By the oath of time!
Verily man is at a loss…
It is a distinguishable feature of the Quran and one of the linguistic features it employs is that Allah only takes oath upon those items which have a certain prominence in the sight of Allah, e.g. the Forenoon, the Night, the Day, the Sun, the Moon, the Olive, and the Sky etc. The word ‘time’ here could mean all the conditions of man, his growth and development, his actions and morality which all take place through the medium of time. Or another possible meaning of this here is the actual passage of time in the essence of the human experience i.e History. And the annals of history are replete with such individuals who were in a state of manifest loss and such individuals are mentioned in the Quran: Pharaoh, Nimrod, Qarun, Haman and the Nations of certain prophet’s such the Nation of Lot (Sodom), of Thamud etc. Who due to their actions, were indeed amongst the ‘losers’ in the afterlife.
The ‘loss’ here is in reference to the ultimate loss in the hereafter. As he says: “Verily the losers are those who put themselves and their families at a loss on the Day of Judgement. Behold! That is the evident loss.” (39:15) It is logical for a person who believes in an afterlife that the greatest loss will be eternal damnation in the fires of hell “Wherein they will dwell forever.” (2:81) This loss is intrinsic with time as the Quran explicitly states that this life is like a business: “be fearful of a day when you shall be returned to Allah, then every person shall be paid, in full, what he has earned, and they shall not be wronged” (2:281) and time is a very precious commodity and only through using it wisely will a person be “paid” In the correct manner.
It should make the reader draw a parallel between himself and businessman, who is constantly in thought as to how he can use time efficiently in order to maximise his profit and minimise his loss. And this theme of life simply being an investment is expounded continuously. He mentions that no “ransom” will be accepted on the Day of Judgement and that this world is only a place to derive “profit”. The people who spend in the path of Allah will be “compensated” in full. Those who have “purchased” this worldly life in exchange of the hereafter have made a foolish transaction. This use of language is to instill the reality into the heart of man, that this life is an opportunity; a business venture.
So why is it that we have involved ourselves in such worthless activities? We do things which give us no benefit and then we use the excuse “we’re killing time.” Know that every moment that you are supposedly killing is a source of regret on the Day of judgement: “Until, when death comes to one of them , he says: “My Lord! Send me back. “So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!” No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected.” (23:99-100)
We waste countless hours upon social media, embroiling ourselves in matters which do not concern us. We waste precious moments on Youtube watching videos which neither increase our knowledge nor remind us of our Sustainer. We surf the net for items which we don’t need and we research those things which will never affect us. Many of us have fallen prey to procrastination even though the Prophet has said:
“O Allaah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being overpowered by men.” (Bukhari 7:158)
If you find that you are indeed dedicating time to futile activities then stop those activities straight away! The sins you are involved in are not counted in this category, as you should not be doing those anyway. However if you are then repent as the Quran mentions Allah to be: “He is the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful” (2:54)
May Allah give us the ability to realise the value of time, may he forgive us for all the time we have wasted and may he give us the ability to guard our time so that we are successful on the Day of Reckoning. Ameen.