WASTING TIME

All the blessings a human being receives, with or without making an effort, are blessings from Allah Almighty. He is the One who creates the blessings from nothing and through His benefaction He gives us the ability and strength which is needed to attain these blessings. For this reason, human beings should not forget that ones blessings are a benefaction from Allah Almighty alone.

A person should live with the understanding that these are an amanah (a trust, a person or a thing entrusted to another’s safekeeping) and one day he will be held responsible for them. In a verse of the Qur’an it is said that:

“Did ye then think that We had created you in jest, and that ye would not be brought back to Us (for account)?” (Qur’an:23/115)

Therefore, while we are making use of these material and spiritual blessings, we should realize that we are not totally free and that we have to use these blessings in accordance with the will of the Lord Almighty.

In another verse, Allah Almighty reminds us of the great reckoning and stresses of our personal responsibility.

“Then, shall ye be questioned that Day about the joy (ye indulged in!).” (Qur’an:102/8)

This indicates that the Lord Almighty has set measures in using these blessings, like the measures He set in acquiring them. He declared that these are “halal and haraam” (lawful and unlawful).

Wastefulness is one of the haraam acts that cause the loss of Allah Almighty’s love and mercy andattracts His wrath. In a verse, it is said:

“…and be not prodigal. Lo! Allah loveth not the prodigals.” (Qur’an:6/141)

Wasting Time:

Due to heedlessness and forgetfulness, one of the sins human beings most often fall into is that of wasting time.

Life is a most precious blessing that Allah Almighty has bestowed upon every living creature only once and only for a limited amount of time. It is essential that we use our time most efficiently with the deeds that are most deserving. In our lives, there is always more than one thing that can be done at each moment. Putting the most important in front and arranging the other things according to their significance, is essential in using our time well.

For example, a mother nursing her child is a beautiful thing, which is a condition of her mercy and compassion. But continuing to nurse when there is a fire in the house is a great folly and a liability. At that moment she should try to put out the fire, even if she only has one bucket of water. This task is more vital than the other. If she neglects this task, she will soon perish with her baby in that fire.

Likewise, today, due to the importance of time, giving priority to the religion of Allah Almighty over other things is a requirement of being responsible for time.

For the sahaba (Companions of the Prophet) who used their time in the best way, the most meaningful and enjoyable times were those when they were giving the message of tawhid (Oneness of Allah Almighty) to other people. Just before his execution, one of the sahaba thanked the person who gave him three minutes grace and said:

“This means I have three minutes to make tabligh to you about the Truth. Hopefully you will find hidaya (the right way, the way to Islam)”

Today, it is a duty of iman (belief) and conscience for a believer to reflect the beauty, grace and kindness of Islam in a pleasant manner to those people who are lost in an erosion of unbelief and immorality.

Wasting time, which is an extremely valuable asset, on empty and useless things, and this means risking the afterlife. For this reason, for those who have been able to open the curtains of heedlessness, time is a blessing which cannot be compared with any other thing. In Qur’an the Lord Almighty says:

“By the declining day, Verily man is in a state of loss, except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.” (Qur’an:103/ 1-3)

The surah starts with an oath about time, declaring that time that is not used in the way of Iman, such as good deeds, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, advising patience and truth, is time that has been wasted and will be a means to great disappointment. Sadly, those who use time correctly are mentioned as a minority, pointing out that the majority of mankind is deceived about this matter.

The Lord Almighty advises His servants about the usage of time, and shows the way to avoid disappointments and how to reach divine blessings.

“So when thou art relieved, still toil, and strive to please thy Lord.” (Qur’an:94/7-8)

This means when a form of worship or a good deed is finished, one should immediately turn to the next. There should not be any time void of worship or good deeds, because life is a blessing given to us with which to earn the next world.

Death is like the due date on a loan. A merchant gives a document to the creditor, promising to pay his debt. The deferment time is for preparing the money that will be paid in the set period of time. Life on this earth is a term given to us to attain the next world and to receive divine consent. When a merchant does not take the date on his document seriously and does not make preparations during the time that is given to him, he will suffer great distress on the due date.

Likewise, if humans do not use the blessing of time that is given to them by their Lord, in the best way possible, they cannot escape facing great disappointment. From the moment of birth, every human is sentenced to a death, the time of which is unknown. The time of the execution of this sentence will be the moment when one faces Azrail, the Angel of Death.

Although the due date on the voucher is set, the absolute end of a human being’s life is unknown to him or her. This awesome reality requires readiness for the Reckoning at any given moment.

In Vukûf-i Zamânî (deep knowledge and understanding of one’s own time), which is one of the most important training methods of Sufism, it is stated that using the blessing of time with extreme sensitivity is an absolute necessity.

So, a Muslim who wants to clean his nafs (lowerself) and purify his heart, has to utilize time with righteous deeds in an awareness of the selfquestioning one has to continuously perform, due to the uncertainty of the time of one’s death. One should abandon useless things and refrain from meaningless conversation. As Hadhrat Rumi puts it, one should protect the tongue from becoming a “buffoon of language”. The Lord Almighty states in the Qur’anic style, the characteristics of those “who reach salvation”, as follows:

“…(those)…Who avoid vain talk.” (Qur’an:23/3)

“…(those who)…if they pass by futility, they pass by it with hounorable (avoidance)” (Qur’an:25/72)

Pious believers should always be aware of the state of their inner world and contemplate the level of their istighfar (repentance), hamd (giving praise and glory to Allah only), shukr (gratitude) and ridha (desiring Allah’s approval and consent).

Contemplating the countless blessings in each and every limb, and the shukr for these blessings, one needs to repent for the times wasted with heedlessness. Refraining from unnecessary worries about the future, Muslims should busy themselves reviving their current state at this moment. In other words, a sound believer should be “ibnu’l waqt”, that is, one who values life, especially the actual time one is living in, and prepares with it in the best possible way for the hereafter.

Wasting time is a reason for great remorse. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh), reminding us to utilize time with good deeds that will be the wealth of eternal life, said:

“The people of Jannah (heaven) will regret and grieve nothing but only those times they have not spent in dhikr (remembrance of Allah Almighty).” (Haythami, X, 73-74).

Remorse has no use when the blessings have gone. For this reason, we should fill our lives with good deeds while we still have the opportunity.

We should try to be grateful with each limb. For example, we should constantly try to utilize the blessing of the tongue with dhikr, which is a cure for our hearts.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) advised our beloved mother Hafsa as follows:

“O Hafsa! Shun talking too much! All talk except dhikr will destroy the heart. But make

dhikr abundantly, because this will revive the heart.” (Ali al-Muttaki, I, 439/1896)

Lord Almighty warns us to be watchful about two matters:

“And spend something (in charity) out of the substance which We have bestowed on you, before Death should come to any of you and he should say, “O my Lord! why didst Thou not give me respite for a little while? I should then have given (largely) in charity, and I should have been one of the doers of good.” (Qur’an:63/10)

The following ayah, portraying the laments of those who wasted their lives and the refusal of their pleas, is a stern admonition:

“Therein will they cry aloud (for assistance): “Our Lord! Bring us out: we shall work righteousness, not the (deeds) we used to do!”

– “Did We not give you long enough life so that he that would should receive admonition? and (moreover) the warner came to you. So taste ye (the fruits of your deeds): for the wrong-doers there is no helper.” (Qur’an:35/37)

As with all the blessings of life, the main reason for wasting time is because we are not able to grasp the meaning of death correctly, or because we are heedless of death, seeing it as distant from ourselves. However, in a hadith it is said:

“Frequently remember death, which extinguishes all pleasures by its roots (Tirmidhi, Kiyamah, 26).

Without a doubt, continuing indifference, despite all the prophetic admonitions, will end in a chapter of bitter torment.

One day the Messenger of Allah said:

“There is no person who will not feel repentance after they die”

The Companions asked: “What is his repentance O Messenger of Allah?”

He said: “If it is a beneficent person, he will repent not increasing his condition; if it is a person of evil doing, he will repent not forsaking bad deeds.” (Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 59)