Posted by: Dawud Israel | June 29, 2008

REAL Time Management

Over the past little while I’ve been hearing from many many people that they are too busy and that they have too much on their plate. In my opinion, this is the NUMBER 1 killer of Dawah, Islamic projects, Dawah and on the whole the advancement of the Ummah!

Some of the things I have heard (or even said myself):

“I totally forgot!”
“I promise this is the last time”
“I have final exams”
Or not even hearing a single thing from someone and instead getting the cold shoulder.

Now I admit, I do this too or at least used to do it lots before. Now, I can stay on task but there are so many projects that most of them are delayed according to priority or they are long-term.

When someone gives an excuse I take into account who they are, their experience, etc. and deal with it based on that. Everyone is different and excuses are legitimate things. There are really no issues with a project being delayed–the issue is when you delay it for too long.

There are some projects that I have in the works that should have been AGES ago but for some reason are still there. These are not long-term projects and are ones that I drop completely when they go nowhere and to the people that are involved in them, I make them understand why.

Exit-based Thinking

This is how I work in my projects. I try to get them over with as soon as possible. Haste is from shaytaan as the hadith goes but hastening to good is from Allah. So I set a pace, one week is usually the set time for the completion of it.

Getting it over with as fast as possible is the BEST way to work because otherwise something just sits on the backburner for months and months. The reality of it is that their is this burden that builds up in your mind of the actual task. The longer it is delayed–the less likely you are to complete it and that is the harsh reality. One week becomes one year and yes, I have seen it happen unfortunately. And then I’ve had to remind these brothers and sisters about their commitment and then get yelled at for being annoying! The work for the sake of the deen has precedent and is more than enough reason for me to annoy a person.

Deal with things as they come your way–don’t delay them but take care of them NOW!

The Big Secret

Our attitude towards time is the real issue. You often hear Muslims saying, “I have NO time” and then you see them spending time seeking pleasures. Read this hadith and think about it:

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Allah said: The son of Adam hurts Me by abusing time, for I am time; in My hands are all things and I cause the revolution of night and day.'” (Al-Bukhari 9:93 #583)

Even when you say, you have no time (and it is actually true) you are insulting Allah. It also has an effect on your thinking and your mind–you believe you have less time than you actually do. As a good practice, don’t waste anytime thinking about how little time you have–use it for doing something constructive.

Perceived time vs. actual time

There is a BIG difference between these two. When you look at the amount of work you have you perceive it to require more work than it actually does. If you do this, it will add to your mental burden and make you less willing to complete it. Realistically speaking, how much time would it actually require? For example, there was a professional brother who has delayed something for much too long and didn’t even bother to reply to me–instead of continuing to wait on him, I left it and found another brother. This specific task of the project took maybe a 1 or 2 hours of real work and had been delayed for 6-7 months.

Do not perceive Islamic work to require more time than it actually does

Now, there is a time and place for private time and relaxing so don’t get me wrong about that. We’re human and we need that but often we end up going a little overboard. What is important is to  eliminate the JUNK in your life. What things do you not need? What are those bad habits that are more of a burden than a source of pleasure? Once you do this you will automatically be purifying yourself and de-attaching yourself from materialism or pride. You will find that your heart is no longer attached to all that JUNK and you will have more room for what is more deserving of your attention-whether it be Islamic work, family, or Allah.

Closing thoughts:

Ibn Abbas (ra) reported: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “There are two blessings in which many people incur loss (maghbun). (They are) health (sayhut) and free time (for doing good) (faregh).” (Bukhari)
Commentary: Al-Ghabn means loss. It signifies selling something for less than it’s due price or buying something for double or triple it’s cost. Combine that with the regret of that loss and this is the full meaning of al-ghabn.

A’isha reported Allah’s Messenger as saying, “The acts most pleasing to Allah are those which are done continuously, even if they are small.” And when A’isha did any act she did it continuously.” (Muslim)

How a person handles their time is the dividing line between the extraordinary and the normal. Very few are among the extraordinary. Which side do you want to be on?

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, Ameen.


  1. ooooooooooooohhhhhh – Nice Ending!!!

    nice post but maybe a bit too long – how much time do you think I have!!!


  2. JazakumAllahu khayrun for the beneficial read!

    I had never read that Hadith Qudsi before about hurting Allah by wasting time….subhanAllah

    Allahumma baariklana feey awqaatina

  3. Salams,
    Good reminder!

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