Practically, every human being on earth is subject to time-constrain as the art is long and time is short and fleeing fast. In consequence, the life of most of us is in limbo and disorganised. Muslims are no exception to it. As such, most of us are living out of context of our sole objective to live, act and behave on earth as the Creator and Sustainer has ordained. Everyone is crying for shortage of time. He/she keeps himself or herself busy around his/her job, preparation for job, in transit to and from job and thinking about job and its overwhelming problems, especially when it is self-employment. If some time is left after job’s manoeuvrings, he or she uses it for meeting his/her friends, relatives or socialising with intimate friends or watching games/sports or entertainment programmes of his/her taste. Thus, no time is left to work for his/her objective of life.
This situation is very grim. Hardly he/she manages to offer some prayers [Salah] hurriedly. That is too possible only when he/she is conscious of it. Otherwise, it is forgotten altogether in the “rush” of life. That’s the end of it. He/she has no time to study the Qur’an, the Seerah of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), attend his/her children, look after their intellectual, physical, educational needs and development on a regular basis and see what they are learning in the “sick” environment of their schools and colleges. How much they are daily diluting themselves in the melting pot of American or other secular societies where they live and how fast they are influenced by peer pressures and the liberal values of modern Jahiliyah. They all are earning the “mighty” dollars but practically are fast losing themselves, their progenies of today and of tomorrow and the future hope too to live like a vibrant Ummah.
This grim situation demands to recast our ongoing life pattern, rescheduling our time location and readjusting our habits and day to day routine of life in order to save some time and energy for the vital objective of life that we all are missing in the midst of the hustle and bustle of our existing life. Summarily speaking, our day to day, weekly and weekend schedule of life, as pinpointed above, can be categorised under the following heads:
1. Job attending and its preparation;
2. In transit on road, train or bus;
3. On TV, watching games, sports, news or talk-shows;
4. In social contacts, visiting relatives, friends and attending parties and social gatherings;
5. Five to six hours of unavoidable sleep;
6. Meeting the daily natural necessities and calls of life.
This schedule becomes more cumbersome or unmanageable when “Eidain” come, marriages are commenced and or some national events occur. The crux of the issue becomes more “stingy” when the normal rules and ethics of social contacts are not observed when people “normally” linger their stay at host’s places till late in the night in idle gossips, useless and loose talks, backbiting of others or discussing about sport heroes. This pattern of life clearly indicates where our time is killed, where and how can it be saved or how our life can be re-set or reorganised to give place to accommodate the essentials of life or engagements that are left altogether, especially the very objective of life for which we have no time at all or many other items of life that are totally neglected or being ignored conveniently on the plea that: “we have no time to do”
1. The Life pattern of Companions of the Prophet
Let us see the life pattern of Companions of the Prophet how they were utilising their time; how they were meeting to and departing from each other; what was the main focus of their mutual meetings; what was the prime most objective in their mind to communicate to each other as a routine of their life; what Allah ordains the Muslims to do when they used to get together in social gatherings or at their respective houses; and what Allah directed the Prophet’s companions to do especially when they were invited by the Prophet at his house for dinner with him. These should naturally be the guidelines of our social contacts, etiquette of our personal meetings and topmost agenda of our mindful existence on earth as conscious Muslims and Muslimahs.
When Companions of the Prophet used to meet, they used to recite Surah # 103, Al-Asr, reminding each other about Iman, good deeds, exhorting each other to invite others to Haq, the Deen of Allah, and to have Sabr [patience] when some form of calamity or trial comes or they encounter it in that process. Thus, they used to share with each other the essence of their life-long struggle on earth. While departing after short or long interactions, they used to recite Surah Al-Asr again as reminder to carry out that mission of life ceaselessly as an integral and eternal pursuit of their life. It was the routine of their life and they were reminding each other even if they were meeting many times a day. Thus, the entire society was vibrating with the echoing sound of the mission of their life on earth. Are we doing it as Muslim and Muslimah? If not, we must develop this habit of reminding to each other with Surah Al-Asr as the panacea of our decadence and transforming our mutual social contacts as “Ebadah” and a pinpointed call to Dawah Ilallah.
2. How can we implement this Tradition in our life and with what effect?
* After exchange of traditional greetings of Salaam and enquiring each other’s health and welfare, the incoming brother should recite Al-Asr with meanings in the local language, explaining its concept where necessary, even in short;
* Telling what he/she has done in this respect; what study he/she has undertaken; what Dawah contacts he/she has made, what he/she is thinking to study by himself/herself, what programme he/she has envisaged for his/her children and family in developing Islamic character in each, and enquiring at the end what you [the addressee] are thinking to attain in this respect;
* The addressee will then describe his position and the condition of his children and family in the same way and seek each other’s “Mashwarah” to improve their respective family condition in becoming better Muslim and Muslimah, more devoted to Islam and excelling in their school and college study and grades;
* This will make each and every meeting productive, better knowing each other’s condition and problems that they are confronted with at family level, children level and paving the way to help each other in cementing their relation of brotherhood very deep and far reaching in effect;
* It would ultimately create a United Ummah struggling for Allah’s Deen and taking care of each other and helping together at personal, family and community levels at frequent intervals.
* A very simple process towards the Iqamah of Allah’s Deen, leading to resurrection of Ummah that would ultimately, in a very short time, change its fate without much fanfare, provided each Muslim and Muslimah adopts it as a compulsory and integral part of his and her life’s identity;
* It would be best and the most appropriate use of our social contacts and Allah will give Barakah in it by multiplying its blessings manifold.
* Muslim leadership, Imams and Muslim Organisations all should make a campaign to make the Muslim men and women conscious of this routine by setting themselves its model and reminding Muslims through their public addresses and religious sermons to develop the habit of reciting Al-Asr in their personal meetings with no exception. When it would become a habit, the Ummah will reap its harvest soon, Insha Allah
3. Allah through Verse # 53 of Surah # 33, Al-Ahzab asks the Muslims that when the Messenger of Allah invites you for dinner and when it is finished, leave the place and don’t cause annoyance to him by sitting and delaying your departure just for the sake of conversation. Where the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) out of courtesy cannot ask you to go, Allah does not feel shy of telling you to leave the place as soon as food is finished.
The spirit of this Verse corrects our social gatherings and set them right to “business” only. Delaying departure for nothing but for idle gossiping is worth nothing. Muslims can save a lot of time if they are time conscious. They can save theirs as well as their host’s time for some other constructive purposes:
4. How best Muslims can squeeze their time-frame and use it otherwise:
Besides saving time from these social gatherings, Muslims should think that they are not supposed to use their time and energy in “Layebun wa Lahavun” [play and idle talks: Reference Verse 20 of Surah Al-Hadeed]. They must squeeze their time frame as spelled out above against items # 1 to 6 and see where can they cut short their programme or eliminate it altogether and thus save time for the items of life where it is needed most towards development of self, family, the environment and get more time to struggle for the mission of their life on earth..
This squeezing process will give them ample time to look after the following sectors of life that are mostly being neglected, deserted and forgotten and we know that unless these sectors of life are not properly attended, the fate of Muslims cannot be revived. The end-result would be:
* It would enable them to use their time in transit either in studying some Islamic literature or listening some tapes or Qur’anic cassettes with translation in their mother language.
* It would help Muslims to develop the habit of time consciousness and it would be very easy for them to achieve as their daily five times prayers are within a time-frame. As such, they ought to be time-conscious. Exhortation from Imams and Muslim leadership will have a far reaching effect in this respect.
* It would help them in getting time for personal or joint study with the family members at home which is unfortunately missing at each level and making effort in developing themselves as model parents for their children and others;
* Getting time to look after their children in trimming their habits and character and grooming them as “Da’ee Ilallah” in the present context of the world;
* Getting time to transform his/her home as a model Muslim family, an inspiration for others;
* Getting time in involving in the social and welfare activities in the society, presenting Islam as model for others.
The paucity of time for which Muslims often cry and complain, in fact, is our own creation and is the direct effect of our involvement in unproductive habits, unhealthy engagements and good-for-nothing habits. These are effortless alternate involvement and would not cost anything except developing time-conscious habit, feeling always accountable to Allah while living on earth like conscious Muslims and Muslimah.
There is every possibility that this short and un-expensive process may change the life pattern of Muslim Ummah and cause its revival sooner than our expectation. Let each and every Muslim and Muslimah be an active part of the process and Allah in His infinite mercy blessings.¨