One very important aspect of our life in this world is time management. With regards to this concept there are two important dimensions that are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an.
The first one deals with our life span in this world. This termed is called Ajal which translates ‘specified time’. In connection with this Prophet Muhammad (saw) is reported to have said in a lengthy hadith;
‘Then an angel is sent and he breathes the spirit into you and is encharged with four commandments: to write down your provision, your life-span, your actions, and whether you will be wretched or happy.’
Before we are brought into this world our life span is already determined. Therefore it is imperative for us to manage this time properly so that we would benefit in both this world and the next.
The second aspect of time management deals with the question of how to manage our time properly? In relation to this Prophet Muhammad (saw) is reported to have said ‘don’t abuse time; for it is Allah Who is The Time’.
An example of mismanagement of time or abuse of time is when someone can sit for2-3 hours and look at a movie but fail to spare 10 minutes to pray the fard, sunnah and nafil for a particular salaat.
Allah says in His Holy Words;
By time, verily man is in loss, except such as have faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of truth, and of patience and constancy.
If you fail to make proper use of the limited time in this world the end result can be an unfortunate one. It is recorded in Surah Muddatstsir that the inhabitants of Paradise will question the inhabitants of hell as to what brought them to the hell fire;
“What led you into Hell Fire?” They will say: "We were not of those who prayed; nor were we of those who fed the indigent; but we used to talk vanities with vain talkers; and we used to deny the Day of Judgment",
They never managed time properly; instead they indulged themselves in activities that reap no reward.
Utilize your time in a manner that will bring about benefit in both worlds just as Prophet (saw) did. He spent his days working and taking care of his responsibilities and spent that night worshipping his Lord.
The economic-capitalist say that time equals money. It is mush more than that for us. We cannot afford to abuse it least we gain plentiful in this world and little in the next.
It’s not that Muslims should not ‘enjoy themselves’, but it is important for us to prioritize accordingly. Islam teaches us the middle course; we are not supposed to be extreme and or lackadaisical. Allah says in Surah Jumu'ah
and when the prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the bounty of Allah. and celebrate the praises of Allah often (and without stint): that ye may prosper.
So Allah encourages us to work for this world, however we should not give it priority as our time here is only for a specified time. Place more emphasis on working for the eternal world that awaits the righteous.
You may not see the results here but on the Day of Judgement you’ll see all your life’s work and the end result that it has brought you.
This is why we taught to pray:
"Rabbana aatina fid-dunya hasanah, wa fil-akhirati hasanah, wa qinaa athaban naar"
'Our Lord, grant us good in this world and the world hereafter and protect us from the torment of hell '
Work for goodness in both worlds through the Grace and Mercy of Allah . May He continuously guide us so that we may manage whatever time we have left in this world in a way that would gives us ‘high return’ in the hereafter. May Allah take care of our affairs, Insha Allah.