Attaining Happiness – Using Time Wisely

Al-ʿAllāmah ʿAbdullāh al-Bukhārī

An important advice about preserving time and not wasting it. How does a person waste one’s heart? How does one waste one’s time? It is as Ibn al-Qayyim said: “Preferring the dunyā over the hereafter and busying oneself with too many wants and hopes”
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In al-Baghawaee’s great book, Sharh al-Sunnah, he reports that Imām al-Ḥasan al-Bʿasrī said:

I met many a noble scholar, and all of them were more stingy concerning their time than they were concerning their money.

In this lecture, Shaykh ‘ʿAbdullāh al-Bukhārī stresses the importance of preserving one’s time, and he warns against indulging in it futilely. He shares various verses and narrations that speak of the value of time and how worshiping Allāh and performing righteous actions is connected to it, all reminding the Muslim audience that time is especially crucial to the one who clings fast to the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammd (ṣallallāhu `ʿalayhi wa-sallam).

Indeed, time is a matter of gravity, for Allāh takes an oath by it in Sūrah-ʿAṣr, indicating nothing but its greatness. He says:


 By al-ʿAṣr (the time)
[al-ʿAṣr 103:1]

إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ

Verily! Man is in loss
[al-ʿAṣr 103:2]

إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ

Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma’roof) which Allāh has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar)which Allāh has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allāh’s Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihād, etc.).
[al-ʿAṣr 103:3]

The Shaykh explains that no one is safe from this state of deficiency and loss, except those who believe and follow their belief with righteous good actions. He further illustrates his statement with that of Imām ash-Shaafi`ee’s who said: If Allāh had not revealed upon mankind a proof except this Sūrah, it would have been sufficient!”

The Muslim should resolve not to waste or lose his time under any circumstances, for the Shaykh says: The dunyā was in the hands of the noble Salaf, but not in their hearts, contrary to the situation of many a people today.

Pearls of Benefit Derived from the Lecture

  • The Salaf had great concern for preserving one’s time and not wasting it away.
  • Ibn al-Qayyim said: “[One wastes his heart by] preferring the dunyā over the Hereafter and busying oneself with too many wants and hopes.”
  • It is obligatory that we understand the worth and value of time and preserve it.
  • If the slave knows why Allāh created him, he will use this time to perform righteous actions and to worship Allāh.
  • Many people deviate ….because they do not understand the correct way to worship Allāh (ta`aala).
  • If one wants to perfect his worship of Allāh, he must proceed upon which the salaf of this Ummah were upon.

A very brief lecture, yet one that is filled with words molded like seeds to plant themselves within your heart, to grow and multiply for goodness.

Published: August 9, 2012
Edited: February 3, 2023


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