Being resilient, confident, and optimistic can come in handy when coping with the pressures and challenges that come with operating in dog-eat-dog environments – competing not only with fierce organisational rivals, but also fellow work colleagues for internal promotions and pay rises. It certainly helps if one has a sense of belonging in spheres of life such as family – an organic social safety net that can provide support and encouragement in testing times.
During my PhD research, I was presented with my fair share of stumbling blocks. At times, one can question whether their personal research is making an original contribution – whether it is genuinely developing our collective understanding of key social, economic, and cultural issues. Doing independent research of this nature can be an experience of solitude and loneliness. It is a test of one’s mental resilience – tenacity and determination hold the key.
As well as keeping the faith as an individual, it is just as important that your closest and dearest have the belief that you will be successful by meeting your goals. When it comes to work, the pandemic was an unpredictable time. With lockdowns came the loss of livelihoods and businesses going under. Many were furloughed, no longer having work to provide daily structure and routine. My faith teaches me to be grateful in life – I was able to work throughout the pandemic, knuckling down to build my reputation under admittedly difficult circumstances.
What is integral to my faith is the belief that being devoted to God involves treating family-related responsibilities and duties with the utmost seriousness. This includes being highly productive and securing the rewards that can come from impressive levels of work performance. In this sense, Islam is a fine guiding force, due to its emphasis on structure and regimentation.
We must not ignore the fact that for all its flaws, the UK ranks far better than much of the world when it comes to the combination of religious and economic freedom – and that ought to be better celebrated. I suspect that many of the country’s British Muslim business owners and self-employed workers would agree.
This only makes me even more appreciative of the opportunities and rights provided under British democracy – in my view, the best place in the world to live as a Muslim who wishes to maximise their potential and provide a stable life for their families.