Prayer Time

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A Few Days ago, my mom came home from work and related a conversation she had there. The talk turned to exercise, and her colleague endorsed walking as a good option, since one can also make use of it for other purposes.


I pray for others while I walk, she said. That way I don't waste the time.


I thought she is selfless enough to exercise to stay healthy and still put her time to wise use.


And she was not Muslim.


What do we, as Muslims, do with our time? Do we make use of every second? Time, the Sunnah tells us, is the most precious of all worldly commodities, for once it's gone, it never comes back. We need, then, to ensure we don't let it pass in vain. We should make certain that when we stand before Allah for Judgment we can justify how we spent His priceless gift.


The Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said: "Take advantage of five, before five! Youth before old age. Good health before sickness. Free time before occupation. Wealth before poverty. And life before death" (Al-Hakim).


In the fast-paced societies we live in, people really do come to feel they have no time. They are working, studying, chauffeuring children, doing business on the cell between errands-running a gauntlet of daily obligations.


Time itself seems to be shrinking- a true sign, in fact, of our approaching Hour of Judgment, according to the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam. Days become weeks. Weeks, months. Months, years. Before you know it, a decade's got behind you. And you wonder, What have I done with my life?


In the course of our talk, my mother pointed out her colleague's admirable concern with giving time to others. Walking is no waste of it, of course. It is worship, if properly intended to please God and maintain His grant of health.


Still it is done for one's own benefit. What, my mother asked me, have you done for others?


I answered honestly. Not as much as I would like, though helping others- as countless ahadeeth attest and the Prophet's own glowing example ceaselessly shows-can take on many forms. Teaching people a skill you have, making dawah, organizing masjid events, or just taking the time to talk to others about their problems-all are shapes of volunteerism, of help.


Giving for the sake of God means more than donating money. Time can be a gift. By offering some of it for a good cause, you diminish none of what you have for yourself. Allah actually puts barakah in your time. He blesses it so you get more done with it when you spend it wisely in His path.


Give of your time, and you shall be rewarded. Give of your time, and you shall surely use it more effectively for your own benefit.


When I tell others I have no time, I wonder, What am I trying to achieve? Am I making up selfish excuses about why I can't part with it? Or is it just me trying to persuade myself of this?


Sure, I am busy. But I can't fool myself. There are times when I have nothing to do, or am doing nothing. No doubt, we all "do" some of this. Yet if we reconsider our priorities and refine our attitudes, we will find we have substantial time on our hands. We can choose to put it to some good use, or lose it.



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