By Muneeb Nasir
We perceive time passing swiftly, reminding us that one day we will face God on the Day of Judgment.
On that day, it will feel as if we have lived, dreamed, and aspired for merely a fleeting moment.
Our worship of the Creator will appear incomplete and brief.
We will plead with God for more time—to rectify our actions in this world and to worship Him more sincerely.
In the Qur'an, God mentions the cry, “When death approaches any of them, they cry, “My Lord! Let me go back” (Quran 23:99).
Our plea will be for more time to do good deeds and correct our life.
“Give out of what We have provided for you, before death comes to one of you and he says, ‘My Lord, if You would only reprieve me for a little while, I would give in charity and become one of the righteous.” (Quran, 63:10).
As the popular saying goes, ‘You never know what you've got until it's gone.’
Hence, the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, advised us to make the most of five things before five others:
“Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth, before you become old; your health, before you fall sick; your wealth, before you become poor; your free time before you become busy; and your life before your death.” (Hadith, Shu’ab al-Imān 9767).
Imam Abu Hamid Al Ghazali (450-505 AH/1058-1111 AD), one of the great jurists, theologians and mystics of the 6th/12th century, emphasized that our time is our life and the foundation of our relationship with God, leading to eternal happiness in His proximity.
“Your time is your life and your life is your capital, it is the basis of your transactions with God and the means to attain everlasting felicity in the proximity of God.”
Time is precious, surpassing the value of gold, money or any worldly possession.
Therefore, let us not squander the limited time we have been granted.
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, a well-known scholar who lived from 1292–1350 CE / 691 AH–751 AH, stated that wasting time is more calamitous than death, as it severs our connection with God's pleasure and the rewards of the Hereafter.
“Wasting time is far more disastrous than death. For wasting time cuts you off from the good pleasure of God and the good pleasure of the Hereafter. Whereas death cuts you off from this life and its inhabitants.”
Hence, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and our righteous predecessors urge us to utilize different phases of life optimally and avoid wasting time.
We should remember that life is a journey, with a known destination, but it is the voyage itself that truly matters in the end.
Our existence in this transient world is our sole opportunity to accomplish what is truly significant.
As Muslims, we believe that our actions in this life shape our afterlife.
Let us seize the present moment while the door of this life remains open, for soon it will close.
Let us engage in good deeds while we still can, seek repentance while it is possible, and supplicate for divine blessings while prayer is available.
And let us compete in striving to please God while that door is still open.
‘Our Lord, give us good in this world and in the Hereafter, and protect us from the torment of the Fire’ (Qur’an, 2:201).