Thursday, May 19, 2016

Week 2: Declaration of Independence

Dear Reader,

Let's pick up where we last left off, shall we? I had verbally fired my biggest client, by more or less saying "I QUIT". She gave me the chance to think it over but Alhumdullilah I had already done all the thinking I needed before those words left my lips. Let me give you a bit of background.

During a recent trip to Pakistan, I stumbled across the Four hour work week, by Tim Ferris. It was tucked away in the back of a Liberty Books giftshop. I was familiar with Tim through his podcast which my college professor had recommended. So I decided to take home a copy. (Home you say? Meaning the states, right? Nopes, I can crash at a friend's houses in multiple cities, including Dubai. This allows me to be a global citizen but more on this later) I devoured the whole book within days. From what I can recall, there are a few key points to consider. First of all, if you truly want to be in control of your schedule always opt for remote work.

If you have a laptop, a good internet connection and a quiet workspace you have more than enough resources to support yourself. Also, go for incremental retirements. Gone are the days where you remained a loyal employee and worked for years on end for the same employer. Hoping to qualify for their pensions. In the age of Enron and downsizing, this is sheer folly. Furthermore, Islam teaches us that we don't know when or where our death will come. Who is to say that you will be around 20 years from now to collect that pension? I know we don't like thinking about our mortality but the fact of the matter is that death will visit us all and not always on our terms. Just ask Prince or MJ. 

That's why I have resolved to develop my Khushoo and pray each prayer as if it is my last. With 5 daily prayers, there are plenty of reminders of our frail existence. Which automatically wards off any arrogant notions. Add to that the meditative effects on focusing on your recitation bowing in submission and praising your creator.  Alhumdullilah I leave the prayer rug recharged and ready for my next challenge.

So I was itching to start a mini-retirement after 2 years of service. During Ummrah, I implored Allah to give me this opportunity. I knew the tranquility of focusing on what is important to me could not compare to any paycheck, no matter the amount. So as I thought things over, I developed a steely resolve my retirement will not be denied! I will most certainly resign and there was nothing more to it. 

And why shouldn't I? It wasn't like I planned on lying on a beach all day wasting my time and money. Heck no! That would be a disservice to my family who is counting on me to provide for them. In my hearts of hearts, I knew this route is the BEST way to provide for them. Just think about it. Our life's mission is to be like the prophets. We must walk in their footsteps to be truly successful. The prophets were all freemen. Do you think they worked 9-5 and then saved humanity during the evening or weekends? They worked on their mission 24/7 as long as their hearts were beating they strived to spread the good word. Simply put we need more freemen.

Liberating ourselves from imposed schedules is a must. We have the right to be in charge of our own calendars. This time was gifted to us by our creator, it behooves us to use it in a responsible manner. What does this kind of thinking give us mentality? We prepare for our death each time our head touches the prayer mat. The lyrics "I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose Fire away, fire away" come to mind (sorry for earworm). How can we be sure that after taking a hit we can get right back up? Easy, we must be honest with ourselves and seek harmony, be in tune with our destiny. This way we can flow along with all the ebbs and flows of life without having them tear us apart. 

Furthermore, I didn't have a plan for my retirement I had a gameplan. The difference between the two words is that the latter is more action oriented. Others seem to agree too, it looks like my  isolated musings were not that far off. There is another brother, mashallah, who has taken the same approach. Enter Dr. Meraj Mohiuddin, the author of Revelation. I watched a video in which he explained his origin story. 

One day while studying for his exams he realized that the amount of knowledge he had in head with regard to the medical profession paled in comparison to his religious knowledge. He couldn't tell you the historical context of a random surah (I am guilty of this as well). This was something that bothered him. So after completing his exam he decided to keep his exercise muscles fresh by applying the same academic rigor to his religious studies. After accepting a challenge thrown down by Sheik Hamza Yousef he went ahead and created a glossary of names to help students of the Seerah. One thing led to another and he produced a fascinating book on the life of our beloved prophet (PBUH). 

Surprisingly the good doctor views our beloved more as a coach than a teacher. The word coach is important as it implies action, training, and discipline. All things that are relevant as we seek to better ourselves. Far from being passive, we are encouraging ourselves to jump in and go with the ebb and flows of the movement of life, ultimately fulfilling our destiny by completing our twisting and turning journey right back to where we started, our lord. I just loved the fact that my gameplan was based on time tested and proven methods. I didn't have to sit with new age gurus telling me about foo foo ideas on productivity that don't even take into account that we have souls! The gameplay is fluid enough that I can and have tweaked it based on received feedback. Thus becoming a powerful tool to guide me as I ventured into my first retirement.

So come, Monday morning I sent off an email thanking my manager for taking me in showing me the ropes, developing my technical skills and facilitating me best she could every step of the way. I also mentioned my last date so that it could be communicated to Human Resources. After sending that email I could imagine how the founding fathers must have felt. Placing their names on the Declaration of Independence met a declaration of war. Mother England wasn't going to just sit by and let some no good colonist have their freedom. There was going to be a fight and they best be ready!

Want to know what happens next? Tune in next week! This is your brother reminding himself out loud. If you found something beneficial it was from Allah. If I have said something wrong it is my shortcoming and I ask your forgiveness. Saqinator out!

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