On Time


If we ask ourselves what is the most blessed gift with which Allah, the Exalted and Most High, has favoured us, after the gift of Islam? Some of you will say: Wealth. Others: Children. Beauty. Knowledge. Health. It is true that all of these are great gifts. Allah’s gifts are countless.

“If you try to number Allah’s blessings, you could never count them.”
(Surat The Bee 16:18)

The greatest gift however, after Islam, is Time. This magnitude of a physical nature that represents the fourth dimension, following the movement of the sun. Allah, the Most High, says:

“And the sun runs to its resting place. That is the decree of the Almighty, the All-Knowing.”
(Surat Ya Sin 36:38)

Time is, the repository of all actions of man. It is our true, our only wealth. Allah gives each one of us a capital: our souls. He gives us the freedom to lead our souls and He commands us to employ them for good things until the Day of our Meeting with Him. Some, having known how to use their time for the Good, will come to Allah with huge profits, and their reward will be the Garden. While others wasted their time on things that anger Allah and will therefore enter the Fire. Allah, the Most High, says:

“Those who recite the Book of Allah and establish the prayer and give of what We have provided for them, secretly and openly, hope for a transaction which will not prove profitless”
(Surat Fatir 35:29)

This is the best business, the best transaction, a transaction without losses, with guaranteed success, undoubtedly. It is a very valuable gift, but unfortunately many ignore it. It’s a great gift, but many are ungrateful. It is a tremendous gift but many are negligent and lazy. The most surprising thing is that many of us, or all of us, do not value, nor are we aware of the importance of this favour.

There will come a Day when we will discover its value, but then it will be too late. Allah, the Exalted, says:

“When death comes to one of them, he says, ‘My Lord, send me back again, so that perhaps I might act rightly regarding the things I failed to do!’”
(Surat The Believers 23:99-100)

Time is the most precious thing that was given to man, it is life itself. The life of the human being is established in time, it has a predetermined limit that it will never exceed. All humans, wherever we are, share something and that is that we have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 52 weeks a year. However, people’s contributions and achievements are different, due to the difference in the way they use and invest their time. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

«Truly, man’s time or term is his life.» Indeed, man is simply a period of time. They also said, «Life is but a book whose cover and back cover are birth and death. And its pages are the days. For every day left behind, a page is turned. On it one of two is recorded: a good deed for which you will be rewarded or a disobedience for which you will be held accountable. Each page you turn brings you closer to the end and when you reach it your provision will be over. Your days will have run out and the journey will be over. Hassan al-Basri, may Allah have mercy on him, said: «Man’s life is made up of parts which are the days. When a day passes, a part of his life has been spent.»

It’s true: we are just a period of time. We are born, we grow up, we turn 17, 20, 30, 40, 70 and then the news of our death arrives. All of us are subjected to this time cycle. Man struggles in this life, strives, until he achieves a good income and his goals, an important status. And suddenly he is surprised by death and becomes part of history. Allah, the Most High, says about the people of Saba’:

“so We made legends of them”
(Surat Saba’ 34:19)

Allah, the Most High, says:

“By the Late Afternoon, truly man is in loss – except for those who believe and do right actions and urge each other to the truth and urge each other to steadfastness.”
(Surat Al-Asr 103)

In this noble Surat Allah swears by time. And when Allah swears by some element of His creation He does so to indicate its importance. In other Ayats He swears by His Signs:

“By the sun and its morning brightness, and the moon when it follows it, and the day when it displays it, and the night when it conceals it”
(Surat The Sun 91:1-4)

And He swears by parts of the time:

“By the morning brightness and the night when it is still”
(Surat Ad-Dhuha 93:1-2)

“By the dawn and ten nights”
(Surat Al-Fajr 89:1-2)

All this is in honour of this unique creation that lacks colour, taste, smell, that has no mass, no density, that is not inherited, that is not given away and that is not bought, sold, stored, exported or imported. Time is a creation of Allah, only He knows the beginning. He is, praise be to Him, the First and the Last, there is nothing after Him.

“The affair is Allah’s from beginning to end”
Surat The Romans 30:4)

Allah created space and time. He has absolute dominion over them. He created the stars and their spinning movements. He made them exist when He was and nothing existed before and He will continue to exist after the disappearance of these celestial bodies, when the wheel of time stops.

“but the Face of your Lord will remain, Master of Majesty and Generosity”
(Surat Ar-Rahman 55:27)

The Messenger of Allah (saws) said what Allah said in a Hadith Qudsi: «The son of Adam troubles me by insulting time and time is Mine. I make the day and the night to follow one another.» When a misfortune or displeasure comes upon them, or a catastrophe affects them, some people curse the time, without being aware that Allah is the One Who decrees the events. Let us beware of this wrong attitude!

Time is dynamic, it never stops, days pass, months and so on. Time cannot return, nor can it be restored, time does not regenerate, nor is it renewed or stopped or multiplied. No one is able to stop the hands of the clock, no one can stop the movement of night and day, no one can store time. Can you reserve two hours of today to use them tomorrow, for example? It’s impossible. Time follows its path, obeying a universal law and is subject to a Divine Mandate.

In many occasions we have heard this popular and often repeated expression «Time is Money». It supposes a material conception of time, which claims that our life can also be seen as money. And that each and every one of our acts, beliefs, ideas, emotions can be seen as money. And as such, it must be invested according to the cost-benefit equation in order to generate constant hard-cash. It also implies that an economically unproductive life is a waste of time. This theory reveals an underestimation and humiliation of time. Time is priceless, it cannot be bought with money, nor with gold. It is more valuable than any diamond. If you lose a euro today, you can gain a thousand tomorrow. But if you lose a day of your life, you can never get it back, even if you could employ the combined energy of all the Jinn and men.

Don’t be a slave to the material world, don’t fall into that trap. Don’t be one of the people of the Dunia who look at time from a purely material point of view, who forget the values and principles of our belief. Don’t belong to those people who don’t distinguish between the licit and the illicit, in order to obtain wealth. «Anything goes!», they say, and «The end justifies the means.»

Ali Ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said: «The Dunia, the life of this world, is three days. One day that has passed and you cannot get it back. Another day which is about to come, but you don’t know if you will be able to live it. And another day, which you are living now, so take advantage of it».

Brothers and sisters: every day of your life is a new creation. One passes by and another comes along that brings you closer to your hour. Hassan al-Basri said: «When a new day is born, it calls: ‘Son of Adam! I am a new creation and I am a witness to your actions. Take advantage of me. And I will not return until the Day of Judgment’! Son of Adam! You see only a certain number of days. But when a day passes, a part of your life has passed.»

Time is fleeting. It passes quickly as the clouds. No matter how long a man’s life is, it’s still short. Can anyone say how the last five years of his life have passed? Or when his first child was born? We’ve become slaves to routine. «Time is like a sword: if you don’t cut it, it will cut you. It is a torrent that never stops and never has compassion on anyone.»

The angel of death went in search of Sayyidina Nuh, peace be upon him, to take his soul, after more than a thousand years of life and asked him: «O longest living Prophet! How have you lived your life?» Nuh replied: «As if it were a house with two doors. I entered through one and came out through the other.»

Second part

Servants of Allah: Good time management is an obligation for all of us. Time is a resource, a deposit, an Amana that Allah gives us and urges us to use it in all that benefits us, both in this life and the next, and He will hold us accountable for its use. A Muslim does not spend his time on things that distract him from the Dhikr of Allah, acts of worship and obedience to Him.

Or else: do as most human beings do: eat, drink, enjoy and in the end be surprised by death. Better make use of your time by performing actions that serve you when time runs out. Otherwise, what will you take with you to the grave? Only your actions. Your house, all your businesses, your children, everything will remain in this life. Allah the Most High says:

“Race each other to forgiveness from your Lord and to a Garden, whose breadth is like that of heaven and earth combined.”
(Surat Al Hadid 57:21)

Allah has created time. He knows that it consumes us, that time runs like the wind, and He shows us the way to success, which is nothing but, not wasting time and doing good actions. The more, the better. Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said: «I never repented more than on that day when the sun set on the horizon, my life was shortened and my good deeds were few.»

To devote every moment to a good action indicates an outstanding intellect and a good understanding of life. Ibn Juzayy, may Allah have mercy on him, said: «Man should be aware of the value and importance of his time, he should not waste even a moment in things that do not serve him to get closer to the Creator. And he should offer the best and after that: still more, both in deeds as well as in words.»

The reality in which we live today, especially among young people, is the amount of time that is wasted, in front of the TV, with mobile phones, in useless conversations, in matters that are detrimental both in this life and in the next. Simply doing nothing makes it necessary to remember the importance of time. The expression «I am biding my time» or «killing time» has become widespread among people. Allah, Exalted be He, warns us of the distraction and will asks His servants, reproaching them, for the unnecessary loss of their time. Allah says:

“Did We not let you live long enough for anyone who was going to pay heed to pay heed? And did not the warner come to you? Taste it then! There is no helper for the wrongdoers.”
(Surat Fatir 35:37)

Don’t be one of those who leaves the pages of their book blank. Time is the essence of your life, to waste it is to live a slow death.

To acquire knowledge requires time, to go in search of provision requires time. If you don’t do the prayers in the established time you are wasting time. Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with both of them, said: «There are two gifts of Allah that many people value wrongfully: health and time.” Hadith narrated and verified by Al-Bukhari.

Muslims: do not allow one hour of your life passing in vain, without having taken advantage of it. And know that during this hour many events occur in the universe, some are appreciated and others not, some are known and others not. Even within you, without realizing it, there are occurring many transformations during this hour. You are turning with the earth around its axis, traveling a distance of approximately 1000 km. And you are spinning with the earth around the sun at an impressive speed, covering a distance of 1,600,000 km. And you’re also in continuous motion in the Milky Way at an unimaginable speed.

Your heart during this hour contracts at 4,000 times, the muscles of your respiratory system contract and expand about 1000 times in order to provide oxygen to the whole body.

We should put into practice the teachings of the Messenger of Allah (saws) and divide our time into three parts, according to the Hadith: One part for your wife. By her instinct a woman needs her husband to share with her a part of his time. Otherwise the marriage will not have much future. Another part should be for your work. And another, third part should for Allah. Muslims must use their time wisely, every day. 20 minutes, 30 minutes to meditate, to reflect in solitude, to stop, to disconnect from the trivial problems of the life of this world. This habit brings, undoubtedly, many benefits in all aspects of our life.

Man also needs to set goals and objectives in his life, both long term and short term. This is another way of investing in time.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the brothers of our community in Granada, who have dedicated a large part of their lives (both those who are still alive and those who have already passed away, may Allah have mercy on them) to their struggle to build this mosque. More than 20 years of struggle, facing various obstacles to now have this beautiful mosque in this emblematic place. Thanks to them, and always by Allah’s permission, we are gathered here to celebrate the day of Juma.

They are an example of knowing how to make the most of their time, of being active in achieving important goals. We ask Allah to grant success and strength to our brothers in Seville, who are dedicating their time in striving against the tide, to be able to achieve this noble goal: the construction of a great mosque in this city, inshaAllah.