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The Importance of Time

In one of the shortest and most powerful Suras, we are reminded that our whole existence in this life, would be utterly wasted, futile, pointless, unless we have faith in Allah, act righteously, and join with others in encouraging truthfulness, patience and perseverance.


My Dear Brothers and Sisters
The topic for today’s khutbah, is the importance of Time. It is based on a khutbah by Rashard Jedaar from South Africa,.

We thank and praise Allah swt, the All-knowing, All loving, All Forgiving, All Merciful. We bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah -- the One who made the passing of time a lesson us, and for all those who believe, and who seek the pleasure of Allah, their Lord and Master.

We all bear witness that Nabi Muhammad sws, is the true Messenger of Allah, who invited us to perform our prayers on time, and reminded us to spend every moment of our lives in loving remembrance of Allah. O Allah, please shower your highest blessings on Nabi Muhammad sws, on his friends and relatives, and all those who strive to follow his example ---, those of your servants who spend their lives doing good deeds for your sake, O Allah. Truly they are on the Straight Path, because You have afforded them Hidaayat (Guidance) and they are the ones who understand.

On the subject of Time, Allah swt reminds us in the Holy Qur'an (103, 1-3)

"Wal-‘asr, Innal insaana lafee ghusr. Ill lall latheena ‘aamanu wa’amilus saalihaati, watawaa saubil haq, watawaa saubis sabr."

"By the token of Time (through the Ages), Verily Man is in [a state of] loss, Except those who have Faith, And do righteous deeds, And (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy."

In one of the shortest and most powerful Suras, we are reminded that our whole existence in this life, would be utterly wasted, futile, pointless, unless we have faith in Allah, act righteously, and join with others in encouraging truthfulness, patience and perseverance.


During our lifetime, we will encounter hardship and prosperity, grief and happiness. Allah will test us, with success and with suffering, to see who is best in faith, to test our iman. To the Believer, time is a wonderful asset. It is a chance to seek Allah’s mercy, to ask forgiveness, and to do more good deeds. We must use our time wisely, because wasted time can never be recovered. A saying attributed to Prophet Muhammad sws, says that, there are 3 things that never come back: The spoken word, the shot arrow, and the lost opportunity. Time and tide wait for no man. Time passes on, used or abused. And the two angels on our shoulders write down every action in our book of deeds. Omar Khayyam, the astronomer-poet, wrote in his Rubayyat:

"The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it."

Don't we often wish that we could live our lives again from the start? So that we could put right the wrong things we did? And that our successes could be repeated over and over again? The very fact that we now want to forget our mistakes, or, we want to repeat our good deeds, shows that we have learnt from our experiences in time. Yes, brothers and sisters, Allah swt has placed Time at our service as our teacher: it is a teacher that allows good and bad things to happen. But the decision is made by our own free will.

If we look back in history, we will see that, in time, every unjust oppressor was destroyed. In time, good prevails over evil. But this comes only with effort and sacrifice. Thus the hard work, suffering, humility and perseverance of all the Prophets of Allah, helped justice to prevail over oppression. Just think of Nabi Musa and Fir’oun, or Nabi Muhammad sws and the Quraish. Thus Allah SWT reminds us in the Holy Qur'an [041:046}:

"Whoever works righteousness benefits his own soul; whoever works evil it is against his own soul: nor is your Lord ever unjust (in the least) to His servants."

Time seeks out and destroys all material things. But time itself, was created by Allah. Allah Alone is the Master of time. And Allah punishes and rewards us in relation to how we use our time.

O Muslims, we have the power to use time to make our world a better place. But are we truly aware of the value of time? Does our use of the time show that we understand the purpose for which we were created? Do we fully realise that we cannot escape Allah's judgement? Allah created us to serve Him and Him Alone, and all our actions must reflect this. Our actions must be in harmony with all other creatures, and must follow with the Divine Plan of Allah .


Certain forms of 'Ibaadah need to be observed at definite, prescribed times, for example our salaah, fasting, hajj, and jumu'ah. We cannot perform jumu'ah just at any time of our convenience, like on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon! Our daily routines must fit in with our Islamic duties that are time-related. This way, all our good actions will become an extension of our 'Ibaadah.

Time is valuable. Let’s not waste it on vain conversations and petty arguments. Let’s use our time creatively, to move forward, as individuals and as an ummah. Every moment in time is a favour Allah swt bestows on us, and surely we must repay honour with honour. We must express our gratitude to Allah swt by using every moment in His service: teaching others, inviting others to good and serving our less fortunate brothers in distress.

Sub’ hanallahi wal hamdu lillah, wala hawla wala quwwata illah billah yu althi yual theem

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Nabi Muhammad sws advised the ummah in these beautiful words:

"Observe five things before five others: Your life before your death, Your good health before your illness, Your leisure before your busy times, Your youth before your old age, Your days of wealth before you become poor."

Brothers and Sisters in Islam, let us take our lessons from our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAWS and face the future with confidence. Do not sit idly and ask: "I wonder what the future holds in store for us?" The future is here! It is in our hands! Islam has no place for fatalism. We have the power to design the future! If we consider the uncertainties, and the insecurity facing Muslims here and elsewhere, then now is the best time to go out and become part of the future. Everyone of us, no matter what our circumstances might be, can play a meaningful role in designing the future: in the education of our children, in helping those who are physically and mentally handicapped, in setting up community institutions, and so on. A Muslim cannot find happiness and fulfilment in isolation. There cannot be true happiness without involvement with others. This Allah swt confirms in [004:124] Sura Nisaa’:

"If any do deeds of righteousness be they male or female and have faith they will enter heaven and not the least injustice will be done to them."


Time is also needed for rest, and recreation. As Muslims, we have to take special care, that our values are not undermined by the way we spend our leisure time. We must realise that we often waste our time, not only with useless things, but with things that are positively harmful to us. Where we go for pleasure, and what we watch on television, can have a profound effect on our moral and spiritual wellbeing. For our families, and ourselves, and for the wider Ummah, we need to make important choices about how our leisure time is spent. We must cultivate healthy and rewarding interests, indoors and outdoors. These activities should be aimed at improving our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual condition. Believe it or not, there are many interesting alternatives to television!

Allah, glorified and exalted is He, gave us all the intelligence, strength, stamina, and creativity which are needed by the community. Let us apply use these useful gifts, in ways, that will benefit the whole Ummah.

Time is precious. Each and every one of us, will have to answer Allah, swt, as to how we used our time. Tabraani relates that Ma-aath ibn Jabal reported that once, while on a journey, he heard Nabi Muhammad sws say:

"Every person would be asked of four things:

his life, .........how he lived it.

his youth, ...........what he did with it.

his wealth,............how he earned it and how he spent it.

his knowledge,……how he used it.

Did he share these assets given as a trust from Allah, or did he keep it to himself? If he kept it to himself, then he betrayed the Amaanah (the trust) which was given to him. If he shared it generously, then he has earned the pleasure of his Lord.

Let us pray to Allah, to help us appreciate the value of Time. May Allah give us wisdom and understanding, to make the best use of the time that remains in this life. May Allah accept our sincere repentance for all our sins, all our wasted opportunities, When our time finally runs out, may Allah let us return to Him when we are at the best of our deeds.

Ameen!
Aqeemus salaah!

Arshad Gamiet
Royal Holloway College/Univ. of London /UK.
2July1999

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Islamic Finder: The Importance of Time
The Importance of Time
In one of the shortest and most powerful Suras, we are reminded that our whole existence in this life, would be utterly wasted, futile, pointless, unless we have faith in Allah, act righteously, and join with others in encouraging truthfulness, patience and perseverance.
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