We all think we have all the time in the world until we don’t seem to have any at all. In the Holy Quran, Allah (swt) swears by time, and reminds us that “surely man is in loss.” Time is surely a blessing unto us all and so, how do we treat time, and how do hadiths instruct us to behave in relation to it?
1 . No surprises
Ali ibn Abi Talib said: “The man who best understands time is he who is not taken aback by its proceedings.” [Ghurarul Hikkam]
2 . Five key matters
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth before you become old; your health, before you fall sick; your wealth, before you become poor; your free time before you become preoccupied, and your life, before your death.” [Musnad Imam Ahmad]
3 . Never trust time
Ali ibn Abi Talib said: “Whoever trusts time is betrayed by it, whoever attaches great importance to it is abased by it, whoever is angry with time, it spites him even more, and whoever takes refuge with time is forsaken by it. Not everyone who throws hits the target. When the sultan changes, so does the time.” [Biharul Anwar]
4 . On the day of Judgement
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The feet of a servant will not touch the ground until he asked about his life and how he spent it; his knowledge and how he acted upon it; his wealth and how he acquired it and spent it and his body and how it was used.” [Tirmidhi]
5 . Contending with time
Ali ibn Abi Talib said: “Whoever resists time is spited by it even more, and whoever surrenders to it is not safe either.” [Ghurarul Hikam]
6 . If time could speak…
Ali ibn Musa Al-Ridha reportedly recited these lines of poetry composed by his grandfather Abdul Muttalib:
All of the people place the blame on time
When the trouble with time is only ourselves;
We reprove time while the fault lies within us
If time could speak, it would surely mock us.
The wolf shuns the meat of a fellow wolf
Whereas we devour each other in broad daylight.
Attired to deceive with our beautiful clothes,
Yet woe betides the stranger when he approaches us.
[Uyoon Akhbar Al-Ridha]
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