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Health and Free Time

As reported by Ibn Abbas, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

"Health and free time are two great blessings the benefits of which most people are deceived about."

This hadith invites us to consciously make use of the "time" that starts with our birth and ends with our death in the best way. It focuses our attention on the two important blessings which we possess and use selfishly, unaware of their value or destiny: Health and free time. Is it not meaningful that of all the blessings that flow through our hands these two were brought to the fore? We are speaking of two important values that act as springboards in the development of physical and spiritual values. Without health there are many forms of worship that we cannot perform and we encounter difficulties in our social life. If we do not have any free time in which to be on our own, we cannot proceed on the spiritual journey.

Today we no longer possess the opportunity to perceive the "moment" in which we find ourselves. We live a life that is indexed to the future. We have no time to set aside for thinking or taking stock of our actions and intentions. Perhaps we are seeking unnecessary occupations in order to avoid such undertakings. The fear that we encounter when faced by questions about the meaning of our existence, of where we have been and where we are going, of who and what we are, puts a distance between us and everyone and everything.

Islam, a civilization that is established centered on time, puts forward how to behave in this matter most in its approach to the matter of worship. Islam establishes periodic forms of worship that must be fulfilled: daily (five prayers), weekly (Friday Prayer), annually (Ramadan) and once-in-a-lifetime (Hajj), and thus encourages people to be constantly aware of the concept of time. In fact, Islam takes people out of the planned daily routine only with the funeral prayer which unlike the Christian counterpart is carried out as soon as possible after the death. This consciousness is best expressed in the Quran in the following verse: "Therefore, when thou art free (from thine immediate task) still labor is hard, and to thy Lord turn (all) they attention." (94, 7/8). The verse includes religious activities like worship, prayer, preaching the message and following the right way as well as worldly activities, like working, producing, learning and teaching, helping and solidarity, thus showing more clearly how Islam balances the two worlds (this world and the after life).

A person who is aware that they will have to account for every minute of their life will not waste any time. Only when one is aware that life is the most valuable capital can one see free time as an opportunity to purify and to revivify.

The following words, attributed to Ataullah Iskenderi, will enlighten our journey in this matter: "Those who want to learn their value and importance before Allah should examine the task in which they are involved at the moment."

 

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