Sunday, April 29, 2012

Time Planning is an Islamic Virtue

In his Friday Sermon of April 27, 2012, Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib of Mauritius (atba) continued his discourse on the significance of leading a full life in this world. Good deeds form half of the Faith. Believers are to diligently pursue their noble objectives on every single day of their lives. One must rank one’s priorities and set objectives in terms of importance and try to accomplish each of these tasks in the required time. The main duty or sacred duty (Farz deed) must be fulfilled before performing a supererogatory one, and this is equally valid for other cases. Exploit (your) time fairly and effectively’ and ‘not be among the thoughtless and forgetful’, exhorts the Messenger of Allah of our times.

Read the Extracts from the Sermon:

“...There is no favour to any particular person where time is concerned. This is because the latter is split equally between men. But some have more merit in how to manage, operate and profit from it. Allah (swt), who evaluated time, and shared it among His servants, distinguished some moments that are better than others.

In terms of ritual actions, Allah (swt) has spared some time for the seasons where expected rewards are increased, as the month of Ramadan and the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Other moments are more favourable to the fulfillment of prayers, as the last third of every night, every Friday afternoon, the breaking of the fast for the faster, and the sacred night (Laila-tul-Qadr) in the month of Ramadan!

Every day you have before you a moment in the morning, a moment in the evening and another at dawn, where you can raise your pure mind to the heavens to win both favours of this world and the hereafter. Before you, there are the seasons of the submission, the days of meditation and nights of sacrifices, to which you refer to the Holy Book (the Quran) and the teaching of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). Try then to be among those who remember and call on their Lord, and not be among the thoughtless and forgetful. Be those who act, not of those who laze. Enjoy your time, time is like the sword, and neglect procrastination because there is nothing more harmful.

At the level of earthly actions, concerning the efforts of man to improve his stay here on earth, Allah has made the precocious actions one of the factors of their effectiveness and success. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “O my God, let the precocity of mine (that is, my people) be blessing and happiness for them.” The Muslim must therefore be on the lookout for these precocious times, to want more (of them), so as to bring together his life and religion.

Time planning and organisation of these priorities are factors which the Muslim must absolutely hold on to, because these factors are crucial to exploit time fairly and effectively. The people of the past understood this wisdom, for while on his deathbed Hazrat Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (May Allah be pleased with him) called Hazrat Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) to give him the Khilafa and gave him this advice: “Allah has rights during the day that He does not accept by night and rights during the night which does not accept during the day. The supererogatory deed is only accepted when the sacred duty has been fulfilled”.

These are words which Hazrat Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) murmured in the ear of Hazrat Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) so that he may carry the torch (of Khilafat) after him. He must therefore be careful in planning and organising his time. He must rank his priorities and set objectives in terms of importance, and to accomplish in the required time each of his task. The main duty or sacred duty (Farz deed) must be fulfilled before performing a supererogatory one, and this is equally valid for other cases.

Planning time by the Muslim, his good exploitation (of time), are among the principles, recommended by Hazrat Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) just before his death, and this is because he knew full well the importance of time and the need to exploit it. That's why his last wishes were a call to manage it well. This is a valuable rule that can be summarised as follows: The importance is not that man accomplishes anything at any time, but to perform an appropriate action at the right time.

Islam has encouraged Muslims to meet deadlines and keep promises. Allah (swt) has praised the believers in these words: “And they who are attentive to their trusts and honour their promises.” And about Moses, He (Allah) said: “Then you came, O Moses, according to a decree,” referring to actions which must arrive at the right time, because the meaning of the verse is: You came at a time when We have decreed (wanted) to send you as a messenger to Pharaoh.

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) warned against broken promises, which he counted among the signs of hypocrisy. And he (peace be upon him) said: “The hypocrite is perceived by three signs: When he speaks he lies, when he promises he breaks his promise, and when he is given something, he betrays.” Not holding true to his engagement or pact, not realising the promises (made to others) indeed to harm these other people and cause them to lose their time waiting unnecessarily (for that person to honour his promise).

Islam has warned against losing time. It establishes the principles that allow the Muslim to safeguard his own time. It requires that the Muslim ask for permission: no one has the right for example, to just barge in someone's home without asking permission. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said about this: “You ask permission three times (knock on the door three times). Then, either they give you permission or (then) return back on your steps (that is, go away).”

Allah (swt) said: “O ye who believe! Do not enter houses other than your own houses until you ascertain welcome and greet their inhabitants. That is best for you; perhaps you will be reminded. And if you do not find anyone therein, do not enter them until permission has been given you. And if it is said to you, "Go back," then go back; it is purer for you. And Allah is Knowing of what you do.” All this is to preserve the time of Muslim and to prevent him from losing time in unannounced (and also unnecessary) visits.

Among the diversions that waste time, we can name postponement of a good deed and dishonoured promises (or such promises which people take a very long time to honour). Whoever drags hopes (by not accomplishing his promises) can only interfere with the action. Excessive hope leads to laziness, encourages laziness and procrastination. It also leads to diversions and a perverse want to be idle, and even to physical inactivity and extreme idleness (which more often happens because of the pleasure they take in such inactivity).

O son of Adam, beware of procrastination, because you live only today, not tomorrow. So when you're in tomorrow do as you are today. And if you have no tomorrow, then you will not regret anything today. Another word before I end this sermon: One for whom today is like yesterday suffers harm, one for whom today is worse than yesterday is cursed.

So, my brothers and sisters understand that the time for action is now behind and will not return, the world is the scene of action, not of accounts, while the Hereafter is the place of accounts, and not of action...”