Thursday, 17 October 2013

Time in Islam Part 2: Allah Tells Us About Time

thefinalmessage|THE FRIDAY NOTE
Time in Islam Part 2: Allah Tells Us About Time;

Time in Islam;
Imam Shafi’i affirmed that if Allah had revealed only Surah Al-Asr, it would have been enough as guidance for all of humanity!
The following is a very brief explanation of the Surah.

Transliteration: Wal-‘Asr
Translation: By the time
Allah begins by taking an oath.
Anything that Allah the Most High swears by in the Qur’an is a tremendous matter.
Other examples and instances of this in the Qur’an are ‘Wa al-Fajr’ (by the dawn) or ‘Wa al-Shams’ (by the sun).
During the time of our Prophet (SAW), starting with an oath was a method to draw the attention of the listener.

Transliteration: Innal-innsaana la fii khusr
Translation: Verily! Man is in a state of loss
This is describing the general state of humanity as a state of failure and a life which is a waste of time. It is setting the premise before the following Ayah.

Transliteration: Illallathina aamanuu
Translation: Except those who believe
So after Allah has set the generic premise He gives the exception. So Allah gives Muslims an opportunity and gives us assurance as long as we believe in Islamic Monotheism.
But a Muslim should never be complacent relying purely only on belief for success in the Akhirah.
Muslims should work for the success in terms of striving for both Dunya and Akhira by fulfilling the rights of Allah, their families, communities and the needs of the Ummah.

Transliteration: Wa ‘amilussaalihaati
Translation: And do righteous good deeds
So Allah Himself clearly goes on to mention what the advice is to mankind, i.e. to persevere in good deeds when mentioning those who are the exception to losers.
Some good deeds and beneficial use of time to consider beyond the 5 pillars are attaining Islamic knowledge to benefit yourself and others, volunteering your skills and time to benefit poor, raising awareness of Islam amongst non-Muslims and educating your fellow Muslims further (And Allah mentions this in the next part of this Ayah) or even something as simple as taking time to help clean your local mosque.

Transliteration: Watawaa saw bil-haqqi Watawaa saw bis-sabr
Translation: And enjoin upon one another truth [i.e. Order one another to perform all kind of good deeds (Al-Ma’ruf) which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allah has forbidden] and enjoin upon one another patience
One point here to note is that Patience here also assumes perseverance as you should not be put-off the good work you do by the struggles you may face, continue and persevere to convey the message as we will be tested and Shaytan will do whatever possible to distract and discourage us.

Abu Bakr As Siddiq (RA) was one of the best examples to us and the following beautiful short narration really drills this point home that regardless of him being the leader of all the Muslims he really didn’t worry about his position with the people, but was severely concerned about doing good only for the sake of Allah and to please his Lord regardless of the kind of job it was, compare this to any modern King.
While he was Caliph, Abu Bakr used to lead Fajr prayer and leave right afterwards.  One day Omar followed him because he was curious about what he was doing after Fajr prayer.   He saw Abu Bakr go into a tent in the desert for a while, and then he left and returned to the city.  Omar then went to the tent to see who was there. He found an old woman with young children. He asked her about her condition, and she said that she was a widow raising her orphan children. He then asked who the man was. She said she didn’t know, except that he was a man from the Muslims who would come to them and bake their bread, clean their home, and wash their clothing, milk their goat, and then leave. Omar asked if she paid him, but he found that the woman had nothing to even pay him with. Omar then asked how long AbuBakr had been doing this. The woman said, he’s been doing this for a long time. Afterwards, when Omar saw Abu Bakr, he said, “You have made things very difficult for the caliphs who follow you, Abu Bakr."

One of the greatest scholars in Islamic history from the blessed generation after the Sahaba (Taabi’een), is reported to have had the following inspiration about Surah al-‘Asr.
‘On a sweltering hot day, on a street of Baghdad, he heard an ice-seller exclaim, ‘O people! Have mercy on one whose capital is melting away.’ Sheikh al-Hasan made an immediate connection with time. Just as the ice-seller would make a loss if his capital melted away, man in general will make a loss in the business of life, if we allow our capital to melt away. Our capital is time and Allah reminds us in Surah al-‘Asr that if we waste our capital (time) solely for the dunyathen we make al-khusr (tremendous loss).’
[Hasan al-Basri]

We should always motivate ourselves in order to help us in striving for success as even the call for prayer calls us to success, and there are many Ayahs to motivate us. Allah has provided the guidance, it is down to us to follow it.
It is not unusual for Allah to use the metaphor of business to describe the life of this world and our purpose in it. One of the most powerful verses of the Qur’an talks of Allah ‘purchasing’ our lives:

‘Indeed Allah has purchased from the believers their very lives and their wealth, promising them Paradise in return’ 
What a powerful verse this is SubhanAllah.

Source: iQuran and Productive Muslim

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