بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
By Saba Paracha
Imagine! What if you had to give up your time in exchange for everything you wanted to get on this earth? For example, you had to give three minutes of your life for a cup of coffee, or an hour for a new phone, or a day for a vacation in Spain! Would you be willing to sacrifice your time for these things? Wouldn’t you think a million times before buying a cup of coffee. You would think, “Is it really worth three minutes of my life?” Likewise, this is how important time is for us. Before every minute that we spend, we need to ask ourselves this very important question, “Is this minute that I am going to spend really worth what I am about to do?”
The biggest blessing each of us has is of time. The rich have it. The poor, the old and the young alike, all have time. Time is what differentiates us from the dead. Our clock is still ticking while theirs has stopped. Hence, their time is up while ours is still running. How we use it or make the most of it depends on us.
‘Time’ in the Qur’an
Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) many a times in the Qur’an mentions time in several contexts.
- In some parts of the Qur’an He mentions the time for salah (prayer).
فَإِذَا قَضَيْتُمُ الصَّلَاةَ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّـهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِكُمْ ۚ فَإِذَا اطْمَأْنَنتُمْ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ ۚ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَابًا مَّوْقُوتًا103
“Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.”
[Al-Qur’an- Surat An-Nissa (The Women):103]
- Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) also mentions time in reference to the day and night, where He mentions the purpose of the night:
هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ لِتَسْكُنُوا فِيهِ وَالنَّهَارَ مُبْصِرًا ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَسْمَعُونَ
“It is He who made for you the night to rest therein and the day, giving sight. Indeed in that are signs for a people who listen.”
[Al-Qur’an – Surat Yunus: 67]
- Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) tells us talks about the timing of fast from dawn to dusk:
أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ لَيْلَةَ الصِّيَامِ الرَّفَثُ إِلَىٰ نِسَائِكُمْ ۚ هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ ۗ عَلِمَ اللَّـهُ أَنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ تَخْتَانُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَعَفَا عَنكُمْ ۖ فَالْآنَ بَاشِرُوهُنَّ وَابْتَغُوا مَا كَتَبَ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ ۚ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الْأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الْأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ ۖ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا الصِّيَامَ إِلَى اللَّيْلِ ۚ وَلَا تُبَاشِرُوهُنَّ وَأَنتُمْ عَاكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَاجِدِ ۗ تِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّـهِ فَلَا تَقْرَبُوهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّـهُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ
It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations]. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset. And do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits [set by] Allah , so do not approach them. Thus does Allah make clear His ordinances to the people that they may become righteous.
[Al-Qur’an: Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow):187]
- The time for pilgrimage is also specified. Every action during pilgrimage has a time allotted to it:
وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّـهَ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَّعْدُودَاتٍ ۚ فَمَن تَعَجَّلَ فِي يَوْمَيْنِ فَلَا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ وَمَن تَأَخَّرَ فَلَا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ ۚ لِمَنِ اتَّقَىٰ ۗ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّكُمْ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ
“And remember Allah during [specific] numbered days. Then whoever hastens [his departure] in two days – there is no sin upon him; and whoever delays [until the third] – there is no sin upon him – for him who fears Allah. And fear Allah and know that unto Him you will be gathered.”
[Al-Qur’an: Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow): 203]
- Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) also mentions how the day of hisaab (accountability) is nearing all of us.
اقْتَرَبَ لِلنَّاسِ حِسَابُهُمْ وَهُمْ فِي غَفْلَةٍ مُّعْرِضُونَ
“[The time of] their account has approached for the people, while they are in heedlessness turning away.”
[Al-Qur’an – Surat Al-Anbya (The Prophets):01]
- Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) clearly defines our time to mourn not more than three days. Our time of celebration is also clarified.
Importance of Time
A lot of importance has been given by Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) on doing things on time and in the time period He has given us. Time no doubt is a blessing.
In a hadith: Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:
The Prophet (صلي اللهُ عليهِ وسلم) said, “There are two blessings which many people lose, they are health and free time for doing good’ (Sahih Bukhari – Volume 8, Book 76, Number 421)
Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) mentions in Surat Al-Asr (The Declining Day), where He swears by time that indeed man is in loss. Each and every single individual is in a state of loss. Think about yourself and forget about everyone else for a moment. When our Lord tells us that we are in loss, what should our reaction be? Should we just sit silently and go back to our normal work, or do some changes need to be made? Are some alterations and some amendments required that guarantee us some hope for salvation in the afterlife.
Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) says in the Qur’an that the Day of Judgment is getting closer, yet mankind is heedless and turning away from it. This is the loss Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) is talking about, that we, each and every one of us, is in loss because our death is approaching by the second and we are still heedless of our actions. On the Day of Judgment, there will be no charity; no one will give their deeds for the other to be saved, a mother will disown her own child, the Prophets will not be able to help us. So what other reminder are we waiting for? In brief, our time to change is running out.
Time and Success
In the next ayah of Surat Al-Asr, Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) very clearly mentions four exceptions of the people who are not in loss:
“Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” [Al-Qur’an – Surat Al-Asr:03]
In order to do these four things, we need to protect ourselves from al- laghw (useless vain talk) (23:03). Al-lagw in Arabic means it refers to something that doesn’t have any benefit. In religious sense, it means anything that does not have benefit in deen nor dunya. It can be in the form of speech or any other activity. A Mu’min (a Believer) is allergic to any situation of al- laghw. Shaitan has worked really hard to produce activities that involve us in laghw that our hours convert into minutes and we don’t even realize it. Whether we are indulging in Youtube, profuse use of internet, or it is an addiction to TV series – all fall under the category of laghw.
Cultures have been exaggerated. All that has been mentioned has become our whole life filled with what we call entertainment. Our lives are spent trying to be like Gaby in ‘Desperate Housewives’, or we are quoting Barney from ‘How I Met Your Mother.’ The point being- we have lost our own identity by trying to imitate these fictional characters.
In all this, we are losing time. If we just realize that everything that we are doing is directly related to our success or failure, we will think before doing anything.
Meaning of Time
The literal meaning of the word asr is to ‘squeeze out’. This is what we have to do-squeeze out every minute of our lives in doing what will save us in the Hereafter. In other words, we need to do what pleases our Rabb.
To realize the value of ONE YEAR,
ask a student who failed a grade.
To realize the value of ONE MONTH,
ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of ONE WEEK,
ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of ONE HOUR,
ask the parent who is waiting for a distant child’s phone call.
To realize the value of ONE MINUTE,
ask a person who missed the train.
To realize the value of ONE SECOND,
ask a person who just avoided an accident.
To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND,
ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics.
Our clocks are ticking and we NEED to make the most of it. The loss of this world is nothing compared to the loss of the Hereafter. But the main thing is: our time to change is running out.
إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ2
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ 3
“By time, 
Indeed, mankind is in loss, 
Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds
and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience. ”
[Al-Qur’an: Al-Asr (The Declining Day]