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Newsletter for February 2013
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Where does the time go?
By Owais Jafrey, Seattle, Washington
(From his Friday Sermons)
Another year of the Christian era has come to an end. A year that has been taken off from our life and a chapter from the book of life is closed for ever. In other words, an opportunity to perform reward-able work has been lost, and year-long acts of negligence and disregard have been added to life’s history sheet. For a Momin though, not only years, months and weeks, but every single day serves as a reminder of life’s value and the worth of time.
Sentences like: “Oh’ the time has gone by, or, a year has slipped by” are common expressions in our daily life, but except a few, people in general don’t even deliberate as to where the time goes? Since every single thing that is there comes to an end and everything that goes by has its destination. A question arises. What is the end of time and what is its destination? It may be a difficult question for others, but for a Muslim, the answer is straight and simple. He has been taught that everything is from Allah swt and ultimately returns to Him. Allah swt is the final destination. Similarly years, months, weeks, days, hours, and minutes return to Allah swt and become a part of His concealed treasure. The Holy Qur’an and the Traditions of our beloved Prophet (s) define this destination as the Day of Judgment, a day which will echo the time gone by. That Day of Reckoning, which seems to be a remote future, will in fact turn into “present” to mirror our entire past. That is why it is imperative to keep the Hereafter in mind in using every single moment of our available present time most judiciously by turning it into a reward in return.
Imam Abu Dawood, the eminent scholar and compiler of four thousand eight hundred traditions of the Prophet (s) in his book “Sunan Abu Dawood had said that out of this entire collection, just four traditions would be enough for a person to become a faithful and a Momin in the real sense. These four traditions are:
All Acts and deeds are based on their intention.
<! The quality of one’s Faith in Islam lies in giving up all useless activities.
A person cannot be a perfect Momin unless he likes for his brother what he likes for himself.
<! Halaal and Haraam, that is the permissible and the forbidden have been made crystal clear, but there are things which are doubtful between the two. To avoid and refrain from the doubtful is the sign of Piety (Taqwa).
You can find the very essence of the entire religion in these four traditions, only if you deliberate. The great Muhaddath, Shah Abdul Azeez Dehlvi writes that the practice of the first tradition is sufficient to educate us in the sincerity of intention and the correct performance of worships. The second tradition teaches us to safeguard the precious moments of our life. The third one reminds us of the rights of others, which we are required to fulfill. And the fourth tradition warns us against the doubtful and teaches us to lead a pious life, a life of piety and purity.
The Holy Qur’an in verse 3 of Surah Mominun defines the believers as, who “shun idle talk.” Activities which have no purpose, or don’t yield any positive results need to be shunned as they waste time and age. The time that is lost can never be recovered.
People pursue different professions and spend their life to achieve their desired goals. It will be sad if a Muslim leads a life without any purpose. To give such people a jolt, who are in deep slumber, the Holy Qur’an warns them in these words in verse 1-2 of Surah Anbiya: “Ever closer to people draws their reckoning, while they run away heedless.” Believers are supposed to lead a disciplined and organized life, a life full of positive thought and action, which ensures success. There is no denying the fact that time is the key element to achieve this goal. Waste of time is waste of life.
Modern age with its immense progress has also introduced many frivolous, silly, and non-productive means and ways of entertainment. Many precious hours are put to misuse and abuse, and in general people are insensitive to their own loss. The person who is prudent, wise and has a foresight puts his time to its best use. He distinguishes himself in Here and the Hereafter. Few moments spent in the recitation of the Holy Qur’an can help accumulate many blessings. Investing time
in the remembrance of Allah swt will ensure countless rewards. Saying Alhamdulillah once tilts the scale in our favor and reciting Subhaan Allah and Alhamdulillah fills up the void between the earth and the sky with blessings.
Dawood Ta’ee (r) was a great puritan of his time. An example from his life tells us how he valued time. He developed a habit to hurriedly soak the pieces of bread in water and then get busy in his work. He used to take short break to eat them and then used to return to his routine. Someone once asked him as to why he didn’t eat the bread with gravy and the cooked food? He replied that after calculating and comparing the time spent in eating with gravy and the cooked food and without it saved him enough time to recite fifty verses from the Holy Qur’an. He added that he was better off with eating water-soaked bread rather than spending time to combine bread with gravy and cooked food.
People who value time and spend it prudently always rise and succeed in Here and the Hereafter. Let us make a habit to assess and evaluate the time we daily spend productively and which we just waste in purposeless pursuits. In the strict obedience to the Holy Qur’an and the Traditions of our beloved Prophet (s), let us shun the idle talk and frivolous activities and train ourselves to make the most and best use of the available time, and let us make the rest of our life meaningful before it goes to waste and is no more.
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