By Shaykhul-Hadīth, Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh  

The summer vacation has started and we have approximately eight weeks at hand in which we can accomplish many goals. But have we made any plans to achieve anything? What do we intend to do during these holidays? How do we wish to spend this time? 

If we study our intentions carefully, we will find that we have not yet intended to do something which may be regarded worthwhile in the true sense of the word. From the age of understanding, well before we become mature until we breathe our last, there is nothing but an effort, sacrifice and hard work. But the question to ask here is that, will our labour and effort bring true success and yield fruitful results in its wake or not.

Engage in fruitful pursuits

At all times a Muslim youth (or any Muslim for that matter) should try his utmost to acquire maximum lawful benefits- of this world and the Hereafter. That should be his aim and objective. But obviously, he will have to set out priorities in terms of his objectives. It is natural for a Muslim to desire for himself the best of this world and the best of the Hereafter, and there is nothing wrong with that if his pursuit of this world is not in defiance with the demands of Islam. In fact, if he truly gives preference to the Commands of Allāh ta‘ālā over the pursuit of this world and his own desires, the world will automatically come to him. Allāh ta‘ālā has made the promise that those people who accept Īmān and perform good deeds, He will make them the rulers on this universe.

Allāh ta‘ālā says: ‘Allāh has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion – the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after fear (in which they lived), to one of security and peace.’  (55:24)

This means that Allāh ta‘ālā will put this entire world at their feet. He will provide them with every possession that can be desired. They will rule and enjoy supremacy.

The effects of intentions

There is no harm whatsoever in acquiring the materialistic possessions of this world, as long as this acquisition does not destroy one’s life in the Hereafter. But if the acquisition of this world entails the sacrificing of the Duties of Allāh ta‘ālā, the same lawful endeavours and strivings will now be deemed totally impermissible. The whole world can be sought but not in violation of the Laws of Allāh ta‘ālā.

Moreover, the intention behind such acquisition should not be a negative one but one that falls within the requirements of Dīn. As such, every act, worldly or religious, will be classified a noble deed resulting in the Pleasure of Allāh ta‘ālā. If this principle is followed, then no act will remain worldly or be regarded futile. When eating, for instance, the intention should not be the deriving of enjoyment from the food, although that will come automatically. The intention should rather be, ‘we take food to sustain our bodies’, which is a Command of Allāh ta‘ālā. The benefits and enjoyment derived from the food will not be lost by merely changing our intentions, but it will certainly make a great difference in terms of spirituality.

Worldly actions can also become spiritual ones

Two persons may apparently seem to be performing a similar act, such as eating. Both are maintaining their physical health and removing hunger through the consumption of food. But one eats without any intention whatsoever. And the other makes the intention that the food will nourish him and with the strength acquired from this food, he will be able to accomplish his duties towards Allāh ta‘ālā better. He will be able to help the weak ones; he will be able to earn a halāl livelihood for his wife and children. Now it is the same food that they are eating and the latter is relishing as much as the former, but in terms of their intentions, the same process of eating has become an ‘ibādah (worship) for one but not for the other. One will be seen as obeying Allāh ta‘ālā and the other merely satiating his desires.    

A Muslim should always be engaged in some activity, something that will prove beneficial for him either in this world or the Hereafter, and everything that he does should have a Dīnī motive behind it. Whatever pursuits a person undertakes, spiritual or mundane, he should have good intentions. Intentions transform even mundane activities into spiritual ones. One should refrain from engaging in activities that will not bring any benefit. Similarly, one should avoid remaining idle at all costs. This, besides being harmful in itself, leads to other spiritually harmful activities. As the saying goes, ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop’.

‘Passing  time’ –  a  deceptive phrase

Time, especially in the modern era, seems to have lost its value completely. This is natural with those who have no concept of the Existence of Allāh ta‘ālā and accountability before Him. But it is surprising to see Muslims squandering the most invaluable gift of time on fruitless activities. Many of us seem to be deluded by the deceptive phrase ‘passing time’ which is just a handsome alternative of ‘wasting’ time.

If considered from the Dīnī point of view, one will realise that there is truly no justification for passing time. He who is concerned about the betterment of the life hereafter will not waste a single moment, no matter how unoccupied and free of concern he may be in terms of this world. Having realised the value of time, even he would not pass a single moment of his precious life in unrewarding activities. The span of our life is too short to indulge in mere pastimes. ‘Ali t states, “The world is departing with its back turned (towards us) and the Ākhirah (Hereafter) is heading towards us. And both of these have sons (people devoted to acquire them.  Be amongst the sons of the Ākhirah and not amongst those of the world.” (Al-Bukhārī)

The sons of the world are the ones who feel the need to pass their time. In contrast to these, the sons of the Ākhirah are too busy accomplishing religious works to find the need to fritter away their precious time.

In short, those who feel the need to engage themselves in pastime activities are merely wishing to waste their time. Boredom will never overtake those who wish to please Allāh ta‘ālā and make maximum preparations for the ultimate destination. In fact, their desire would be that if only the hours of the day could be increased further so that they would have more time at their disposal.

Some of our pious predecessors would remain awake throughout the night and upon the break of dawn they would, in a surprised tone, address the night saying, “O night! What has happened to you? Why have you shrunk so much? I still haven’t received enough satisfaction from the Company of my beloved Creator.”

Time: an irrecoverable bounty

Recently, I was reading an article wherein the author had stated that from among all the Favours of Allāh ta‘ālā, for every one of them there can possibly be something that may substitute it, to some extent if not fully, apart from the favour of time, for once passed, no amount of effort can bring it back neither can anything substitute it. Take the example of the favour of sight. When lost, its restoration is not totally inconceivable. Even in the state of blindness, perception, to some extent, is possible with the help of other physical senses.

So a bounty whose value excels that of others in every respect deserves to be expended carefully and in worthwhile activities. Yet we witness that carelessness shown by people in the bounty of time is more than in any other Favour of Allāh ta‘ālā. 

Every moment that passes by takes away a portion of our lives. The more we grow in age the less becomes our expectancy of living further in this world. Time is the only possession of this life, which decreases constantly and with precise regularity, yet in a very unnoticeable manner.

An Urdu poet has stated that the passing of time in every man’s life is as quiet and (yet) as certain as the melting of ice.

So it is of extreme importance that we utilise our time in fruitful and rewarding pursuits and not waste it away as we usually tend to do. Let us learn to value time in the forthcoming holidays, and then, if Allāh ta‘ālā wills, we will gradually become accustomed to it and maintain the attitude throughout the year.       

An easy method of saving time

The easiest method of preventing yourself from wasting time as well as gaining most from it is to prepare a timetable for yourself. This is not dissimilar to making a budget in the domain of economics. If one wishes to increase in one’s savings one will have to make a budget, thereby defining the limits of expenditure. On the contrary, if a person walks around with his entire income in his pocket, without any allocation of money, and continues to spend as the need arises, far from saving up any further, he will end up resorting to and depleting the original savings. So as we manage our finances for economical reasons so should we manage our time and maintain the same economical attitude here too.

The worst form of wasting time

Now, as far as wasting time is concerned, there isn’t obviously a single way to do that. People will naturally waste time according to their respective inclinations or dispositions. Some may resort to completely meaningless activities and others may prefer to just sit idle and laze around. Moreover, some may become victims of overindulgence or fall prey to perpetual self-satisfaction. Whichever the case, what is important to remember here is that the worst form of wasting time is to indulge in sinning and displeasing Allāh ta‘ālā. The Displeasure of Allāh ta‘ālā is caused by the mere wasting of time too, but sinning will call for His extreme Anger and invite His Wrath. This is another point, which we need to earnestly reflect upon. For some temporary enjoyment, we readily sacrifice our eternal abode of pleasure. For some trivial materialistic pleasure, we are prepared to displease our Creator, the One Who has provided us with a vast array of bounties and different forms of lawful satisfaction of desires. Indeed He is the One Who has given us this very strength and capability which we are using to commit sins. How can we possibly displease Him?

An illusion of Shaytān

My brothers, in reality, there is hardly any sacrifice in refraining from sins. Many of us feel that it is extremely difficult or almost impossible to abstain from sins. This is nothing but an illusion from Shaytān. Even the little discomfort we may experience in restraining ourselves from fulfilling unlawful desires is caused by Shaytān.  We should make a habit of keeping ourselves aloof from all sinful areas. It would be difficult to control and subdue the desires once having slipped. For instance, one should always keep one’s gaze down when walking the streets, as it would be difficult to avert the gaze once it falls (on the opposite sex). According to a Hadīth, the (evil) glance is an arrow from the poisonous arrows of Iblīs. He who forsakes it out of fear of Allāh will receive from Him – how Great is He – such Īmān, the sweetness of which he will experience in his heart. (Al-Hākim)

To conclude, I would like to emphasise that in the coming holidays, and afterwards, we should manage our time and desist from wasting it, and in particular, refrain from committing sins and thereby displeasing Allāh ta‘ālā.

© Islāmic Da’wah Academy


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