Problem Solving

November 15th, 2011 @   -  No Comments

“Islam is the solution” has become a very popular slogan among many Muslims. Does this mean that Islam provides solution guides to every problem ever faced or to be faced by Humanity?

Of course Not!

Islam provides us with guidance on why we are here on this earth, how we worship and serve our Creator, how we live our lives with all the people around us and how we face the challenges of life.

How about helping us to solve our day to day problems?

For this, Allah and His Prophet (PBUH) direct us to use the faculties that Allah has given us to reason and find the most appropriate solutions within the ethics and boundaries set by The Almighty. There is a story where the Prophet (PBUH) made recommendations about cross-pollinating the date palms and then later said “You know best about the affairs of your worldly lives”. He meant that we must use our reason, experience and intellect to solve the problems that we may face from time to time.

How does Islam help us deal with our problems and help us live a wholesome life in this world and attain salvation in the Hereafter? As a leader in your organization, what guidelines would you provide to your people to abide by when problem-solving?

Here are five major guidelines that you might find useful:

Life is a series of tests

As Muslims, we believe that every problem, no matter how big or small, is just a test by The Almighty to see how we deal with it. Allah says in the Quran: “Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere” (Quran 2:155). Allah is giving us the glad tiding of success that comes about when we overcome the various tests we face in life. We can also observe in real life that dealing successfully with problems and challenges helps us grow. Airplanes take off against the wind and not with it. To grow their muscles, athletes push themselves to the extreme till the muscles break then reconstruct.

Lawful solutions

When we approach problems from an Islamic perspective, the solutions we develop must be fully compatible with Islamic rulings and ethics. For example, if your organisation has cash flow problems, it can’t just withhold payments of wages to employees. This would be solving your problem at the expense of others. The Prophet (PBUH) taught us to pay employees their dues before their sweat dries up which means paying them as soon as they complete the job or as otherwise agreed.

Consultation

While addressing the Prophet (PBUH), Allah directs him, among other things, to consult with his companions: “…and consult them in affairs (of moment)…” (Quran 3:159). In another verse Allah describes the Muslims as: “Those who hearken to their Lord, and establish regular Prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for Sustenance;” (Quran 42:38). We note in this verse that Allah has inserted mutual consultation between two important pillars of Islam, namely, establishing prayer and spending in His sake which most often come joined together. Consulting people usually brings out excellent ideas which lead to exceptional solutions.

Be patient

Some problems are tougher to solve than others. Some problems take longer to solve than others. However, one thing is certain: with every problem or difficulty there is a relief as Allah assures us in the Quran: “So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief: Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.” (Quran 94:5-6). Therefore, hang in there and turn to Allah for help.

Make supplication

Supplication (Doua in Arabic) is our direct hot line with Allah. Just imagine if all the rich and powerful people on earth gave you their phone numbers and asked you to call on them when you need help. You would feel very secure and confident, wouldn’t you? Allah is more powerful than the most powerful people who ever lived or will ever live. He tells His Prophet (PBUH): “When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.” (Quran 2:186). The Prophet (PBUH) told us “Verily your Lord is ashamed of His servants when they raise their hands to Him in Supplication to return them empty.”

Islam may not provide ready-made solutions to every problem but provides the tools with which we can tackle our problems and challenges. Use these tools and enjoy your journey of success in this life and the hearafter.

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