Time Management in Islam

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

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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.”

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