16 Muharram 1441

WASTING TIME

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Oct 4th, 2015
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The title of tonight’s lecture is ‘Wasting Time’. However, before we go into the topic, it is quite essential for us to know the value of time. So often, we hear people say, “Let’s kill some time”, as if time committed a crime and should be executed for that crime!

Time, in Islam, is very important. To the extent, that Allah azza wa jal swore in the Qur’an with different variations of time. Allah azza wa jal said,

“Wad Duha.” [By the forenoon (after sunrise).]— {Surat Ad-Duha (93):1}.

“Wal Fajr.” [By the dawn.]— {Surat Al-Fajr (89):1}.

“Wash Shamsi wa duhaha.” [By the sun and its brightness.]— {Surat Ash-Shams (91):1}.

“Wal Laili iza yaghsha. Wan Nahari iza tajalla.” [By the night as it envelops. By the day as it appears in brightness.]— {Surat Al-Lail (92):1-2}.

So, Allah azza wa jal swore by the forenoon, by the dawn, by the night and the day. And Allah azza wa jal is the Creator of all and, therefore, He subhanahu wa ta’ala has the right to swear by anything He wishes. But we as individuals, we as slaves and servants, can only swear by Allah azza wa jal. We cannot swear by the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, even though we love him. We cannot swear by our fathers, we cannot swear by anything that is precious in our lives. We can only swear by Allah and His Beautiful Names and Attributes. Not only that, Allah azza wa jal swore by ‘Time’ itself when He said,

“Wal ‘Asr.” [By the time.]— {Surat Al-‘Asr (103):1}.

And what did Allah azza wa jal swear for (by swearing with time)? The Surah reads on as:

“Innal insana lafi khusr.” [Verily, man is in loss.]— {Surat Al-‘Asr (103):2}.

The whole of mankind is in great loss, except those who fulfill the four qualities or characteristics mentioned in the Surah. Why is the whole of humanity in great loss?-simply because they have lost the meaning and the use of time. And whoever loses these days, these months, these years; whoever loses time, he is in loss; because this is your capital. Any trade that you do, you must have a capital. And our capital in life is our ‘Time.’

The majority of us (I will not say ‘the majority of the people’ because usually, when giving an advice, we look at those who are to our left and to our right but we never look at ourselves) here are in great heedlessness, in great ‘ghaflah’. And this is what Allah azza wa jal described in the Qur’an by saying, “They know only the outside appearance of life of the world and they are heedless of the Hereafter.” That is why we never think or evaluate things in the perspective that affects the Hereafter. When we look at and evaluate something, we evaluate it on materialistic basis: “How much will it benefit me? How many more Riyals am I going to gain? What is there in it for me?”

The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said in an authentic Hadeeth, recorded by Bukhari and others, “There are two favours (two blessings from Allah azza wa jal upon the humans) that many people do not make the most of (and thus lose out): good health and free time.” What is the word used by the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam?-‘maghboon’. This word stems from ‘al-ghabn’. And we have ‘yaum at-taghabun’. We also have a Surah in the Qur’an by the name of ‘At-Taghabun’(64). What is ‘yaum at-taghabun’?-It is the day on which people find out that they have lost. ‘Al-Ghabn’, in Islam, is forbidden. It means when you buy something that costs much less than what you are paying for it or when you sell something for much less than for what it is actually valued. So, the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam is telling us that the free time that we have (we are not going to discuss health here) is a favor, is a blessing, and yet we are fooled one way or the other by not utilizing it.

Many of the Muslims, as we see, waste time on nothing that is beneficial for them. Now the time is almost 8:30pm. If you evaluate what you have done today from morning until now, what will you find in your record on the Day of Judgement? How many soap operas, how many movies you have watched, how many songs you have listened to; how many missed prayers do you have, how many azkaar have you missed? These have nothing to do with me; this is something that you should evaluate for yourself, as we will come to see, in sha Allah. Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam tells us, for those who are heedless, for those who forget (and we all do forget), “The son of Adam will not be dismissed from before his Lord on the Day of Resurrection until he has been questioned about five things.” So, am I also going to be questioned? Everyone is going to be questioned, even the Messengers and the Prophets! La Ilaha illAllah! Even the Messengers and the Prophets of Allah are going to be questioned? Yes, but their questioning is different from ours. Allah will ask and interrogate those whom these Messengers were sent to and Allah will interrogate the Messengers themselves about the peoples’ response. So, even the Messengers will be questioned.

The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam tells us that none of us will move from in front of Allah azza wa Jall on the Day of Resurrection until he is asked five questions. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam says that the first matter (of the five) about which the people will be questioned is, “His life and how he spent it.” If you come to me who has reached 50 years of age and ask me, “What about your previous years, how do you feel about them?” Wallahi, it feels as if it was just yesterday. I can attest to that. So, 50 years of sin… they were fun, but nothing remains except their memories and the punishment on the Day of Judgement (na’oozubillah!). Now, ask those who have been praying and going for Umrah and for Hajj and doing Da’wah and making zikr and reciting the Qur’an for 50 years. These years have gone and nothing remains except the reward. Now, you evaluate for yourself.

The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam says (the second of the five), “His youth and how he used it.” If you are a body builder, if you are strong, if you do MMA (Mixed Martial Arts); if you do all these things, there is no problem but you are going to be asked about your health. What did you do? How did you use it? How did you utilize your youth? When you were 20, were you among those who used to pray Taraweeh and night prayer in Ramadan for 3-4 hours? If you were not, now that you are 50 or 60 years of age, do you not regret it? You are going to be asked about this; this is a question that you have to prepare an answer for.

Then the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam says (the third and fourth of the five), “His wealth; how he earned it, and on what he spent it.” Many of the Muslims’ earnings are from Haraam. Their income is clearly Haraam. Yet, when they go to a restaurant, they ask about the meat; whether it is Halaal or not! On the other hand, they are consuming Riba (interest), they are stealing money, and they are taking bribes, giving themselves fake excuses like, “It is an issue of dispute among the Scholars.” But when it comes to chicken, it has to be Halaal, otherwise, “Astaghfirullah! I am not going to eat it.” People are crazy! Even if your earning is Halaal, assume all of your money is from Halaal income; you work with your own hands and you get Halaal money. Even so, the fourth question will be, “Where did you spend it?” Some responses would be, “I spent it on a satellite dish so that I can get ‘hanky-panky’ movies” or “I spent it for an internet connection (to do Haraam things)” or “I spent it on going to beaches and to places that Allah does not permit me to go to.” You are going to be asked, so prepare your answer from now! This is something inevitable, as the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said.

Then the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said (the last of the five), “And how he acted upon what he acquired of knowledge.” You find brothers who are knowledgeable in Islam. They know the differences of opinions and other things. They know the rulings and they know how to get the information. What did they do with this knowledge? Did they act upon it or was it only something rhetorical; that was said verbally but not acted upon? This is something we will know on the Day of Judgement and Allah azza wa jal will ask us about this.

So, whoever evaluates his life, he would know that he has done a lot of wrong to himself. And whoever believes in Allah, whoever is considered to be a good practicing Muslim, values time. A good Muslim always values time. Why?-because he knows that there is a Day of Resurrection and that Allah will ask us about every single thing. Neither a small matter nor a big one will be left out. Allah azza wa jal has calculated everything; has registered it, has recorded it but people have forgotten. So, a person will come on the Day of Judgement and he will find so many things to answer for but he can’t remember them. We do so many sins in the day and the night and we completely forget or make ourselves forget so that we don’t feel bad about them. Allah azza wa jal tells us in the Qur’an, (and this is one of the beautiful ayaat of the Qur’an but it is also one of the scariest), “Did you think that We had created you in play without any purpose and that you would not be brought back to Us?” Whatever you want to do, do it, enjoy your life! ‘Life is short; make the best of it’, as they say. However, wait until you come on the Day of Judgement. Everything that you have done, you are going to be asked about it! Everything; small or big! This ayah is a dire warning from Allah azza wa jal that this life is not a fun fare; it is not for us to just enjoy and leave. The Believers (and I pray to Allah that He makes all of us among these Believers) will be called on the Day of Resurrection, “Enter Jannah. This is a reward for what you have forwarded (for what you have done).” And may Allah azza wa jal make us all among them!

The Kafir or the sinner, on the other hand, does not value time. That is why, every sinner and Kafir would ask Allah azza wa jal the chance to be able to return to this Duniya and offer good deeds. This happens on three occasions: when death comes to them, when they stand before Allah and while they are in Hell. Allah azza wa jal says in the Qur’an, “Until when death comes to one of them, he says, ‘My Lord, send me back so that I may do good in which I have left’.” Is there any possibility for this to happen, for them to be sent back? No, there is not. SubhanAllah, those who are martyred for the Cause of Allah also make the same request, to be sent back. Why?-to die again and again in the Cause of Allah (10 times). But Allah azza wa jal tells them that this is not possible; no one goes back. The Kafir will want to go back so that ‘maybe’ (he is not even certain; in the ayah, it says ‘maybe’) he will do something better. So, even then, even at the time of death, he is not certain. Allah azza wa jal tells us in another ayah, “And if you could only see when the Mujrimoon (wrongdoers) shall hang their heads before their Lord saying, ‘Our Lord, we have now seen and heard, so send us back.’” This is another time that they will ask to be sent back, when they stand in front of Allah azza wa jal. Will you say this? I don’t know. Will I say this? I don’t know; I hope not. We have the time now and we have the ability to do things-when?-now, before death comes to us. And finally, Allah azza wa jal says about those who are in Hell, “Therein, they will cry, ‘Our Lord, bring us out, we shall do righteous good deeds, (and) not that we used to do.’” So, even in Hell they will ask this but Allah azza wa jal asks them that hadn’t He prolonged their lives and they could have done whatever they wanted. Didn’t His Warning come to them? What is the Warning? Some interpreters say that it is the ‘white hair’, meaning old age. “You have got white hair, what are you waiting for?” Have you ever seen white hair turn black again? (Unless it is dyed, but it is not allowed to dye hair with black color in Islam; a Muslim is forbidden to dye hair in black but we can use any other color.) Some other interpreters say that the Warning is the Qur’an. Some others say that it is the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam himself. There are so many warnings that Allah sends to us but we are heedless. People astonish me when they put a cigarette in their mouth (and they put it in an angle so that it looks ‘cool’ and ‘sophisticated’) and they try lighting the lighter but it does not work and they try it 10 or 20 times but it still does not work. We tell them, “Brother, Allah is giving you a warning! Accept it! Khalaas, it is not good for you.” Then such a person may go begging people for a lighter! SubhanAllah! And they reject him; they don’t smoke. And he is still adamant! Look how Shaitan can control people! And this is only one sin; cigarettes. I can tell you about so many other sins. May Allah have mercy on us.

This life is a life of work; it is a life of fulfilling Allah’s Commandments to us. In the Hereafter, there is no work and there are no commandments. There are no forms of worship that we will be obliged to do, it will come from within; we will do it for the Sake of Allah, praising Him and glorifying Him. That is why, we never settle in this life. Expatriates travel from one country to the other. What do they do? I have never seen an expat {in Saudi Arabia} coming and buying a house, buying a piece of land, starting to cultivate the land, buying a farm, etc. Beside it being against the law, you would not find people doing this because they are in the country only for some years (5, 10, 15, etc.) and later plan to go back to their own country. Perhaps they are building their house in their home country. Muslims are like this regarding this world. Are we here to stay? If you ask anyone, anyone at all, even the sinful people how long they wish to live; they will say that it is in Allah’s Hands. I might die tomorrow or I might die today. On the other hand, I might live for up to a 100 years. If you go to people who have reached 50 years of age and ask them how long they reckon they will live, they may say, “The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, ‘The age of my Ummah is between 60 and 70.’ So if I reach 60 or 61; Alhamdulillah, that will be good.” If longer, may Allah grant us all health, wealth and good deeds. Then if you go to someone who is 70 years of age and ask him the same question, the reply may come, “I heard that one of my cousins in my country is 90 years of age. So, Alhamdulillah if I reach 90!” Now if you go to his cousin and ask the him same question, he may say, “Well my son, I am 90 years old but Noah, peace be upon him, lived 950 years, so…” Nobody is sick of this Duniya; we want to live and the older we get, our roots get deeper and deeper in the ground and it becomes very difficult to take us out. A true Believer is always on stand-by. His bag is packed; whenever he is told his flight is ready, he is ready to go. This is his objective. His objective is not to live in this life but rather it is to go to the Hereafter and find his house there, to find his palace there. People sometimes point out faults with our homes and make suggestions for improvement but why should we care when we are, in sha Allah, decorating our house in Paradise. This is how you should act, behave and feel. That is why the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam grabbed Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, by the shoulders and said, “Be in this life as if you are a stranger or a passer-by.” When someone visits a foreign land for a short while, he stays in a hotel for some time and then he leaves. He does not stay there forever. This is how a proper Muslim should be in this life. Be ready; pack your bag and think about furnishing your house or palace or mansion in Paradise, in sha Allah.

The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “Make the most of five things before five others.” (and this shows us the value of time.) “(1.) Make the most of life before your death.” Once someone dies, you have heard what he or she will say: “Send me back.” We don’t have to ask this, we are here now. Let us see what we do. “(2.) Health before sickness.” I have heard personally from many elderly people that they are now unable to prostrate in prayer on the ground. If you ask old, righteous people who have problem with their knees, “What is the thing you miss the most from your healthy days?” They say, “Putting my forehead on the ground for Allah azza wa jal.” Moreover, one of them cried when saying this, just because he cannot prostrate. How many people we know who do not pray at all; those who are Muslims by identity. And when we invite them to come and pray with us, they mock at us, they make fun! Hence, we should make the most of our health before illness or sickness. “(3.) Free time before becoming busy.” I remember when I was in my twenties I had nothing to do. I had one wife, one child and the whole world in front of me. Now, even though the day is the same, 24 hours, but I feel it isn’t enough; I wish it was 48 hours. It feels like I don’t have enough time: for the kids, for the wives, for the business, for putting the bread on the table, for Da’wah, for travelling, for sports, for other things that I want to do, for visiting my relatives and in-laws, etc. Time is just not enough! So I wish, but it is too late. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam goes on to say, “(4.) Your youth before old age.” We have gone through this. “(5.) And your wealth before your poverty.” Do you save money in the bank? Alhamdulillah. Allocate some of this money for charity; give it to the poor. Don’t give excuses, trust me, if you use your money for charity, it will make your money grow. But if you don’t do this and if it is all gone, then you would say, “I wish” and that will not be the time for it.

Al-Hasan al- Basri, one of the great Tabi’een, said, “O, son of Adam! You are merely a number of days. Every time a day goes by, a part of you is gone.” This is logical. So many times, we rush things, for example, “Ya Allah! When is summer going to come?” Why do you want summer? “I want the holidays.” The holidays come, a new year starts, we go to school, we go to work; now what is our objective?-the next summer vacation. Time flies but we don’t value it. Every day that we take a paper from the calendar, this is part of us going away. Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him said, “I abhor, I hate to see someone doing nothing.” Doing nothing; neither for the Duniya nor for the Hereafter. I have seen so many people just sitting and looking at the ceiling, doing nothing. I have seen people sitting with five or six remote controls, just flicking channels and sitting like that until Fajr. One of my daughters was telling me last week that she had a friend who spent 19 hours a day on the Internet. She spent only 4-5 hours for sleep and the rest on the net! I said this is not possible. My daughter said that this friend of hers wakes up on the net, eats on the net, takes the net to the bathroom and does everything on the net! 19 hours-doing what? SubhanAllah! So ibn Mas’ood said, “I hate to see someone doing nothing, neither for the benefit of his Duniya nor for the benefit of his Hereafter.” If you don’t want to pray voluntary prayers, if you don’t want to make zikr, do something for the Duniya. Try to increase your income, learn a handicraft, or learn something that benefits you in the Duniya rather than just wasting your time on nothing. Al-Hasan al-Basri tells us that he met people (and he is talking about the Companions, because he is from the Tabi’een) who were protective of their time more than their Dirham and Dinar (their wealth and money). Why?-because when an hour of your time goes by, it will never come back. If the previous five hours of your day were not good, can you say that you want them back?-Of course not. But what about money? If you lose money, if you waste it or spend it, Allah azza wa jal may grant you more. So don’t ever think that money and time are equal. Rather, time is more valuable. So many times I go to the supermarkets (and I am not advertising here!) that charge me 20%-30% more rather than go to the downtown stores just to save time. Because I know that in downtown, everything is sold at different places-the vegetable store, the fishery, the butcher’s, the grocery store, etc. This consumes time. So I would rather go to one place, buy everything in an hour and pay a little bit more just to save time.

Time is more valuable than gold as gold can come and go but time only goes. If you look at the Prophet’s salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam time, was he utilizing his time? Or did he salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam have leisure time and free time and so on? The Companions inform us that they used to calculate that the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam used to say in a gathering, ‘Astaghfirullah wa atoobi ilaihi’ {I seek the forgiveness of Allah and I repent unto Him} 70 times. And the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “O people, repent to Allah and ask Him for forgiveness for I repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness during the day a hundred times.” Now, ask yourself, when was the last time you said ‘Astaghfirullah’ from the heart. After Salah, when we are saying the azkaar, many times, we do not say them from the heart; rather our concentration is somewhere else, like on our smart phones for example. Some people are texting while saying their azkaar! And they say that they are utilizing their time instead of just ‘wasting’ time saying, “Astaghfirullah, SubhanAllah, etc.” What is this?!

The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam and his Companions used to utilize their time well. Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, accepted Islam in the 7th year of Hijrah. This means that he accompanied the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam for only around three and a half years. Yet he narrated the majority of the Ahadeeth. Why?-because the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam supplicated for him. After the death of Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, what did Abu Hurairah do? He used to divide his nighttime into three portions. The first part, after Isha and until the first third of the night is over, he used to memorize and study the Ahadeeth of the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam. Because we all know that he did not write them down but he only kept them in his memory. And the Tabi’een used to test him by asking him about a Hadeeth and then coming back after a year and asking him about the same Hadeeth and he would not change a single letter. The second third of the night, he used to sleep. And in the last third portion, he used to pray night prayer. His brother and mother used to divide the night into three parts with him and each one would take one part to pray night prayer. This means that throughout the whole night, there was always someone praying in the house. This is something that should make us feel ashamed! Who among us wakes his wife for night prayer to pray two rak’ahs with him? It is a shame that the Muslims don’t practice this Sunnah. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said that if we pray with our spouses two rak’ahs in the night, Allah will record our names among those who remember Allah a lot, males and females. Two rak’ahs won’t take us that long but we don’t do this. Why?-we give excuses like, “I have work tomorrow.” But we spend some nights until 1 or 2 a.m. at a wedding. And, if we sit together in such gatherings for three or four hours, what are we going to do? Zikr?-no, rather people backbite and they backbite a lot. The best of them will talk about footballers. Do we utilize our nights? No, we do not.

Ibn Jarir at-Tabari, who is the compiler of the greatest Tafseer of the Qur’an, asked his companions, “Do you feel fit to write the Tafseer of the Qur’an?” They said, “Yes. How many pages?” He said, “30,000 pages.” They were shocked and said that they would probably die before completing it. So, he made it only 3000 pages. Then, he asked them, “Do you feel fit to write the history of mankind?” When they asked him how many pages, he said 30,000. They said this is too much. So, he said, “There is no aspiration in the chests of men.” People have calculated how many books ibn Jarir at-Tabari has written and divided the number by the number of years he lived from puberty till death. They found out that he used to write on average 40 pages a day. When did he use to read, what time did he give the lectures in the Masjids, the Fatwas and how did he take out time for his family? This is because Allah blessed their time because they worked for Allah. We find people working so hard and having no blessing in their time. At the same time, we find people working so little, yet Allah blesses their time. We find people blessed with being able to utilize their time.

One day after Fajr, the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam asked, “Who among you is fasting today?” Abu Bakr said, “Me.” “Who among you fed a poor person?” Abu Bakr said, “Me.” “Who among you visited a sick person?” Abu Bakr said, “Me.” “Who among you followed a funeral till the burial?” Abu Bakr said, “Me.” {People might think that the Companions could do this because they did not have to go to work. In fact, Abu Bakr was one of the richest businessmen and six of the ten Heaven-bound Companions accepted Islam on his hands. So, do not tell me he did not go to work; he did go to work, and he knew how to utilize his time.} The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “Whoever does these four things in a day will enter Jannah from any of the eight gates he wishes.” I know some people who fast Mondays and Thursdays and in the daytime, they look for peasants or poor people and they buy them something to eat. Then they go to a Masjid next to a cemetery where people usually pray funeral prayers. (If you are close to Makkah, you can go there to attend funeral prayers as after every prayer, some 10-15 people are prayed upon. So Alhamdulillah, you can get a lot of reward.) Finally, they visit a private or a local hospital and enter any room randomly (of course, the same gander’s room!) and visit a sick person and supplicate for him, maybe give him a booklet or something and, Alhamdulillah, the four things are done in a day. And they do this every week. We can do so many things to enter Jannah but we ourselves are the ones refusing to do them!

Many people, when we talk to them and say, “Isn’t it time to start doing something?” they simply say, “Tomorrow, in sha Allah.” They keep stalling. {The Arabs and Muslims in general are known for saying ‘in sha Allah’; and that is why when the westerners or non-Muslims hear us say ‘in sha Allah’ they say, “please don’t say in sha Allah, say you will do it!” This is wrong and it shows how bad we are when it comes to practicing Islam and when it comes to giving an impression to the Non-Muslims.} When we ask someone, “When are you going to quit smoking?”, they say, “In Ramadan, in sha Allah.” If we ask a sister, “When are you going to start wearing Hijab?”, she may say, “After I perform Hajj, in sha Allah.” I know a brother who has been smoking for 15 years even though he has a long beard and a lot of love for Islam. When I had asked him 15 years ago that when will he quit, he had said that two months from then was Ramadan and that, in sha Allah, he will quit then. But he is still smoking! Therefore, this is one of the traps of Shaitan. He is always trying to make you procrastinate. Many of the people say, “In sha Allah, when I reach 40.” And if you ask those who have crossed 40 years of age, they still give excuses like they are following this calendar or that one. SubhanAllah! Every time, Shaitan whispers to them to delay or to postpone. And many people fall into this trap not knowing that the countdown had already started the day they were born. Our clocks are ticking and we don’t know when they will stop. We should not think that we are still young and so we have plenty of time because many people die very young. Also, we should not think that we are very strong and healthy and so we may not die any time soon because, again, many people die when they are in their best of health without any warning. When death comes, it doesn’t knock on your door or take your permission or anything. It simply comes and claims whomever Allah azza wa jal orders him to take. Now, if we know that the countdown has started and the clock is ticking, we should ask ourselves things like, “How many times have I missed Fajr prayer with the congregation or on time?” I was once in the UK on a tour and there was a brother with me. I asked him (and this was not an interrogation by the way; I was just giving him a naseeha), “Brother, when was the last time you missed Fajr prayer in congregation?” He replied, “Sheikh, ask me when was the last time I prayed!” I was shocked! The guy had a long beard and he was involved in Da’wah and so on. I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Sheikh, I spend almost the whole night preparing leaflets and banners and going to centres and announcing your lectures. And so I go to sleep at 2:00 am and I miss Fajr.” So I said that all of what he was doing was in vain. Because the obligatory acts of worship are a priority and take precedence over anything else to get closer to Allah; to do what He has ordained us to do.

Now, you ask yourself, “Where does my time go?” Does it go in watching movies and soap operas? Many Muslims would unfortunately say yes. Once a practicing looking brother asked me, “Sheikh, did you see ‘Hangover’?” I was shocked and asked him, “What are you talking about?” He said, “The movie is very funny and it also has good morals and advice for the Muslims.” I asked him, “Akhi, is it Halaal to watch movies?” Then the guy came back to his senses and probably thought, “Oops! I am talking to the wrong guy!” We have gone so far away from the basics! The Muslims nowadays don’t even adhere to the basics. They know only a few things and think themselves to be practicing. Is it Halaal to watch movies; to watch women on TV (or otherwise)? Some say, “Ya Sheikh, this woman is not beautiful.” So is it only Haraam to look at her if she is beautiful and it becomes Halaal if she is not? What is this? Watching movies and soap operas, listening to music-all of this is Haraam. Allah azza wa jal tells us in the Qur’an to lower our gaze. So where do we spend our time? Some brothers ask the lecturer to finish quickly because they want to hurry home so as not to miss their programs on TV. Or do you spend your time in video games? There is no problem in playing video games if they are Halaal for maybe half an hour a day to refresh. But to spend 8 hours a day with the headsets on and going crazy, sometimes breaking the chairs or throwing the controllers! What is this?! Or do you spend your time on the internet? Once I was in Europe and I was going from one city to another to give a lecture. A sister calls and says, “My husband gives his back to the wall, opens the laptop, puts the headsets on and works until two or three in the morning.” He would chat and I could tell that he chats with women. So I said to the sister that this is Haraam. She asked me that could I advise him. I said that yes, I will in sha Allah, if I meet him. She said that he was sitting next to me in the car. I was shocked! The brother was very active in Da’wah. But this happens; we all have a dark side. But remember that Allah azza wa jal knows this. Hence, we have to analyze where we are wasting our time. Some people love to go to the beaches and spend 6 hours or so there. In Jeddah, where I come from, people love to fish. Some people go for fishing on Wednesday evening and come back on Friday evening-no Salat Jumu’ah, praying on the boat, etc. Some people spend their time off-road. They have a four-wheel drive and off to the desert they go, camping for 3-4 days or so. Some others spend their time watching wrestling. A young brother, 17 years of age, came to me and asked me about someone. I said that sorry, I didn’t know him. He said that he was a great wrestler and so on and he did some gesture with his hand, moving it up and down in front of his face. I asked him what that was. He said that that was his move. I did this gesture in a Masjid in one European country and everybody laughed. What does this mean? It means that everybody watches this. It is very awkward. Have you seen the outfit that these wrestlers wear? How can you look at somebody else’s Awrah? Some brothers say that they don’t look. Then why do you turn it on to begin with?

Many of us have a problem with the definition of ‘Ibadah. What is ‘Ibadah? What is the purpose of our creation? It is to worship Allah azza wa jal. Are we worshipping Allah azza wa jal in our free time? Some say, “Ya Sheikh, one hour for Allah and one hour for me.” This is Shirk! Because the hour for yourself is not for yourself, it is for Shaitan. So some people have a split personality. Sometimes they are very practicing, and other times they become the opposite. Nowadays, the footballers, whenever they score a goal, they prostrate-the prostration of thankfulness-even though they don’t offer the obligatory prayers. SubhanAllah, this is a big problem. We Muslims cannot become the rulers of this world again unless we learn how to balance-how to balance our lives, how to divide our time in a way that Allah azza wa jal is pleased with. As Muslims, we always have to give the priority to Allah azza wa jal, to Islam. So if there is a conflict-my Islam or my work, my Islam or my wife, my Islam or my desires and my hobbies, what do I give priority to? ‘My Islam.’

Allah azza wa jal says in the Qur’an, “But seek with that wealth which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter and forget not your portion of legal enjoyment in the world.” So the priority is for the Hereafter. Does this mean that I have to stay in the Masjid 24/7 and repeat ‘Allah, Allah’ thousands of time? Does Islam tell us to do this? No, such things are innovations and we are not permitted to do them. The definition of ‘Ibadah is far greater than this. You could do ‘Ibadah by drinking water or tea. You could have intimacy with your wife and this will be ‘Ibadah! You could feed your wife and children and this will be ‘Ibadah, it will be charity from you. And we can go on and on (but we must have the right intention). The most important thing is that we utilize our time. If it is not for the Hereafter, then make it for something that benefits you in this world. I once met a very famous Da’ee in UK and I was shocked to know that he has four PHDs. And he is 10 years younger than me and he was working on his fifth PHD. He is so active in Da’wah, in publications and so many other things that I feel very small and insignificant next to him. Allah blessed his time and he knows how to manage his time.

Now you ask yourself: what do you do for the Sake of Allah azza wa jal; for the sake of Da’wah? If you go to the jungles of Africa, you will see missionaries who are in their early twenties, finished college, going there to spend maybe 20 years of their lives, giving Da’wah for their falsehood. Do they have air conditioning, lights, cameras and so on? No, nobody knows their existence. They are in the jungles of Africa, with the mosquitoes and the heat, living a life that we could not tolerate. Yet, they do this for their beliefs. What do we do? Analyze your time, your capabilities and your abilities. You have the ultimate truth; your Islam is the ultimate truth but you have to work for it. Each of us can find a window of opportunity to help Islam. Allah azza wa jal is the Most Forgiving and the Most Generous. You can utilize your time by saying some things that are very easy to say and yet get so much reward for them. If you say ‘subhanAllahi wa bihamdihi’ 100 times, Allah will forgive all of your sins even if they were as many as the foam of the sea. This takes only about 3 to 4 minutes. Try it-utilize your time. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam tells us that if we want a tree planted for us in Paradise, we should say ‘la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah’. So we can say this thousands of times and we can get a big garden or a big plot of land full of trees in Paradise in sha Allah. Allah azza wa jal rewards us so much for so little! I remember one of my cousins. (He passed away at 60 years of age. He was still healthy and fit. His wife woke him up for work one morning at 7am but he said that he would get up at 9 and went back to sleep. His wife came at 11 and found him dead, may Allah have mercy on his soul.) When I was young, I used to whistle a lot, repeating the tones of different songs (I was young and not practicing back then). So whenever he used to hear me whistle, he would say, “If you say ‘subhanAllahi wa bihamdihi’, would it make your record of good deeds lighter or heavier?” And so, if I find myself whistling, I remember this advice and say these words. The guy is dead, yet gaining so much reward. Moreover, I stop whistling and instead start making zikr.

There are so many ways that you can utilize your time. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam told us, “The best among you is those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” When was the last time you were in a circle to learn the Qur’an or you were teaching it? The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam asked some of his poorest Companions, who used to live in the Masjid, “Who among you does not want to go to such-and-such area (close to the Masjid) and come back with two of the most precious and valuable camels?” They said that all of them would love to do this. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “By Allah, if you come to the Masjid and teach or learn two ayahs of the Qur’an, it is better for you than two of the most valuable and precious camels.” And three are better than three. And four are better than four and so on. Utilize your time, do something for your Hereafter. Not quit your job or anything like that, but there are still so many things you can do as a Muslim to utilize your time. Help a widow or an orphan, support them, provide for them, take care of them. Give Da’wah to the Non-Muslims. How many Non-Muslims have embraced Islam on your hands? {Or how many Muslims rejected Islam because of you? seriously we have issues! Muslims, regardless of their race, have shortcomings but we have to make up for it.} Even some 90-year-old people might say, “Zero, because I am still learning myself.” Until when are you going to say that you are still learning? It is good even if you give only one ayah. When you take a cab and the driver is a Non-Muslim, what do you do? You should go and speak to him, start a conversation, ask him about his country, his religion, the reason for it being his religion and so on. Say something to him that will affect him, maybe not this month, maybe not this year but after a few years, with pieces of Da’wah coming to him from different people, eventually, he will accept Islam in sha Allah.

You can do a lot of voluntary work. In Non-Muslim countries, there are volunteers taking up the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). So what are we doing for Islam? When was the last time you saw a piece of trash on the ground and you picked it up? This is what the Salaf used to do; al-Bukhari, Imam Malik, etc. They used to put it in their sleeve and they used to try their best not to be seen by people, to do it only for the Sake of Allah. Not like some people who do it for showing off. Do it for the Sake of Allah azza wa jal! When was the last time you helped in cleaning the Masjid or did something for the community? If you are a person with an engineering degree or a mathematics degree or any degree, when was the last time you said to the youngsters in your community before their exams that you are allotting such-and-such time to help them with their questions and doubts? Some might say that they have to watch a tennis tournament or some other sports, giving excuses. (Once, a brother came to me after Jumu’ah and asked me, “Sheikh, is it permissible to watch sports?” I tell him that if their ‘awrah is properly covered, then it is okay {of course, there should not be other prohibitions like music and so on}. He said that he meant females playing the sports! I look at him in shock and say, “No, this is not permissible!” He said that he enjoyed watching these sports. Then watch the males. Why go to the females?) So, we should do something for the community, come to the Masjid, do whatever we can to utilize our time properly. May Allah accept from all of us.

THE QUOTATIONS FROM THE QUR’AN AND HADITHS IN THIS ARTICLE ARE A ROUGH TRANSLATION OF THE MEANINGS OF THE ORIGINAL TEXT!

 

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