Year, Gone tommorrow
2010-The year we all awaited with bated breath and excitement is gone, and never to return. 2011 is now upon us. By the time this issue of Islam Today reaches your hand, in all probability we would be at the end of the month of January 2011 or even maybe in the first week of the month of February 2011. And then February would be over, and then March, April and May. Very soon after that, half the year would be gone and then a new year would be just around the corner. At the end of it all, the very swift and rapid passages of time have become even more glaring. Each past year, each month, each hour, each minute and each second means only one thing….the distance between us and our graves are becoming frighteningly shorter. TIME is the capsule within which we all lead our lives and like the sands through an hour glass, so are the days of our lives. HERE TODAY,GONE TOMORROW! Time is indeed a great gift and boon of Allah Ta’ala-it is within this time that we are able to serve Allah Ta’ala and become true bondsmen of His. An oath is taken on time in a few places in the Qur’aan. We need not elaborate on its reasons.
The importance and value of time in Islaam cannot be further emphasised. There are many who believe in the popular saying that ‘Time is Gold’. A businessman would well relate to this adage. Islaam, views time in a light more precious than gold, silver and all other valuables for the former can be always bought again if it is lost. With time there is no recovery. When it’s gone it’s gone for good. Of all the religions, only Islaam sensitizes mankind to not only the importance of time but also how to value it.
In a Hadith Nabi (S.A.W.) has exhorted us to take benefit of five things before five conditions befall us. Both, the former and latter all occur within the space of time. They are:
"Take benefit of five before five:
your youth before your old age,
your health before your sickness,
your wealth before your poverty,
your free-time before your preoccupation,
and your life before your death."[Hadith- al-Haakim, al-Bayhaqee, Saheeh]
MANY people forget or neglect the importance of time although man's life on earth is a span of time. Islam gives due attention to the issue of time because if people waste their time, they are actually wasting their life.
The Noble Qur'an gives due attention to the idea of time and this is clear in many verses of the Qur'an when Allah swears using the different places of times of the day to reveal the importance of time, "By the break of Day," (Qur'aan, 1:89) "By (the Token of) Time (through the ages),' (Qur'aan, 1:103) etc.
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) says in one Hadith: "There are two things that people are not aware of how important they are: health and time."(Bukhari) This Hadith stresses two facts: People are not aware of the importance of being in good health till they fall ill and people are not aware of the importance of time and therefore waste their time doing trivial things.
There was research published in one of the magazines about how man spends his time. The research revealed that if man lives for 60 years, he spends one third of his life sleeping because man usually sleeps eight hours a day. Remaining years are spent in public transportation, watching TV, eating, in the bathroom.etc. This means that the larger part of man's life is spent in worldly matters. If a person, Karen Armstrong, refers to this aspect of time in Prophet Muhammad'(S.A.W.) life. She indicated that what the Prophet (S.A.W.) did in 23 years was miraculous and what he accomplished required thousands of philosophers, reformers, intellectuals and mentors to do in hundreds of years.
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 labourer who has kids to feed.
To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the bride who is waiting to meet her groom
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.
The Characteristics of Time
We are to bear in mind that time has certain characteristics, among of which are the following:
Time passes quickly.
Time that passes can never return, nor can it be compensated for, for time is irretrievable.
Time is the most precious thing that man possesses.
The following are some of the most important duties demanded of Muslims:
Ensuring benefitting from time.
Utilizing leisure time.
Racing for good deeds.
Learning from the passage of time.
Seeking the superior times.
Planning and organizing time.
Fulfilment of time commitments.
Necessary awareness of time wasters.
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. The most important aspect being gaining such knowledge of Islam that will enable and empower one to do such actions at a given time that pleases Allah abundantly! A Muslim is disciplined and uses every second constructively and productively!
Narrated Abdullah Bin Mas`ud, Allah's Messenger (Saw) 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." [Tirmidhi]

At the end of it all, if we are to evaluate our lives objectively, we ask ourselves, have we been spending our time wisely and responsibly for the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala? Are we living our lives within the shades of Qur’aan and Sunnah? How many of us are true mumineen and true mutaqeen within this gift of time? Using the time at hand, just how many of us have made an effort to learn as much as possible of the Qur’aan and Sunnah instead of squandering it on frivolous pastimes and unworthy futile activities? How many of us enjoin what is right and prohibit what is wrong when we see it?
To be successful servants of Allah Ta’ala we need to manage this Amaanah of time responsibly by making plans for virtuous deeds and actions for like an ice-cube are our lives melting away. In a short space of time this year will also march on and we would be another year closer to our graves…
We conclude this article with the words of a wise man who once 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 creatures, let me do it now, let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
 May Allah guide us to use our time correctly and beneficially!!!...Ameen

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