Imagine this: there is a special kind of bank, which opens an account for you everyday, puts some money, let’s say $86,400 in it and hands you a credit card. You can spend the money in any way you want, buy anything you want, you can do anything you want with that money. The bank will open a new account for you the next day, with the same amount of money, just like the day before.
But, there is one condition. Whatever money they give you today, you cannot take it, or save it for the next day. If there is any money not spent at the end of the day, you will lose it.
The question: What will you do with this $86,400?
You spend it all everyday, of course. There is no other way. You cannot let it go to waste.
Something very similar to this happens in our lives everyday. The only difference is that something much more valuable, priceless in fact, is given to us instead of the money and that we act in a very different way than we would have done if it was money.
At the beginning of every day in our lives, we are given 86,400 seconds. 1440 minutes. 24 hours. We will not waste any of that $86,400 but how many of those 86,400 seconds are we wasting everyday?
Indeed, few of us realize the true value of time. It is more expensive than gold and silver. It is infinitely more valuable than money, gold and silver: you can get more money, you can get more gold, you can get more silver, and you might be able get more of everything, but you can never get more time.
If time is lost, there is no hope of its return. For this reason, time is said to be the most valuable asset to any human being.
How truthful were the words of al-Hasan al-Basri, when he said: “O son of Adam! You are nothing but a number of days, if a day is gone, then a part of you has gone.”
Indeed, our time is our life. How we live our life is how we live our time, how we live our days. When we waste time, we are wasting our lives. When we waste our money, we are only out of money, but when we waste our time, we lose a part of our life.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There are two blessings which many people do not make the most of: good health and free time.”
If one of us were to think about his past life, starting from his birth or maybe from his oldest memory, to the current time, for example tonight at 9:30, his train of thought would not go too far. Rather, he will see a hazy and a fuzzy beginning and the past days and years will look as if it was just one day, passing by just like a liquid flows on the ground.
We might not sense or understand this feeling now, but we will surely sense it on the Day of Resurrection, when we are waiting for the judgment to be carried out.
Allah says in the Qur’aan, Soorath Yoonus, Chapter 10 verse number 45: “And on the day when He shall gather (resurrect) them together, (it will be) as if they had not stayed (in the life of this world) but an hour of a day.”
He also says in Soorath Tha-Ha, Chapter 20, verses 103 and 104: “They will speak in a very low voice to each other (saying): “You stayed no longer than ten days”. We know very well what they will say, when the best among them in knowledge and wisdom will say: “You stayed no longer than a day!””
He also says in Soorath-uh-Naazi’aath, Chapter 79, verse 46: “On the Day they see it, (it will be) as if they had not tarried (in this world) except an afternoon or a morning.”
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said, speaking of regret about time: “Regret for wasted time should be deep, for time passes quickly and it is difficult to make up what you have missed.
Time for the worshipper is a time for worship and reciting portions of Quran and words of remembrance, and for the devoted Muslim it is time for turning to Allah and focusing on Him with all his heart.
Time is the dearest thing to him and he would feel very sad if time passes without him doing what he is meant to do. If he misses time, he can never make it up, because a second time has its own duties. So if he misses time, there is no way he can bring it back.”
He also said: “If he spends his time in heedlessness, idle entertainment and false wishes, and the best of what he spends his time in is sleep and idleness, then his death is better than his life.”
‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I would hate to see any one of you idle and not doing anything to help himself in this world or in the Hereafter.”
Dear Brothers, don’t think for a second that we will not be questioned about our time. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “A person’s feet will not move on the Day of Resurrection until he is asked about his life and how he spent it, his knowledge and what he did with it, his wealth and how he acquired it and spent it, and his body (health) and how he used it.”
Imam Ibn Aqeel ah-Hanbali said: “It is not permissible for me to waste an hour of my life even when my tongue is not busy with memorizing or debating with others, or my eyes are not busy in reading. I would think even when I am resting or relaxing, so I would not get up without an idea to write down. I limit the time I spend eating as much as I can, to such an extent that I choose a few crumbs and follow it with water rather than bread, because bread takes more time to chew, so as to save my time for reading or writing down some useful ideas. The best thing for the wise man to save is time.”
Time is a strange thing. It is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who are in pain and fear, too long for those who grieve and too short for those who rejoice.
May Allah help us stop wasting our time and bless us in our time.