The Productive Lifestyle of Prophet Muhammad
Islam emphasizes the value of time and employing oneself constructively. This is evident in the way the Prophet, , led the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, in disciplining themselves and doing certain acts of worship at certain times, thus having a routine to follow and organizing their day accordingly.
Adhering to a daily routine
Prophet Muhammad’s, , time was taken up in a number of activities: personal, communal and spiritual. His day was divided between these activities. There were regular prayer times, and Muslims were expected to attend the five prayers in congregation, in the Masjid. One could not pray before or after a period of time, as prayer timings had to be observed. This encouraged punctuality and keeping to the timings. Furthermore, the Prophet, , would pray Salaat ad-Dhuha, a voluntary prayer that could be performed at any time after the sun was a spear’s distance in the sky. In addition, the Prophet, , prohibited his Companions, may Allah be pleased with him, from sleeping after the morning prayer, as Allah The Almighty blessed the time of dawn. He used to stay at the mosque until sunrise and have conversations with his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them.
The Prophet, , would later have his meals, attend to the community, and spend time with his wives and family. He, , ate very little food on most days, as did his poorer Companions, may Allah be pleased with them. There were no extravagant dinners and ceremonious luncheons, as was and is the custom of most rulers and leaders. At night, the Prophet, , would stand up for Tahajjud (voluntary night prayers), and would wake up the rest of his family as well.
Contrary to what non-Muslims have come to think, the Prophet, , was not constantly engaged in battles and warfare. He communicated with kings and emperors, inviting them to Islam. He sent some of his men as envoys or representatives to negotiate with others, helped anyone who sought his help and worked to fulfill the needs of the Muslims. Furthermore, if a representative body were to arrive in Madeenah to meet with him, the meeting would be scheduled at the first available opportunity. However, if the group was supposed to be staying in Madeenah for a while, then the meetings with this group were included in the regular plan of activities. An example of this arrangement was demonstrated in the Prophet’s, , dealing with the representative group from Banu Thaqeef. As the group was to stay in Madeenah for a while, the Prophet visited them and talked with them after each night prayer. [Asad Ul-Ghaabah 1/168]
Adhering to a weekly and monthly routine in performing acts of worship
In Islam, Friday is considered an important day of the week, in that it is a day of festivity, and is considered a third ‘Eed for the Muslims. Muslims follow the Prophetic traditions of having a bath, applying perfume and heading to the Masjid, where they congregate for the Friday Khutbah (sermon) and prayer. On Mondays and Thursdays, it is a Sunnah (Prophetic tradition) to fast, as the Prophet, , used to fast on Mondays and Thursdays and he used to say: “They are two days on which deeds are shown to Allah, may He be glorified, and I would like my deeds to be shown (to Him) when I am fasting.”
Moreover, the Prophet, , encouraged his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, to fast on Ayyaam Al-Beed (the White Days). It was narrated that Abu Tharr, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Messenger of Allah said to me: ‘If you fast any part of the month then fast on the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth.’” [An-Nasaa’i, 2424; Ibn Maajah, 1707; Ahmad, 210] Months like Sha’baan and Muharram were accorded importance and fasting during them was encouraged.
Therefore, the Prophet, , is an example for all Muslims in the way he managed his time and made the utmost use of it. It was effective use of time and talents that brought the Ummah its glory and gave rise to the greatest personalities in Islamic history, who served Islam and dedicated their lives to spreading and teaching it. Commanders, scholars, rulers, physicians: their role model was, first and foremost, the great Prophet, .