It has been a sobering week for us. In the light of recent events and with Ramadan just around the corner, I realise how fleeting time – LIFE – is. We don’t even know if we will live to take our next breath and yet we are complacent… heedless.

I wrote an article a few years ago and I am reposting it here to remind myself to buck up before my time is up.

The Sands of Time

The Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: “Take benefit of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before your preoccupation, and your life before your death.” [al-Haakim, al-Baihaqee: Saheeh]

I read a transcript of a lecture some time ago which spoke about the value of time. The speaker emphasised that al-waqt – time – is more valuable than gold and silver and should be treated like the precious commodity it is.

There are a whole 24 hours in a single day and yet it seems to pass in a blink of an eye, leaving us with a slew of unfinished tasks and unaccomplished goals. How often have we regretfully said, “Where did the minutes and hours of the day go?”

Have you seen how an hourglass works? Dried sand passes from one container to another through a narrow aperature. Once the sand runs out, you turn the hourglass over and the whole process begins again. But life is not an hourglass that you can just flip and start over. Time passes like the fleeting wind and once gone, can never be gotten back.

Each and every second of our time should be dedicated to Islam, to the remembrance of and obedience to Allah. Truly, there is so much that can be done… so much that NEEDS to be done.

Allah in His Infinite Mercy has blessed us with a variety of acts of worship to do – some are physical such as prayer; some are financial such as zakat and sadaqah; some are spoken such as du`aa and dhikr. Perhaps the wisdom behind this provision is that it addresses the different inclinations and abilities of the people. Some people may enjoy some kinds of worship more than others.

Indeed, Allah has made gates of Paradise according to the different types of worship. According to a hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah radhiallahu `anhu hadeeth, the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: “Whoever spends on a pair for the sake of Allah will be called from the gates of Paradise, ‘O slave of Allah, this is good.’ Whoever is one of the people of prayer will be called from the gate of prayer. Whoever is one of the people of jihad will be called from the gate of jihad. Whoever is one of the people of fasting will be called from the gate of al-Rayyan. Whoever is one of the people of charity will be called from the gate of charity.” [Bukhari]

Abdullah ibn Mas’ood radhiallahu `anhu said, “I have never regretted anything as much as I regret a day on which the sun set, my term was shortened and my deeds did not increase.”

Let us heed the warnings of those who came before us. `Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz advised, “The night and the day are surely acting upon you, so act you therein.”

As `Umar al-Khattab said:

“Allahumma innaa nas’aluka salaaha as-saa’aati wa al-barakata fiy al-awqaati.”
“O Allah, we ask you righteousness of the hour and your blessing in our time.”