Time is the essence of life, and man’s life is but the seconds and minutes he/she lives. Every hour we live through in this life takes us that much closer to our destiny in the Hereafter.
Even though time is the most precious item in our lives (or at least it should be) and we should be guarding it with all the power we possess, it seems to be the easiest thing that we can squander!
One would never allow anyone to steal his wealth, but when it comes to our time, it is disgraceful that we seem to have no problem in allowing others to rob us of what they wish of it - and we might at times even help them do so! This is indeed a grave calamity because wealth can be recovered while one can never retrieve even a second of his lost time, regardless of the efforts he would spend in doing so.
This is why the Prophet described the one who wastes his time as a loser. Ibn ‘Abbaas reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “There are two blessings in which many people incur loss. (They are) health and free time.” [Al-Bukhari] The one who uses his merchandise (in this case being his time and health) carelessly, gaining worldly profit while he wastes it, will be a loser on the Day of Resurrection. The vast majority of people do not take proper care of both these matters, with the result that they waste their time in useless activities and spend their physical strength and energy in the disobedience of Allah. They will have to face the stern consequences of this on the Day of Resurrection when they will be brought to account for everything.
The great importance of time is magnified during virtuous seasons and blessed times, such as the great season of the blessed month of Ramadan. It is a great opportunity to gain multiplied rewards and accumulate tremendous profit. Therefore, it becomes compulsory upon one to utilize his/her time carefully during this month.
A regrettable phenomenon which has become noticeably widespread among people is that they spend their time during this month wastefully in social gatherings, shopping, or watching satellite television channels. Many years may pass while the months of Ramadan during which they would have lived through would have had no impact on many Muslim sisters. No mistakes would have been corrected. No new virtuous deeds would have been adopted and practiced, and no misconducts would have been changed.
Every sister should re-evaluate her situation and the strength of her faith if she truly wishes to please Allah and hope for His reward in the Hereafter. She must be firm with herself and determined to improve and reform herself by utilizing every minute of this coming month in things that would yield fruitful results for her and bring her closer to her Lord.
Many people do realize the importance and value of time. However, this knowledge often does not go beyond the knowledge stage and is never translated into action. The implications of such knowledge that affects the behavior, worship and conduct of the person, is very often not realized. Thus, we are requested to move to the next step and transform our knowledge into real life actions which would be manifested in our daily practice. The following are some tips on how sisters can utilize their time during the month of Ramadan:
Planning: Plan what you want to do during the entire month as well as what you wish to accomplish. Set clear objectives to achieve these and establish a plan of action with a timetable for each task you wish to perform, as well as every objective you hope to achieve. Plan every day and night: when you will go to bed and when you will wake up, and everything in between. Make a schedule for reciting the Quran and praying Taraaweeh. Set aside an amount to be spent in charity.
Remember! If you do not set clear goals, you will end up wasting a great deal of your precious time during this month and a lot of hours will pass uselessly.
Set your priorities: You must decide when you want to do things, and which objective should be accomplished first. Make up your mind on what is more important and what takes the highest priority. It is important to spend time doing things that are beneficial, but what is more important is to prioritize and spend time doing the more important of these beneficial things. This is because one of the plots of Satan is too busy the person with something beneficial with a very low priority in order to waste his chance of accomplishing what is more important.
Preserve your time: You must stay away from anything that wastes time or leads to it, such as talking on the phone purposelessly, frequent visits, going out of the house too much, or watching TV for long periods. Also, we must get others who know us to respect our time and privacy. People should know that they must have an appointment before coming to visit, and that visiting is not an open issue to be done any time and any day.
You must be realistic when trying to utilize your time. Many sisters get carried away and overload their time with tasks to be accomplished, only to be surprised later on that the time allocated was not enough to accomplish these tasks. This usually has a negative impact on the sister’s zeal and could lead to disillusionment.
Choose the right time to do things: Things that do not require close and deep concentration can be done in any part of the day. For example, while you are cooking you can busy yourself with mentioning Allah, glorifying and praising Him or listening to lectures or Quran cassettes (or CDs). On the other hand, there are things that necessitate concentration on the part of the sister, such as praying and reciting the Quran. You must do things at their proper times according to what they require from you.
Do not delay things: Be keen to not delay things to later times, because you may be struck with death at any moment and would therefore never get around to doing what you have delayed. Delaying is one of the worst mistakes man can make and is one of the most lethal weapons the devil uses against us. ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-‘Azeez was told once to delay the work of a day to the next due to his exhaustion, to which he replied: “One day’s tasks overburden me, so how would I be able to handle the load of two days together?”
Finally, intend to do things sincerely for Allah and seek His help and support in accomplishing your goals during this blessed month. Be in the company of those who have the zeal to work and fruitfully utilize their time. Always remember that if time is not spent righteously, it will be spent otherwise. Know that every minute has its own task, so make proper use of your time and spend it in things that would benefit you in this life and the Hereafter. Fill your record of good deeds with as much reward as you can before the month slips away.