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Islamic Careers
Islamic Careers

The Importance of Time in Islâm

In general, sensible people know tHe mportance of time..
There are among those who believe in the popular saying as “Time is gold.” Time in Islam is more than gold or any precious material thing in this world. Of all religions, only Islam guides mankind not only to tHe mportance of time but also how to value it. Islam very clearly teaches us the value of time, why we must not waste it and how we can make use of our time wisely to increase our eeman (faith) and thus attain success, especially eternal success in the life Hereafter.

Both the Qur’ân and the Sunnah enjoin Muslims to be conscious of time. We are reminded that life in this world is nothing but temporary. We never know when death has been appointed for us. We must value time for the pleasure of Allah (S.W.T.) the Almighty. For our guidance and success, we must never waste time nor abuse it. We must take admonitions from the following authentic Ahâdîth:
Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, “Allah said: ‘The son of Adam hurts Me by abusing Time, for I am Time; in My Hands are all things and I cause the revolution of night and day.’” (Bukhari 6/351; 9/583 and Muslim 4/5581)

Bin ‘Abbas narrated (r.a.) that Allah ’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) said, “There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) health and free time for doing good.” (Bukhari 8/421)
Indeed, we displease Allah the Most High when we abuse time. We must remember that time must be spent to fulfill our very purpose in life -- that is to worship Allah (S.W.T.) all throughout our lives. Our Creator I makes this very clear in the Qur’ân when He (S.W.T.) says:

“I have created not the jinn and men except that they should worship Me (Alone). I seek not any provision from them nor do I ask that they should feed Me. Verily, Allah s the All-Provider, Owner of Power, Most Strong.” (51:56-58)
“So glorify the praises of your Rabb (Only God and Sustainer) and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him). And worship your Rabb until there comes unto you the Hour that is certain (i.e., death).” (Qur‘an 15:98-99)

Worship in Islam is a comprehensive term. Everything we do in accordance with the Qur’ân and the Sunnah is an act of worship. Such worship must be done sincerely for the pleasure of Allah (S.W.T.) alone. We should make use of our time (which includes our “free time”) in doing beneficial things especially those that will make us closer to Allah (S.W.T.) and earn His Mercy.

We have to make use of our time wisely by knowing more of the Qur’ân and the Sunnah. We must have correct knowledge of what Allah (S.W.T.) and His Messenger (s.a.w.s.) have commanded us to do and at the same time to refrain from what they have forbidden us. This is imperative so that we earn Allah ’s pleasure and reward. Allah (S.W.T.) the Exalted makes it very clear:

“O you who believe! Obey Allah , and obey the Messenger (Muhammad) and render not vain your deeds.” (Qur‘an 47:33)
Corollary to the above divine commandment, we must ask ourselves: Have we been obeying Allah (S.W.T.) and His Messenger (s.a.w.s.)? To what extent have we used our time learning the Qur’ân and the Sunnah in order to have correct eeman (Faith), to do righteous deeds, to enjoin the Truth or do Da’wah, and be patient and constant? As time passes by, are we sure we are devoting our time for the sincere worship and pleasure of Allah (S.W.T.) the Most High? Are we taking guidance from the following very enlightening Ayât (Qur’ânic verses)?
“By the time, verily man is in loss, except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and join (together) in the mutual enjoining of Truth, and of patience and constancy.” (103:1-3)

In line with the above Qur’ânic injunction, we have to discipline ourselves by giving value to tHe mportance of time. We must be prompt in doing good deeds, which will increase our faith and subsequently enable us to gain Allah ’s pleasure and mercy. We have to remember that on the day of judgement we shall be asked how we spent our lives, wealth and knowledge. In other words, we will be questioned on how we spent everything that Allah (S.W.T.) has given us as implied in the following ahadîth:

Narrated Abdullah Bin Mas`ud (r.a.) Allah ’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.)said, “A man shall be asked concerning five things on the day of resurrection: concerning his life, how he spent it; concerning his youth, how he grew old; concerning his wealth, whence he acquired it, and in what way he spent it; and what was it that he did with the knowledge that he had.” (Tirmidhî 5197)
Abu Barzah Nadlah ibn Ubayd al-Aslami (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: “A servant of Allah will remain standing on the Day of Judgment till He s questioned: about his age and how he spent it; and about his knowledge and how he utilized it; about his wealth from where he acquired it and in what (activities) he spent it; and about his body as to how he used it.” (Tirmidhî 407)

If we are to evaluate ourselves objectively, have we been spending our time wisely for the pleasure of Allah the Almighty? Have we been spending our lives based on the Qur’ân and the Sunnah? Have we been practicing Muslims? How many of us are Muminoon (faithful Muslims) and/or Mutaqqoon (God-fearing Muslims)? How much knowledge of the Qur’ân and the Sunnah do we know? Do we practice what we learn and impart the same to others or at least share them to our families and kin? Have we ever enjoined to others what is right and forbid what is wrong?
To be successful, we have to manage our time wisely by making plans for virtuous deeds that please Allah the Almighty. We must spend time learning Islam (based on the Qur’ân and the Sunnah and the right deductions from these two revealed scriptures). The followingAhâdîth show how Allah ’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) emphasizes tHe mportance of Islâmic knowledge:

Hudhaifah (r.a.) narrated that Allah ’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) said to us, “Honesty descended from the Heavens and settled in the roots of the hearts of men (faithful believers), and then the Qur’ân was revealed and the people read the Qur’ân, (and learned from it) and also learned it from the Sunnah. Both Qur’ân and the Sunnah strengthened their (the faithful believers’) honesty.” (Bukhâri 9/381)

Jabir bin Abdullah (r.a.) reported that... Allah ’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) said, “...The best of affairs is the Book of Allah (the Qur’ân) and the best of guidance is the guidance given by Muhammad...” (Ibn Mâjah 1/45 and Muslim 1885)
‘Abdullâh bin ‘Amr (r.a.) reported that Allah ’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) said, “Knowledge consists of three things: the decisive verses (Qur’ân), authentic Ahâdithand prescriptions rightly deduced from the two. What is beside them is superfluous.” (Ibn Mâjah, 1/54)
‘Abdullah ibn Amir ibn Al-Ast narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, “Knowledge has three categories; anything else is extra; a precise verse, or an established Sunnah (practice), or a firm obligatory duty.” (Abu Daud 2879)
Knowing tHe mportance of Islâmic knowledge, it is imperative that we must spend time acquiring it. We must remember that one of the characteristics of a believer is love for the search of knowledge. The following Hâdîth should inspire us to continuously seek for Islâmic knowledge:

Abu Said Al-Khudri (r.a.) narrated that Allah ’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) said, “A believer is never satiated with gainful knowledge; he goes acquiring it till his death and entry into Paradise.” (Tirmidhî 222)
Our knowledge of Islam tells us that we must be prompt in practicing Islâm. Likewise, we must spend time wisely in sharing what we learn and practice to others. We should be motivated to impart the knowledge we know to others:
Uthman Bin Affan (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, “The most superior among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qur’ân and teach it.” (Bukhari 6/546)

Al Hasan Al Basri (r.a.) narrated that Allah ’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) said, “The superiority of a scholar, who observes the prescribed prayer and then sits down to teach people goodness, over the worshipper, who observes fast during the day and worships during the night, is like my superiority over the lowest in rank amongst you.” (Tirmidhî 250)

Learning all about Islam based on authentic sources and imparting such knowledge is a virtuous deed, which we must give time and attention. We must strive hard, make use of our time to know the Qur’ân and the Sunnah and teach what we know. We should remember that when our appointed term comes, we cannot delay nor advance it even for an hour or a moment (Qur’ân, 7:34). Only Allah (S.W.T.) knows when is our appointed time. In line with this, we have to execute our plans and appointments on time in the same manner as we have to perform our Salât (prayers) on time. We have to remember that the deed dearest to Allah (S.W.T.) is prayer at its early fixed time. Both the Qur’ân and the Ahâdîth tell us:
“When you have performed the prayers, remember Allah , standing, sitting down, or lying down on your sides. But when you are free from danger set up regular prayers: for such prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times.” (Qur‘an 4:103)

Abdullah Bin Mas’ud (r.a.) narrated: “I asked the Prophet (s.a.w.s.), ‘Which deed is the dearest to Allah ?’ He replied, “To offer salaat (the prayers) at their early fixed times.” I asked, “What is the next (in goodness)?” He replied, “To be good and dutiful to your parents.” I‘ again asked, “What is the next (in goodness)? “He replied, “To participate in jihad (religious fighting) in Allah ’s Cause.” (Bukhari 1/ 505)

Abu Qatada, Bin Rab’i (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet r, said, “Allah the Exalted said: ‘I made five times (daily) prayers obligatory on your people. And I took a guarantee that if anyone observes them regularly at their times, I shall admit him to Paradise. If anyone does not offer them regularly, there is no such guarantee of Mine for him.’” (Abu Dawood 430)

Another example of a good deed that we must not delay is the giving ofzakat (obligatory charity). If we are entitled to give zakat, it is a must that we must fulfill our duty on time. The same holds true in giving sadaqa (optional charity), which we must give especially to the poor as well as the needy without any delay in order to gain more rewards. The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) tells us in the following Hâdîth:

Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrated that a man came to the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and asked, “O Allah ’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) which charity is the most superior in reward?” He (s.a.w.s.) replied, “The charity which you practice while you are healthy, niggardly and afraid of poverty and wish to become wealthy. Do not delay it to the time of approaching death and then say, ‘Give so much to such and such, and so much to such and such.’ And it has already belonged to such and such (i.e. your inheritors).” (Bukhari 2/ 500 and 4/11)

Islam teaches us to have a well-balanced life. It encourages us to strive hard to enjoy the material comfort and success in this world. At the same time, we must develop our spiritual aspects of life in order to have eternal peace, happiness and success in the next world. Allah the Almighty says:

“It is no crime in you if you seek of the bounty of your Rabb (during pilgrimage). Then when you pour down from (Mount) Arafat, celebrate the praises of Allah at the Sacred Monument, and celebrate His praises as He has directed you even though before this you went astray.” (Qur‘an 2:198)

“But seek the wealth which Allah has bestowed on you, the Home of the Hereafter, nor forget your portion in this World. But do good, as Allah has been good to you, and seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land; for Allah loves not those who do mischief.” (Qur‘an 28:77)

If we fear Allah (S.W.T.) for His wrath and hope for His rewards in the eternal world to come, time has come for us to give due value to tHe mportance of time. We should try not to waste most of our time seeking worldly pleasures. It is for our guidance that we must take admonition from the following authentic ahadîth:
Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrated that Allah ’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) said, “Be prompt in doing good deeds (before you are overtaken) by turbulence which would be like a part of the dark night. During (that stormy period) a man would be a Muslim in the morning and an unbeliever in the evening or he would be a believer in the evening and an unbeliever in the morning, and would sell his faith for worldly goods.” (Muslim 213)

Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrated that Allah ’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) said, “Hasten to do good deeds before six things happen: the rising of the sun from the west, the smoke, the Dajjal, the beast and (the death) of one you or the general turmoil.” (Muslim 7039)

Amr ibn Maymun Al Awdi (r.a.) narrated that Allah ’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) said to a man in the course of an exhortation: “Grasp five things before five others: your youth before your decrepitude, your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty, your leisure before your work, and your life before your death.” (Tirmidhî 2737)
We should refrain from wasting our time doing unnecessary things or activities that do not benefit us either in this world or in the Hereafter. Allah ’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) tells us in the followingHâdîth:
Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, “It is part of the excellence of a person’s Islam that he should discard that which is of no benefit to him either in this world or the Hereafter.” (Tirmidhî 67)
To the non-Muslim readers, time has come that you accept tHe nvitation to Islam as the best invitation to the best way of life and eternal success in the Life Hereafter. Think of your own salvation. Open your hearts and minds to Islâm. Read and follow the Qur’ân as it is the Divine Revelation from Allah , the God of all mankind. Worship Allah (S.W.T.) for He s our True God and Creator Who Alone deserves to be worshipped. Allah (S.W.T.) the Almighty tells us in the Qur‘an:
“... (This is) a Book, with verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning) -- further explained in detail -- from One Who is Wise and Well-Acquainted (with all things). (It teaches) that you should worship none but Allah .” (Qur‘an 11:1-2)

“O mankind! Call to mind the grace of Allah unto you! Is there a Creator other than Allah to give you Sustenance from heaven or earth? There is no god but He. How then are you deluded away from the Truth? (Qur‘an 35:3)
In addition to the above Qur’ânic injunctions, Allah (S.W.T.) the Most High makes it very clear that we have to worship Him regularly:
“Verily, I am Allah : There is no god but I: So serve Me (only), and perform regular prayers for My remembrance.” (Qur‘an 20:14)

Think of your own salvation by pondering on the above verse. Is there anyone, except Allah (S.W.T.), who truly claims that He s the only God? Is there anybody, other than Allah (S.W.T.), who has commanded us to worship him regularly? None, except Allah (S.W.T.)! So value your time by embracing Islam before it will be too late. Perform your duties to Allah (S.W.T.) on time. All of us must value time by learning Islam and following the Qur’ân and theSunnah. We must not waste time; instead, we must spend our time pleasing Allah because we need Him for our eternal salvation and success. Allah the Exalted tells us:
“O mankind! It is you who stand in need of Allah : but Allah s the One Free of all wants Worthy of all praise.” (Qur‘an 35:15)

To be successful, we must worship Allah (S.W.T.) alone and in the performance of our prayers we must be prompt. We must regularly pray on time in order to please Allah the Almighty. All of us must value time to fulfill the very purpose of our lives -- i.e., to worship Allah (S.W.T.) all throughout our lives. Every time we do good deeds we must sincerely dedicate them to Allah (S.W.T.) so that our efforts will not be in vain:
“...But if they had joined in worship others with Allah , all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them.” (Qur‘an 6:88)
“Say: Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death are (all) for Allah , the Only God and Sustainer of the Worlds.” (Qur’ân 6:162)
“Say, ‘Verily, I am commanded to serve Allah with sincere devotion.’” (Qur‘an 39:14)
And indeed it has been revealed to you (O Muhammad), as it was to those (Allah ’s Messengers) before you: “If you join others in worship with Allah , (then) surely (all) your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers.” (Qur‘an 39:65)

“Call then upon Allah with sincere devotion to Him even though the Unbelievers may detest it.” (Qur‘an 40:14)
Verily, time is very important for our success both in this temporary world and the eternal world to come. If we waste time, if we abuse it, then we waste and abuse our lives. In the Life Hereafter we will be among the losers, who will suffer the torments in the Hell-Fire, if Allah the Almighty will not forgive us. Therefore, if we really give value to our lives then, we must give due value to the importance of time.

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