Muslims must value time
What made Usama Ibn- Zayd qualified enough to lead the Muslim Army when he was 16 years old? What made Muhammad Al-Fateh (Mehmet) lead the Muslim Army and open Constantinople when he was only 23 years old and after 8 centuries of previous attempts by Muslims? Salahuddin (Saladin) started seriously practicing Islam when he was 30 years old and died when he was 56. How did he, within 26 years change his own self, as well as the whole Ummah, defeating the Crusaders, liberating Jerusalem and strengthening the Muslims once again? Dhul-Jawshan Ad-dababi was a companion that embraced Islam when he was 16 and died when he was 23. When he died, Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) was so impressed by him he insisted on digging his grave and burying him himself. After only 6 years of being a Muslim he elevated so high in the sight of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) that he deserved such an honor after he died. How did all these people make such enormous achievements in such a short period of time? They valued “time” and never wasted it.
Is time really important from the Islamic perspective? Certainly! In the Quran, Allah never swears an oath by anything unless it’s extremely precious. Listen to what Allah says,
“And (by) the dawn; And (by) the ten nights; (Commonly understood to be the First ten night of the pilgrimage); And (by) the Even and the Odd; And (by) the night when it departs, (Or: sets forth passing away); Is there in that an oath for a sensible person? (Literally: person owning sense).” (TMQ, 89:1-5).
“And (by) the afternoon! (Or: time)” (TMQ, 103:1).
“And (by) the forenoon; And (by) the night when it (comes) with its dark stillness!” (TMQ, 93:1-2).
All these verses show that Allah considers time to be so precious that He swears oaths by them. Not only that, but look at our religion, time plays a fundamental role in it. We pray five times a day, do we pray the five prayers whenever we feel like it? No, but there are certain times for each prayer and these times are linked to sunrise, sunset, noon etc. its teaching us how to take time into consideration instead of just living your life regardless to whether its day or night. Ramadan is a month that begins and ends by the appearance of the crescent, and within the month we fast and break our fast according to time. Hajj is preformed at a certain time and during Hajj you have to perform all the rituals within a certain window of time. Another example is Zakah, you pay a certain percentage of your annual savings once a year. This is how “time” has to do with everything we do in Islam. Muslims should be the most people to value time and invest it well. Ibn-Masood (RAa) said, “I never regretted anything as much as I regretted a day I lost without being productive”. Your time is your capital. Imagine if your capital was a million dollars, and then you stood in front of the ocean and threw the one million dollars in the air. The same thing applies to wasting your time; you are in fact wasting your capital. Time, is the cheapest thing for ignorant people, but the most precious for those who have wisdom. Be one of those people who value time.
Let us see some examples of people that don’t value time. Muslims that spend their day on cafes playing dominos or cards or wasting all of their time in front of computer games or TV. Muslims that could actually sleep 12 hours a day, and when you ask any of them why they are doing that, they reply, “I’m killing time”. The truth is, they are killing themselves. Really, wasting ones time is slow suicide. Not only are they killing their own self, but because they are part of a bigger picture, they are killing the Ummah as well. Each one of us is part of a whole body, if half the Muslim youth are wasting their time, its like the Ummah is breathing with a third of its lungs, or living with half of its heart. Therefore on the Day of Judgment you will be held account for the harm you’ve made to the entire Ummah. Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) said, “No man shall witness the Day of Judgment without being asked about four: His life and how he spent his time, his youth and how he took advantage of it, his knowledge and how he disposed of, and his money, from where he had earned and for what he had spent it.” Not only will you be asked about your life, but also there is a second question, which is more specific, about your youth. Do you know how you will be asked about the time you spent in this life? Every single breath you took, what did you do during it? Imagine your life, as a long strip of film and every breath is a snap shot. One by one you will go through them. Live your life so that on that day you would have something you’d feel proud to show.
Some people when they die, History considers them a s z eros and they aren’t even acknowledged. They were zeros when they were alive and they remain so after they die. Other people live and die leaving a legacy behind, and History celebrates them for centuries to come. Imam An-Nawawi was an example of such people. He died at the age of 40 and wrote 50 major books during his last 15 years. He died as a bachelor, because he had no time to get married. He established an education system for people of all intellectual levels. The 50 books he wrote are categorized into levels; first level is for beginners (i.e. The Forty An-Nawawi Hadiths), second for intermediates (Riyadus Saliheen), and the third level is for experts (Explanation of Saheeh Muslim). He died hundreds of years ago but until this day, his books like Riyadus Saliheen are found in almost every Islamic library and bookstore. He started writing when he was 25 years old and died when he was forty. During fifteen years he wrote all these books. Ibnul-Jawzy did even more, throughout his life he wrote over a thousand books. Can you believe that?? These are not imaginary people, these are Muslims that valued time and didn’t waste a second. When a friend of Ibnul-Jawzy stopped him and asked him to come and chitchat with him for a while he replied, “Only if you could stop time”. Compare these glowing examples with other Muslims whom when asked what they did in the past nine or ten years don’t have anything to say. They live zeros and die zeros and are resurrected a s z eros. We all suffer from this problem, wasting time, including myself, and we all need to do something about it. The biggest act of treason a Muslim could do to this Ummah is wasting his or her own time.
Wasting time comes in other forms as well. For example, not praying for 20 or 30 years and then when you’re in your 40’s you look back with sorrow and wish that you’d started praying long ago. Or delaying wearing the Hijab, and when you’re married or when you grow old you will look back and say “If only I did it earlier, I’ve wasted so much time”. Another form of wasting time is what we have all done, if only we didn’t take so much time to wake up and realize that we are in trouble and we need to change our situation, what took us so long? Procrastination. If only we started waking up and waking our friends up earlier.
Race time! Compete with it!! This is what Allah teaches us in the Quran. Allah says, “And vie swiftly with one another for forgiveness from your Lord and for a Garden whose breadth is the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious.” (TMQ, 3:133).
“Those (come) swiftly with charitable (deeds), and they are outstrippers to them.” (TMQ, 23:61).
When Omar Ibnul-Khattab was a Caliph he once asked, “When could I sleep?? If I sleep during the night, I will not fulfill my duties towards my Lord, and if I sleep during the day, I will not fulfill my duties towards my people!” Compare this to Muslims that sleep most of the day. I have an idea! Let us try and do this. How about gradually decreasing the numbers of hours you sleep until they reach 6 hours. For example if you sleep 8 hours a day, try to gradually decrease them to 6 hours, which means that you will save two extra hours. Do you know what this would mean? It would mean that after forty years, you would have saved around 4 years of your life. Can you imagine what you could do during these four years? You could memorize the Quran or perform graduate studies… you could do lots of things!
Let us imagine how much time we waste. Let us calculate it. 24 hours in one day, 8 of them lost in sleep, and another 8 lost in daily routines like eating, drinking, bathroom, talking etc. This means that you have only one third of your life remaining to actually do something, please don’t waste them.
Why are we mentioning this right now? Because Allah told us that we must change ourselves and one of the things we really need to change is the way we use our time. Our Ummah needs Muslims that don’t waste time. Time my dear brothers and sisters, time! We need to feel how precious our time is. Let us do that. Let us change, because… “…Surely Allah does not change what is in a people until they change what is in themselves” (TMQ, 13:11).