The commitment, dynamism, sense of urgency, initiative and drive that we saw in the life of RasulAllah ﷺ was not through mere notions of “time management.” No, it was the outcome of a deep conviction about the reality of our time in this world, as firmly established in that which Allah (swt) has revealed. Indeed, life is perceived as being short, even by those who live longest of all of humankind. Allah (swt) said, وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا نُوحًا إِلَىٰ قَوْمِهِ فَلَبِثَ فِيهِمْ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ إِلَّا خَمْسِينَ عَامًا فَأَخَذَهُمُ الطُّوفَانُ وَهُمْ ظَالِمُونَ “And We certainly sent Noah to his people, and he remained among them a thousand years minus fifty years, and the flood seized them while they were wrongdoers.” [Surah Al-Ankabut 29:14].
RasulAllah ﷺ said, «فَلَمَّا أَتَاهُ مَلَكُ الْمَوْتِ، قَالَ: يَا نُوحٌ، يَا أَكْبَرَ الأَنْبِيَاءِ، وَيَا طَوِيلَ الْعُمُرِ، وَيَا مُجَابَ الدَّعْوَةِ، كَيْفَ رَأَيْتَ الدُّنْيَا؟ قَالَ: مِثْلَ رَجُلٍ بُنِيَ لَهُ بَيْتٌ لَهُ بَابَانِ، فَدَخَلَ مِنْ وَاحِدٍ، وَخَرَجَ مِنَ الآخَرِ» “The Angel of Death came to Nuh (peace be upon him) and said: O Nuh, O longest-lived of the Prophets, how did you find this world and its pleasures? He said: Like a man who entered a room with two doors, and he stood in the middle of the room for a brief moment, then he went out of the other door.”
Such is the perception of Nuh (as) who lived for nine and a half centuries, so how must we perceive our lives as those of the Ummah of Muhammad ﷺ when he ﷺ said, «عُمُرُ أُمَّتِي مِنْ سِتِّينَ سَنَةً إِلَى سَبْعِينَ سَنَةً» “The lifespan for my Ummah is from sixty years to seventy [years].” [Tirmidhi]?
Is it not as if we are born right next to the door from where we must leave? Is it not so? Do we really have enough life to delay our full commitment to our Deen? It is up to each of us to strive to ensure that our lifetime is not wasted. Every day and every part of our day must count for us, adding up to a lifetime that pleases Allah (swt).
Indeed the life of this world is but fleeting and upon the Day of Judgment, it will be remembered as such, by those who did not worship Allah (swt). They will have squandered their lifetime in play and pursuit of their whims and desires. They will be in such deep despair a wasted life that they will claim that their life was only a day or part of a day. Allah (swt) said,قَالَ كَمْ لَبِثْتُمْ فِي الأَرْضِ عَدَدَ سِنِينَ * قَالُوا لَبِثْنَا يَوْمًا أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍ فَاسْأَلِ الْعَادِّينَ * قَالَ إِنْ لَبِثْتُمْ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً لَوْ أَنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ * أَفَحَسِبْتُمْ أَنَّمَا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ عَبَثًا وَأَنَّكُمْ إِلَيْنَا لاَ تُرْجَعُونَ * فَتَعَالَى اللَّهُ الْمَلِكُ الْحَقُّ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْكَرِيمِ “Allah will say: “What number of years did you stay on earth”) (113. They will say: “We stayed a day or part of a day. Ask of those who keep account.”) (114. He will say: “You stayed not but a little, if you had only known!”) (115. “Did you think that We had created you in play, and that you would not be brought back to Us”) (116. So Exalted be Allah, the True King: None has the right to be worshiped but He, the Lord of Al-`Arsh Al-Karim!)” [Sūrah al-Mu’minūn 23:112-116].
So, how must we fill our days and parts of our days? So, how could we consider that an entire day spent with the family, or a late night spent at the office, as time that is well spent, but a few hours spent advancing the work for the re-establishment of the Khilafah (Caliphate) on the Method of the Prophethood, as time that is wasted? How can we remain resting in our houses on any day, or even a part of a day, when the Deen of Allah (swt) is not implemented, the blood of Muslims irrigates soil, the lands of Muslims are occupied by the lowest of humankind and Muslims are scattered on the earth as refugees, drowning in seas whilst escaping or sleeping under open skies, starving and cold? Do we really have time to rest and is this really the time for rest?
Let us not be deceived by the Shaytan about our stay in this world. Not only is the life of this world perceived as short, it is indeed short compared to the ever lasting life of the Aakhirah. Allah (swt) said, وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا مَتَاعٌ “…as compared with the life of the hereafter, the life of this world is nothing but a brief passing enjoyment” [Surah Ar-Rad 13: 26]. Allah (swt) said, قُلْ مَتَاعُ الدُّنْيَا قَلِيلٌ “Say: “Short is the enjoyment of this world.” [Surah An-Nisa’ 4:77] Allah (swt) said, يَا قَوْمِ إِنَّمَا هَٰذِهِ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا مَتَاعٌ وَإِنَّ الْآخِرَةَ هِيَ دَارُ الْقَرَارِ “O my people! Truly, this life of the world is nothing but a (quick passing) enjoyment,)” [Surah al-Ghafir 40: 39]. And RasulAllah ﷺ said, «وَاللَّهِ مَا الدُّنْيَا فِي الآخِرَةِ إِلاَّ مِثْلُ مَا يَجْعَلُ أَحَدُكُمْ إِصْبَعَهُ هَذِهِ – وَأَشَارَ يَحْيَى بِالسَّبَّابَةِ – فِي الْيَمِّ فَلْيَنْظُرْ بِمَ يَرْجِعُ» “By Allah, this world (is so insignificant in comparison) to the Hereafter that if one of you should dip his finger- (and while saying this he pointed with his forefinger) -in the ocean and then he should see as to what has stuck to it.” [Muslim] So, why should we compromise an ocean for that which cannot even fill a thimble, as we strive in our hours, days, weeks and months? Let us not waste time in the trivial matters that may lead to flagrant neglect of deeds that were obliged upon us. Indeed, we must wrench time from the pursuit of Dunya, minutes, hours and days, so that we have ample time for that which really matters for the ever lasting Aakhira.
Not only is the life of the world but fleeting, it can end at any moment. There is no cheating or escaping death. Death’s time is not known to us, so how can we postpone that which Allah (swt) obliges us to do? Such postponing is built on self-deception, false hope and delusion. Allah (swt) said, وَلِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ أَجَلٌ فَإِذَا جَاءَ أَجَلُهُمْ لَا يَسْتَأْخِرُونَ سَاعَةً وَلَا يَسْتَقْدِمُونَ “So when their time has come, they will not remain behind an hour, nor will they precede [it].” [Surah al-Aa’raf 7:34] RasulAllah ﷺ said, » «أَكْثِرُوا ذِكْرَ هَاذِمِ اللَّذَّاتِ ‘Frequently remember the destroyer of pleasures,’ meaning death.” [Ibn Maajah].
We cannot delay matters of our Deen in the hope that we will still be alive next month, next week, tomorrow or even the next hour. Such a hope is a false hope. Indeed, man is seized by death before such hope is ever realized. RasulAllah ﷺ drew a few lines and said, «هَذَا الأَمَلُ وَهَذَا أَجَلُهُ، فَبَيْنَمَا هُوَ كَذَلِكَ إِذْ جَاءَهُ الْخَطُّ الأَقْرَبُ» “This is (man’s) hope, and this is the instant of his death, and while he is in this state (of hope), the nearer line (death) comes to Him.” [Bukhari] So, how can we ever turn away an invitation of the advocate of the Khilafah to join him in the work to re-establish the ruling by all that Allah (swt) has revealed? How can we postpone the effort that is vital for the advancing the front line against the ruling by kufr? Why delay until tomorrow that which can be done today? Is this not the pace demanded by the realization that we can die at any moment? If we are not moving at the necessary pace, must we not change our habits so we do?
Indeed the life of this world is but fleeting, so let us deal with it accordingly. The ambitions, pleasures and amusements of this Dunya must not occupy our time, such that we have no time left to give the worship of Allah (swt) its full right. RasulAllah ﷺ said, «كُنْ فِي الدُّنْيَا كَأَنَّك غَرِيبٌ أَوْ عَابِرُ سَبِيلٍ» “Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a wayfarer.” [Al-Bukhari]. Allah (swt) said, أَرَضِيتُم بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا مِنَ الْآخِرَةِ فَمَا مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ “Are you satisfied with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But what is the enjoyment of worldly life compared to the Hereafter except a [very] little.” [Surah at-Tawba 9:38].
The Muslim lives as a traveler, passing through life, and does not live as if he is settling permanently here. He will not think twice about changing his job if it is eating his time for Dawah or exhausting him so that he is not in a fit state to carry the Dawah. He will lower his ambitions for expanding business, career building, buying a home, educating his children and pleasing his spouse because the most valuable time for him is the time spent calling to Islam. When you meet him, you will often see signs of lack of sleep and rest in this person. Even in that state, when you ask him to engage him in more Dawah, he will be prepared to do so, willingly and without complaint. He understands the full weight of the speech of RasulAllah ﷺ when he ﷺ said, «لَا رَاحَةَ بَعْدَ الْيَوْمِ يَا خَدِيجَةُ» “There is no rest after this day, O Khadijah.” He is the one who strides with purpose, immediately without procrastination or hesitation, when he knows something must be done for His Deen. Narrated by `Uqba bin Al-Harith: Once the Prophet ﷺ offered the `Asr prayer and then hurriedly went to his house and returned immediately. I (or somebody else) asked him (as to what was the matter) and he said, «كُنْتُ خَلَّفْتُ فِي الْبَيْتِ تِبْرًا مِنَ الصَّدَقَةِ، فَكَرِهْتُ أَنْ أُبَيِّتَهُ فَقَسَمْتُهُ» “I left at home a piece of gold which was from the charity and I disliked to let it remain a night in my house, so I got it distributed.” [Bukhari]
The Muslim is the one who will rush, without wasting any time, into furthering the call of Allah (swt), even if it is a danger to himself. Muslim narrated that has been reported on the authority of Anas b. Malik who said: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ sent Busaisah as a scout to see what the caravan of Abu Sufyan was doing… The polytheists (now) advanced (towards us), and the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, «قُومُوا إِلَى جَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَوَاتُ وَالأَرْضُ» “Get up to enter Paradise which is equal in width to the heavens and the earth.” ‘Umair b. al- Humam al-Ansari said: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ جَنَّةٌ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَوَاتُ وَالأَرْضُ “Messenger of Allah, is Paradise equal in extent to the heavens and the earth?” He ﷺ said: نَعَمْ “Yes.” ‘Umair said: بَخٍ بَخٍ “My goodness!” The Messenger of Allah ﷺ asked him: «مَا يَحْمِلُكَ عَلَى قَوْلِكَ بَخٍ بَخٍ» “What prompted you to utter these words (i. e. my goodness! ‘)?” He said: Messenger of Allah, لاَ وَاللَّهِ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِلاَّ رَجَاءَةَ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا “Nothing but the desire that I be among its residents.” He ﷺ said: «فَإِنَّكَ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا» “You are (surely) amongst its residents.” Umair took out dates from his bag and began to eat them. Then Umair said: لَئِنْ أَنَا حَيِيتُ حَتَّى آكُلَ تَمَرَاتِي هَذِهِ إِنَّهَا لَحَيَاةٌ طَوِيلَةٌ “If I were to live until I have eaten all these dates of mine, it would be a long life. (The narrator said): He threw away all the dates he had with him. Then he fought the enemies until he was killed.” Indeed, the Muslim will not delay the supreme sacrifice even for the time to eat his last meal in Dunya.
Indeed the life of this world is but fleeting and its end is not known to anyone of us, so let us worship Allah (swt) accordingly. If we are slumbering, let us emerge from inaction to action. If we are moving, let us quicken our pace. Let us complete the initiative of the day, today, so we can launch new initiatives tomorrow. Let the demands of our Deen and our Ummah determine our pace, rather than these demands being left unmet, through our own pace. Let us strive with dynamic vitality, so that all our moments in this short life are counted for us as much as possible, for the time when we stand before Allah (swt).
Musab Umair – Pakistan