How come American Muslims never aspire to be anything other than doctors or engineers? Like why not be an electrician, plumber, firefighter, architect or airline pilot? These jobs are just as rewarding and in some instances (depending on the situation) you can make just as much money as the Dr. or engineer. Now if you haven’t noticed I have a particular disdain for the idea that every Muslim should go to medical school, that every girl should aspire to marry a Dr. or that just because someone is a Dr. he should be given more respect. Don’t get me wrong I think that being a Dr. is an extremely important and rewarding job however if every Muslim becomes a Dr. or engineer what else will we have for ourselves? Our culture will never be more than what it already is and instead of the vibrant diverse culture we have now we would be relegated to masjids full of lab coats and not a single brother would know how to change a tire!
I had a friend who came over to America from Yemen with his whole family. They had nothing when they came here but they all decided to get “blue collar” jobs to provide for their family. My friend learned about cars and started his own garage which eventually grew into multiple businesses around the city. His brother worked in a dry cleaning business and ended up buying the business and expanding like his older brother. Their money combined bought their mother a house (CASH!), brought the rest of their family over from Yemen and even put their kids through college with no riba’ based student loans! Not to mention both of those businesses are accessible to the community all the time and the brother with the garage would even give discounts to Muslims just to keep the community in his business.
I know another brother who is from Kurdistan, came here and became an electrician. He doesn’t own his own business but top journeyman wage here for electricians is like $38/ hour or something. He also does side work for a lot of Muslims and even provides free services to the local masjid! Again, his work is beneficial to the entire community.
Lastly, to become a Dr. or engineer you have to dedicate years of your life to school, if your family isn’t rich you will have to take loans to pay for that schooling. Here in America student loans TYPICALLY involve riba’. Riba’ is a major sin in Islam, so by giving children the goal of becoming a Dr. or engineer you set them up on a path to commit this sin unless you can pay for med school or grad school out right. Again I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to become a Dr. or engineer; I have friends who either already are or are going to be. I just think that we as an ummah should be less inclined to think that there are only a couple professions that are worthy of respect and look at what can be accomplished by “meager” professions that most of us look down upon. Lets not forget that nabi Isa and nabi Zakariyya were both carpenters!
Narrated Al-Miqdaam رضي الله عنه : The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Nobody has ever eaten a better meal than that which one has earned by working with one’s own hands. The Prophet of Allaah, Daawuud (David) عليه السلام used to eat from the earnings of his manual labor.”
Authenticity: Sahih (Authentic)
Reference: Sahih Bukhari #2072