My world, My Livelihood

All of us have heard, or read, about the legendary hen that laid golden eggs and her stupid owner who killed her to have all the eggs at once. In the process he lost everything because he denied time to the eggs to form. Likewise, most of us do not want to know about our vocations in which we make our living. We take them for granted and quite casually. Another irony is that we are rarely enthused to work for the sake of work, with a passion. Ask anyone why he is doing or eying a particular job, or business, and he readily comes with the answer that there is a lot of money in it. Yet another class is of the super-complacent who have been running a shop for generations together. The result is “we” the under-performers – and we alone the affected. It is fair to aspire for a better vocation but it’s very unfair not to give one’s best to the present vocation that one has accepted or been in for the time being. We fail to excel in our jobs because we do not own them, generally that is.

The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasalam) has taught a Dua whose second clause pertains to earnings: “Allahuma … wa aslih li dunya’ya allati fiha ma’ashi,…” (Sahih Muslim, hadith no.2720.) This could be translated somewhat as “Allah! … and improve for me my world which holds my livelihood …” This supplication teaches a lot more than it preaches. It has not used the expression ‘my business’ or ‘my employer’ which would give it a limited connotation. The expression used is ‘my world holding my livelihood’ which encompasses one’s entire entrepreneurial ecosystem involving everyone and everything directly or indirectly associated with one’s earning activity.

For a businessman this world includes his suppliers, his employees and the customers for whom he is doing his business. So in this supplication he will be praying for the safety and progress of his suppliers, employees and customers alike – along with the places where they belong. Obviously then, as he prays for their betterment which is in effect progress of his own business, he will not do any such thing as might tend to cause any harm to these people and places.

Similarly, for a government employee his world of livelihood would include the government establishment as well as the tax-payers who sustain it. If he uses this supplication, he won’t be doing what the government departments are infamously known for.

An improvement in our respective worlds of livelihood can take us where we won’t feel the need to ensure that our children are installed in our own fields. Better world means better avenues and better avenues means more absorptions.