Sunday, 2 September 2012

Amanah at Work

When our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was escaping from the Quraish (in his flight from Mecca to Medinah) he had entrusted the duty to lead him and his companions through the desert to a non-muslim guide. This indicates two things: the value of trust empowered to someone must be withheld at all times and that this empowerment can be given even to a non believer if he/she can be trusted. Let us observe the former in the context of a work environment today.

In a work place, there exists a binding agreement between an employer and an employee. Let us put aside the role of the employer and let me focus on the employee in this instance. In today’s work environment, we are overwhelmed by the information available on the Internet. I can see that many employees are logged into the system to obtain information and to communicate in a borderless environment. I can also see that many employees are on Facebook, chatting, etc on the net in the course of their work hours. Some even spend hours on these social websites and applications. When questioned, all sorts of excuses will be used to justify this behaviour but the employees fail to justify how they are using up the company’s time for their own personal agenda. This is one evil conduct lurking in the modern work environment. A staggering 7 millions users of Facebook in Malaysia was mentioned in the newspaper yesterday. Is this a form of “silahturahhim” or of airing dirty laundry publicly? Think again. It is a question of AMANAH in the workplace.

The first thing an employee would log on to in the morning is their Facebook instead of outstanding work related emails which require their attention. I see this scary trend in all the work places where I have been. Some even blatantly smile and laugh in front of their screen, oblivious to their surroundings as if this is an acceptable norm. Think about how we derive our income – is it a legal way? By no means am I against Facebook. If used in a positive, controlled, and in accordance to the moral stand, such vehicle can be a benefit to users. Personally, I don’t own a Facebook account for a variety of reasons. First, Facebook users chat and talk about others and even air their “dirty laundry” for the public to view. Second, the agenda of the users are almost insincere in getting their message across, thus a question of sincerity and intention which are almost always against the beliefs established in our great religion of Islam. Finally, Facebook encroaches into our privacy - whether we want it to or not.

This same Facebook is used by the employees during the regular office hours for the “benefits and intentions” of the users only. A very small fraction is used for the benefits of the employer. Since evil lurks in many forms, I urge my brothers and sisters in Islam to think about this issue seriously and to stop indulging on these activities which are detrimental to us spiritually. We want our income to be derived in the right manner and to show our utmost Islamic values to our colleagues who are non-believers. That in itself is your testament (dakwah) to Allah SWT.

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