A man sat in the waiting room thinking of ways to kill time while he waited for his train. It was running late. He had to wait for a whole hour and he had nothing to do. He spent the first fifteen minutes looking around at people and mostly just staring at the walls. He skimmed through the pages of the magazines kept at the table. He then pulled out his phone from his pocket, installed a game and began to play. The game was very addictive. The man got completely engrossed in the game without even a hint of distraction. An hour of playing the game just seemed like a few minutes when he heard an announcement that his train would leave soon. “Let me play another game before I leave,” he thought. “The trains here don’t leave on time anyways”. One game soon led to two more after which he finally forced himself to stop playing and headed towards the train. To his horror, the train had already started moving! It was on time after all! He broke into a sprint and stretched out his arms hoping he could reach out to the train. But it was all in vain. He missed his train. The man fell to the ground in remorse. The next train wasn’t until another day. He regretted falling into temptation. He regretted having wasted so much time. He regretted using his effort in collecting game points that would do nothing to get him back home. He regretted not stopping himself earlier.
There is an innumerable number of missed trains in our lives because of falling prey to temptation. Satan always works hard to lure us into his web of games. Beautifying every inch, making it look irresistible to us.
“[Iblees] said, “My Lord, because You have put me in error, I will surely make [disobedience] attractive to them on earth, and I will mislead them all” (Quran, 15:39)
It is quite common to hear of instances where students of Islamic knowledge switch on their devices with the intention of doing some studies, but after a while of studying, their attention span and concentration starts to reduce because of which they distract themselves by going through other irrelevant websites. For example, an interesting dessert recipe might pop up on the screen or even in your head whilst you are studying. You immediately browse the recipe. The recipe leads to a page that recommends yet another recipe. Recipes connecting to other recipes go on and before you know it, you’ve watched enough recipes to feed an entire nation. Unfortunately, this is something that happens every day. If we were to put together all this wasted time and calculate the time we have lost over a year, it would undoubtedly multiply our sense of regret.
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “On the Day of Judgement, the feet of a servant will not touch the ground until he is asked about his life and how he spent it, his knowledge and how he acted upon it, his wealth and how he acquired it and spent it and his body and how it was used” (Tirmidhi)
Now we need to ask ourselves this- Have we spent the time and opportunities in our youth well? Do we end our day feeling regretful or satisfied? Do we have an answer to give when questioned on the Day of Judgement?
No one knows when the Fateful Day will arrive. And if the above questions haven’t led to a positive response from us, then it is time to try and mend our ways. Here are a few ways which may help us make the best of use of time:
- Prepare a timetable
Plan your events for the day first thing in the morning. Your plan should contain tasks organized according to priority. Make sure to put a start time and end time for each of your tasks. Determination is the key. Preparing a timetable is of no use if you are not determined to complete each task in its prescribed time. It is also important to make enough space in your plan for breaks. Remember that sometimes when things may not go your way, it is for the prevention of the greater evil.
“They plan and Allah plans. Surely, Allah is the Best of planners” (Quran, 8:20)
- Watch the wastage
Keep a check on how much time you waste on a daily basis. Writing it down will have a better effect in the improvement process. Work hard everyday to reduce this number. Making a conscious effort to do so will turn the effort into habit.
“Wasting time is worse than death because death separates you from this world whereas wasting time separates you from Allah.” (ibn Qayyim)
- Be busy with Dhikr
An empty mind is a devil’s workshop. Make sure you keep your tongue and mind busy with the remembrance of Allah. This would help in keeping you away from the distractions planted by Satan and will help increase your focus on the goals for the day.
“When your heart feels restless, remember that: Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find peace.” (Quran, 13:28)
- World around prayer
This fast-paced and competitive world calls for everyone to be on their toes. There is a race at every fold of life. We are so submerged in worldly matters that our prayers are given lesser priority and lesser time. We need to adjust the world around our worship and not the other way around. We should take a moment and reflect on our lives. Are our prayers being delayed because of us giving lesser importance to it? If that is the case then we need to fear the fire, repent and correct our ways. Not just our five daily prayers but also recitation of the Quran and dhikr should be a part of our daily routine. We also need to spend enough time with family, neighbors and friends.
“Then there succeeded them a generation which neglected prayers and followed lusts. They will meet with destruction excepting the one who repents and believes and acts righteously” (Quran, 19:59)
We must take a cue from the Prophet’s (PBUH) life. Despite being responsible for not just his own but also the affairs of his people, he never failed to plan, act accordingly and accomplish his tasks while giving top importance to worship.
Our time in this world is short lived and time in the Hereafter is forever. Those who work favorably in this life achieve success. Those who don’t shall perish.
“By the time! Truly humankind is in loss. Except those who have faith and do righteous actions and exhort, urge each other to the truth and patience.” (Quran, 103:1-3)