"O my soul, it is only a few days, bear them patiently.A lifetime seems long but a flitting reverie"

~Imam Shafi~
" “The heart will rest and feel relief if it is settled with Allah and it will worry and be anxious if it is settled with people.” – Ibn al-Qayyim"....Say : "This is my way; I invite unto Allah with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me with sure knowledge" (Qur'an - 12:108) "Say: we believe in God and in what has been revealed to us, and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma'il: Isaac, Jacob and The Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus and the Prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another, among them, and to God do we bow our will (in Islam)." (Qur'an, Al-Imran 3:84) . "And if he (Muhammad SAW) had forged a false saying concerning Us (Allah),We would have seized him by the right hand;And then certainly should have cut off his life artery (Aorta),And none of you could withhold Us from (punishing) him" (Qur'an,Al-Haqqah 69:44-47) "Do they not ponder the Quran! If it were revealed from a source other than Allah,certainly they would have found,many contradictions."[Holy Quran 4:82] " O man! Verily, you are returning towards your Lord with your deeds and actions (good or bad), a sure returning, and you will meet (i.e. the results of your deeds which you did)" [Holy Qur'an, 84:6] Say, "Is it other than Allah I should desire as a lord while He is the Lord of all things? And every soul earns not [blame] except against itself, and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. Then to your Lord is your return, and He will inform you concerning that over which you used to differ." ~Holy Quran 6:164 Imam Malik (rh): “Do not look to the sins of people as if you are Lords, but look to your own sins as if you are slaves. Have mercy on the people of affliction and praise Allah for your well-being, and never say, ‘This person is from the people of Hellfire, and this person is from the people of Paradise.’ Do not be arrogant over the sinners, but rather ask Allah to grant them hidayah and rashad (i.e. guidance).” Ibn Kathir (Ra) narrated: كان نقش خاتم عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه : كفى بالموت واعظاً ياعمر “The engraving on ‘Umar ibn al Khataab’s(Ra) ring was: “Sufficient is death as an admonisher O Umar”. ["Al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaaya]. "When you fear the creation, you run away from it, but when you fear the Creator, you feel close to Him,& run towards Him.".Ibn Qayyim . "Allahumma la‘aisha illa‘aish-al-Aakhirah": 'There is no life but the life of the next world' "And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (i.e. death)". (Quran 15:99) “And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways.And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.” [Quran: 29:69] "... And my success is not but through Allah . Upon him I have relied, and to Him I return." ~ Al Quran 11:88
"Nothing in this world is really useful to you unless it has some utility and value for the next world"-Imam Ali(R)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Importance 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 importance of time but also how to value it. Allah the Almighty and His Messenger, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), very clearly tell 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.

The following are some of the most important duties demanded of Muslims:
1.                Ensuring benefiting from time
2.                Utilizing leisure time
3.                Racing for good deeds
4.                Learning from the passage of time
5.                Seeking the superior times
6.                Planning and organizing time
7.                Fulfillment of time commitments
8.                Necessary awareness of time wasters

Both the Qur'an 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 satisfaction of Allah the Almighty. For our guidance and success, we must never waste time nor abuse it.
Ibn Abbas narrated that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) 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 all throughout our lives. Allah makes this very clear in the Qur'an when He says:
I have only created Jinns and Men, that they may serve Me. No Sustenance do I require of them, nor do I require that they should feed Me. For Allah is He Who gives (all) Sustenance, Lord of Power, Steadfast (for ever). Qur'an (51:56-58)
But celebrate the praises of thy Lord, and be of those who prostrate themselves in adoration. And serve thy Lord until there come unto thee the Hour that is certain (i.e., death). Qur'an (15:98-99)
Everything we do in accordance with the Qur'an and the Sunnah is an act of worship. Such worship must be done sincerely for the pleasure of Allah 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 and earn His Mercy.
We have to make use of our time wisely by knowing more of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. We must have correct knowledge of what Allah and His Messenger Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) 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 the Exalted makes it very clear, when he says:
O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger, and make not vain your deeds! Qur'an (47:33)
Corollary to the above divine commandment, we must ask ourselves: Have we been obeying Allah and His Messenger? To what extent have we used our time learning the Qur'an 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 the Most High? Are we taking guidance from the following very enlightening Ayat (Qur'anic verses)?
By (the Token of) Time (through the ages), Verily Man is in loss, Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy. Qur'an (103:1-3)
In line with the above Qur'anic injunction, we have to discipline ourselves by giving value to the importance 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.
Islam encourages Muslims to care for time, to utilize it wisely and not to waste it and to benefit from it. Besides, it holds them responsible for their time.
We have to remember that on the Day of Judgment 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 has given us as implied in the following Hadith:
Narrated Abdullah Bin Mas`ud Allah's Messenger (PBUH) 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."
The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), used to call on Muslims to take the initiative to do good deeds before any obstacles arise. For instance, he said, "Lose no time to do good deeds before you are caught up by one of seven calamities awaiting you: a starvation which may impair your wisdom; a prosperity which may mislead you; an ailment which may damage your health; an old age which may harm your senses; a sudden death; the Dajjal (Antichrist); or Doomsday, which is indeed the hardest and most bitter." (at-Tirmidhi, al-Baihaqi)
The above Hadith urges Muslims to take the initiative, and not to delay good deeds; man's life is not free from impediments, such as those calamities, which can prevent him from accomplishing what could have been done earlier. Wise are those who grab available opportunities before being handicapped by obstacles.

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'an 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'an 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'an and the Sunnah.

Another Year Passes By and Time Marches On

O ye who believe! Fear Allah, and let every soul look to what (provision) He has sent forth for the morrow. Yea, fear Allah: for Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do. Qur'an (59:18)

Another year has passed; minutes move into hours => into days => into weeks => into months => into years - seemingly faster than ever; yet every moment is a precious component of life and every moment counts.

Time - Use it, do not abuse it
Our attitude towards time indicates our attitude towards the value of the capital of life. If we want to purchase something, we require financial capital; and if we want to do something in life, we require the capital of life, time. That is why the Qur'an exhorts us to value the time we have before life is up. Qur'an (63:10)
Realize that...
·                     Time is the measure of life, time is an amaanah (trust), time is a gift from the Creator and its proper use will determine our outcome for eternity.
·                     We are born in time, live in time and die in time; time is the ambit within which we operate. What we do with time is what we do with our lives.
·                     Each one must realize that every moment that passes by is an opportunity gone, used or abused; never to return. Soon time will be up and we'll have to leave this physical world and give account for our lives.
·                     The more we remind ourselves of the responsibility of the present the better we get at living the moment and the better we live the present moment the better the consequence for the future.

Our attitude towards the future influences our mind-set towards the rest of life. Being positive about life ahead is among life's greatest motivators. Hope is the best attitude one can harbor towards the future; this realistic expectation that something good or better could/will happen if only we continue doing the best we can. Remember that today well-lived makes yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Wise are the words of the one who said ... "I expect to pass through this world but once; any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."

"O Allah! Make life a means for every dimension of goodness." [Prayer of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)]

The Characteristics of Time
We are to bear in mind that time has certain characteristics, among of which are the following:
1.                Time passes quickly.
2.                Time that passes can never return, nor can it be compensated for, for time is irretrievable.
3.                Time is the most precious thing that man possesses.

Muslim's Duty towards Time:
Having all this great value and importance, time is to be duly appreciated and managed. In Islam there is no room for slogans like the so-called "killing time", for in Islam time is really valuable. In fact, wasting time is much more dangerous than squandering property, because unlike property, time cannot be compensated. Free time is a blessing that is overlooked, and not wholly appreciated by many people.

This indicates that it's very important for a Muslim to try his utmost to husband his time and make the best use of it in beneficial things. A Muslim may use portion of his time in making invocations and supplications, celebrating the praises of Allah. The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), used to supplicate: "O Allah! I seek refuge in You from sorrow and distress, and I seek refuge in You from disability and laziness."
A Muslim should learn how to organize his time, and make a realistic plan for his worldly and religious duties, without any of them overlapping the other. That is to say that one should know how to arrange his priorities: the most important and the most urgent comes first, and carried out according to schedule. Organizing time also includes leaving a place for relaxation and entertainment, for 'all work and no play make Jack a dull boy.'

One of the methods of managing his time properly is for a Muslim to get up early and sleep early, for early hours always yield great blessings. Starting his day with prayer and the supplication of the morning brings the Muslim Allah's grace. A Muslim should always bear in mind that every time has its own task that suits it. Doing tasks in their due times brings about peace of mind and comfort.

Finally, we would like to cite the following Hadith of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), quoting from the Book of Ibrahim, peace be upon him: "A sane person, unless he is mindless, should have four hours: an hour to invoke to his Lord, an hour to count his own deeds, an hour to contemplate about the creation of Allah and an hour to satisfy his worldly needs."

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.

In general, sensible people know the importance of time.
Imagine there is a bank which credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day, allow you to keep no cash balance, and every evening cancels whatever part of the amount you had failed to use during the day.
What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course!
Well, everyone has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose.
It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours.
There is no going back. There is no drawing against the "tomorrow". You must live in the present on today's deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success! The clock is running. Make the most of today.
To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who has failed a grade.
To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who has given birth to a pre-mature baby.
To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of ONE DAY, ask a daily wage laborer who has kids to feed.
To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who has missed the train.
To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who has avoided an accident.
To realize the value of ONE MILLI-SECOND, ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.
Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time ... and remember that time waits for no one. . .
Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today is a gift, that's why it's called the present!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Understand Time

There are two hadiths : the first sums up the whole attitude of Islam towards time; the second is a famous hadith which many have had trouble understanding.

Hadith 1
The Prophet (S) said: ”Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth before you become old; your health, before you fall sick; your wealth, before you become poor; your free time before you become preoccupied, and your life, before your death.” (Narrated by Ibn Abbas in the Mustadrak of Hakim & Musnad Imam Ahmad. Sahih)

The scholars regard this as one of the core hadiths of the religion as it spurs one to right action in so many different life circumstances. It contains two key principles with respect to Islam’s approach to time management: a sense of urgency to our life and expressing thanks for our blessings.

The whole language of this hadith points to the limited nature of our life and how time is running out. In Surah al-Rahman, verse 26, Allah (Subhanahu Wa’Tala) beautifully states ”Kullu man alaiyha faan” (All that is on earth will perish); describing the essential reality that every moment that passes is a moment that brings our death closer; our lifespan is like an upturned sand-timer and the last grain could drop soon. So the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)reminds us to act quickly before old age, before sickness, before our money decreases, before we get too busy and before our death. In other words, we must act now before it’s too late.

This links to the second principle of shukr, or gratefulness. Each one of the five matters are five blessings of the highest magnitude: youth(which Arabs have traditionally defined as less than 40!), health, wealth, free time and life itself. Allah, Most Glorious, has informed us of the secret of keeping and indeed increasing our blessings: “If you are grateful, I shall certainly give you increase” (Qur’an 14:7). How then do we give thanks for these blessings? Beyond thanking Allah regularly with our tongues, scholars explain that true gratefulness is to “use the blessing for what they were intended for” or as Junayd al-Baghdadi (May Allah have mercy on him) explained at a mere seven years of age: “That one not disobey Allah using the blessings He has given.” So, for instance, we should spend our youth in seeking beneficial knowledge; our wealth in sadaqa; our energy to worship Allah more.

The last two matters mentioned in the hadith relate directly to time management. Our free time is what we have left to work with. In Surah al-Inshirah (94:7), an oft-recited verse, ”fa iza faraghta fa-nsab”, Allah commands us: ‘So when you are free, toil on [in worship]!’ After a hard day’s work in the office, kitchen or school our first inclination is to rest. Yet the Prophet(S, who had more responsibilities and hard work than many of us put together, was commanded to ‘toil on’. This is why we read of his long hours of Salah in the night to the extent that his feet swelled.

However, for the Muslim, whether it is the evening/morning, work-day/holiday, weekday/weekend, our goal and purpose for every moment should be to worship Allah in the best way possible. When we’re at work, we’re happy to work for the sake of Allah; when we’re home we’re happy to worship Allah. No doubt this is how the early Muslims, the scholars and the pious from every generation lived. I live next door to a local Imam and I can tell you that when he’s not at work with his wife teaching at the madrasa, he’s at home teaching Hifz to his children. Though you and I may be far from such incredible striving, we can at least ensure that a portion of each night is reserved for toiling in worship. Many Islamic leaders recommend even a few rakahs of Tahajjud before Fajr comes in. By devoting at least a small portion of each night, after our day’s work, to worship we can hope that our life, the fifth and final blessing mentioned in the hadith, is not wasted.

Hadith 2
“Allah said, ‘The son of Adam wrongs me for he curses Ad-Dahr (Time); though I am Ad-Dahr (Time). In My Hands are all things, and I cause the revolution of day and night’” (Al-Bukhari).

This hadith used to confuse me for many years until I asked one of my teachers for the meaning of the phrase ‘I am Time’ for I knew that Allah, Most High, is beyond time and does not resemble His creation. It was explained to me that the Arabs of the time of the Prophet (saw) were very proud people, especially proud of their strength, vitality, power, wealth and status. Since old age,and death would eventually erode all of these qualities they would grow despondent and curse time as they felt it ‘made them old’. Allah responded to this ignorant custom with this hadith qudsi, saying in effect, “I alone effect the changes in you (due to time).” Thus by cursing time, one is indirectly cursing Allah (just as one would be if you cursed destiny which is also only effected by Allah).

There is an immediate relevance to us here. Many a time, we find ourselves having a difficult situation or experiencing ‘one of those days’ where everything seemingly goes wrong. Sometimes, Shaytan overcomes us at such moments and we find ourselves thinking thoughts such as ‘Why does Allah create days like this?’. Na’uzu billah, such thoughts are like modern curses of time and we should guard against such words or thoughts. Indeed, if we contemplate the blessings of time in our times, there is much to be thankful for. Most readers of this article are living away from the many troubled Muslim lands where they are suffering carnage, warfare, famine, oppression or poverty.

Alhamdulillah, we are blessed with ample time and modern conveniences to efficiently use it. Let’s increase this blessing by toiling hard to use it in ways most pleasing to Allah.