Time Management from the Sunnah

Time Management from the Sunnah

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said; “ There are two gifts from among the gifts of Allah wherein humanity is deceived. They are health and free time.” I will discuss health at another time, but this post is about time management. This subject is a pet peeve of mines. After years of struggling with managing my time, I am so grateful to Allah that I have learned how to utilize my time for maximum benefit. Michael Hart wrote a book in 1978 titled; The 100, Ranking of the Most Influential. This book is about 100 of the most influential people in history. Michael Hart was a Jewish American that attended Cornell and Princeton. He held a PhD in Physics. His book sold more than 500,000 copies and was translated into 15 different languages. The first person on his list surprised readers at that time. That person was none other than our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). One quote from the book states; “Muhammad was supremely successful in both the religious and secular realms.” So in other words our prophet (“Muhammad was supremely successful in both the religious and secular realms.” So in other words our Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was successful in deen and dunya. Many Muslims are successful in only one or the other but rarely both. This is a great motivation for me. Before I didn’t like being busy. Probably because I was raised in an environment that feels “busy” is wrong or unhealthy. I can not count the number of times I this conversation at work; “How’s your day going?” And the responder follows up with a sad look on his face; “busy and hectic man!” When my wife tells me that she had a busy day at home, My follow up is; “busy is good.” Muslims should take pride in being busy. This means we are accomplishing something and being productive insha Allah. I am worried about the person that is not busy, the one that has too much free time on his hands. When I call my brother and I get voice mail, or we play phone tag, I think to myself, “ masha Allah he is productive.” I personally have a very busy life. I am first of all a husband and father of two; I am employed full time, a full time graduate student, and a regular Khatib for Jumuah and Taleem. I am also involved with other activities within the community. With all of this, I still work out 7 days per week and spend quality time with my family. I sincerely believe this is a result of my scheduling my life around Salah. My day starts at 4:30 am 7 days per week. I am thankful that I can start my day out with Tahajjud. One scholar said; A busy life makes prayer difficult, but prayer makes a busy life easy. I am grateful that I never need coffee or tea to wake up. I don’t even drink the poison. My entire day is full of energy and vigor because of prayer and exercise. I will write about this in a latter post Insha Allah.

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was supremely successful in deen and dunya. How could he do it? The messenger and last prophet of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was active as a social reformer, diplomat, businessman, philosopher, orator, legislator, military leader, husband and father. Wow, many people cannot even accomplish being a great husband and father. I believe he was able to do it because he made effective use of his time. Time management is a quality of very successful people. Success is not an accident. Insha Allah I will follow up with part II on time management within the next couple of days. My plan is to show examples of how our Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) managed his time, and what he said about time. I decided that it was time for me to be productive in my life and the Sunnah was the best way to go.


15 thoughts on “Time Management from the Sunnah

  1. Ameera says:

    Jazak’Allah for writing this! This is the problem that many, if not most, are facing today in the Ummah. It’s what I’m trying to tackle too, although I’ve been unsuccessful thus far. Amd I know wasting time, or rather, not managing it effectively, is a roadblock to so much good that can be achieved!

    Do make dua for me, brother, that I can reorganize myself the way you did and make the utmost of the time I have been given as an Amanah!

  2. ahmad b says:

    Very inspiring article brother! Unfortunately, I have periods of productivity but after a few days, I go back to my old lazy habits and routine. I’d love to wake up that early but I don’t think I’ll be able to do anything during the day and will probably be sleepy all day.
    Looking forward to you follow-up article.

    • Ahmad, thanks for stopping by. Experts say it takes at lest 29 days for something to become a habit. I dont advise just deciding one day to wake up a 4:30 am. Here is how I did it. We all wake up for fajr, that is not negotiable. Well since I know that the time for fajr fluctuates, i.e. sometimes at 6am, 5:30 am etc. So I decided that I would wake up at 5:30am period. If fajr came in at 6:30, I had an hour of productivity before its time. I eventually cut my wake up time to 5am. After that 4:45am, then 4:30am. It became fun for me to see how much I could churn out of my body and how much more productive I could be in my day. The exercise helps a lot. Most days are better than others. I am usually not tired at all during the day, as I am too excited trying to accomplish my goals. Its all about the context you set for yourself. If you tell yourself that you are tired and need 8 hours of sleep daily, then your body will follow. I would also advice cutting the caffeine and doing exercise if you are not already. I will write an article about waking up early in the near future insha Allah. May Allah make it easy for you.

  3. Shuhena says:

    Since I met my ‘long-lost’ schoolfriend 8 months ago she has never failed to ring me for Fajr. This is because she has a similar routine to yourself. I am desperate to have SOME routine even if it is not as perfected yours or hers. Even getting up before 10am would be a blessing – Fajr is seeming a miracle. I don’t understand. I need radical change yet am finding it difficult to make small change. Please brother offer advice on health and time management. Du’aas please I desperately need routine and barakah in my time – I don’t know where to start. JazakAllaah khair.

  4. Shuhena says:

    how many hours of sleep do you have if I may ask?

    • @Shuhena, may Allah make it easy for you. Time management is an art. Highly successful people understand the importance of time. I usually sleep on average 6 hours per night. I wake up at the same time 7 days per week. Usually on weekend I will take a nap in the day. I make this a priority so I make sure that I schedule myself to take a nap on weekends. Thanks for stopping by.

      • Shuhena says:

        Jzk. I don’t know where to start? All I see is a ginormous to-do list and not enough time to do it!?!

        Tonight inshaAllaah I’m going to say Bismillaah and go to bed at 10.30pm and try to wake up at 4.30am. Whats the worst that can happen? 29 days u say? InshaAllaah, du’aas please – u have inspired me.

        I have just re-read your post and think perhaps I should take it slowly and start to wake at 6am – current London Fajr time. Hmm…. tough huh?! Does one retain one habit for 29 days at least?

        I mean say I started with 6am then with 5am etc…. do I do that after 29 day intervals? I don’t understand?

        Also ‘Isha time fluctuates from early in the Winter – 6pm to quarter to 11pm in the Summer….

        I honestly don’t know where to start. Perhaps I lack sincerity?

        May Allaah reward you in your efforts and help you retain such goodness. I pray that I find it one day inshaAllaah, as my friend has not given up on me I hope that He subhanahu wa ta’ala does not also. ameen

      • @ Shuhena, wa hiyak. Stay tuned and insha Allah, I will give some practical how to tips. I will also give some recommended reading.

  5. Shuhena says:

    Alhamdulillaah got up at quarter to 6 and off about quarter to 11. Probably a one-off fluke. Though not everyday is the same – sometimes I do all-nighters for university. Sometimes I can’t sleep. I do feel really tired all day today. I still need to pray Isha and of course if I have not prayed I cannot sleep. Definitely time management is an art and perhaps I’m not holding the pen right….and even after accomplishing waking up early one day alhamdulillaah I find it difficult to be content? It feels hopeless….

  6. Mehwish says:

    SubhanAllah that was very beneficial and motivating! This has definitely made me see things in a different way and is very encouraging. JazakAllah Khair!

  7. Akhi says:

    Salam Alaikum

    If your working,Attending mosque,visiting friends,having a social life,excercising 7 days a week,and working,and sleeping 6 hours a day,and on some days an afternoon nap,just how much hours do you get to socialise with your wife and kids,this question isn’t necessarily you,it’s quite general,this is something i’ve wanted to know for quite a while,you see sheikhs,imams,dae’es always in the mosque,islamic gatherings,events,charity events etc…(Mashallah) it got me thinking just how much time will they get to their wife and kids,because i think of it,and lets say the day starts: 4:30- Tahajud(1 hour to read,revise etc…maybe suhr etc…) 5:30- Fajr in the masjid until sunrise at 6am(30 mins of sunna salats,nafils,quran etc… plus the drive back home), 6am-7am- jogging,stretches etc…, 7am-8:ooam(shower,breakfast,getting dressed),8:00-9am- driving to work,and taking kids to school,9-5pm-working,lunch breaks,salat breaks etc..5pm-6:30- driving home,eating dinner,3o mins of socialising with family etc.. 6:30-maghrib in the mosque,30 mins of dhikr,socialising etc..back home,6:45pm to 7:30 excercise continued,shower etc..7:30-isha in the mosque,7:30-8:30-islamic gathering,lessons etc… 9pm-10:00 socialising with family,then sleeping,now in this hyperthetical scenario of the ideal day plan i.e. 5 times a day in the mosque,working,socialising,3 meals,excercise etc…it seems that one struggles to get personal time with his wife and kids,back in my country,where the mosque is literally 30 secs from the house,shops where shopping is done is 20 secs,work is owning ur own business,which is from 9am-12 pm(3 hours),i could more than see how everything is fitted into one day,and still find free time to spend with your loved ones,could u please eleborate on this a bit more,i really want to manage my time properly without getting red eyes due to tiredness,Jazakallah Khairan

    Salam Alaikum

    • @Akhi, it is the quality of time with family that is most important and not the quantity of time. I take advantage of the time spent driving kids to school. Also there is weekends with family. Think about Rasulullah (saw) and his companions. They went on expeditions for months at a time and didnt see there families.

  8. Akhi says:

    @muslimfitforlife,Jazakallah Khairan,you’re right,i didn’t think of that,you can take advantage of driving them to school i.e. joking,catching up etc…and the weekends,true,Subhanallah such a logical thing puzzled me,you made it even easier to realise when u rightly mentioned the struggles of the Prophet Sallahu Alaihi Wa Salam and the Sahaba Radiallah anhuma,
    Barakallah fiq

    Salam Alaikum

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