MUSLIMS AND PROFESSIONALISM

As a Muslim who is also a professional there is a dual responsibility on you in your quest to succeed both in your profession and your faith. Here, the professional is not restricted to the usual definition of someone who is in an occupation that requires special training, such as law, accountancy, engineering, medicine, estate management, banking and such other fields.

Rather, the professional is defined as someone who is extremely competent in a job or who is engaged in an activity as a means of livelihood which he performs for other people. By this, you are a professional whether you are engaged in a blue collar job (artisans, industrial workers etc.) or a white-collar one.

The attempt here is to show that as long as the job itself is halaal (permissible in Islaam), then your responsibility as a professional (i. e to excel in your occupation so that the boss or the stakeholders are pleased) and your responsibility as a Muslim (i. e to seek the pleasure of Allah and attain His Mercy) are essentially the same. Allah says;

" We have certainly created man in the best of stature, then We return him to the lowest of the low, except for those who believe and do righteous deeds, for they will have a reward uninterrupted!' (Q95[at-Teen]:4-6)

The above verses refer to the upright, symmetrical and balanced nature of the physical form in which man was created and the depths of immorality, and consequently Hell Fire, to which he falls; yet they have general applications. One of these is that man should strive to attain the very best in whatever halaal deeds he does so that he can retain the best mould in which Allah created him at first; otherwise he will faII into very low depths.

A BETTER WAY

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallaam) affirmed this admonition in his saying that:

".. Allah has decreed that for everything, there is a better way. Then when you kill in battle. do it in the best way: and, when you slaughter [an animal] in sacrifice. do it .the best way. So every one of you should sharpen his knife. and let the slaughtered animal die comfortably", (Muslim)

There are four points of benefit in this hadith: the first is that that there is always a better way of doing ttlings and that the professional should constantly search for the way to make his work and his deen better. This first benefit is indicated in his saying:

'Allah has decreed that for everything. there is a better way".

Indeed, Allah points out to the believer that the best way of doing things in the deen is to follow the way (sunnah) of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallaam):

"There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often!' (Q33[al- Ahzab]:21)

The second point of benefit is the need to prepare very well in order to be truly professional in one's job. This is the obvious meaning of his saying:

 "So everyone of you should sharpen his knife ... ",

As the cliche goes, if you fail to plan. then you have planned to fail. Similarly, if the professional does not prepare well for his job by equipping himself with requisite skills, then he will be unable to deliver what is expected of him. Yet. a lot of people do not prepare well for their jobs and they expect that success comes just because they pray hard. The Prophet stressed this lackadaisical nature of human beings when he said:

"..People are like camels: you may not find one suitable mount from even a hundred of THEM"(Bukhari)

As a Muslim professional, you should always strive to be in this top most two percent.

After you have prepared will then you should take to the other two benefits from the hadith: first, apply the skill you have acquired to your jobs as in his saying "do it in the best way". the make sure that your customers are always satisfied with your output as he says, "and let the slaughtered animal die comfortably". do not put yourself forward as a professional unless you are prepared to become the very best that you can possibly can. you must not become a quack either due to negligence (lack of preparation) or due to lack of skills. There is a cost  to being a quack. Abu Dawud, An Nasai and Ibn Majah reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"those who practice Tibb (medicine) but are not knowledgeable in this profession are responsible for their actions".

Direct responsibility

according to imam ibn Qayyim al jauziyyah, there ar e three types of benefits in this hadith: linguistic, religious and medicinal. Linguistically, tibb (usually translated as medicine) entails preparing a thing, It also entails excellence and thus means other that the profession of doctors. The word 'tabib' (usually means doctor) describes a knowledgeable person or someone who is proficient in anything; that is someone who is professional. the religious benefit from the hadith requires the ignorant doctor (or professional) to pay for his mistakes, because he has practiced a profession although he was unqualified in it and then caused harm to the people, whom he in fact has cheated and deceived.

Imam Al-Khattabi said:

"there is no difference of opinion amongst the scholars concerning the ruling that when one treats a sick person and causes him harm, that he is financially responsible for his acts, those who indulge in a profession that they are not proficient in are aggressors. therefore, when their actions lead to harm, the aggressors ought to pay for their action, financially...."

there are five types of professionals; look through and find out which of the group you belong to.

FIVE TYPES

The first is a proficient professional who gives the profession its due right and who acts responsibly. When he services people and makes a mistake. then he is not liable for the error. The second type is an ignorant professional who renders services. this quack is liable only when the customer does not know him to be one; so let the buyer beware!

the third type is a professional who is qualified but has refused to update his skills. so the patient complains of headache and he treats him by cutting off one of his toes; then in this case compensation is necessary because it is an aggression by mistake, similar to this is the professional who sees something wrong with the customer and proceeds to 'treat' him without permission and then effects the wring remedy. He too is liable to pay compensation to the customer. the final category is the proficient professional who makes a genuine error; he doesn't pay any compensation, so, where do you belong?

This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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