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Contents 2
Glossary 4
Introduction 5
How to use this book. 5
Why work 6
Islam, Iman, Ihsan. 7
How much time do you spend at work? 10
Hierarchy of Needs 14
Cycle of Behaviour 17
Your values = your career. 21
Work Faith Balance 25
Goals, RPM 26
Willpower 30
Giving Thanks 33
One final thought 37
So what‟s next? 39
About the Author 40
1. Where am I? 11
2. Motivators. 12
3. Relationship with work 18
4. Value prioritisation 23
5. RPM 29
6. Willpower 32
7. Gratitude to Allah 34
8. Consolidation 36
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
First Edition, 1431 AH/2010 CE
© Copyright 2010 by Saiyyidah Zaidi
Edited by I Stone
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced in any language, stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without
the express permission of the copyright owner.
Printed in London, United Kingdom.
Dedicated to my husband for helping me to start
completing my deen, and to my children who teach me
something new about leadership and management every
Also, dedicated to those who attended the leadership
seminar in July 2010, days I will never forget for the rest of
my life. JazakhAllah khair for your support and for pushing
me to boundaries that I did not know I was capable of.
May Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala give success in this world
and the Akhirah to everyone who downloads and reads
this book.
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
Allah The greatest and most inclusive of the names of God.
Alhamdulillah All praise is due to Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala,.
Balance a state of equilibrium, equality between the totals of
the credit and debit sides of an account.
Bismillah "In the name of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala, the Most
Kind, the Most Merciful.” This is also the first verse of Surah
Al-Fatehah of the Holy Qur‟an.
Dhuhr The second obligatory prayer of the day. It can be
prayed at any time between noon and mid-afternoon.
Iman Faith. Having faith (and belief) in Allah Subhana Wa
Ta’ala according to the Qur'an.
Fard An action which is obligatory on every Muslim.
Fast (sawm) Fasting. Plural: Siyam. Muslims abstain from food,
drink, any falsehood in speech and action, from any ignorant
and indecent speech, and from arguing and fighting between
sunrise and sunset.
Hadith The word Hadith literally means communication or
narration. In the Islamic context it has come to denote the
record of what the Prophet Muhammad sallAllahu alaihi
wasallam said, did, or tacitly approved.
Hijab Any kind of veil-it could be a curtain, a facial veil, etc. It
is said that the universe is what veils the Creator from the
If you find the veil awe-inspiring, how much more awe-
inspiring is the one behind the veil!
InshaAllah "If Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala wills.“
Islam Literally means "submission to the will of Allah" Subhana
Wa Ta’ala. The most important and pivotal concept in Islam is
the oneness of Allah.
Nafil A voluntary act of supererogatory devotion such as Nafil
Prayer or Nafil Fast.
Nafs is an Arabic word occurring in the Qur'an meaning self or
Muslim A person who accepts Islam as their way of life.
Qu’ran The last revelation of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala given to
Humanity, through his last Prophet and Messenger,
Muhammad sallAllahu alaihi wasallam.
Ramadhan The ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Fasting is
obligatory during this month for all Muslims.
sallAllahu alaihi wasallam May the blessings and the peace of
Allah be upon him
Subhana Wa Ta’ala may He be glorified and exalted, appears
after the name of Allah.
Work Physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the
production or accomplishment of something.
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
the studying that you do, you can work 20 hours a day, but if
you don‟t ask for Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala‟s help it‟s all for you
and you will probably get nothing or very little. Yes, we all
know the successes of billionaire entrepreneurs and other
wealthy famous people but will they have success in both this
world and the Hereafter? This aim of this book is to help you
get success in both inshaAllah.
This book has been designed for you to use as a workbook, it
will help you to define and achieve success on the way to work
Faith balance inshaAllah.
As you read it, use it. Make notes and complete the exercises,
apply the techniques and take action- you will start achieving
and break your success barriers.
I would also suggest that you read it regularly for inspiration
and reminders of the techniques. This will help you to keep
focused on your goals and remind you how you can achieve
Once you have defined your motivators and goals you will be
on a journey to WORK FAITH BALANCE.
I wish you every success on this expidition.
Saiyyidah Zaidi
Have you ever wondered what separates successful people from
others? Some say success is a matter of opinion, but it‟s your
definition of success that creates balance in your life.
Many people are too busy to think about this question.
Alhamdulillah, as you have downloaded this book you are one of
the people who wants to be successful and balanced. If you
take your time to think about what you want in your life and
actually define it then balance is easier to find. Everyone has the
talent to achieve their own definition of balance, but few
people have the discipline to achieve it.
Remember, Work Faith Balance is about how you measure
success and balance, and starts with creating an understanding
of what motivates you. It is not all about money, often it‟s
about how you measure things. Islam teaches us an amazing
thing: you know that you will be judged on your deeds, not how
much money you had.
So what is Work Faith Balance for you? InshaAllah this
workbook will help you to work that out.
I was not an „A‟ grade student at school and I just about
scraped through university. Yes, I qualified as an architect but it
was primarily down to hard work rather than any natural ability.
Then something happened which helped me break my success
You can try as hard as you want, you can do all
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
Don’t mess with the rocks in
your life.
So in order to have more balance and be a successful Working
Muslim I would urge you to remember Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala
first and foremost and make sure you pray 5 times a day. The
first thing that we will be asked about on the Day of Judgment
is the Prayer. Prophet Muhammad sallAllahu alaihi wasallam told
us in an authentic Hadith, “The first thing the people will be
accountable for on the Day of Judgment is prayer, Allah
Subhana Wa Ta’ala will say to His angels (even though he
already knows): “Look at my servant‟s prayers. Were they
complete or not?” If they were complete it will be written as
complete. If they were not fully complete Allah Subhana Wa
Ta’ala will say: “See if my servant has voluntary prayers, if he
has them Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala will say: Complete his
obligatory prayers shortage with his voluntary prayers.” Then
the rest of his deeds will be dealt with in the same manner.”
(Reported by Imams Ahmad, Abu Dawood, An-Nisa‟i, and Al-
Lets make these rocks into diamonds instead of boulders in our
lives, inshaAllah.
What's the point of work? What's it all for? Is this all there is?
What do I really want to do? What are my values and are they
compatible with my work?
These are all questions I have asked myself. Islam teaches us
that we should be self sufficient and work helps us to do this.
Many of us right now are unhappy at work and wondering how
we can have more balance, do we need a different career or
even just have a career! This book will help you to consider
how much time you spend at work and how you can make the
best use of your time and get more balance inshaAllah.
Before we go onto that let‟s define work. Working Muslims can
be those who are CEOs of companies, to those who are
studying at university or college, to those who are working at
home looking after the house and the children and/or running
a business from home. Everyone works in one way or another;
it‟s your perspective on your work and your role that are key
and that's what creates the basis of balance.
Consider this, the rocks (the main things) in our life should be
the 5 pillars of Islam but how many of us struggle to pray on
time before that afternoon meeting? Have you experienced a
time when you just about prayed Dhuhr on time because a
meeting over ran. Well, just to respond to that first we need to
re-consider our lives and remember that worshipping Allah
Subhana Wa Ta’ala is the reason why we are here.
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
sees you. Ihsan, then means that a Muslim is sure that Allah
Subhana Wa Ta’ala is seeing him/her in everything he/she says
or does. Therefore, a Muslim does his/her best to say and do
only what pleases Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala and conforms to His
commands. This is the level of righteousness, the level of
perfection, the level of doing and saying the ultimate good, the
level of Ihsan. The word "Ihsan" in Arabic is a derivative of the
verb "ahsana," which means doing things excellently. Thus the
linguistic meaning of Ihsan is doing the best, which is doing
what Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala commanded us to do, and if we
do the best at work and in our faith inshaAllah we will be one of
the people of Jannah.
Ihsan suggests doing more than a person is obligated to do and
giving more to others than what they are entitled to. It is the
single most distinguishing feature that raises a human society
above any other creations of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala and
makes Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala pleased with humanity. That is
why Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala has mentioned the following in
five different verses of the Qu‟ran:
“Allah loves those who practice Ihsan.”
Al-Baqarah 2:195; Aali Imraan 3:134, 148; Al-Maaidah 5:13, 93.
With regard to work, Ihsan includes being dedicated and
professional in ones work and doing it to the best of your
To become the best we can be at what we do we need to
adhere to the work ethic given to us by Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala
Himself. This ethic is described below. The work ethic is
complimented by the concept of Ihsan.
The first level is Islam. Prophet Muhammad sallAllahu alaihi
wasallam explained it as observing the five major obligations (the
adhering to that which creates an Islamic structure. By being a
Muslim a person is promised Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala's rewards
in this life and in the hereafter. However, for those who are
more ambitious and want to be closer to Allah Subhana Wa
Ta’ala, and to gain a higher level of His rewards, they need to
reach a higher level of faith which is Iman.
Iman is to believe in Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala, His angels, His
books, His messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in divine
destiny, both the good and the evil thereof. To reach this level,
more faith is needed. A deeper degree of acknowledgement is
required. This includes a belief in Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala and
what He said, He informed us in His Book, the Holy Qur'an,
that He has angels, and He sent previous Books to humanity,
delivered through previous messengers. To gain a higher level
you need Ihsan.
Ihsan is the highest of the three levels of faith and the closest to
Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala. It is to worship Allah Subhana Wa
Ta’ala as if you are seeing Him. While you do not see Him, He
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
this type of person will be accepted by Allah Subhana Wa
Ta’la Ta’ala and he will be rewarded in the fullest.
2. The second example was of a person who fulfilled this
religious service outwardly, but his intention was not the
pleasure of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala nor fulfilling His
Command, and so this type of person, although he may
achieve what he was intending in this life, will not receive
reward for it from Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala, and the deed is
not one which is considered acceptable.
It is understood that a person may even be rewarded for their
everyday normal activity which they perform, as long as their
intention is correct and that that act is not prohibited by the
religion. Islam has encouraged and sometimes even placed the
obligation upon humans of specific manners and morals in
regards to life outside worship. It provides guidance for
performing every day activities, from sleeping to eating. If a
person performs the various activities conforming to the
legislation, they will be rewarded for it inshaAllah. Intention
allows one‟s entire life to become an act of worship, as long as
the objective of that life is the pleasure of Allah Subhana Wa
Ta’ala, whose pleasure is achieved by doing good and refraining
from evil. A person can turn everyday activities into acts of
worship by purifying his or her intention and sincerely seeking
Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala‟s pleasure through these activities.
So how can you have Ihsan at work? What do you need to do
to strive to be excellent? To apply Ihsan at work the first step is
to work out what is your intention is.
The following Hadith is a very important in this context as
Prophet Muhammad sallAllahu alaihi wasallam sets one of the
most important principles in the religion of Islam, specifically in
regards to the acceptance of one‟s religion and deeds by Allah
Subhana Wa Ta’ala, and generally to all other normal every day
activity in which a person involves him or herself. This
principle is that in order for any action to be accepted and thus
rewarded by Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala, it must be done purely
for His sake. This concept is often called “sincerity to Allah”,
but the most exact meaning would be “purity of intention”.
At one of the stages of the life of the Prophet Muhammad
sallAllahu alaihi wasallam Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala ordered all the
Muslims to migrate from Mecca to the newborn Islamic state of
Medina. In this Hadith, the Prophet sallAllahu alaihi wasallam
gave an example of two types of people in regards to this
religious service of migration:
1. The first example was that of the person who migrated to
Medina purely for the sake of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala,
seeking His Pleasure and seeking to fulfill His command.
The Prophet sallAllahu alaihi wasallam stated that the deed of
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
Now pay attention to the next point
as it is one of the most important
things in this book:
Even earning a living can be rewarded as well. The
Companions saw a man and were astonished by his hard work
and industry. They lamented: “If he were only doing this much
work for the sake of Allah …”
Prophet Muhammad sallAllahu alaihi wasallam replied:
“If he is working to support his small children, then it is for the
sake of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala. If he is working to support
his elderly parents, then it is for the sake of Allah Subhana Wa
Ta’ala. If he is working to occupy himself and keep his desires
in check, then it is for the sake of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala. If,
on the other hand, he is doing so to show off and earn fame,
then he is working for the sake of Satan.”
And let me say it again, even earning a living can be rewarded as
In this book we will ask you to take some time to assess how
much time you spend at work, consider your approach to work,
your life values and how you can have a better work life balance
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
Why is this important? It‟s important because the majority of us
HAVE to work but the majority of us don‟t ENJOY it.
Is your work giving you balance?
"There's a restless dissatisfaction that comes from always wondering if
there's something better out there," says Barry Schwartz, author of
The Paradox of Choice. Indeed, more than half of global
executives wish they could start over in a different career.
"People define their work as a job, a career or a calling," says Schwartz,
"Jobs are to support yourself. Careers today require a lot of hoping. If we're
lucky, we wind up with a calling.“
I have been through a variety of employers and made various
career choices. My first paid job was in a summer play scheme
(summer camp) at the age of 12! Was that a career choice? No,
but as we had both able bodied and disabled children at there,
this experience really moulded my desire to make the world a
better place (in whatever small way I can). I have been a
Company Director and employee . Each time I go through my
journey of moving career I take time to reflect and see if I
enjoyed what I was doing, was I proud of my contribution to
my work place and did I feel that I had balance and success?
Before we can go any further we must define where you are
now and what motivates you. It must be personal to you and
will be different to that of others and there is no right and
Let‟s define your work faith balance.
This is always something that causes us some pain. I think most
people would say that they spend too much time at work! I
certainly do, and I bet you do too!
Annual hours overeight centuries Accessed on 03 Sept 2010
The table above show us the average number of hours an
individual works has just increased and increased. Not only do
we live longer but we work more hours too!
Year Type of worker Annual hours
13th century Adult male peasant, UK 1620 hours
14th century Casual labourer, UK 1440 hours
Middle Ages English worker 2309 hours
1400–1600 Farmer, adult male, UK 1980 hours
1840 Average worker, UK 3105–3588 hours
1850 Average worker, U.S. 3150–3650 hours
1987 Average worker, U.S. 1949 hours
1988 Manufacturing workers, UK 1855 hours
Average full-time worker,
1480 hours
2008 Average worker, India 2817 – 3443 hours
2010 Investment Banker, NY 5082 hours
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
What do I enjoy doing? E.g. I enjoy writing reports.
Why do I enjoy doing these things? E.g. Writing is creative.
What don’t I enjoy doing? E.g. I don't like photocopying.
Why don’t I enjoy doing these things? E.g. Because its repetitive.
What are my strengths? E.g. I am good at organising things.
What are my weaknesses? E.g. I am not good at writing.
What makes me happy? E.g. I like challenge at work.
What makes me sad? E.g. I have to rush my prayers at work.
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
What are your motivators? By understanding this inshaAllah you
will be a lot clearer on knowing what your drivers are.
We are already on the next WORKOUT. This one is a lot of
fun as it will really help you understand what drives you.
Read the motivators listed above from 1 to 9. On the right are
combinations of 2 of the 9. Compare the 2 with each other and
by matching the definitions above indicate which number
motivates you more by circling it.
Add up how many times you have ringed each number
and put the totals in the grid below.
Asapted from an Exercise in the Personal Success Pocketbook.
1 Status Seeking recognition/ admiration/ respect
2 Influence Seeking the ability to affect people, make a
3 Material reward Seeking possessions/ wealth/ a high standard of
4 Independence Seeking the ability to make your own decisions
5 Experience Seeking accomplishment in a specialised field
6 Creativity Seeking innovation and being identified with
original output
7 Affiliation Seeking fulfilling relationships
8 Reward, ajr Seeking the pleasure of Allah
9 Security Seeking a solid/ predictable future
1 or 4 3 or 4 3 or 7 4 or 8 5 or 6 6 or 7
6 or 9 8 or 1 9 or 7 1 or 5 1 or 3 2 or 5
2 or 6 4 or 7 5 or 8 5 or 9 6 or 3 7 or 1
2 or 3 7 or 8 8 or 6 9 or 8 9 or 4 1 or 2
1 or 9 2 or 8 2 or 9 2 or 7 3 or 8 4 or 2
4 or 5 4 or 6 5 or 3 5 or 7 6 or 1 9 or 3
No of times
Motivator Rank Order
1 Status
2 Influence
3 Material rewards
4 Independence
5 Expertise
6 Creativity
7 Affiliation
8 Reward, ajr
9 Security
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
Now take a few minutes and write down how you feel about what
you have discovered from this exercise.
Pretty powerful wasn‟t it?
We will now move on to look at the Hierarchy of Needs and
the cycle of behaviours.
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
Safety- Once physiological needs are met, your attention turns
to safety and security in order to be free from the threat of
physical and emotional harm. Such needs might be fulfilled by:
Living in a safe area, Medical insurance, Job security, Financial
According to Maslow‟s hierarchy, if a person feels that he or
she is in harm‟s way, higher needs will not receive much
attention- so if you have no food or water you will focus on
that need first.
Social Needs Once you have met the lower level physiological
and safety needs, higher level needs become important, the first
of which are social needs. Social needs are those related to
interaction with other people and can include: Need for friends,
need for belonging, the need to give and receive love.
Esteem Once you feel a sense of “belonging”, the need to feel
important arises. Esteem or value needs may be classified as
internal or external. Internal esteem needs are those related to
self-esteem such as self respect and achievement. External
esteem needs are those such as social status and recognition.
Some esteem needs are: Self-respect, Achievement, Attention,
Recognition, Reputation.
Self-actualization is the summit of Maslow‟s hierarchy of
needs. It is the mission of reaching your full potential as a
person. Unlike lower level needs, this need is never fully
satisfied; as you grow psychologically there are always new
opportunities to continue to grow.
As human beings we have plenty of needs that need to be
fulfilled. An American academic called Maslow developed a
theory called the Hierarchy of Needs. This says that human
beings have a number of needs that must be met. The diagram
below shows these. We will go through these briefly inshaAllah.
Physiological needs are those required to sustain life, such as:
air, water, nourishment, sleep.
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
What is missing in the Hierarchy of
One thing that Maslow‟s theory misses out is spirituality. As
human beings we have a physical aspect to our nature but we
also have a spiritual one, and in some ways the spiritual one is
more powerful than the physical need. We are both physical
and spiritual beings. By mentioning spirituality and nafs the
hierarchy has more depth. All of the needs mentioned in the
hierarchy are essentially related to our nafs and it is our spiritual
self that motivates us to behave in a particular way. What is
interesting here is that the drivers of the spirit are often the
opposite to the driver of the nafs. These are constantly in a state
of struggle against each other- desperate to dominate. To
engage in this struggle we engage in the „jihad al nafs‟ (striving
against the animal self).
What is interesting is that as Muslims we fast and are able to
control our desires for food, drink and marital relations from
sunrise to sunset. As soon as we are allowed these things again
we freely partake in them. This behaviour contradicts Maslow‟s
theory- in that when we are hungry but are fasting we will not
satisfy our basic needs. The same applies to when we wake at
night to pray and devote ourselves to long prayers and sacrifice
sleep, thus the spiritual self is dominant again.
Self-actualized people tend to have needs such as: Truth,
Justice, Wisdom, Meaning. Self-actualized persons have
frequent occurrences of peak experiences, which are ecstatic
moments of profound happiness and harmony. According to
Maslow, only a small percentage of the population reaches the
level of self-actualization.
As previously mentioned, physiological needs are those that we
need to sustain life, and I would say these are the basic human
needs- air, water, food, shelter, sleep. According to Maslow‟s
theory, if such needs are not satisfied then our motivation will
come from the desire to satisfy them. Higher needs such as
social needs and esteem are not felt until one has met the basic
needs to function. Makes sense so far? If we feel hungry, we
lack at the first level and that would motivate us to satisfy our
desire in a particular way- for most of us that could be by going
and making something to eat and having a drink. After that
need is satisfied we are ok and at a state of balance again. This
idea applies to all the levels.
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
workplace, whether it be because we wear a hijab, have a beard
or even just because we take regular short breaks to go and
pray. At the end of the day for Muslims the ability to express
your Islamic identity is as much a part of our hierarchy of
needs. So how do we express our need and feel proud, and feel
confident that it is not affecting our ability to look for work, get
a promotion and be successful in our careers and have a
balance between work and our Iman.
Let‟s look at how the cycle of behaviour works and how we
look at our lives and working lives. The cycle of behaviour
shows the pattern that we go through when trying to struggle
against the nafs and we need to break free from this cycle
inshaAllah to create balance.
Now this is the bit where you need
to pay attention.
From the Hierarchy of Needs modern leaders and executive
managers can find a means of understanding employee
motivation for the purposes of staff and workforce
management. The basis of Maslow's theory of motivation is
that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that
certain lower needs require satisfaction before higher needs can
be addressed. So for adequate workplace motivation it is
important that leaders and managers understand which needs
are active for individual employee motivation. Related to this
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs indicates that basic, low-level
needs such as physiological requirements and safety must be
satisfied before higher-level needs such as self-fulfilment are
pursued. When a need is satisfied it no longer motivates and the
next higher need takes its place.
Your Islamic Needs.
Now that we have looked at one way of articulating needs, let‟s
look at our needs as Muslims. The basic needs of a Muslim are:
Fulfilling the 5 pillars of Islam. We all want to express
ourselves as Muslims. Many of us will be recognised as Muslims
in the
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
victim of any hunter or trap. The righteous predecessors
preferred to strengthen the wing of fear during good times
when heedlessness is feared, and to strengthen the wing of
hope at times of calamity and when near death.
The above diagram shows how we are in a cyclical pattern from
the need to motive to behaviour to goal attainment to
equilibrium to need again. The motive is the reason why you
are doing it all.
Now that you have read this, how do you feel about your
motivators and needs?
The cycle of behaviour.
My view is that the needs mentioned in the Hierarchy of Needs
are not always needs, but rather desires. When I‟m hungry, I
desire food. It only really becomes a need once I reach the
point of starvation- something which most of us are unlikely to
experience. Allhamdulillah. So the instructions of Islam are
there to liberate us from being a slave to our desires, rather than
behaving in a way dictated to us by our desires. Islam, the
religion is one of balance and moderation: we fast and at times
we eat; we stand up for prayer at night and we sleep as well. So
our desires are fulfilled in a balanced and moderate manner.
So what are the needs that drive the spiritual self? I believe that
it is the need to know Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala. This knowing is
not merely theoretical knowledge that is gained from studying
books. It includes some studying but it goes beyond that as
well. Knowing of realisation and experience are key, so that we
know through acts of worship and through doing the things
that have been prescribed for us to do, the veils between us and
Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala are lifted and we draw closer to Him.
Our relationship with Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala also plays a role.
The heart is like a bird whose head is love, and hope and fear
are its two wings. When the head and the two wings are in
balance and healthy the flight of the bird is good, but when the
head is cut off, it immediately dies, and when either or both
wings are deficient, the bird cannot fly properly and may
become the
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
Describe your behaviour at work, are you happy with it.
How much do you earn? Is it enough?
Describe your work environment.
Describe your job security.
What are my social needs and do I have the time to fulfill these?
How my employer acknowledge me as a valued employee?
My work is a challenge for me because.
Describe how you are satisfied at work.
Look at your responses to workout 2 and your motivators. What have you discovered and answer these questions.
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
Now take a few minutes and write down how you feel about what you have discovered from this exercise.
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
system that tried to motivate me with some fear. "You better
get good grades, unless you want to be unemployed your
whole life." Or "You have to have a career, or you'll just float
through life," as if our worth as human beings and our
happiness are only determined by achieving some constructed
measure of success. It was that kind of thinking that got me
away from my gut instinct, and made me focus on success as
being more important than happiness. That closes off your
ability to be free and use your imagination. Having a successful
career as defined by society can also make life a bit of a struggle
rather than something to be enjoyed and viewed as a gift from
Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala. Now, let me share something personal
with you, when I was young people used to ask me what I
wanted to do when I grew up. I could have said the usual
„Doctor, lawyer, accountant. . .‟, but my response was to be
happy. Little did I know how profound a statement that was!
Really successful people have careers doing what they love to
do. Out of that being happy in work pays dividends in success-
financial or otherwise, and creates real balance.
So success or happiness or balance?
The answer to this really depends on what your goal is. In the
next section we will look at how we set goals, inshaAllah.
Now not all people are lucky enough to be happy with their
answers to all of these questions. The key here is to be honest
with yourself; these answers are just for you. If you feel you
need to review any of your questions then please go back and
reflect on them again.
Not all people are driven by the same needs, at the same time
different people are motivated by different factors. To
motivate you, your manager must be able to recognise and
understand your needs and your layers of motivation. As a
manager you need to be able to recognise those of your
workforce .
Work Faith Balance: Happy or successful,
or even both?
Happiness defined: 1. Characterized by good luck; fortunate; 2.
Enjoying, showing, or marked by pleasure, satisfaction, or joy;
3. Being especially well-adapted; felicitous: a happy turn of
phrase; 4. Cheerful; willing: happy to help.
Successful defined: 1. having succeeded in one's endeavours; 2.
marked by a favourable outcome; 3. having obtained fame,
wealth, etc.
Like a lot of British people my education was based on a school
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
So how do you discover your values?
You keep on asking „why‟ questions until you reach a point
where you no longer want something for the sake of something
else. At this point you have arrived at your value.
Discovering values example:
•Why are you doing your degree?
•To gain qualifications.
•Why do you want to gain qualifications?
•To succeed in your career.
•Why do you want to succeed in your career?
•To reach the top.
•Why do you want to reach the top?
•To make a difference.
•Why do you want to make a difference?
•To improve people’s lives.
•Why do you want to improve people‟s lives?
•I like to improve people’s lives.
•Because I want to make Allah happy with me.
Arriving at values: it looks like „Making Allah happy‟ is one of
the values in this case study! The same line of questioning of
persons undergoing higher education may reveal values like
knowledge, money, status, standard of living, ambition,
achievement, growth, reputation, excellence, fame.
One of the greatest misfortunes in life is to be good at
something you don‟t like. You may be proficient in maths but
you hate it. You may be a competent project manager busy
interacting with people every minute of the day, but actually
you want a life of solitude and contemplation. Your values will
distinguish what you are good at (skill, proficiency,
competence) and what you like (values) and what you want to
do in life (interests). There are many psychometric tests, IQ
tests, etc. that tell you what you are good at. Your VALUES
will tell you what you like.
If you want to enjoy harmony in work life balance your choice
of career is important. It should be based on things that
encompass your skills, interests, personality and values.
Values: things that are important to you- achievement, status,
money, honesty, ability to practice Islam.
Interests: what you enjoy doing- reading, eating with friends,
going to the movies.
Personality: your individual traits, motivational drives,
temperament, attitudes
Skills: activities you are good at, competent at, have expertise
or talent in.
Values are core beliefs which guide and motivate attitude and
behaviour. When you value something you want it or want it to
happen, they are relatively permanent desires.
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It is most important for you to find out your own values (by the
„why‟ method) to avoid „value-mismatch‟ which is when your
values and these values you are expected to have do not match.
It has been said that value-mismatch is at the root cause of
dilemmas in our lives It may seem trivial but even when you
plan to marry you must look for signs of value-mismatch! Your
values are possibly the most important thing to consider when
you are choosing a partner or workplace .
A conflict between your personal and organisational values may
result in ethical dilemmas at the workplace, while value
mismatch between two persons may sow the seeds of conflict
and cause stress and turbulence in a relationship.
Your choice of career requires you to take into account your
values when planning your future. There is a good chance that
if you dislike your work you will not enjoy it. For example,
someone who needs to have autonomy (freedom) in his work
would not be happy in a job where every action is decided by
someone else. For me, I like to have a variety in my work so
every day is not the same- for many if you are in a job that was
the same day in day out you would find it difficult. Others enjoy
the repetition of the same task. The key here is that we are all
different; we just need to understand our work values and what
drives us.
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My values in prioritisation:
This list might include values like Ihsan, honesty, integrity,
loyalty, prestige, happiness, friendship, family life, etc. Now list
and prioritise your values in order of importance to discover
your core values.
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Now take a few minutes and write down how you feel about what you have discovered from this. Are there any
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
Fun: Do you want to have fun? Fun is not only an important
value but also a determinant of character. If you want to know
about a man find out how he has fun. If you had a day off what
will you do? How you spend your leisure time reveals vital clues
about your values too! Would you read a book, write a story, go
hiking outdoors, play your favourite sport, adventure sports,
chat with friends, picnic, go out for something to eat or cook it
yourself, go to the mosque, spend the day at home with your
family, study, watch TV, spend the day in glorious solitude
enjoying quality time with yourself?
Do you value humour, fun, pleasure, food, enjoyment, family
life, quality of life, status, money, success, fame, power, prestige,
security, nature, loyalty, love, affection, independence, privacy,
togetherness, tranquillity, adventure, leadership, or followership.
Competition, contentment, creativity, and the values of others
who you want to relate with are really important to. Match and
harmonise your values, and be happy and fulfilled in your work
and your relationships and get balance.
Trust your sense of values: remember at any important
milestone in your life, when you have to make a vital decision,
whether you are on the verge of selecting a career, a job, a
house or marriage partner, trust your sense of values.
Before you choose your career, reflect and workout the
compatibility and harmony between the career and your
orientation in life (your skills, interests, personality and values).
Values are most important because you cannot change your
values and when your values are satisfied you will be at the
journey to work Faith balance.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what
you do are in harmony” Mahatma Gandhi.
Work – Faith = stress.
Look inwards: Interests, skills and personality can be
developed, but values are intrinsic core beliefs inherent within
you. You have to look inward, analyse, introspect, reflect and
endeavour to discover your own true values.
Value congruence: whether it is your work or relationships, value
congruence is of very important; your values must be in
harmony for the relationship to tick.
Value dissonance: the extent of balance in your values should
determine your choice of work, activities, relationships, friends
and partner. Value dissonance due to mismatch between
individual values and organisational values can cause great strain
and trauma in the workplace and total imbalance.
Freedom: Is freedom an important value for you? Is the career or
job you are considering going to give you enough freedom?
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
Properly-set goals can be incredibly motivating, and as you get
into the habit of setting and achieving goals, you'll find that
your self-confidence builds fast. vision and short-term
motivation. They focus your acquisition of knowledge, and help
you to organize your time and your resources so that you can
make the very most of your life.
By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and
take pride in the achievement of those goals. You can see
forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long
pointless grind. By setting goals, you will also raise your self-
confidence, as you recognize your ability and competence in
achieving the goals that you have set. You'll also quickly spot
the distractions that would otherwise lure you from your
Goal setting techniques are used by top-level athletes,
successful business-people and achievers in all fields. They give
you long-term
The best way to take your motivations and goals and create
balance is to tie it all to a goal. What is a goal? A goal is a
written statement with a deadline. A goal should inspire you to
do the work. Your goals should excite and even scare you in a
positive way. A goal is not a „to do‟ list or an idea, what your
family/husband/wife/parents/etc. wants for you, or what
society thinks is right for you. Goals are set to help you create
what does not already exist. They are based on a long-term plan
that has no constraints, anything is possible. Whatever you need
to achieve your long-term goal (skills, funding, experience, etc.)
you can gain with time.
Why do we need to set goals?
Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal
future, and for motivating yourself to turn this vision of the
future into reality. The process of setting goals helps you
choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what
you want to achieve, you will know where you have to
concentrate your efforts.
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
for you. They will often do this in ignorance of your own
desires and ambitions.
So how can you set goals that are specific?
There is a acronym SMART- specific, measurable, attainable,
relevant and time bound.
An example of a SMART goal:
„I am going to complete that assignment by Thursday at 5pm
One final thought inshaAllah is, patience. There is an ayat of the
Quran that is just so awesome
„Oh you who believe, seek assistance through patience and prayer, surely
Allah is with the patient.‟
Surah Baqara, verse 153.
Remember successful people set goals, really successful people
write them down.
So inshaAllah we‟ll go through how to set goals.
State each goal as a positive statement: Express your goals positively
– „I am going to study one hour a day' is a much better goal
than 'I won‟t waste time‟
Be precise: Set a precise goal, putting in dates, times and amounts
so that you can measure achievement.
Set priorities: When you have several goals, give each a priority.
This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too
many goals.
Write goals down: This crystallizes them and gives them more
Keep goals small but challenging: Keeping goals small and
incremental gives more opportunities for reward.
Set performance goals, not outcome goals: You should take care to set
goals over which you have as much control as possible.
Set realistic goals: It is important to set goals that you can achieve.
All sorts of people (employers, parents, media, society) can set
unrealistic goals
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
you needed the £1m to get your sick child hospital treatment
then it gives you a purpose; and this purpose will define why
you are willing to put in the effort and time into achieving your
Here is where you get to write your to do list. Write 10
things to get you the result. So if you want to get a promotion?
You can write all the things down. What are the top 2 most
important things- when you look at it if you did those 2 it
would give you massive results? Amazingly, 80% of results are
achieved by 20% of effort. Choose those 2 write them down at
the top. Take those 2 things and put them in your diary or
schedule and monitor how you do. Think about any obstacles
that might be in your way and prepare for them. Then
massively go towards your result.
Take your RPM and print it out, put it somewhere where you
will look at it daily, this will help you get your results. When you
complete a task then review your RPM and add something else
to the massive action plan.
DiscoverUlife (a personal development organisation) has a
really fantastic method of goal setting- its called RPM- Results,
Purpose, Massive Action Plan (see below). Lets go through this
quickly before you do your own RPM. If you just stick to a to-
do list it will most probably be stressful, unproductive and off
RESULT- What do you really want?
What is the result that you want? If you are going to look for
another job what is it that you really want? If you say I want
more money, or more flexibility or to work less hours then you
know your result. So write that in the results column.
PURPOSE- Achieving this result means what?
This is the most important part of RPM and is often the most
neglected, you can‟t ignore this step. Why do you want the
result? What will getting this result mean to you? If your
purpose is
Massive Action
Results Purpose
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Now its your turn to do your RPM, remember to take your
time, go through the instructions on the previous page and see
how you get on.
Massive Action Plan Results Purpose
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
for something else! Every year, for one month, as Muslims we
go through a similar fasting exercise. We observe the fast as a
compulsory practice which Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala prescribed
in His revealed messages, especially in the final revealed book,
the Qu‟ran. One of the many benefits they experience from
fasting is its training aspect.
The great people we read about in history were strong willed
people who obeyed their minds and not their fancies. They
built up their willpower by working hard and overcoming the
obstacles that faced them. Great people take pleasure in
resisting temptation and in the sense of power and self-control
that doing so gives them. Our history testifies to a great number
of such people.
Take Abû Bakr radi Allahu anhu after the death of the Prophet
Muhammad sallAllahu alaihi wasallam some of the Arab tribe
refused to pay Zakâh. Many people advised Abû Bakr radi
Allahu anhu to be lenient on them. However, he rejected their
advice and demanded that the Arabs accept Islam
wholeheartedly without subtracting anything from it. We can
see in this his determination, his strength of will, and his ability
to stand up in the face of the most trying of circumstances.
Consider Ibn Taymiyah‟s rahimahullah stance when the ruler
wanted him to abandon the opinions that he had arrived at
through careful study. When Ibn Taymiyah rahimahullah refused
to do so, he was imprisoned and tortured but he still refused to
Many people fail to get ahead because they have no willpower
to do what they know they should be doing. Nor can they help
themselves to avoid the things which they know will ruin them.
Some people have habits like smoking, doing drugs, drinking
alcohol that they would like to give up, but struggle. As
Muslims we have to balance all aspects of life and try and
increase our Iman every day.
There are some strong-willed people who seem to be able to do
what they know is right and avoid what they know is wrong.
Such people experience peace of mind knowing that they are
doing the right thing with the right intention. Their willpower is
obviously working for them. But how do they do it? What is
the secret? The secret is that you can train your willpower, your
nafs. So how do you do it?
Suppose you made a resolution to skip lunch for a month and
actually stuck to your decision. You may save your lunch
money, lose a few pounds, develop sympathy for the poor, and
give your digestive system a much-needed rest. More
importantly, you will strengthen your willpower. The reason
this works is that you teach yourself to avoid lunch even when
you know you could have it if you decide. Your stomach may
growl, but you won't listen. Thus, you train yourself to ignore
the calling of your lower physical self and reach for the higher
goals of real human achievement. Doing the right thing even
when your desires are calling
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
recant. Instead, he spent his time in prison writing books
wherein he explained and defended his principles and teachings.
When they took away his pens and paper, he took up pieces of
coal and began writing on the walls. His determination in the
face of imprisonment and torture is a great example of the
triumph of the human will over adversity and his writings are an
enduring legacy of this triumph.
Willpower is one of the greatest secrets of success. By
cultivating our willpower and strengthening it, we can stand up
to the trials that face us. A strong-willed person is someone
who can improve himself and someone who can benefit from
the advice and guidance of others. By contrast, a weak-willed
person cannot improve himself and will not be availed of the
efforts of others to better him. Before anything else, he needs
to strengthen himself. He needs to treat his weakness as if it
were a disease and be patient during the healing process.
So now you know your goals, your intention and how to have
willpower. InshaAllah the next step is to try and look at how you
can develop willpower.
How To Develop Your Will
All willpower is not conscious. In other words, willpower is
conscious and unconscious. We can improve conscious
willpower easily. To develop your willpower, you should
develop those skills and attitudes that are conducive to the
development of willpower and at the same time remove
blockages and negative parameters that hinder the development
of your will.
Believe You Can
If you believe you can, you can, inshaAllah. Believe you can
become a successful person and have balance. YES! You are
actually a successful person. What is needed to make it a reality
is to believe in yourself and work for it. So tell yourself that you
can achieve what you want, can do what you want, and can
become immensely successful.
Auto Suggestion
The power of Auto Suggestion is tremendous. All of us use it
knowingly or unknowingly. If you can use it knowingly, you can
work wonders. By suggesting to yourself that you can achieve
what you want you really can achieve that.
Here are some statements you can suggest to yourself :
‘I can do this and I will do this’
‘I am OK and I will stay OK’
‘I will become successful’
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
Remember your personal power is limitless inshaAllah.
Describe the best possible working situation for you. Look at
your RPM. If you achieve everything in your RPM what will life
be like for you? Write it down below.
What will it smell like, what will it sound like, what will it feel
Take what you will smell, hear and feel and exaggerate
that feeling. Close your eyes and visualise that
experience in 6 months, in 1 year, in 5 years. Once you
have done that write down how you feel.
Auto suggestion. Now write down some positive
statements associated with this, for example „I will make
my work beneficial for the hereafter‟. Repeat these to yourself
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
what you have then you can definitely achieve your other goals
inshaAllah. This is amazingly powerful and gives you an
enormous amount of confidence.
This gratitude and realisation of what you have will also help
you to focus on your goals. You will probably realise that if you
can achieve what you have then you can definitely achieve your
other goals. This is amazingly powerful and gives you an
enormous amount of confidence.
We are often thankful to our friends and family, and we are
thankful for to Allah. But how many of us have actually sat
down and written out what we are thankful for and then gone
and shown gratitude to Allah by doing the Sajdat al-Shukr ?
Sajdat al-Shukr is prescribed for anything that makes one
happy, whether it is attaining some benefit or warding off some
harm. One of the Hadith of Abû Bakr radi Allahu anhu who said
that when the Prophet Muhammad sallAllahu alaihi wasallam
heard any news that made him glad, he would fall down
prostrating to Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala. (Reported by the five
except al-Nisaa‟i).
We feel really fulfilled while we say thank you because this
makes us acknowledge our appreciation to Allah Subhana Wa
Ta’ala that we got something we needed. What is truly awesome
is that in Islam it also makes Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala know that
we are appreciative of his gift to us and that we can see that
what he gave us is of value. Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala gave us
this wonderful life and we should be thankful for it. We pray to
Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala for the things we want but we never
say thanks for what we already have. Even if we say thanks it
would be only once or twice. Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala gave us
many gifts which we enjoy every day so we should be thankful
every day. Gratitude is a great way to remove negative energy
from your mind because you start focusing on things you have,
instead of what you don‟t have.
There are a million and one self help advocates out there that
suggest you practice gratitude daily. I entirely agree with this
concept but will urge you to implement the Sunnah and give
thanks to Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala. You will feel better when
you have thanked your Creator. You might even feel like you
are the luckiest person in the world as you have acknowledged
some of the Mercies that Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala has given
This gratitude and realisation of what you have will also help
you to focus on your goals. You will probably realise that if you
can achieve
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
Write down 5 things that you are grateful to Allah Subhana Wa
Ta’ala for.
NOW write down 10 things you are REALLY grateful for.
Write down what you are grateful for in relation to your
working life.
What are you grateful to Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala for in
relation to your career and work?
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
Take a few minutes to thank Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala for all
your successes and what you have achieved. It is absolutely
crucial that you do this right now before you read any further.
Write down how you feel right now.
Pretty powerful wasn‟t it?
Now that you are aware of how you feel about your work,
know what you are grateful for and what your successes are
at work you can consider how you can make some changes
or set goals to create more balance. In this next section we
will discuss what a goal is and how to set goals. This is an
important part of your journey to the next stage inshaAllah.
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
So review the answers to the previous workouts and make a
note of your reflections.
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
Mentoring: a mentor can almost be seen as a wise, experienced
friend or trusted boss or manager. A mentor leads by example
and is a role model. They might be very good at helping you see
the big picture and understand the politics of the organisation
you work for.
A coach can be a mentor and a mentor can be a coach, or the
role can be rolled into one. The key is that whatever term you
use, the person being coached or mentored gets unbiased
support and guidance.
Benefits of Coaching and Mentoring
When you work with a coach or mentor you will benefit in
many ways:
•Have a safe place to discuss issues
•Develop skills you already have
•Learn new skills
•Gain insight into yourself and the people you work with
•Get unbiased, confidential support
•Gain fresh perspectives on your issues
•Get advice, suggestions and options
Coaching and mentoring, whether it is on an executive level or
individuals is increasingly being recognised as important in employee
development. It is acknowledged by senior management in many
organisations that their companies will thrive if they offer some form
of coaching and mentoring to their staff. I coached and mentored my
staff and have had amazing results with people going on to superb
senior positions in their careers.
How do you know what to do?
The only problem is that for someone who has never used a coach or
mentor before, it can all be very confusing. For those who want to
undertake coaching or mentoring, the choices can seem daunting:
'Where do I begin?'
Coaching or Mentoring?
There is no definitive answer to this. The two seem to be increasingly
linked and the words are often used interchangeably.
Coaching: a business, corporate or executive coach is the similar to a
sports coach. This person sets specific goals and objectives, sees what
you need to do to achieve them and works with you on target setting,
professional and personal development, expansion of your skills base
and offers practical and relevant advice and
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
The key is working with someone you like, admire and with
whom you feel comfortable.
Anything else I should be aware of?
There are a few important things that will help you make the
most of your coach or mentor:
•Meet with them on a regular basis - whether fortnightly,
monthly, quarterly, etc
•Set clear objectives to be discussed before the meeting
•Rely on them for guidance, not answers
•Be honest
•A mentor isn't a dumping ground
Using a coach or mentor is one of the best ways to develop
yourself and is a great way not to have to go it alone.
Mini Workout
Quickly sit down and think of all the people you know who
could coach and mentor you, or even those who you could
offer coaching to. Make a note of what they can specifically
offer. Consider asking them to coach you, but plan how you
will ask them.
An example of someone who's done
“In my last job I had a coach and mentor with a wide range of skills. My
mentor was in another part of the business. I approached her and asked if
she was ok with mentoring me- be very complementary when asking
someone to mentor you- they love it.
From this mentoring I was able to plan out a career path for me,
understand my skills and abilities and have someone reflect these back to
me. My mentor and coach never sat around waiting for someone else to
make it happen for her - she's just gone and done it, success or failure being
far less important than the doing. And that is why she was an excellent
role model as a coach and mentor for me. “
Anon, Director in Public Sector, United Kingdom.
How do I get a mentor?
As we can see there's no shortage of people wanting to become
coaches and mentors. But what if you want to use one. Where
do you begin? Of course, the best place to look is your
workplace or your circle of friends. If at work you have a
coaching and mentoring programme that you aren't accessing,
get yourself to HR ASAP and find out how you become part of
this programme. You could also look around your company
and identify someone you think would make an excellent coach
or mentor and ask them if they'd be willing.
Using either a formal or informal approach is equally effective.
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
sincerity and to do it to the best of your ability. Also remember,
du‟a is the most powerful tool you have.
I pray that Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala grants you untold success in
your working life and enables you create the work Faith balance
that we all desire.
Now this is a difficult one as you are the only one with the
answer. You now have a real assessment of where you are.
Would you rather be doing something else, or are you satisfied
in your role? Now that you know your values and your work
drivers, are they compatible with your employers? What can
you do to either change your outlook or make it easier for you
in terms of your view of your work?
This is the end of the workbook, but the start of your success
By completing these exercises I am confident that you will have
more clarity on your current working role and your motivators,
you will have made an action plan for the future, and
understand your values. The main focus of this workbook was
to help you to understand how you can create work Faith
balance and break your success barriers. InshaAllah completing
the exercises in this book will have helped you to do just that.
The concepts of understanding your motivators, values and
preparing an action plan can be used in all aspects of your life.
However, the key to success in life is to do every task with
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
About the Author.
Saiyyidah Zaidi is an Assistant Director in a corporate
environment in London. She has faced many work related
issues and had to respond to these in a „win win‟ way. Saiyyidah
is a qualified architect, a Member of the Institute of Directors, a
Fellow of the Association for Project Management and a
member of Society of Local Authority Chief Executives.
Saiyyidah has many roles in life including being a mother, a
wife, a daughter.. She has also presented programmes on
Islamic TV channels, given presentations and talks, and is a
executive business coach and mentor.
Recently she has been approached by individuals asking for
support with coaching or mentoring and help with issues in the
workplace. It is as a direct result of these that Saiyyidah decided
to write this e workbook.
Saiyyidah lives in London with her husband and 2 children.
© Copyright 2010 by Working Muslim
Working Muslim