11: Running Out of Time?

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This Ramadan…

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This Ramadan… I will guard my time.

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A third of Ramadan has passed. Ten days are over… only twenty more are left.

It’s time to step back for a moment and examine how things are going for you.

Were you able to make the most of Ramadan, or did the first third pass you by? How was your worship during the first ten days? Did you stand at night to pray? Did you leap for your salah? Did you manage to give charity, daily, even if it was small? Were you good to your parents, did you give time to your children? Did you consistently pray for the Ummah? Did you find your heart – that feeling of sincerity and devotion – while making du’aa to your Lord? How close did you grow to the Book of Allah?

How are your personal Ramadan goals going? Were you able to keep up? Or did you lose track of time?

Were you able to connect with Allah through your fasting, or did you distract yourself online, in front of the television, with friends who aren’t the best company, trying to forget your hunger and fatigue during the day? Were you more concerned with feeding your body, or did you remember to feed your soul?

Are you satisfied with your first ten days? Or do you only feel regret?

Dr. Tawfique Chowdhury, a sheikh and practicing physician, recently shared a chilling letter that one of his patients sent to him. The brother had accepted Islam years earlier, but never put in much time to learn or practice Islam. He wrote to the Sheikh saying,

Assalamu alaikum Tawfique Bhai,

This is probably my last message to you as I lie here waiting for my last breath to go away. This is probably the last time I’ll be able to write to anyone, and I thought I’d write to you, so that perhaps when you teach your classes and when you give your lectures you can remind people of this last letter of mine.

You have known me for a long time. I’ve just been a very basic Muslim. I tried to do my prayers, I tried to fast whenever Ramadan would come; I tried to say my salah; did hajj once in my life.

Yeah, I had children, but never really looked after them. I had a wife; she wasn’t the most righteous person, I never really chose because of that. And my children grew up not knowing much about Islam. And as I wait here for the bell to go off as my life will end… dying of pancreatic cancer, of which the doctors have said I cannot survive beyond this week… as I wait for the angel of death, I have only one word that comes to mind: regret.

I just have this tremendous regret, that there are so many things I wanted to do, you know? I wanted to memorize the Qur’an, and I never did so. I wanted to go for hajj every year, but I never did that. I wanted to hug my mother, but I never did that. I wanted to teach my children Islam, the Qur’an, get them to be righteous people, but I never did that. I wanted to have the chance to have one more Ramadan… but I’ll never get that.

I wish I could be in the haram now, but I’ll never get that chance. I wish I could know some verses of the Qur’an to recite, but I don’t know anything except the Fatiha, and one or two surahs that I recite every day.

All I can think of is huge regret.

No one will remember me except you, and perhaps my own family if they have time before they divide up my wealth. My friends have left me. My family will not remember me. I will have left nothing in this world of good, and by Allah, all I will have done is just added another grave on this earth.

I am your Muslim brother,
Muhammad

[Watch the rest of Sheikh Tawfique’s talk, a much-needed reminder on making the most of our time, here.]

Regret.

Regret over lost time and wasted opportunities that will never come back. Regret over blessed days that passed in heedlessness, or worse… in sin.

The way the first ten days of Ramadan have passed carelessly is the way some people will pass their entire lives. Regret that you didn’t seize opportunities. Regret that you wanted to do so much more, but never put in the effort.

The Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wasallam climbed up on the minbar one day and said, “Ameen, ameen, ameen.” His companions asked him why, and he said, salla Allahu alayhi wasallam,

Jibreel alayhi assalam came to me and said: “If Ramadan comes and a person is not forgiven for their sins, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Ameen.” So I said Ameen.

He said: “O Muhammad, if both or one of a person’s parents are alive and he does not honor them and he dies, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Ameen.” So I said Ameen.

He said: “If you are mentioned in a person’s presence and he does not send blessings upon you and he dies, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Ameen.” So I said Ameen.

[Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan and considered sahih by al-Albani.]

Is it possible that Ramadan will leave again this year, and you won’t be forgiven for your sins? That the month of mercy will pass, and you won’t be saved from the fire? That Laylat al-Qadr will come and the angels will descend, and you’ll only be able to look back with regret for what you could have done?

Ten days of Ramadan have passed, but it’s not over. If the first ten days were stolen from you, don’t give up. There are twenty days left, so roll up your sleeves and get ready for them. Guard your time during these twenty days, make every moment count. Work hard. Push yourself and pour your heart into the next twenty days.

Worship a lot in the coming days. Read more Qur’an than you ever have. Make sujood until your forehead hurts, and then continue to make sujood for a little longer. Spend those moments while prostrating making du’aa. Ask Allah with fervor. Ask Him with all your heart. And love Him with all your hearts. Love the One who blessed you with Ramadan.

If you feel regret over what’s passed, it’s not too late. Let your regret drive you forward, so that you’ll come out of this month a winner, a person who took charge of their life and carefully guarded their time.

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Action points:

—  At every moment, and for every task, assess what you are doing. Are you letting precious moments pass you, or are you constantly moving from one act of worship to the other?

— Time yourself: If you feel like you’re spending too much time on an activity (surfing the internet, eating, cooking, etc.) allocate a fixed amount of time for you to complete the task, and then move on to the next act of worship.

—  “Cash-in” your intentions. Make sure to make ihtisaab (seeking Allah’s reward) for everything you’re doing, even if it’s resting, eating, or spending time with family. You don’t want a moment to pass and not get rewarded for it! (Even if it’s not an act of worship at face-value!)

—  Ask the Owner of Time: Make sure you specifically make du’aa to Allah to grant you barakah in your time, and include this in your Ramadan du’aa list.

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Know that time is your life:

“As for killing time, since when is time an enemy that you should strive to kill?! Time is your lifetime and the moments of your life which you could fill with thousands and millions of hasanaat. It is sufficient for you to say ‘Subhaan Allaah wa bi hamdihi’ (Glory and praise be to Allah) once, and a palm tree will be planted for you in Paradise, so how many gardens have you failed to plant? How many hasanaat have you lost?” [Via islamqa.com]

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