Preface – Time Management in Islam : A personal story
Why do we need a book on time management?
- Before discussing the actual topic ‘Time Management in Islam’ I would like to start with my personal experience with the topic which is essential to understand why I felt the need for writing this book.Every book that I ever read on time management , every lecture that I listened to, it used to start with a personal story. The author/lecturer was usually in some sort of trouble and to come out of it he discovered a certain formula and he applied to his life and it did wonders for him. That is how the best selling books on time management and personal productivity are. I did always wonder that the formula that Mr. X applied to his life may have worked wonderfully well for him but how come I can benefit from the same idea? Things in my life are certainly a bit different from his. The environment that he lives in , the society he resides in is entirely different from mine. The challenges he faces and the challenges I face are entirely different.
- Most time management lectures that I listened to in the 90’s were more concerned with office productivity. These lectures were mostly targeting employees in a bid to make them more productive for their respective companies. That is how these individuals who go about teaching time management earn their bread and butter.But how does a lecture delivered to a sale personnel apply to me? The speaker sometimes , in a bid to make his lectures more ‘generic’ would stress that whatever he is telling is not only good for a salesperson but for every person out there. Some were more subliminal about it but then there were others who would come out and say it boldly ‘Everyone is a salesperson’.
- Then I came across Stephen Covey’s ‘ Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’. The book made me feel better about the subject. Although its not strictly a time management book but that is how I perceived time management at that time. Time, for me, always have been the unit of life. Thus time management essentially is life management. I never found any other way to explain time.
Time Management in Islam – Excerpt from Al-Islam.org
Islam is a systematic religion; it puts great emphasis on managing our life, time and finances so that we may have a happy and prosperous life. The timing of daily prayers itself reflects the daily management of lives. It does not say that pray all the time or at any time- it says that there is a time for prayer, and there is a time for business, and there is a time for the social and family aspects of our lives. Program yourself into a disciplined and balanced life-style.
In Chapter al-Jum ‘ah of the Qur’an, after the order for the Friday prayer, Allah says:
“When the salat is done, then
(1) spread out on the earth,
(2) Seek the blessings of Allah
(3) And remember Allah a lot”. (62:10)
This verse says that you should keep your priorities in the right order: at the time of prayer, say the prayer, and at the time of business, do your businesses diligently-however, be conscious of God’s existence at all times.
In the verse after it, Allah condemns those who have mixed up their priorities:
“And when they see merchandise or entertainment, they go towards it and leave you alone [in prayers]. Say to them: ‘What is with Allah is better than entertainment and merchandise. And Allah is the best of providers.’”(62: 11)
(This verse refers to an event when a trade caravan entered the city of Medina at the time of Friday prayers. It was customary for them to announce their arrival by beating the drums. Many companions of the Prophet left the mosque while the Prophet was still saying his sermon before the prayers.)
Praising those who do things in their appropriate time, Allah says,
“Men whom neither merchandise nor selling diverts from the remembrance of Allah and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of charity”. (24:37)
lmam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s), quoting from the words of wisdom revealed to past prophets, says;
“An intelligent Muslim should not be seen passing away [his time] except in three things:
1. Improving his livelihood:
2. Or preparing for the hereafter:
3. Or enjoying [himself] but not in haram ways…”1
In another hadith, Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s) says;
“Try that your [daily] time is divided into four segments:
1. A time for meditation to God.
2. A time for earning livelihood.
3. A time for socializing with brethren and trustworthy [friends] who would point out your [moral] weaknesses and be sincere [in their friendship for you].
4. A time exclusively devoted for non-haram pleasure [with the family]. It is with this [fourth] time segment that you will be able to maintain (or master) the other three times…”
The last segment of time is very important. Even according to a new analysis by Richard Esterlin, an economist at the University of Southern California, “We should apply our time and energy to health and family life, rather than to material goods, if we really want to be happy.”