I am 18 years old and I have been struggling to find a job for the past two years. I don’t know what I should do. I have just started offering some of my (five daily) prayers from the past month or so. I feel that I am having a good life so far but yet I am not able to find a job. So I was wondering if you could tell me what I can do or if I can read some surahs (chapters) from Quran which would enable me to find an job.
The Islamic way is a way of means and measures; it directs hearts and minds to deal with facts and reality and interact with the cosmic laws that Allah has established in His creation, including putting trust in Allah (tawakkul) and relying in one's heart on Him to achieve one's goals.
The life of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was based on facts and reality interwoven with means and measures. His life was full of sacrifices, putting up with hardship and patience in waiting to see the results of his efforts, and this is what Allah willed should be an example to follow for mankind after him. No one can hope to attain the highest levels in this world by merely reciting verses without striving and making an effort.
This world, sweet and bitter, difficult and easy, is something that the Muslim must interact properly with. He should be patient in dealing with its annoyances and put up with its difficulties, seeking the pleasure of Allah thereby, and he should take appropriate measures, and put his trust in Allah in all his affairs, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)” [3:159].
There are means of earning a living, both physical and spiritual.
The physical means include making an effort, searching, striving and not giving up. If a person does not succeed in finding one job, he has to look for another, and so on.
The spiritual means prescribed in sharee‘ah (Islamic law) are many. We will list some of them here:
Fearing Allah (taqwa), which means doing what Allah has commanded and refraining from what He has forbidden. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).
And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine” [65:2-3].
Seeking forgiveness (istighfar). Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“I [Nooh] said (to them): ‘Ask forgiveness from your Lord, verily, He is Oft‑Forgiving;
‘He will send rain to you in abundance,
‘And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers” [71:10-12].
And Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And (commanding you): “Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you good enjoyment, for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding grace to every owner of grace (i.e. the one who helps and serves the needy and deserving, physically and with his wealth, and even with good words). But if you turn away, then I fear for you the torment of a Great Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)” [11:3].
Hence al-‘Allamah Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) mentioned istighfar (seeking forgiveness) in the eighteenth chapter of his book al-Wabil al-Sayyib among the adhkar (words of remembrance) that bring provision and ward off difficulty and hardship.
It was narrated from Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to say after Fajr prayer: “Allahumma inni as aluka rizqan tayyiban wa ‘ilman naafi‘an wa ‘amalan mutaqabbalan (O Allah, I ask You for a good (halal) provision, beneficial knowledge and accepted deeds).” [Ahmad, Ibn Maajah].
Yahya ibn Mu‘adh al-Razi (d. 258 AH) -- who was one of the elite of the salaf (early generations) -- said: “Obedience is stored up in the stores of Allah; its key is du‘a and its means is permissible earnings. End quote.
To sum up:
We do not know any specific surah in the Quran which is proven in any (sound) report to bring provision and make it easy to earn a living, but fearing Allah (taqwa) in general -- which includes reading and pondering the Quran -- is one of the means prescribed in sharee‘ah to bring provision. At the same time it is essential to take appropriate physical measures and rely on Allah in one’s heart to make things easier.
And Allah knows best.