Sunday, November 10, 2013

Go churning | Productive aging


You may recall a couple of postings ago about an accomplished person Professor Ahmad Ibrahim who had spent 53 years of his life in a very excellent manner. He worked past his retirement age, well into 83. Let's do a little math. 83 minus 60 (the new retirement age in Malaysia) that's 23 years. A very industrious figure he was, compared to most ordinary people who struggle to make it to 55 and then 60. Most people would be thinking and asking themselves, oh can I last, as in can I remain worthy for my organization for another 10 years, 17 years in my case. How do I remain relevant?

Life is not always easy. Working life is not always easy either. We need to get churning every now and then when the energy becomes stale. Churning means to shake or agitate vigorously. It's usually referred to churning or stirring milk/cream to make butter. Not easy eh to make butter. It takes tonnes of energy and we take it for granted, we want our butter to be spreadable, to be just nice as a spread for our bread.

How do we age and remain productive through the years? I guess people like Ahmad Ibrahim, they have a field in which they focus and master and they devote their life and energy on it. Of course, as a pious personality he knew better about treating one's profession as ibadah.

I am also reminded of Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam who must be in his 60s or 70s who seem to be tireless. But not just tireless, people like him are full of zest for life and knowledge. Not just to acquire knowledge but also to spread whatever they know, wherever, whenever. In his recent class at Ba'alawi Kuala Lumpur, he talked about the adab of some senior (veteran) learned men when giving tausiyah. Even though they give countless of tausiyah, they don't take it for granted, they don't think "oh this is easy, I have talked about this topic before." The moment the person has such a thought, he said, the speaker/guru tend to stumble on words. The adab is to always rely on God and submit to Him.

I think that's a simple but important lesson. We should not worry about 10 years or 17 years of work to do. Else we feel overwhelmed. We should take a task at a time. Even in a simple task, in each and every task, we must submit to God and rely on His knowledge and strengths. La hawla wala quwwata illah billah. This will carry us through our age and lifetime which we know not of the end limit. Maybe until 53, 63, 73, 83? 

Oh I am yet to memorize this du'a:
Allah hummaj 'al au sa'a rizqika 'alaiya 'inda kibari sinni wan qitho'i 'umuri
O Allah, expand for me Your provision until my old age.

Du'a Credit: Islam - The Truth

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