I was attending my seerah class today and my Sir has an amazing way to catch our attention and make the class an extremely lively and interactive one, mashaAllah…now, did I say the classes are online? Yup, but he manages to make each class a gem to remember.
Anyhow, he suddenly popped a question, although it had nothing to do with the class or the subject..he said, “Have you all thought about how you could use your talent or profession to please Allah (swt) or help your community of brothers and sisters?”
This got me thinking.. because most of us work to earn our daily bread for our families but what about our intentions? Well, not all of us can open an orphanage or a school or fund an organization for obvious reasons, however I strongly believe that it doesn’t really matter how small the fund is.. something is always better than nothing..anyhow..
While thinking over this and wondering if I could really use my skills or profession to benefit others at large, I thought about my profession as a writer..an unconventional job for someone who has graduated in Food Science and Nutrition..
I’ve had people asking me, “You do WHAT”? and I say “Food writer” to make it sound more confusing :D and they say “What’s there to write in that” I say “Loads”!!
After having graduated, the immediate question many people posed to me was “So, what next, job??” followed by silence, which means, “Marriage??”.
Its an automatic tendency with people here, they hold the marriage card right over your head. Some people almost made it sound like “If not now, then when” while others went overboard with “You’re already in your twenties”, which loosely translated into “Your nearing the expiry date, watch out!!”.
The experience was not a very pleasant one and my mind said “Whatever!”. I had a dream and I liked doing things the way I wanted, not the way others wanted me to. Yes, on those terms I can get pretty headstrong, however, the “What-next syndrome” was troubling me too.
Going by normal terms, as a student of Nutrition, I was technically supposed to be a nutritionist..but NO.
I had promised myself right after high school when filling applications for colleges that I would want my profession to be UNCONVENTIONAL..I had already discussed this with a couple of friends who at that time could not understand how I could make it unconventional when the chances and possibilities here were limited for nutritionists. The subject was just catching up and not up to the same level as in other countries, the chances were slim they said.
But NO NO, I had a dream, a dream to make it unconventional and I was impatient to achieve it. So after graduating, while everyone were running around trying for hospitals I was quietly sitting at home and weighing my options.
“Why not hospitals” many people asked, I asked “Why should I?”
Firstly, I couldn’t have managed to work in a city when I’m not fluent in the local language, so that strikes out my first possibility.
Secondly, after graduating I was quite “thin” myself which posed a psychological question.
And the most important thing was: That job sounded conventional, something which everyone does and I had promised myself I would do something unconventional.
And then people asked “Why not fitness centers”.
I loathed the idea. I thought, “What, sit there day and night advising people what to eat and what not, in the process become malnourished myself, trying to explain why they should not eat what they are eating and then not all of them would be frank in telling me the secret food item they just gobbled at midnight”. I should have turned into a detective for that.
Me and “talking” does not go hand in hand unless I like “talking”..hmmmm
And the problem with diets is people expect instant results like instant coffee. The problem is when u sacrifice something u love, especially to compromise on something like food requires a lot of will-power and when u don’t see the results, you are sure to spit fire.
Not ideal ^^..nah nah..
Then came other opportunities. I was a choosy eater, but I soon realized that I was a choosy job hunter too.
And so the journey began, in hunting down websites that would be ready to accept my articles based on nutrition. Although the first few ones I worked for, wanted to me write on diverse topics, some I had never even imagined about (talk about Amazon forests and computer stuff to name a few) but it was a good experience anyway, alhamdulillah!
After a lot of Google searching, I landed on a very good website, which gave me the option to concentrate on topics I like. I was all smiles.I still work for that website. and I feel a “part of my dream” to sound unconventional and at the same do what I love has been accomplished, alhamdulillah!
But then there was that other part in me that was not satisfied.. to acquire knowledge and not pass it on to others was a crime I felt. I was wondering how I could have a larger reach, specifically towards sisters who stay at home and want more knowledge. And then I thought, “Hold on, why not write for Productive Muslim?!”. Reading a couple of articles was enough to make me fall in love with the website.
However, the next question was, “What could I write that would fit their website which spoke about “productivity”?” I loved the practical approach they had and combining that with spirituality and stuff..but food?!?! Then I remembered food was a fuel to your brain, so how could you be productive when you didn’t eat right!! Tut tut…And voila.. I thought “Productive Muslim really needs a nutritionist..lol” I quickly filled up the form given, and proudly wrote “Eating healthy leads to productive living”! Looking back, even I cant believe I came up with something like that in a matter of minutes. O_o
I got selected the same day, their response being super fast and me being uber excited!!!
And so the journey began…(and hopefully continues for a long time to come insha’Allah)
Anyhow, so helping people around through words has been very liberating personally. Because if someone were to come over and ask me “What are u doing for your community”, I could say “Well, I’m trying to get my knowledge across through some medium which would reach thousands at the comforts of their home”, so not all guilty about “Hiding my knowledge”. I’m glad Alhamdulillah..
What’s the favorite part of this “work” (its in quotes because I don’t consider this work..its my passion)…yeah..thats the word …I “work” from home…!! All I need is an internet connection to post my articles and Im done. No running around trying to be on time to work and then answering your bosses, trying to please them, flatter them etc. etc. all the rubbish that comes along with it.
Satisfaction should come from within, which I have achieved in this, alhamdulillah. And, in fact, why not: I have time flexibility, work flexibility and all my flexibility I want the halal way, not miss my prayers, eat whenever I want, is there anything more I could ask for?
And no unwanted “mixing”or guilty feelings or pricking conscience alhamdulillah!
Going back to what my Sir had asked, I guess I am using my passion or profession to serve the community, maybe not on a large scale level but even if one person has benefited, it is always going to be so worth it. The prayers that come along from people who have read my articles on Productive Muslim are priceless.
Prayers and duas from fellow readers are priceless (given the immense weights they add to my scale of good deeds on the Day of Judgment)
So I say…alhamdulillah to be born in this day and age and alhamdulillah to have supportive parents who allowed me to achieve what I wanted and not push their choices on my head and alhamdulillah for He giving me a gift which I could use to help His slaves on this planet!
I’m loving it!! :) and inshaAllah, I hope to continue writing in whatever little way I can.
[Photo credits: mauriliomorim.com, mohanmadabd.deviantart.com, hermanmiller.com]