Three Hadiths About Time Management
This is an extract from my eBook, Getting The Barakah: An Islamic Guide To Time Management. You can purchase the full eBook here. These three hadiths are explained in chapter two of the eBook.
To begin, we need to look at a commonly misunderstood term, Rizq. Rizq refers to everything that Allah has provides us with, we can translate it as resources. Rizq is not restricted to wealth and material resources as many people think. The resources that Allah has provided us with are many. They include wealth, health, youth, family, friends, safety, knowledge, intellectual capabilities and, what concerns us most in this book, time.
In order to truly appreciate the importance of time management, we must understand and acknowledge that time a part of our Rizq. It is a resource that Allah has provide to us, just like our health and wealth. There are two special qualities about time that separate it from the other types of Rizq we receive:
- Every human is provided with the exact same amount of time in a day.
- Time is the only resource that is not renewable. Once it is used, it is gone forever.
Each of the above points has a direct repercussion on the way we think about time.
The following three points should make us realize how precious a resource our time really is: Time is similar to other resources in that only Allah knows how much time each person has in this world.
Some live for a short time and accomplish great things, because they value that time. Some live for a long time without accomplishing anything, because they did not realize the value of time until it was too late.
- As every human has the exact same amount of time per day as another, there is nothing we can do to increase our time, but we can have an edge over others is how we manage our time.
- As time is not renewable, it would be foolish to waste it or kill it. Why waste a precious resource that you are never going to get back?
- As we don’t know how much time we really have on this earth, can we really afford to waste time now and wait until later in life to do things that are important to us?
With this in mind, it becomes clear that time is a precious resource from Allah that must be used for good. We can also understand that wasting time is like wasting money. Rather it is worse!
Because you can always make up for lost money, but you can never make up for time that has been lost.
The First Hadith:
The Hadiths related to time become very clear when we analyse them from this perspective. Reflect on the following Hadiths in light of the above:
عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِرَجُلٍ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ اغْتَنِمْ خَمْسًا قَبْلَ خَمْسٍ شَبَابَكَ قَبْلَ هَرَمِكَ وَصِحَّتَكَ قَبْلَ سَقَمِكَ وَغِنَاكَ قَبْلَ فَقْرِكَ وَفَرَاغَكَ قَبْلَ شُغُلِكَ وَحَيَاتَكَ قَبْلَ مَوْتِكَ
“Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death” (Narrated by Ibn Abbas and reported by Al Hakim)
- Everything mentioned in this Hadith is a type of Rizq: youth, health, wealth, free time and our life as a whole
- Therefore we must be very careful in how we utilize each of the above
- Notice that the Hadith mentions free time and not time as a whole. Due to the necessities of life, there are times in the day that we have to do certain things (Work, Salah) and we can’t use that time for anything else, so it’s really how we utilize our free time that matters.
The Second Hadith
عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نِعْمَتَانِ مَغْبُونٌ فِيهِمَا كَثِيرٌ مِنْ النَّاسِ الصِّحَّةُ وَالْفَرَاغُ
“There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) health and free time for doing good.” (Bukhari 8/421)
- This Hadith focuses on two resources: health and free time.
- Both of these are necessary resources for doing good deeds. It is difficult to do good deeds without good health or enough time to do it properly.
- These are two things that most people take for granted. For some reason, we don’t appreciate these blessings from Allah until they are taken away from us.
- The best way to show appreciation to Allah for a blessing is to use it as a tool for good. Therefore, our free time must be utilized and we cannot allow it to be wasted.
The Third Hadith
قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يُؤْذِينِي ابْنُ آدَمَ يَسُبُّ الدَّهْرَ وَأَنَا الدَّهْرُ بِيَدِي الْأَمْرُ أُقَلِّبُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ
“Allah said, ‘The son of Adam wrongs me for he curses Ad-Dahr (Time); though I am Ad-Dahr (Time). In My Hands are all things, and I cause the revolution of day and night” (Al-Bukhari)
- In this Hadith Al-Qudsi, Allah says that He is Time. The scholars clarify this to mean that time is controlled and provided to us by Allah. It is a blessing from Allah and so cursing it is like cursing Allah.
- When we feel that time is slipping away and that we don’t have enough time to accomplish what we want in life, don’t curse time because you were given the same amount of time in a day as everybody else. Rather, take that moment to analyse how you spent your time and what you can do differently.
This creates a mind-set that is focused on keeping track of time and utilizing it to the best of our abilities. If we are only going to be in this world for a limited period of time, and during that time we need to balance our duties towards our Creator, our families, our society and ourselves then the only way to get that done is with strict time management.The above Hadiths all indicate the same thing, that the true believer understands the importance of time and refuses to waste it. It is a precious asset that is deteriorating every second, and so an hour wasted is an hour that we can never get back.
This is what I hope to accomplish in this book, to assist you to gain the necessary tools and habits that can help you get the best out of your day. These tools can be used in our work life, study life, family life, leisure time and spiritual life. In fact, when used properly, these tools help us to balance between all of these parts of our lives and that is the correct way for a believer to live, a balanced life, never wasting any time, always working towards a higher goal.
 Hadith: A narration containing information about what the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said or did
 Hadith Al-Qudsi: A Hadith narration quoting Allah directly. It is considered a separate category from a Hadith quoting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
Want to read more? Get the full eBook here.