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November 29, 2004
To Be or not to Be: What is MY Career?

by Sister Ibtisam

To be a doc or not to be a doc.
To be a teacher or not to be a teacher.
To be something or not to be something.

One of the hardest decisions one makes in life is a career. This is the case because whether we like it or not, career choices reflect the way we live the rest of our lives. Some people change careers multiple times in their life to receive some sort of satisfaction. Here are a couple of tips I came up with that can help foster decision-making and steadfastness in the career choices that you make.

1) Start early (I wanted to be a doctor ever since I was two): It is a good idea to start looking into career choices and thinking about them when you are in junior high, although some people have some goal set even in elementary school. Most children associate career choices with the role models they see or they are convinced to please their parents by considering to going into one field versus another.

2) Pay attention to your interest (I like to break the VCR and put it back together or I like doing problems in my dad´┐Żs electronics book): what you like (not riba!) Even when someone gets to college they are not sure about the exact career they want to pursue. Choosing a major is not necessarily indicative of a career choice. An art or history major can decide to become a lawyer or a doctor instead of a historian. Taking classes that interest you or are good ´┐Żsample´┐Ż of what law school, medical school, or graduate school is going to be like and will give you a better idea of what you want to be.

3) See what your talent is. Also judging by what other people such as your mom, dad, brother, sisters tell you what your talent is. (I can juggle six balls while balancing ten books on my head).

4) Don´┐Żt just go for the prestige either. Look for what is most needed in your community and if you have the talent, then go for it.

5) Careers choices are long term commitment (I have so much work to do, I cannot spend that much time learning about other things in my life) Since your career is a time-consuming decision and takes a lot of effort, you need to think about some of the things you will be giving up in order to pursue it.

6) Talk to people that are in a career that you want to go into. Ask them about everything from undergrad, grad to actual internships or jobs. Ask them questions like how many hours literally they had to study, how did they study, what did they study, what was a typical day for them like at each and every stage of their life (I studied five hours everyday in undergrad, 8hours everyday in medical school, and I was on-call every week in my residency). This will give you a better idea of whether you want to really go into this or not Lastly, pray before choosing a career so that Allah can guide you to make the right decision to take care of your family, to serve your community, and to serve humanity.

of and relating to...
Faisal Akhtar said


The difference is that Nasihah is printed and Hidaya is not. Nasihah is mostly about Islam however, Hidaya is about politics, world issues, anything you want to write about.

on November 29, 2004 7:24 PM
Justoju said

Ages 3-12: I wanted to be the President. I wrote him letters and made a year by year outline of my political goals.

Ages 12-18: I wanted to be a neuropsychiatrist or psychobiologist. I interned at a research institute and presented a poster on my year's worth of research at a national APS conference in Miami that my lab sent me to.

Ages 18-20: I wanted to be a human rights lawyer. I started taking part in activist groups and in the student government. I was senator for two years and VP for one. I gave a speech before the student body on the first anniversary of 9-11 and won the attention of the dean of a law school who later gave me his card and asked me to contact him directly when I was ready for law school.

Ages 20-present: I cant wait to homeschool my kids and make them into the most powerful freaking army of mu'imins the world has ever seen. I cant wait to study the deen abroad. I cant wait to teach whatever I learn to others. I am the happiest and most ambitious now than I have ever been in my life.

It is absolutely amazing how our desires and our individual understanding of 'success' changes and evolves with time.

As long as a person is active, working fisabilillah, and is growing, their talents and abilities are not being wasted. Each person uses whatever gifts they have to do the task they choose to do. Whether you choose medicine, law, construction, writing, social work, whatever, you will be using what you have been given by your Lord. Your talents and energies are never wasted--they are simply rerouted and used to complete a different task. We should never think "oh, but if I choose that career I will be wasting myself" because if what you are doing is in order to achieve an islamic end, and is for the good of the ummah, you are doing A-ok.

on November 29, 2004 10:15 PM
asif said

Justoju San:

I am impressed, Masha'Allah.
May Allah bestow you with all the Good that you desire for yourself and for your family and loved ones, in this life and in the hereafter...Ameen

on November 29, 2004 10:23 PM
Justoju said

The main problem isnt that we dont have enough people trying to become professionals and aiming for excellence--the main problem is that we dont have enough people doing what they are doing for the sake of Allah, Glorious and Exalted, and purely for the benefit of the ummah. Our intentions have become tainted and due to this our efforts will never have the barakah that is necessary in order for us to have tawfiq in ANYTHING. A slave who works for the sake of Allah is tommorrow's khalifah.

on November 29, 2004 10:26 PM
asif said

Justoju San; I couldn't have said it any better, You just nailed it with your last comment.

Jazak Allah Khair, for the reminder!

on November 29, 2004 10:34 PM
Justoju said

JazakAllahu khair brother Asif, but Justoju San? I am not the karate kid and I am quite sure you arent a sensei. Sister Justoju will do just fine inshaAllah. Or Sis. Justoju. Or Sr. Justoju. Your choice.

The comments I left are really for the sisters who, like me, grew up never even considering living without a professional western version of a career. Just wanted to say that there are other options. I have a lot to say on this issue and plan to inshaAllah write an article on muslim women and careers. (And yes, I think it is ok for women to have them...but not unconditionally)

on November 29, 2004 11:39 PM
asif said

hahaha...you got that right...I aint a sensei.

But I prefer San in respect. Obviously, you cant be Chan to me, and I dont think you wanna be called Sama. So I think Sr. Justoju-San will suffice for now.

on November 30, 2004 12:06 AM
Talal said

SubhaanAllah... I have to agree with the comments about realizing what one is meant for, as far as working for the good of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala).

I thought I knew for sure since age 5 EXACTLY what I was gonna be doing for life. I even entered college thinking that I just KNEW what I wanted to do. Three years into college, I STILL thought I KNEW.
THen, something happens, you awaken, alhamdulillah.
You realize that there is a talent in you that Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) has blessed you with. You realize the potential of using that talent fi sabeel Allah.

The money will come inshaAllah, it's just not what the AIM should be.
Just like with spouses... AIM to get married and naught else, and well.. you lose. AIM to dominate this dunya for the aakhirah, and you'll see the spouse (as well as any other sought after desires of the dunya) fall into place if that is the will of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala).
-- yeah I had to add in that last part.

Don't waste time fretting or worrying... work, work, WORK in the path of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala).

on November 30, 2004 12:48 AM
Justoju :) said

All over.
Makkah, Madinah, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia, Yemen, Pakistan--there are qualified shuyukh everywhere. I prefer arabic speaking countries to non arabic speaking ones so I figure I will start in Egypt and work my way eastwards :).

on November 30, 2004 12:01 PM
asif said

So does it mean now that with "Bridges" channel available in North America (on Cable-TV), I can subscribe to that channel. That will be 1% good out of the 99%, NO?

Just kidding!

on November 30, 2004 10:31 PM
alex said

hi nice site.

on April 13, 2007 5:08 PM
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