By Salman Rizwan
Normally the success of a person is measured by the number of assets he owns. As it gives a good measure of how he has fared in this world. Several books, workshops, discussionsetc., on being successful invariably measure the success in terms of wealth and prosperity. In the west, a common question to ask a so-called successful person is, “what is your net worth”?
In fact, a lot of smart people have made a lot of money by telling others about “how to make money”
The wealth one amasses also brings power. And power creates authority which in turn provides more opportunities to increase wealth
However, if this topic of being wealthy is to be explored further (even without adding the religious dimension to it), we can easily determine that the two most important and critical assets that one can have in this world are time and health.
No amount of success even by the worldly standards can be enjoyed if one does not have these two assets at his disposal
Recent rapid technological advancements have created countless opportunities for people to make money however we have also witnessed several examples where these “successful” people either died unexpectedly at a young age or became a victim of a terminal illness causing them to focus on getting back their “health”
We will, however, look at this topic from an Islamic perspective and attempt to learn some valuable lessons from the Quran and Hadith
The Prophet, peace, and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: There are two blessings that many people fail to make the most of; good health and free time
Time and good health are the real assets of a man. These form the basis of this life and are blessings from Allah(SWT) that He has granted to His slaves.
In this article I will focus on “time” as the topic of “good health” is quite well known these days and awareness about it is widespread.
Islam is a religion that acknowledges the importance of time and appreciates its seriousness. Allah(SWT) has taken an oath by time in several verses in the noble Quran, which indicates that He places time at a higher level of significance for the human being.
From among the great blessings which most of us are heedless about are time and good health. We fail to effectively utilize them in doing beneficial things that will earn us a “successful” life in the hereafter. The Prophet(saw) has enjoined us to Take (benefit of) five things before (the occurrence of) five things; Your youth before old age, your health before sickness, your wealth before poverty, your free time before preoccupation and your life before death
Time not spent on doing something good means time wasted. This does not mean that we are required to worship Allah(SWT) 24/7. He has created us so He knows our shortcomings and limitations and so we are required to connect with Him at prescribed times every day. He has also given us certain responsibilities that we must spend our time on, to fulfill them properly. Thus, we must realize that there are certain duties during the daytime that Allah(SWT) requires a Muslim to fulfill and same goes for night duties. One should hasten to carry out his duties and avoid accumulating or postponing them.
Muslims are required to discipline themselves by underscoring the importance of time. In fact, whosoever wastes his time: living aimlessly, doing nothing valuable, is neither preoccupied with his religion nor his worldly life, then he spends his life in vain. Thus wasting time by deriving no benefit from it in doing good deeds that draw us closer to Allah(SWT) and save us from His punishment, is a serious issue that Islam warned us against.
We are expected to be serious about time for many reasons, some of which are;
First: Time is limited and life of short
The average age varies from sixty to seventy years. Almost one-third of this time is lost in sleep. The remaining time is spent mostly dealing with worldly matters rather than doing good deeds that draw us closer to Allah(SWT). Some of our time is spent in eating, drinking, hanging out and working for a living; thus, the rest of the time is short and limited
The idea of shortness of life on earth is vividly captured in the Quran when Allah(SWT) will ask His slaves on the Day of Judgement about the period of time and the number of days they spent on earth.
“How long did you remain on earth in the number of years? They will say. “we remained a day or part of it” ……. (al-Mu’minoon 23: 112-113)
Thus, the wise one is the one who is conscious of his time and utilizes it in the best possible manner and refuses to postpone today’s duties until tomorrow.
Second: Lost time cannot be recovered, once it goes, it never comes back
Whatever goes by thereof does not return and cannot be compensated. Every day, hour or moment that passes cannot be regained. A scholar said, “No day starts without it calling out to a man and saying: O son of Adam! I am a new creation and, in the future, I will bear witness to what you do within me, so take advantage of me. Beware, once I pass, I will never return”
Another wise saying that we all know is, Three things when gone never return: time, beauty and youth. The one who lets his day pass without having fulfilled a right, performed a duty, set firm his glory, gained praise, founded a good thing, learned knowledge, then he lost his time
Third: Little times weighs heavily on the balance according to Allah(SWT)
Allah(SWT) has scaled to measure everything. One of the things that are valuable and have a great status with Allah(SWT) is time. One single moment can tip the scale for a man in favor of good deeds. It may elevate his status and erase his sins and bad deeds. Every minute has the potential to carry us through. Imagine how much time we waste in our life!
Allah(SWT) accepts our repentance immediately. It does not take more than a moment to repent to Him. A Muslim thus should strive to make the most of each moment. Reciting “Adhkaar” after every obligatory period is a small act that does not take too much time but brings great rewards for the next life.
Fourth: Its quick passage
Time passes quickly. Especially these days we hear all the time people complaining about not having enough time. Years go by, as if they are moths, a month goes by as if it’s a week, a week goes by as if it’s a day and a day goes by as if it’s a single moment. Thus, the wise one is one who strives to benefit from each moment of his life
“And on the Day, when He will gather them as if they had not remained but for an hour of the day ……”
“It will be, on the Day they see that which they are promised – as though they had not remained in the world except an hour of the day”
“It will be, on the Day they see it, as though they had not remained in the world except for an afternoon or a morning thereof
Both the Quran and Sunnah enjoin Muslims to be conscious of time. We are reminded that life in this world is but temporary. Thus the “successful” is the one who makes use of his time wisely to increase his faith and thus acquire “real assets” for the hereafter, which is eternal success.
The loser, on the other hand, spends his time in worldly matters, amassing wealth and building up his “net worth”, which will not help him at all in the next life. And he thinks he is doing a wonderful job
This topic is beautifully covered in the Quran as;
“Say, Shall We inform you of the greatest losers as to [their] deeds?[They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work.”
Hence the Prophet(saw) said the truth when he said;
“There are two blessings that many people fail to make the most of good health and free time”