Brothers, there is a surah in the Qur’an. A surah that many of us know…many of us have memorised. A surah that is short in its words but powerful in its meaning. A surah that many of us neglect…we don’t pay heed to. Many of us do not implement it. A surah that is of such importance that at-tabarani narrates that….whenever 2 of the companions of the Prophet [SAW] met, they would not part, they would not leave each other’s company until one had recited this surah to the other. This surah was of such importance that Imam As-Shafiee mentioned that…..’If all the people reflected over this surah…it would have been sufficient for them.’
Wal Asr’……By time…..Allah is swearing by time. Know that whenever Allah swears by something, He [SWT] is taking an oath. Allah is showing us that whatever is to follow this oath, whatever comes after this oath, it is of great importance…..of great significance.
Innal Insaana la fee khusr……Indeed…..Verily….mankind is in loss….mankind is in destruction.
Ilal la theena aamanu, wa amulusaali haati, wata wa sow bil haqqi, wata wa sow bis sabr. Except those who believe, and do righteous deeds, and recommend one another to the truth, and recommend one another to patience.
My dear brothers in Islam, Imam As-Shafiee says that ‘time is a sword, if you do not cut it then it will cut you.’ If that is the case, then we are being cut by time, we are being butchered by time….we are being slaughtered by time.
Why is this the case? The main reason for us wasting time is because we are being deceived by this dunya…..we are being deceived by this world and its affairs. Uthman bin Affan….the 3rd caliphate of Islam, he mentions that absorption in worldly affairs breeds darkness in the heart, and absorption in the akhira, in the next world enkindles light in the heart.
You notice that when a newborn child is born….when the child comes out of its mother’s womb…when it enters this world……its hands are closed and clinging almost as if the child is showing that it is clinging to this world, to this life, to the worldly pleasures. And you see when a person dies that this is not the case….this person after death has their hands wide, as if to show…..I am leaving this world with nothing, just as I entered with nothing.
The mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly things diverts you, Until you visit the graves (i.e. till you die). (Surah Takathur (1-2).
We need to realise this life is a deception. That when mankind is in this dunya, we have no direction at all…..just seeking the pleasure of this life……….and out of the mercy of Allah….Allah gives mankind Prophet after Prophet……Messenger after Messenger until the Prophet [SAW]. Many nations have followed many Prophets and many nations have followed the Messengesr as they sought Jannah…..and then on their journey they start becoming complacent….self-satisfied……less worried in their following and became deceived by this world. We need to ask ourselves……are we from those being deceived?
For those who may think that they will fulfil their obligations, their responsibilities in the deen of Allah, in Islam…that they will worry about such matters after university or when they become older or after they’ve settled down. Then you should know that Ibn ul Qayyim describes this life very beautifully. He summarised life into 3 stages…..the 1st stage is as a toddler….a child….when your only concern is about play and amusement. Then after some time you become a young adult and you concern yourself with boasting and beautifying yourself. Then in your final stage in life…as a full grown adult you concern yourself with amounting wealth and children. You say InshAllah I will change but do not realise that the next stage in life becomes harder. So waste no more time thinking about what a good Muslim should be. Become one. We need to hold ourselves accountable before we are called to account.
We will be asked on the Day of Judgement about our youth and how we spent it. We seem to revise all day and all night for our exams but what about our real test? Our real exam? When we have time we occupy ourselves with t.v, games…and other mundane activities but do we ever occupy ourselves with these things when we have an exam deadline? We have to ask ourselves these questions. Are we really preparing for our unknown deadline? Know that not a moment….not a blinking of the eye passes except that we are experiencing the blessing of Allah. When we wake up in the morning, we possess our hearing but do we use this to listen to halal things….to the Qur’an? We possess our sight but do we use it to look at the mushaf? We possess our strength but do we use it to pray our salah, to fast, to pray the night prayer? We possess our breath, but do we use every breath to mention the name of Allah? To glorify and praise Allah? We need to ask ourselves who is safeguarding all of this? Is it us who bestow this on ourselves? Or is the Allah, the Most Merciful?…..Then why are we not using these blessing to please Allah, the one who possess everything? Are we not then grateful?
We need to know that this life is a stopping place where we are just collecting provisions. Think of it this way my beloved brothers…..this life…..it holds the seeds…..and the next life…..it holds the plantation grown from these seeds. But what good are these seeds if you do not plant them? What good are the seeds if you just eat them? We need to invest from this life, which is nothing but a day or an afternoon.
You may be thinking…who are those who make the most of their time? What are their characteristics?…. Allah describes them in the Qur’an as ‘Was saabiqoon as saabiqoon’ ….’and those foremost will be foremost’. They are those who are foremost in this deen, in Islam. They are those who proceed others in doing good actions. Those who struggle and strived for the religion of Allah, for the pleasure of Allah, for the Face of Allah [SWT]. They are the ones who will be foremost in Jannah…in Paradise. The people who rush for good deeds, who act NOW…..who don’t give a 2nd thought after about something that will bring them closer to Allah in a halal manner. To them…time that is not spent in expiating sins, extinguishing sins or not spent in seizing opportunities to perform righteous deeds that will bring them closer to Allah is time wasted, time that is useless. They are the type of people who are always itching to come closer to Allah, to remember Allah. These are the characteristics of believer who uses time well…..the characteristics of the people of Jannah.
Laa yasmaa’una feeha laghwanw wa laa ta’theema
No Laghw…no evil vain talk will they hear in Paradise, or any sinful speech. Why do the people of Jannah not engage in this type of speech? This unnecessary speech? It is because it is not a characteristic of those who use their time well, because it is a characteristic of those of the Hellfire. You can tell where a person is from, where a person belongs…just from their characteristics so avoid the characteristics of those of the Hellfire….beware of unnecessary speech. Before you open your mouth….ask yourself….what is the benefit of what I am going to say? Will I benefit from it? Will my brother benefit from it? Will anyone benefit from it?
I love you for the sake of Allah O Brothers…that is why I advise you to fulfil your obligations to Allah. Contemplate on your lifestyle. Recognise your weaknesses. If you are not fulfilling your obligations to Allah, then I advise you, sincerely fom the bottom of my heart, to fulfil them…for Allah has fulfilled his obligations to you and always will. Allah has provided for you, he has given you safety, given you blessings that nobody can ever give or even replace. I advise you to begin with the main things, like praying the obligatory prayers, fasting during ramadhan. Do not keep postponing your responsibilities…thinking that you will just say La ilaha illa Allah on your deathbed, as if we know our decreed time to leave this world. As if we know the unseen….it is true that the shahadah, that la ilaha illa Allah is the key to paradise, but also know that has its ridges, its cuts, its shape and the ridges of the shahadah is its conditions. A door will not open unless you have the right key with the right ridges….when these ridges are made, when these conditions are met…..only then will the door of Paradise be open for you. Allah says,
‘O Mankind, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, The Generous’. Why does Allah use his Name ‘The Generous’ as opposed to ‘The All-Mighty, The Powerful’? It is because Allah knows we will use the excuse that He is The Most Merciful, The Most Generous, so He shows us that even though He is The Most-Generous, we are still deceiving ourselves.
For those of you who are fulfilling their obligations to Allah, then I advise you to do you recommended acts, to do your sunan, to carry out nawafil. Pray your sunnah prayers, fast Mondays and Thursdays, pray the night prayers. Verily, Allah loves the regular deeds.
O brothers in Islam…Use your time well. Every second, every minute, every hour, every day is either for you or against you. Read Qur’an regularly. Read Qur’an on your way to university, on your way home, when your wake up, before you go to sleep, on your revision breaks, on the bus, on the train, in the library. Do not be afraid to read the Qur’an, but rather be ashamed not to read the Qur’an. Set yourself targets. Try to memorise at least one verse a day InshAllah. Give yourself a specific time if you have to.
Also repent to Allah. The Prophet [SAW] used to repent to Allah more than 70 times in a day….and this was the Prophet of Allah [SAW]…..who was forgiven his past, present and future sins. The Prophet [SAW] said, ‘It is a heavy thing for my heart if I do not seek Allah’s forgiveness 100 times a day.’
The Prophet [SAW] was always attentive in his remembrance and drawing nearer to Allah and if from time to time he forgot to do something he normally does, or it slipped his mind, he felt as if he had wronged himself and begin seeking Allah’s forgiveness. We have to ask ourselves……how many times do we remember Allah? And more importantly, do we feel regret when we don’t?
Make du’aa to Allah that you make the most of your time, that Allah opens the doors of opportunities for gaining more reward and that He closes the doors for gaining sins. Know that the best time to make du’aa is when you are closest to Allah, and that time is when you are in sujood, in prostration, so invoke Allah much in prostration….just like those from as-saabiqoon. In order for you to be of the saabiqoon, the foremost, it is best to be with as-saabiqoon. Have a companion to compete with.
Just like when Abu Bakr and Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) used to compete. When the Prophet (sallahu ‘alayhi wa salam) called the people to give their wealth for the sake of Allah. That day when Umar was determined to finally beat Abu Bakr, and he brought half of his wealth, and was sure that Abu Bakr will not beat him. Abu Bakr later came and gave a small amount, and the Prophet (sallahu ‘alayhi wa salam) asked Abu Bakr how much he gave and he replied all my wealth. And the Prophet (sallahu ‘alayhi wa salam) asked what he left for his family and Abu Bakr replied, ‘Allah and His Messenger.’ These are the companions we need, those who desire paradise…working for it…racing against time. They are those who rush to obey Allah in this life and are foremost in performing acts of righteousness, they will be among the foremost believers honoured in the Hereafter.
‘Race with one another in hastening towards forgiveness from your Lord, and towards Paradise the width whereof [that] is as the width of the heaven and the earth prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. That is the bounty of Allah which He gives to whom He wills, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty.’- [Surah Hadeed; 21]
They are not those who you find in shisha cafes or down trocodero or oxford street window shopping. Know that the greatest of losses is for you to be preoccupied with one who brings you nothing but a loss in your time with Allah and being cut off from Allah…..wasting your time with that person….it is a weakening of the heart and energy. So, save your heart, be wary of how you spend your days and your nights. Find people who are concerned with their time and those who worship Allah and not their desires…..those in university, in your local masjid, in your area, at work.
Being with such people will help you gain opportunities for much reward and help you stay away from sins, especially those that lead to habits. These habits can destroy a person. Also beware of over-indulging in mundane acts.
Know that the main solution to making the most of time and from being deceived by the worldly affairs is athkaar, is supplications.
SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, AllahuAkbar, Astaghfirullah. Read supplications for entering your house, leaving your house, entering the toilet, leaving the toilet, when waking up, before going to sleep, before changing clothes. Try it for one week and InshAllah you will see a difference, you will gain blessing in your time. Glorify Allah much for whoever says SubhanAllahi waBihamdihi [glorified is Allah and praised is He] 100 times a day, will have his sins forgiven even if they are like the foam of the sea.
The Prophet [SAW] mentioned that ‘two words are light on the tongue, weigh heavily on the scales, and are loved by Ar-Rahman; SubhanAllahi waBihamdhi, SubhanAllah-hil Adheem.
I just want to end with a statement of Hasan Al-Basree who mentions that ‘one of the signs of Allah’s abandoning a servant….a slave…..is Allah making him preoccupied with what does not concern him’….with things that are not of benefit. So one of the ways you can see your relationship with Allah is your use of time. We have to ask ourselves…..are we really those who make the most of our time?