The Story of A Man with A Perfect Job - A Motivational Story For You and Me

I once promised my readers a story on the importance of working. This story is dedicated to the ones i made my promise to; and of course, all my blog readers :))

A Motivational Story for You and Me


As Salaamu 'alaykum and Peace to all,

That day I went to the wet market with my sister at about 4 A.M in the morning. We went early for two reasons - a good parking space and better choice of fresh fish. So, there we were, in the wee hours in the morning, struggling our way through the crowd of fish retailers, trying to grab the best choice available for us. Two hours later, we were ready to load our ‘Catch of the Day’ into our car when I saw something that broke my heart.

An old man, with his wife, around their sixties were pushing a cart loaded with vegetables. I walked up to them and asked if the vegetables were for sale.

‘Yes, my dear’ the wife answered with a smile. With the intention so that this couple could profit faster and got to go home earlier, I decided to make a bulk purchase. After choosing, I paid up and started chatting with them.

Fifteen minutes into the conversation, I learnt that their children are all grown up, highly educated and are very successful too. Masya’Allaah. I got curious.

If they have successful children, why did they have to still labor in such an old age? Are they abandoned parents? Where are their children? Didn’t their children see how hard the life of their parents is? Don’t the children feel responsible towards them?

As if he could read the streams of questions in my head, the old man said to me,

‘You know dear, me and my wife grow our own vegetables and sell them here at this wet market since our younger days. That’s how we manage to send our children to school and college. We don’t get rich, but we have enough for everyone. Every food that goes into their mouth is earned from this vegetable business, Alhamdulillaah. So now, even though we are living a good life from the money sent by our children, we feel that, as long as we can earn an honest living ourselves, we should keep on working. It’s good for us, recommended by the Deen and plus, we needed the exercise too’ he told me and chuckled.

I was stunned. I could not believe my ears. This old couple actually had no reason to continue working? Their children are providing everything for them!

When I asked him how long is he planning to work, he said cheerfully ‘Till the day I stop breathing dear, till the day Allaah takes my ability to work away.’ I was speechless.

What an amazing attitude this couple has. I was totally dumbfounded by them. This is the first time in my live, that I saw people who are so proud of what they do and refuse to receive hand-me-downs despite having legal rights to do so. Subhanallaah.

Now I truly understand what Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese poet once said,

Work is love made visible. And if you can't work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of the people who work with joy.

And I could see love and joy of working on the old couple’s face. Goodness, it was apparent how much they love what they are doing. They feel proud to the idea of still earning despite getting enough from their children.

I could just imagine the cheerfulness and chirpiness they must have in their heart every morning whenever they wake up - drive up to the farm, maybe plant new seeds, or pluck the fresh ones for the market. All that is done with love and pride in their hearts.

Reflecting on this couple, I bet many young people are put to shame. The ones who love to complain about having to work, wanting to have good life minus the hard work, the unworthy recipients to hand-me-downs and the look-at-me-and-pity-me type, among others.

I have seen individuals, much younger than this old couple, who hated working so much and are always trying to find loopholes within the organization’s policy to abuse. Things like fake medical certificate and fake emergency reasoning are always used by them to avoid a day to work. To many like that, it was a victory to fool the employer. Sometimes I wonder who is the real fool. Astaghfirullaah…

Ibn Al-Jowzee once said,

I haven't seen a flaw more sad in the community than those who stop working even though they have the ability to continue.

Then, no wonder our society is so full of flaws, don’t you think so?

He reminded me of one of the advices my beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW has left me,

Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “By Allaah, if one of you were to go out in the morning and gather firewood on his back, and sell it and make himself independent, and give some of it in charity, this is better for him than his coming to a man and asking for anything, whether he gives or refuses. The upper hand is better than the lower hand, and start with those who are under your care.” (Reported by Muslim, 3/96)

Here, Prophet (SAW) has advised me that I should learn to be independent in my life and not to depend on other’s pity, charity or welfare. No matter how trivial or small the source of income looks like, it would still be better than asking from others. Subhanallaah, this was what that old couple was doing. Following his sunnah.

Just look at the last statement from the Prophet SAW. The fact that the upper hand is better than lower hand, it was made very clear that a person who could give charity is much better than the ones receiving them, right?

So, now the question that arises is that how could a person be the upper hand? I mean, upper hand means giving charity, right? We all know there are many types of charity but I felt the urge to reflect back on the earlier sentence in the hadeeth which was talking about sustenance, money wise kind of charity.

Let me ask this question – to be the upper hand, to be able to give charity – money wise, what must I have? Ok, it is a giveaway. I know…

Yup, I need to have thick deep pockets. How deep and how thick is not the issue here. And I am not interested in debating that. But, the core issue is that I should have pockets that are not empty, don’t you think so? I mean, what good would ‘deep pockets’ do if it was empty and with holes all over? Well, it won’t be called deep pockets in the first place, would it?

The deepness or shallowness of our pockets does not matter. The matter now is of the question HOW. Yes, how do I fill up my pockets? Interested to know?

I believe the answer could be found here...

"Seek, amidst that which God has given thee, the Last Abode, and forget not thy portion of the present world; and do good, as God has been good to thee." [Qur'an, Surat al-Qasas: 77]

Do not forget thy portion of the present world. This is what Allaah has clearly stated in the above verse. I should remember- find my portion in this world. Don’t forget to do that. InshaAllaah, my Lord, I would not forget it.

When I read this Quranic verse I felt so confident that Allaah has provided me and you with our own share of sustenance in this world. Just look at the verse. Allaah says, forget not thy portion. And He is talking to each and every one of us.

Now, why are you reminded to ‘claim’ our portion in this world? In His verse Surah al-Zukhruf, Allaah said…

“It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in this world, and We raised some of them above others in ranks, so that some may employ others in their work
[ Surah al-Zukhruf 43:32]

MashaAllaah. Here, in this verse Allaah has announced that everyone’s sustenance has been provided for in this world. The difference was just that some were raised at a ranking higher than the other, but not without responsibilities. These people who were raised should employ their brothers and sisters so that their sustenance could be distributed through them.

Undeniably, He is Al-Mughith, The Sustainer…

The hadeeth below is an example of a Prophet whom has not forgotten his portion in this world,

Narrated Al-Miqdam: The Prophet said, "Nobody has ever eaten a better meal than that which one has earned by working with one's own hands. The Prophet of Allah, David used to eat from the earnings of his manual labor."(Saheeh Bukhari 13: Volume: 3, Book Number: 34, Hadith Number: 286)


He is the Prophet of Allaah, the king of his kingdom, the man who fasted alternate days, and HE worked? Do you know as a what? Bear in mind that he owns a kingdom at that time. And what did this king work as? You wouldn’t believe me. He worked as a weapon crafter because that was his strength. That was what he was good at. He would sell them and claim for him and his family his ‘portion’ of this world. Alllahu Akbar.

And we sometimes felt that we are too good to do certain type of work, right? Astaghfirullaah. A Prophet, a king and a weapon crafter – all in one person. I felt like sticking my head in the sand. I am utterly embarrassed.

If Prophet David (as) did all that, what more of me, a servant with no title at all, a mere speck of dust in Allaah Al Mighty Kingdom? Don’t you think I should be striving harder?

I believe that was why my mother had taught me this prayer…

'Our Lord, give to us in this world good, and good in the world to come, and guard us against the chastisement of the fire.’ [Qur'an, Surat al-Baqara: 201]


Let me share with you a story I read once about a man who has the perfect job. Well, his perfect job, that is…

My first job was working in an orange juice factory, but I got canned...couldn't concentrate.

After that I tried to be a tailor, but I just wasn't suited for it...mainly because it was a so-so job.

Then I tried to be a chef -- figured it would add a little spice to my life, but I just didn't have the thyme.

Next I tried working in a muffler factory but that was too exhausting.

I managed to get a good job working for a pool maintenance company, but the work was just too draining.

I attempted to be a deli worker, but any way I sliced it, I couldn't cut the mustard.
Then I worked in the wood as a lumberjack, but I just couldn't hack it, so they gave me the ax.

Next was a job in a shoe factory; I tried but I just didn't fit in.

So then I got a job in a workout center, but they said I wasn't fit for the job.

After many years of trying to find steady work I finally got a job as a historian until I realized there was no future in it.

I studied a long time to become a doctor, but I didn't have any patient.

My best job was being a musician, but eventually I found I wasn't noteworthy.

I became a professional fisherman, but discovered that I couldn't live on my net income.

My last job was working at Starbucks, but I had to quit because it was always the same old grind.


Ahh… The ‘I am perfect-for-the-job’ syndrome. As I giggled away while reading this nice ranting of a ‘retired’ man, I know that he would not be someone I would rather not to be close with. Seriously.

There was a time when I was a misfit too, but as I worked hard and prayed hard in my 'misfit' environment, Allaah has shown me the place where I fit the best, alhamdulillaah. And I am so thankful to Allaah, it was not a retirement home!

What about you, my friends? Are you now with your perfect job? If you are, then, that is great! Alhamdulillaah. But if you are not, just do your best in whatever you are doing now, and kept on searching for your perfect job. If we prayed hard enough, Allaah shall show us the way. I know that is true, because I have gone thru that phase.

And InshaAllaah, you would too! See you at your perfect job!

Copyright © Sis Zabrina 2007

~Your Source for Islamic Motivational and Inspirational Stories~

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ummahzy said…
Very inspirational.
Thank you.

May I add that until recently I also thought that Kahlil Gibran was a Muslim. However, I read that he was a maronite (catholic).
Sis Zabrina said…

As Salaamu 'a;aykum and peace to all,

You are most welcome! :)) I am glad you find the story inspirational. Do come back in the the future for more, InshaAllaah.

I know what you mean about Kahlil.But i think that is natural being a Lebanese Arab.

He has got much substance and he his work, is , MashaAllaah :)

Sis Zabrina
Kakti_Alifaisya said…
Older folks who have been working hard from their youth mostly will continue to work in their old days although they don't have to. In my country the old folks will say that they will feel their bone aches if they don't work. It is either that the work is so ingrain in their bone or daily live or they realy love it, nor different to Bill Gate who still work although he already has billions that can support his early retirement and his descendants.
Sis Zabrina said…

As Salaamu 'alaykum and Peace to all,

Kakti, you are right. Many of the older generations had gone through a much more trying times, at least, physically, as compared to the younger generations. Therefore, they usually have no qualms in working hard as they see it as way of life.

Descendants of Bill Gates, if failed to take up the attitude of their great great grandfather, would one day find themselves in unfamiliar territory- having to work!

Sometimes people say that to sustain success is much more challenging than to achieve it the first time! :))

Thanks for dropping by my blog. Please do visit me again here, InshaAllaah...

Sis Zabrina
Anonymous said…
Salaam Dear Sister Zabrina:

A lovely story. I think the old couple also gave of their vegetables to those that could not afford it. It would be the way of love for such good workers :)

And it was Solomon that spoke the language of the birds, not David, his father.

Alhamdulillah! Give in charity, even if you have only a dollar in your pocket. Give it, and Allah will reward you a hundredfold. I know this is true.

Ya Haqq!
D said…
Whatever we do must be Lillahita'ala... Then, no matter how much (or little) we get, or how difficult (or easy) it is, we'll go on enjoying the job. I wouldn't want to live my remaining days sitting idle and relaxing all the time!! Keep on writing, dear..
Sis Zabrina said…

As Salaamu 'alaykum and peace to all,

Brother Irving, Jazakallaah for the sweet comment.

And extra thanks for highlighting the error. Subhanallaah, i read the time and again before posting and had not noticed the error. Thanks! :)) I have edited the story accordingly. May Allaah reward you in abundance, Ameen...

I agree with the charity thingy. Its not about how much, but, whether its done for the sake of Allah.

Allaahu 'alaam. Salaam

Sis Zabrina
Sis Zabrina said…

As Salaamu 'alaykum and Peace to all,

D, you are so right! Everything boils down to our intention. Its not about the magnitude of the contribution, but, whether things are done with the right intention. For His sake and to earn His pleasure, InshaAllaah :))

Well, i dont want to spend my old days being idle too! InshaAllaah, we both are able to find beneficial stuff to do till the last breath we take, InshaAllaah. Make Allaah make things easy for us in this world and hereafter. May all that we do in this world is for His Sake. Ameen.

Take care! Salaam

Sis Zabrina
Anonymous said…
assalamualykum sister,
mashaallah .what a inspirational story.when i read articles like these i feel so happy ..keep up the good work .this is my first time on your blog. i read ur article about anger in mashallah. it was excellent.alhamdulillah.
sister in ur deen.
Anonymous said…
Salaamalykum my friend,

What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing your stories with us, you are very talented and you are opening my eyes to Islam. What are a beautiful, peaceful religion!

Waiting patiently for your next story.

Fahad said…
Salaam u Alaikum sister , MashaALLAH very nice blog.... i would like to add your blog to my blogroll if you dont mind...please reply at jazak Allah Khair
Sis Zabrina said…

As Salamu 'alaykum and peace to all,

My dear sister in ur Deen,:))

Welcome to my blog!Jazakallaah kheyran for the sweet sweet comments. May Allaah reward us all, ameen.

I am glad that you read my article in and decided to check out my blog. Look around for the many motivational stories we have here. InshaAllaah, you will find some that you like.

Do drop by again sis and spread the words! Take care! Salaam:))

Sis Zabrina
Sis Zabrina said…

As Salaamu 'alaykum and Peace to all,

Cheryl! *hugs* Jazakallaah for such sweet comments. Indeed whatever that is good is from Allaah my dear sis.

We are all on a journey, and we are going towards one destination. The best part is that, we can learn from each other and i Know i have so much to learn from you. *wink*

Take care my dear and have a good day!

Sis Zabrina
Sis Zabrina said…

As Salaamu 'alaykum and Peace to all,

Jazakallaah brother for visiting my blog. I am honored to be listed in your blogroll.

Do drop by again in the future, InshaAllaah. Salaam

Sis Zabrina
Anonymous said…
Dear sister Zabrina,
when I read your story on about anger I was impressed.It was so good I didn't think you can create something that good again, but than I read your other stories. Than I was beyond impressed. You truly amaze me with the talent, that Allah gave you. I also understand why your stories are called motivational, they certainly motivated me. Keep rocken with your stories. Salaam
Young reader
Anonymous said…
Dear Sister Zabrina,
I still havn't chosen a place on this earth other than high school student, but time is passing fast and the time to choose is coming nearer.I was nervous but your story comforted me, because I know Allah will help me if I deserve it.
Young reader
Anonymous said…

I appreciate your sincerity, and your deep love for Allah and His messenger. I like how you view life experiences through the open lens of Islam, as you strive to enrich yourself and others with knowledge and fulfillment. I pray that I can instill these meanings in myself, and my children, in order that we see the beauty of what Allah revealed and His messenger brought. JazakiLlahu Khayran.
Sis Zabrina said…

As Salaamu 'alaykum and peace to all,

Dear Young Reader, Subhanallaah, all priase is to Allaah for all the good that He had given me and for hiding the bad that are in me. Alhamdulillaah that He had given me ideas and strength to write. InshaAllaah we would all benefit from it. Everyone is of their own strength , inshaAllaah, young reader. Look into yourself and find that special thing Allaah has given you. And use it for Him. InshaAllaah, He will grant you success. I sincerely hope and pray that the stories motivates you inshaAllaah. Please do drop by another in the future. Take care now! :)

Sis Zabrina
Sis Zabrina said…

As Salaamu 'alaykum and peace to all,

Dear Young reader, I really know how that feels. I wasnt so sure of what to do too after high school. I had to find an area to further my study on. Totally confused at that time. One thing i must tell you is that, what i studied in the uni is not what i do today! Subhanallaah.

But remember, nothing that we study, as long is its the truth, would go to waste. And learn something, everything for His sake. InshaAllaah, you will be grant success. I shall pray that we all are grant success in this world and hereafter. Take care! Salaam

Sis Zabrina
Sis Zabrina said…

As Salaamu 'alaykum and peace to all,

Jazakallaah kheyran anonymous for droping by my blog. Ameen to all your prayers. InshaAllaah, never despair of His Help and His Love to His servants.Take care and do drop by again in the future, InshaAllaah. Salaam

Sis Zabrina
Anonymous said…
Dear sis Zabrina,
thanks for your advice, and for reminding me to do everything I can for Allah's sake.InshaAllah I will. I'm really glad I came across your blog, and now I'm going to be among those who wait for stories.I'll also keep in mind that you had trouble finding what you wanted to do, but alhamdulillah now you do something you love, so in the future when I begin to despair I'll remember it's going to get easier.salaam
young reader
Sis Zabrina said…

As Salaamu 'alaykum and peace to all,

Dear Young reader, InshaAllaah, you will succeed :)) I am sure of it because Allaah said that as long as we work hard, He will reward us accordingly.

No matter what you do, do it the best that you can. That is all that is needed from us. Like my mum used to tell me, just work the hardest, give your best, the result is up to Allaah. Dont worry about it.

Take care and all the best. And i am so glad to know that you would be coming back to my blog! InshaAllaah. Salaam

Sis Zabrina
Anonymous said…
Sis Zabrina.
As Salamu Alaykum,
I just wanted to say that I didn't know much about Malaysia, and was a bit shocked when I read you reside there.AstegfaherAllah I've been a practicing muslim for only a short time.I was born muslim but I was ignorant of its greatness for a very long time.I first learned that Malaysia has one of the largest Muslim groups, when I was researching Islam in the middle of last year.I actually came across your blog while looking for things about Islam. Al hamdulillaah your stories are helping me grip to Islam tighter.I have been wearing the hjab since fifth grade, but now I understand why. thanks again for helping me with your stories. May Allah reward you greatly.Perhaps Inshallah after I graduate I might visit Malaysia and bump into a certain motivational story writer. May peace be upon you, salaam
Young reader
Sis Zabrina said…

As Salaamu 'alaykum and peace to all,

Dear Young Reader, I would love to bump into a sister who might just be visiting here! *hugs* InshaAllaah, if Allaah wills it, it will happen! :))

Ameen to all your prayers. May Allaah help us all, give us success in both world and the strength to face all the challenges in life.

I love this one proverb which i want to share with you-

~Dont ask for a lighter burden, but ask to a a stronger shoulder~

Salaam and take care.

Sis Zabrina
Anonymous said…
Very inspirational entry..

My recent research about Baby Boomers, Gen-X and Gen-Y are suprisingly very much related to this entry :)

So much so that i force myself to find time to read your entry - every single word.

Please keep on writing because in a way, i'm still your student..

Sis Zabrina said…

As Salaamu 'alaykum and peace to all,

Dear Andy, good to see you here :)

I am so pleased to know that somehow what i wrote about has some bearing in what you are researching on. Thats great! Alhamdulillaah.

Maybe you can share with us some outcome of your research! That would be very interesting, dont you think you?

Take care and salaam

Sis Zabrina
Anonymous said…

The research is for my upcoming presentation. It is very useful for HR people. It will justify why young adults in Malaysia like to change job, escape interview when they already promised to come and so on.

The reason i'm doing the research because majority jobseeker in my website are Gen-Y (about 45%). My management wish to understand them better and address their needs thus eliminating problems such as not coming for interviews, job hopping and other abuse.

I will be glad to share after the presentation is over. Wish me luck!

Take care salaam