I Don’t Want To Work 9-5 All My Life; It’s a Prison

09 March, 2017
Q I am a 20 year old computing student and I just don't want to work all my life. I look at the people around me, my family, uncles, cousins working all their lives, 9-5, sometimes even 12 hours, and I just don't see why. Why has Allah (SWT) made this prison system exist? The only time I have worked was on the weekends, and even then I couldn't handle working long hours. I then worked at my uncle's shop, and I did work long hours there (11-7) when he used to call me in for a few days, and you know what? I HATED IT. Now I have almost finished my 2nd year of university and i may have to get a part-time job after this semester but i just can't bear the thought of working 9-5 full-time for 40 YEARS after i graduate! Sometimes i wish i want to just leave this country or go to the countryside and set up a farm where i can be free and live a simple life; but my family wouldn't allow that, they'd see me as a disgrace. They came from Pakistan to live here in the UK and they have just constantly been working, working, working. Sometimes i even wish i joined ISIS - i know that they're bad people but at least they have freedom. Whenever i see ISIS losing their struggle for domination, deep in my heart, i hate that, but most of all, i wish Allah (SWT) just ends this world soon. I know most of the minor signs have been fulfilled, and i wish in the bottom of my heart that Allah (SWT) sends down Esa (AS) and Imam Mahdi, and then bring a change to this world, i want this to happen soon. I don't even pray; I only go to Friday Prayers. Maybe i thought i'll get used to 9-5 life, but i have no passion i want to work towards. The only thing i wanted to be web designer, and i don't even know why i chose to do that back in secondary school. I felt it was interesting, but what if it's not? What if i'm in a job i hate? And the repetition of this routine makes me sick to the stomach. I feel i am the worst person in this family. My mum is a single mum and she works 10 hours a day. I see that and you know what? i love living off her money, but i hate that so much, i may have to get a part-time job after this 2nd year and i still hate it. i wish my family didn't come here just to work all their lives. Now i'm thinking of creating an e-commerce business, i am following a course made by a successful e-commerce person but something is stopping me from even creating the store itself; the thought of failure, the thought of not succeeding in this business then having to accept this prison lifestyle. So i don't know what to do, please help me.

Answer

Answer:

As-Salamu ‘Alaykum brother,

Thank you for your very thought provoking question.  As I understand your concerns, you see people working every day, often long hours and feel it is a prison system. You stated that you hated to see your family come to the UK just to “work their whole lives.” Yet, what did people do back in your homeland? Surely, there were medical facilities, schools, stores, etc. wherein people worked hard to support their families while contributing to the well-being of society.

It is true that most people work in order to support themselves and their families. They often must work long hours in order to make ends meet. While this does not seem fair to you, can you imagine a world or society wherein no one worked? Where would you purchase your food? There would be no one to work at the grocery store, no one to raise the produce or animals for food, and no one to transport it to the stores. Additionally, if you or someone you loved got sick and needed medical care, who would treat them? There would be no doctors as no one works.

As you see, brother, it is very important that we work. You stated you worked for your dad and your uncle a few times which you “hated”. There are many hadiths and verses in the Qur’an which not only instruct us to work hard, but they also indicate the penalties for being lazy, non-productive, and wasteful of the blessings Allah (swt) has given us. In the Qur’an, it’s stated,

“And that there is not for man except that [good] for which he strives.” (53:39)

Even the Prophet Mohammad (saw) worked. The Prophet (saw) was a merchant. He took care of his wife’s, Khadijah’s, business. He was a shepherd; he farmed land, and he was engaged, of course, in full time in dawah.

So brother, I kindly ask that you reflect upon the fact that if you love our Prophet (saw) and desire to follow in his path, what makes you think or feel you should not have to work when even our beloved Prophet Mohammad (saw) worked very hard?

I encourage you brother to do some deep thinking and self-exploration of why you do not want to work. Make a list of the reasons you do not want to work and include detailed reasons why you feel this reason is valid. Make another list of the reasons why you should work, and write down detailed blessings and benefits you will reap, in sha’ Allah. Watch this short video on choosing a career. I believe it will help you a lot to define your reasons and problems.

Please read the Qur’an in regards to what Allah (swt) says about a man working in this life and not being a burden to others. Try to decide if your opposition to working is due to laziness, depression, or not really knowing what you would like to do in this life for a career. If you feel you are depressed, please do seek out counseling in your area.

As far as joining ISIS, not only would you going against Islam and Allah (swt) which would have very serious consequences, but do you think that it would be a life of ease?  No. You even stated they were “bad people”.  Why would you want to be among the “bad people”? Do you feel they have real freedom? No. In fact, if you fail to do whatever they say, you may even be killed. That is bondage. While I do not know much about their structure, I do know as in any “army”, you will likely be getting up very early, have grueling days and get little rest. In addition, you will probably be doing things you wish you did not have to do, things that hurt others, and you may want to leave (like a lot do) but you will be unable. I seriously pray to Allah (swt) that He (swt) grants mercy and set your heart and mind straight concerning this as it is a very dangerous and haram trap you are contemplating.

In a positive light, you are currently in school. In essence, going to a university and studying, doing research on various topics, studying for exams is work. So, you have been already working; however, you are not getting paid in a financial way but are reaping the benefits of knowledge and in sha’ Allah securing a good job in the future which will pay a good salary.  If you are not happy with your chosen course, I kindly suggest brother that you seek out the services of a Career Centre. At these centers, they can give you tests and assessments which will help you find work/career path that you may enjoy.

It is important that we enjoy our work. However, as responsible Muslims, we also know that everything not that enjoyable must be done for the sake of Allah (swt). Working and supporting one’s self and family and contributing to our communities is a form of worship. As you are able bodied and of sound mind, there is no reason why you should not work. Many who are ill or missing limbs work, and those who cannot wish that they can. So I ask, which of your Lord’s (swt) blessing will you deny?

You stated your mom is a social worker and works very hard, often 10 hours a day.  Alhumdulilah, may Allah bless her efforts. However, as a grown man, you can also work to relieve your mom of some of the stress and hardship she has been going through trying to support you and make a good life for her family. In fact, it is quite selfish of you to not help your mother financially as she gave you life and sacrificed much so you could have things and go to a university.

Brother, I kindly suggest that you begin to re-evaluate your life in terms of your priorities. Do you want a life of not working, depending on others to take care of you?  You stated you just want to go off and live in the countryside and set up a farm. However, you would still need money to buy the land and farm house (or money to build it), and you would still need money to purchase goods, household items, food, crop needs and much more. Additionally, you would need money to take care of your family if you marry, unless you plan on a life of solitude. If you could have the life you chose (not working), what would you do with all your days? Surely, there would not be many social times as you would be broke. You would not be able to travel, take trips, or even make Hajj as you would have no money. Also, I think that after a while you would get very bored doing nothing and trying to sustain yourself on nothing.

Brother, please, consider the very serious nature of your contemplations. I kindly suggest you see a good counselor as well as a career counselor who will guide you through this most difficult time. There are many types of careers and jobs you can chose from, with different kinds of working hours. For example, entrepreneurs who run their own businesses, like the one you are thinking to start, have probably a more flexible working hours. But you might work at a place that allows you to work from home. In sha’ Allah, by taking these initiatives, you will find your own path, what you were created to do, and find the passion for working that you say is missing.

When negative thoughts about working come up, counter them with a positive. For instance, if a thought pops up like “I hate going to my father’s to work”, replace that thought with “I am happy to help my father and this will strengthen me and prepare me as a responsible man.” If you begin to think “This is a prison, a rat race”, tell yourself “working in a halal manner is an honorable way to please Allah (swt), help others, and make honest money towards my dream of living in the country”.  It is my feeling dear brother that the more you work, the more you will find satisfaction in working. As you are not use to working, it can be a bit intimidating to think of a lifetime of hard work, when in fact you will find many rewards in it as well as blessings if you keep an open mind and strive to do your best as a man and a Muslim.

Lastly, you stated that “I don’t even pray; I only go to Friday Prayers”. I kindly suggest that you seek a closer relationship with Allah (swt). Read Qur’an, go to the Masjid on a regular basis, keep your prayers, make du’aa’ for Allah’s mercy and help. Join Islamic classes or study groups for young men that relate to preparing to go out into the world on their own. Seek good company from brothers who are uplifting, who follow Islamic principles, and who will have your best interests in heart. In sha’ Allah, the closer you get to Allah (swt), the more you pray and submit to Allah’s (swt) structure for a successful life, the happier you will become as you will begin to see the wisdom in these Islamic foundations.

We wish you the best brother. You are in our prayers. Please, let us know how you are doing.

Salam,

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.