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The Hands of Time

Scrolling through Instagram and watching highlights of 2023 by many, I found myself deeply nostalgic and reflective of my own journey this year. Reflecting on losses, wins, successes, failures, and realisations of self through all these experiences. The biggest aspect of reflection was asking myself, “how have I actually utilised my time???”, “have I done enough with the time Allah has given me?”, “Would He be pleased with me?”, “Have I adequately used my time to be a better servant to Him?”. Answering these questions did not leave me pleased with the answers. Thinking about time, made me think of death. As a result I wound up hearing this proverbial inner clock ticking by...tick,... tick,...tick...

Covering my ears or finding a space far from this imaginary sound was not option. It is a part of me. An inevitable truth that overcame and still overcomes the spaces of thought. It was a brutal reminder that my life is slowly coming to an end. In this waking truth, I thought about my last breath. Would my eyes be filled with terror? or with contentment? Will I plead for more time?? Or have I done the best I knew I could?

Time! The most important aspect of our rizq that we have abused for so long. It is through this blessing of time that we attain, achieve, build, love, give, nurture, experience, laugh, cry, and, and, and...

Time is a remarkable gift from our Sustainer. How we use our time determines the outcome of all our pursuits in life.

Naturally, a commonly read surah came to mind too. Surah Al-'Asr! The 103rd chapter of the Quran and it is one of the shortest surahs in the Quran. The surah is named after the word "Al-'Asr" which means "The Time". It is a very powerful surah as it highlights the significance of time and its value in our lives. Some scholars agree that this surah summarises the scope of man’s duties.

By the time

Indeed mankind (is) surely in loss,

Except those who believe and do righteous deed and enjoin (each other) to the truth and enjoin (each other) to (the) patience

The surah begins by mentioning that time is a witness to the fact that mankind is in a state of loss, except for those who have faith, do righteous deeds, enjoin good and forbid evil. It emphasizes the importance of these four key aspects of life as they are essential for leading a successful and righteous life.

Faith is the foundation of Islam, and it is the belief in the oneness of Allah and following the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (saw). Righteous deeds are the actions that are in accordance with the teachings of Islam, and that benefit oneself and others. Enjoining good and forbidding evil are the acts of advising others to do good deeds and preventing them from committing sins.

The surah concludes by warning that those who fail to follow these principles and do not utilize their time wisely will be among the losers in the hereafter. Surah Al-'Asr is a reminder to Muslims to remain steadfast in their faith, perform good deeds, and strive to enjoin good and forbid evil, so that they may attain success in this life and the hereafter.

As a Muslim, effective time management is crucial to ensure that we are able to fulfill our obligations towards Allah (SWT) and the society. Here are some additional points to consider in relation to how we need to use our time as Muslims:

  • The Holy Prophet (PBUH) prayed to Allah to grant abundance to the Ummah in their early mornings:"O Allah, bless my nation in their early mornings (i.e. what they do early in the morning)" (Sunan Ibn Majah) This is a huge hint for us to make the most of the early hours of the day and to sharpen our focus through prayer, and contemplation.

  • Start your tasks in the name of Allah. By commencing your tasks or habits with "Bismillah," you not only signify an official start or focus to your actions but also direct the purpose of your endeavors. Initiating in the Name of Allah provides a straightforward cue to train your mind to start "action time" and invoke blessings from Allah in the process. This affirmation holds significant psychological and personal advantages.

  • Block-scheduling is a helpful practice that can aid in avoiding procrastination and increase productivity. Muslims already have a built-in practice for scheduling their day in this method - through the five daily prayers. To get started, begin planning your day around your salaah. Then, list all your tasks, deadlines, and priorities using the following headings:

  • Category

  • Task

  • Deadline

  • Priority

  • Take moments to pause. This reality check is as relevant today as it was before. If we are struggling to focus or complete tasks, it's time to pause and reflect on ourselves.

In the pursuit of maintaining blessings in your life, it's essential to hold yourself accountable and be self-critical when required. This practice allows you to identify anything that may be hindering your progress and set intentions for positive change. By doing so, you can ensure that you get back on track towards achieving your goals.

Islam also emphasizes the importance of seeking knowledge and continuous learning. Muslims should make an effort to acquire knowledge and enhance their skills in various fields. This can be achieved through reading, attending lectures and workshops, and enrolling in courses.

Another important aspect of time management in Islam is fulfilling our responsibilities towards our family and community. Muslims should make time to spend with their families and engage in activities that strengthen their relationships. They should also strive to contribute positively to their community by volunteering and engaging in charitable activities.

Finally, take care of their physical health and well-being. Engaging in regular exercise and maintaining a balanced diet can help improve our overall health and increase our productivity.

Time management is a crucial aspect of a Muslim's life. By prioritizing our obligations, engaging in beneficial activities, and making the most of our time, we can lead a fulfilling life that is pleasing to Allah (SWT).

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