqah to her husband who was classified as poor after seeking advice from the Prophet ﷺ about it.

Thus knowing, understanding and accepting that working is a form of servitude to Allah s.w.t. is the first step to have a happy work life.

Step 2: Knowing our limitations and boundaries

Limitations and boundaries are set by the syariah to protect one’s self, mind and soul.

Its rules and regulations are not made to trouble an individual but to benefit and protect all members of the society, preserving basic human rights regardless of race and religion in order to maintain harmony in society. These rights, known as Daruriyaat al-Khomsah, are classified as the protection of faith, life, dignity, property and intellect.

If an individual crosses the limits and does not abide by these boundaries, it will cost them their physical and spiritual health leaving them feeling uneasy and unhappy.

An example of crossing over the limits would be slandering and backbiting a colleague.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:

“The believer does not defame, abuse, disparage, nor vilify.” (al – Tirmidhi)

Slandering and backbiting is not permissible in Islam. It is toxic; you either get intoxicated or you become the toxic. This will create enmity amongst colleagues resulting in a bad working environment. 

Muslims need to learn more about these boundaries and abide by them in order for us to have a happy work life.

Step 3: Safeguarding our work and ourselves

Ustazah Noraini also shared, “A positive occupation is one that we protect and one that protects us.”

Safeguarding our work means contributing to the company with our skill sets, maintaining a good performance record and developing a professional attitude.

Our work safeguards us when it:

  • provides opportunities for us to learn and develop new skills
  • instills good values & habits
  • provides us with a harmonious culture or environment,
  • strengthens our faith, belief and sense of purpose.

Having good relationship with colleagues, receiving positive reinforcement and feeling a sense of accomplishment are also a few factors that makes one happy at work.

Choosing a job which is aligned with our personality and skills, will add to our sense of purpose and increase work satisfaction.

Actions to take:

  • Take a moment to evaluate ourselves.
  • Make changes if our situation calls for it.
  • Embrace change, for we may never know the goodness that is in store for us.

May Allah bless our journeys, grant us leniency & happiness in this life and the next. May He make us servants who continuously strive to be advocates of peace & harmony.