When I look back on my life, I want to be able to say I:
a) achieved the goals I had set out to;
b) achieved something which will carry over into Akhira;
c) tried to minimise time-wasting in dunya.
The thing is, I think we’ve come to a point in time, in society, in the world, where time-wasting is almost a ‘thing’. Like a trend. Has it had a hashtag yet? #time-wasting
I mean there are so-called trends which in the past were seen as a little bit sad. Staying home and watching TV at the weekend was viewed as hermit-like-can’t-find-any-friends type of saddo behaviour. But now binge-watching YouTube is an actual thing that people do. I like to veg out just as much as the next person, but it’s concerning how much of a ‘thing’ it’s turning into.
We as Muslimahs know that Allah comes first in our life. We also know that our purpose for being created in the first place is above and beyond anything that dunya can offer us. So isn’t it time we sat back a bit and instead of #YouTubeOverdose we started #usingtimewisely? And actually preparing ourselves for the Hereafter?
I thinks humans have a funny way of comforting themselves. We have this habit of pretending that things don’t exist if we don’t face them head on. Death is the one certainty in life. One which every single living creature is going to have to face. Yet, it’s quite possibly one of the things we think least about! No matter how scared we are; no matter how rich or poor; and no matter our age. Death will come. We just don’t know when. The not knowing when can be used to our good, or in fact be our own downfall. We can bury our heads in the sand or we can wake up and make something of our lives.
It all depends on how you use your time.
Muslimah 1 spends her days day-dreaming and on Pinterest. Each day is starting to look the same and she doesn’t really know where Saturday ends and Sunday begins. Time in general is speeding by. She’s seemingly happy on the surface. She’s praying her 5 a day. She’s reading Quran when she gets the chance. She’s not committing major sins. Generally, she’s on the straight path. Yet something is missing. She gets to the end of each day and she doesn’t really have much to show for the past 24 hours. She passed the time in a nice way. She enjoyed it. But she hasn’t really added much value to herself or her book of deeds. It’s nothing overtly bad. But, it’s not exactly screaming productive either.
Muslimah 2, like Muslimah 1 also spends some time day-dreaming and on Pinterest. She also prays her 5 a day and some extras. She reads Quran. On the surface her routine is the same, but the feeling she gets at the end of it is not the same as Muslimah 1. She feels fulfilled. Each day feels unique. The days don’t merge into one. And she actually is adding something to her book of deeds in sha Allah.
So how are the two cases different when in fact they look the same? The difference lies in:
1. how the Muslimahs approach their time and
2. being aware of their limits.
Muslimah 2, even though she’s doing pretty much the same as Muslimah 1 is striving for that bit extra. She’s not perfect, but she’s constantly questioning her behaviour and actions in order to use such reflection to better utilise her time. She’s not content with each day being the same, and she’s very aware of the fact that this is one area of life she WILL be questioned on. She has a reason for logging on to Pinterest
and when she’s completed that task, she logs out. She day-dreams with purpose: thinking and planning how she’ll complete her next project. She reads Quran, but actually tries to implement the lessons in her life. She keeps her intentions in check. She constantly tries to remind herself:
This last thought is the game changer. It has the potential to prevent you from wasting time by making you stop for a second, and making you think: does this action actually have a purpose?
Think about it for a second. Before you start eating, if you think to yourself: this is for You Allah, then you’re unlikely to stuff yourself to the point of spontaneous combustion. You’ll take your fill and stop. When it’s for a higher purpose then the moderation kicks in. Another example: you find a good news story worthy of sharing, you log onto Facebook, share and log out. Compare this with logging in, and then aimlessly
stalking cruising around people’s pages. It’s like leaving the house without knowing where you’re going. Of course you’ll just drive any-which way. There’s no specific direction, so you end up just going with the flow. Hours become days, days become months. Same-old, same-old.
Let’s break it down. I’m the type of person that believes all things can be beneficial to some extent (within the realms of halal of course), but that it’s our responsibility to realise when to stop. For example, our bodies need sugar, but eating 10 apples a day really isn’t going to do anyone any good. Unless you’re an apple pie. Life is about variety, it’s about zest, it’s about the ultimate: the Hereafter.
I’m pretty sure nobody would say they’re not bothered about answering the questions on Judgement Day without fear or shame. May Allah protect us all. One of the things you’re going to be questioned on is how you used your time in this life. That is first and foremost a reminder to myself. Time is not given. My life could end right now. I’m pretty sure #AimlessHoursOnPinterest is not what you want to be answering when your Akhira depends on it!
Now, let’s just be clear here: I’m all for me-time, relaxation and #chilling. Whether or not that includes TV is a different argument and not one I’m qualified to give advice on – I cannot give a fatwa (I cannot give fatwas full stop) on whether or not you should be watching TV/films/documentaries etc. That responsibility lies with you, and is between you and Allah alone.
But I think the important takeaway from this is: everything in moderation, everything with purpose (again, within the realms of halal). We’ve heard it a million times over, so much that it’s kind of not even effective as a form of moderating our behaviour anymore. But when it’s something that Allah reminds us of, I think that warrants – without a doubt – reflection. More than pondering over it, actually actioning it. One thing that we seem to have forgotten is: yes, the Quran is beautiful and it speaks to our soul when recited, the more we recite the more it moves us. But it’s not an ornament, solely for beauty. It’s sheer wisdom. It’s pure guidance. It needs to be actioned.
Now I’m not going to give you a list to tell you how you should be using your time. That’s your job. I’m not going to tell you to quit this and that. Even if you listened to me, how long would it truly last, given that the motivation didn’t come from the very depths of your own soul?
You’ll find your way. You already know how and when you’re
wasting time not using your time wisely. It’s those moments that niggle at you when you go to sleep. Those moments that you feel kind of empty, perhaps regretful when you realise the hours days? have passed and you don’t have much to show for it. Spiritually, physically, mentally. You know what feels right and what you simply need to give up, or at the very least reduce. You know it, otherwise you wouldn’t have ended up reading this blog post. You brought yourself here because you want to change. But you’re struggling. Keep struggling sister – it’s a sign of the journey. The fact you want to change is the start. Start taking the small steps today.
Surround yourself with anything that motivates you, keep it close and check back with it often. Start living the life you want. Carve it out. Nobody else will do it for you.
Until the next time in sha Allah.
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