Stolen time…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

I was inspired by the following article titled “Shaytan called a worldwide convention”:

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In his opening address to his evil Jinns, he said, “We can’t keep the Believers from going to Masjids. We can’t keep them from reading their Qur`an and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship experience with Allah”. Once they gain that connection with Allah, our power over them is broken. So let them go to their Masjids; let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they can’t gain that relationship with Allah.

This is what I want you to do Jinns. Distract them from gaining hold of their Lord and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day! “How shall we do this?” shouted his Jinns. “Keep them busy in the non essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered. “Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon, their home will offer no escape from the pressures of work!” “Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive, to keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-Qur`anic recitation constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Allah.” “Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes. Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines so their husbands will believe that external beauty is what’s important, and they’ll become dissatisfied with their wives. That will fragment those families quickly!” “Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted, and unprepared for the coming week. Don’t let them go out in nature to reflect on Allah’s wonders. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts and movies instead. Keep them busy, busy, and busy! And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions. Go ahead, let them be involved in soul winning; but crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Allah.” “Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause. It will work! It will work!” It was quite a convention. The evil Jinns went eagerly to their assignments causing Believers everywhere to get busier and more rushed, going here and there.

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If you’re chasing your tail from morning to evening, waking up early, working late, not sleeping enough, studying hard and pursuing all the luxuries of this world, how much time do you devote towards you Lord? Apart from the 5 daily prayers, (I’m assuming we all manage that much at least) are we able to spare a few minutes everyday to read Quran? 5 minutes a day to read a Hadith? 5 minutes at the end of each day to thank Allah for his bounties? 5 minutes each morning to pray for guidance? A few minutes after each prayer for the remembrance of our Lord?

Why don’t we have time? Why can’t we spare a few minutes of our lives to remember and thank our Lord? From a young age we are moulded to pursue this lifestyle. Go to school so you can study, go to uni so you can get a job, get a job so you can make money, make more money so you can afford the house, the car, the holidays, the gadgets… and once you’re in the system, it ain’t easy to unplug. We are all guilty of it, unfortunately the lifestyle many of us pursue is not conducive to our Islamic way of life, however I don’t believe they are completely incompatible.

As I mentioned in “The jar of life”- Sometimes the less important things in life can distract us, filling up our time and keeping us away from what really matters. If we get our priorities in order, we can fit everything in. The  key is to prioritize, do what’s most important and Insha Allah you will see Barakah in your time and Barakah in your life. As a Muslim, prioritize your faith, be punctual and sincere in your prayers, devote some time each day to your Lord. Spend time with your family and do charitable work, fulfil your religious obligations and seek knowledge in your Faith. Your career, no matter how important it may be, must come after your religion and family. You will find that if you are able to maintain this balance, your work, studies and other responsibilities will find a way to work around your faith and Insha Allah you will succeed in them too.

A few things I’ve learnt to aid in better time management and pursuing a more Islamic way of life:

  • wake up early and pray Fajr
  • read Quran, exercise, study, etc, early in the morning – (stay up after Fajr)
  • stay focussed and set targets
  • make notes and use a diary
  • work hardest in the first half of the day
  • take breaks and pray on time
  • eat regularly, eat healthy
  • take time out to de-stress
  • skip the music – listen to Islamic lectures or nasheeds
  • avoid unnecessary distractions (facebook, twitter, aimless surfing) – there’s a time and place for this!
  • remember Allah and reflect upon his bounties (even the small ones)
  • when doing for others, make a sincere intention – sometimes the only difference between a random act and a spiritual act is the intention
  • make time for your family
  • avoid gossip
  • thank Allah for his provisions
  • read a book (Quran, Hadith, Islamic Stories, etc.) No good deed will go unnoticed
  • avoid excessive tv, movies, gaming
  • pray on time and preferably at the Mosque
  • renew your faith by visiting the Mosque daily
  • if you watch tv, don’t let it be the last thing you do before bed
  • make a sincere intention to wake up for Fajr
  • sleep early

I ask Allah to guide us and allow us to pursue an Islamic way of life. Its harder to achieve this in today’s secular environment but if we are successful, the reward will be greater… Insha Allah!

Muhammad al-Shareef has an inspiring lecture on time management which is available for download at http://www.kalamullah.com/muhammad-alshareef.html

I leave you with a quote by Imam Anwar al-Awlaki… “be mindful of Allah and Allah will be mindful of you”.

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