Ever had that moment where you’re sitting in class, half alert, you hear one sentence or one word and all of a sudden you have an epiphany about something totally unrelated. Well, that is exactly what happened to me when my professor asked, “What is capital’?”
While the rest of the class attempted to answer this intentionally vague and abstract question, I started thinking about all the different types out there: financial capital, human capital, social capital.
People invest socially by doing things that put them somewhere high on the social ladder and help them network with others, like going to college to get more knowledge or joining some group.
Professional schools invest in human capital by accepting students with a broad range of experiences and interests, because they can’t have bookworms becoming doctors and lawyers.
Businesses invest financially by putting their money towards things that will help it grow in the long run, like buying a plot of land for a store or providing paid training for their workers.
What if your life and soul is your business. That would be your spiritual capital. Then it would make sense to be an entrepreneur and invest in yourself.
Why, you ask?
Well, a 2007 study on Spirituality and the Health of College Students concluded that “College students integrating a spiritual component while processing decisions about risks that could negatively [affect] their health experienced better health outcomes.” Basically, people who are spiritual or religious in any way tend to live longer, cope better with stress, deal better with loss, and are more optimistic overall.
Let’s take a minute to think about spiritual capital from an Islamic point of view.
5 Ways You Can Invest in Spiritual Capital
1. Increase tawakkul –> Decrease heartache
Tawakkul is your faith and trust in Allah.
“Say: “Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us: He is our protector”: and on Allah let the Believers put their trust.” – Q9:51
Everything that happens to you, good or bad, come from Him. There is a reason and wisdom behind everything whether we know it or not. So don’t sweat the petty things. Everything in dunya is petty when you think about the big picture.
2. Increase taqwa –> Decrease procrastination
If your life was a movie, would you even want to watch it?
One meaning of ‘taqwa’ describes your fear of Allah. An example of this is described when Allah swt says in the Quran:
“And say, “Do [as you will], for Allah will see your deeds, and [so, will] His Messenger and the believers. And you will be returned to the Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, and He will inform you of what you used to do.” -Q9:105
Think about this next time you spend 5 hours of your life on Facebook or YouTube when you have work in front of you. If you fear Allah, you will fear the consequences of your actions and how you spend your time. By practicing this awareness, you can help stop your own procrastination. This way you not only accomplish more in life and in school, but you can also free yourself up to worship Allah swt by putting your time and energy in beneficial activities.
3. Pray on time –> Increase discipline
As a wise person once said, “Your schedule should revolve around salah, not the other way around.” If you plan your activities for the day, you will notice that you have a ton of room to get work done from Fajr to Zhur.
If you continuously work on praying five times a day, respect the boundaries of the prayer times, and pray with khushu (concentration/presence of the heart), you will notice that this practice will stick with you and it will help you become disciplined in many areas of your life, particularly with time management and focus. This is especially important when we, as a culture, have ADD. I am generalizing here, but I personally believe that we should strive to be more conscious and focused in our lives in order to be productive human beings.
4. Recite Quran –> Better acquisition of knowledge
When I was younger, after my Quran lesson for the day, my mother would tell me to make du’a by saying Rabbeh-zidni-ilma (My Lord, Increase me in knowledge). I never understood why until I was older and came across this verse:
“So high [above all] is Allah , the Sovereign, the Truth. And, [O Muhammad], do not hasten with [recitation of] the Qur’an before its revelation is completed to you, and say, “My Lord, increase me in knowledge.”” -Q20:114
I also notice that I can understand tough reading material better when I have read some Quran or have the desire for it in my heart. Aside from the fact the Allah swt provides us with a book full of His Knowledge (and He is, after all, the All-Knowing), it follows logically that if you are able to memorize the entire Quran, you should have no problem learning anything you aspire to learn.
5. Make du’a often and for others –> Increase positivity in your life and relationships
If you are a human person over the age of 16, it is more than likely that you have faced some sort of seemingly huge “Why me?” moment. Nope, I’m not a mind reader. Astaghfarullah. I’m just really sure its a universal phenomenon. These kinds of moments make it hard to stay optimistic. But everyone has ups and downs. Make du’a to show your appreciation of the ups. Make du’a He helps you with the downs. This goes back the verse in point #1.
Get into the habit of making du’a in your heart, softly to yourself, or out loud when no one’s around. Ask Allah for a candy bar if you really want one. It sounds silly, but making a habit out of asking Allah for anything your heart desires is beneficial for so many reasons, in this particular case, it helps make Allah your first resource in any emergency. Not only do you end up airing out your thoughts by talking to Him, you gradually learn to articulate what’s really bothering you. Kind of like going to a therapist, but without the huge bill. Sometimes, just pinpointing your problem is winning half the battle. It allows you to move on and be positive about life again.
Following the same line of thought. If you make du’a for other people in your life, you gradually realize their importance to you, how much you also want them in jannah with you, how much you want their success and their happiness. The prophet (pbuh) said,
“…the du’a of a Muslim for his brother (in Islam) in his absence is readily accepted, and an angel is appointed to his side, whenever he makes a beneficial du’a for his brother the appointed angel says “Ameen and may you also be blessed with the same” (Muslim)
Also, family and friends can be a fitnah sometimes, and you can lose sight of the long term relationship in the heat of short term problems. Turn to Allah with a sincere heart and ask Him to help resolve conflicts.
These are all reminders to myself first. Many of us struggle in one, or more, or even all of these categories. There is a lot of overlapping, too. It is important to recognize that and invest as needed. If you do this with the intention to please Allah and you are thinking about the akhira, your investment is doubly blessed: not only can you, by Allah’s Will, have success in your life in this dunya, but you secure eternal success as well. Kill two birds with one stone.
Chill, let’s not kill any birds, but you know what I mean.
For those of you itching to know, my professor later defined capital as a means of production. So, in conclusion, let’s be productive and start investing in spiritual capital today!*
*This is NOT a gimmick.
Rabbana atina fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil ‘akhirati hasanatan waqina ‘adhaban-nar
(Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the fire.)