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The Productive Muslim: Where Faith Meets Productivity (Book Review)

Before reading this book I had heard people say success in deen is linked to success in dunya. However, The Productive Muslim explained this principle to me in clear, convincing detail. Faris shows us that productivity is not an end in itself, but a means to the highest success: Jannah. 

In the 8th century, just after the final revelation of Islam, the Islamic Golden Age began. Muslims expanded the frontiers of knowledge and achievement at a speed almost never matched at any other point in the history of civilisation. Whole new fields of mathematics were created, revolutionary science was discovered, and society saw advancement in almost every field.

The driver of these enormous successes was not wealth, time, or luck. Europe had these for centuries and had gotten nowhere. The secret of their success was Islam, or more precisely the Sunnah, which showed the early Muslims the path to their extraordinary success. 

Thanks to the hard work of the author Mohammed Faris, you can unlock this success as well, InshAllah. After much research, Faris has detailed the essence of Islamic productivity in his book The Productive Muslim. Designed to be both highly readable and filled with practical tips, this book mixes Islamic teaching with impactful self-help advice.

Many readers may think to themselves, oh no, not another self-help book that makes me feel guilty for not being a CEO. It’s true, many books on the market are filled with impractical and unachievable advice from wealthy and successful individuals. 

However, Faris makes this book different. This book won’t teach you how to become a millionaire by 30 or find the spouse of your dreams. Instead, Faris shows the treasure trove of productivity advice that Islam both implicitly and explicitly contains. What do I mean by productivity? The answer is deeper than you might think, and this book starts by assessing the idea of productivity itself. After I saw it getting rave reviews from both non-Muslims and Muslims in the productivity world, I gave it a read. 

Faris essentially views productivity as a product of three factors: Focus, Time, and Energy. The book goes into a lot more detail, but I won’t spoil it for the readers of this review. After settling on a definition, Faris sets about understanding how to maximise productivity in light of Islamic guidance. The author has a genuinely original perspective on this area, a rare feat considering how saturated the market is.

Throughout the book, Faris sticks to the very highest standards of sources: the Quran, authentic Hadiths, Sunnah, and the lives of notable Muslims. These exemplary sources are explained in a clear tone and are consistently linked to practical advice for our daily lives. 

These links result in the reader getting two blessings: Deepening their knowledge of Islam and maximising productivity. InshAllah, as a reader you won’t just learn about how to balance your work schedule with family time; you will also learn how the Prophet himself did so, may peace and blessings be upon him. Faris also covers many of the notable figures in Islamic history such as Saladin, whose devotion to the Ummah was so impressive it left Western counterparts in awe. 

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While many books about self-help only cover one area, such as business or family, Faris’ work stands out for its comprehensive approach to life. Some chapters do indeed cover the usual suspects of business success and family balance. However, the author branches out into success in religious devotion, dua, and the importance of valuing the hereafter. Before reading this book I had heard people say success in deen is linked to success in dunya. However, The Productive Muslim explained this principle to me in clear, convincing detail. Faris shows us that productivity is not an end in itself, but a means to the highest success: Jannah. 

It’s admirable to see how Faris makes a clear aim at the beginning of his book and sticks to it throughout his writing. The author has also put some thought into the visual layout of the book. Information is neatly summarised in tables. Chapters also end with visual summaries of the knowledge covered so far. This is a great way to make the valuable advice provided more memorable to readers. 

Mohammad Faris himself is highly qualified to write about productivity. As a finance student in the UK, he became captivated by the study of how to boost his productivity. Choosing the name ProductiveMuslim.com, he began writing a blog about productivity science. It wasn’t easy to gain new followers, and at one point Faris actually gave up on the project. However, six months later Faris restarted his blog with renewed focus and energy.

The author realised that some of the most cutting-edge productivity theories were recorded in Hadiths over a thousand years ago. He set about learning more about Islamic productivity, with the aim to create a productive Ummah. The project was an enormous success, and Mohammed quit his job at a leading Islamic bank to focus on productivity science. Nowadays he runs professional coaching sessions and his blog continues to grow in followers.

In summary, The Productive Muslim is a truly original book aimed at giving practical advice based on the most excellent of Islamic sources. I feel it will greatly benefit Muslims of all backgrounds, especially young adults, in showing them how their faith sets them up for success in this world and the hereafter. 

The Productive Muslim is available from Amazon, or directly from the publisher, Claritas Books. 

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