By Wajid Akhter
Volunteering encourages individual as well as collective social responsibility. Here are ways that volunteering encourages those who are involved to become more productive Muslims.
1. Makes you more organized
A dedicated volunteer is someone who has little time to squander. They can’t afford leaving things to the last minute. They need things planned, schedules put in place, deadlines met so they can make the most of their precious time.
2. Encourages self-assessment
It is only when you open the doors to constructive criticism, that you are able to make changes that allow you to be the best volunteer you can possibly be and make changes that benefit others. Keeping detailed accounts – for any welfare organization as well as individuals– is not just a commitment to transparency, but a realization that true self-improvement can only take place after self-assessment. We aim to be our own harshest critic and strongest competitor.
3. Promotes healthy competition
When the Prophet was asked whether the verse in the Quran, “And those who give whatever they (have to) give while their hearts are trembling” referred to people who committed sins, he replied: “No. They are those who fast, pray, and give charity whilst fearing that (these deeds) may not be accepted (by Allah). They are those who compete with one another in good deeds” [Bukhari].
There’s nothing like friendly competition to encourage people. The Prophet knew this and utilized it himself to great effect in the battle of Hunain and during other occasions throughout his life. We should encourage Muslims to compete with each other in a way that encourages excellence whilst fostering brotherhood.
4. Provides a vision
Productivity is pointless unless it is aimed in the right direction and there is a vision to your actions. While being productive and organized is important, the ultimate importance is given to the vision, or end goal. Your own vision should be pushed relentlessly at every level, every meeting and every minute.
5. Great Motivational Tool
“The Prophet said, ‘An orphan’s guardian and I, whether he is a relative or a non-relative, will be like these two in the Garden,’ and then he indicated the index and middle fingers.” [Sahih Muslim].
Even the best of us can find our desire to gain more productive habits is hard to maintain all the time. This is because despite knowing the benefits of good deeds, they are still centered on our own selves. On the other hand, if we focus on helping others sincerely for helping fellow humans and seeking Allah’s pleasure, the effort intensifies.
For example, which of these scenarios would you be more motivated for:
- If I ask you to lose 5 kilograms so that you can be more healthy
- Or if I ask you to lose 5 kilograms because if you don’t, you cannot provide bone marrow for your ill younger brother?
In the former you will find a hundred excuses, but in the second you would do within two weeks. Similarly, volunteer work shifts the focus from us as individuals to us as a nation.