In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

We thank and praise Allah SWT the All-knowing. We bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah — the One who made the passage of time a lesson for those who are alert and willing to learn and adapt.

We bear witness that the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAWS is the true Messenger of Allah, who invited us to perform our salaah on time and reminded us to spend every moment of our lives in the praising of Allah SWT. O Allah, shower Thy choicest blessings on him, his friends and relatives — all those who spent their lives doing good deeds and pleasing Allah SWT. Truly they are on the Right Path, for Allah afforded them Hidayat (Guidance) and they are the ones who understood.

My dear Sisters and Brothers

Allah SWT reminds us in the Holy Qur’an:

“By the token of Time (through the Ages), Verily Man is in loss, Except such as have Faith, And do righteous deeds, And (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.” (Qur’an: 103, 1-3)

In this ayah Allah personifies Time to make us aware of its importance in our daily lives and so that we may make good use of it. Everything appears in time: the good and pleasant things, the joys and laughter as well as the evil and unpleasant experiences, the suffering and crying. Everything is recorded. The poet, Umar Khayyam once wrote:

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

Don’t we often wish that the wrong things we did, never happened or our successful undertakings would recur over and over again? The very fact that we now want to forget or prevent certain things from happening again or to repeat other things, shows that we have learnt from our experiences in time. Yes, brothers and sisters, Allah SWT has placed time at our service as our teacher: it is a teacher that allows things to happen, but leaves the decisions to us.

It is good to look back into history and study the successes and failures of the leaders of the world: we see how Allah SWT punished and humiliated the proud and arrogant oppressors of people. What was the lot of Fir’oun (Pharaoh)? We also see in history how Allah SWT elevated the humble, those who served their fellowmen. Thus Allah honoured the Saaligheen (the pious ones) and bestowed His blessings on the just. By the same token He brought dishonour to bear on the unjust and punished the sinners. Thus Allah SWT reminds us in the Holy Qur’an:

“The one who performs a good deed, does so for himself, but the one who does evil, only harms himself.”

A common misconception is that time is responsible for good or bad occurrences. We often hear such sayings as “Time is the best healer!” “Time Destroys! or “Time, the saviour”. Time has none of these qualities. Allah is the Owner of time, the Healer, the Saviour of mankind. Allah reminds us in the Holy Qur’an:”

“Everyone shall taste death, and We let good and evil befall you as a test; and truly, your return is to Allah.”

Allah Alone is the Master of time. And Allah metes out punishments and rewards in relation to how we use our time. If we arm ourselves with knowledge, and do good deeds; if we are diligent in our work and constantly plan ahead for the time to come; and if we use our reasoning faculties whenever we do something, then we shall earn Allah’s reward. Allah SWT will grant us strength instead of weakness, wealth instead of poverty, and honour instead of humiliation.

O Muslims, we have the power to use time to the advantage of ourselves and the entire Ummah. But are we truly aware of the value of time ? Does our use of the time show that we were created by Allah SWT for a purpose ? Do we fully realise that we cannot escape Allah’s judgement? Allah created us to serve Him and Him Alone, and all our actions in life must be in harmony with the rest of creation and the Divine Plan of Allah SWT. Certain forms of ‘Ibaadah need to be observed at definite, prescribed times, for example our salaah, saum, ghadj, jumu’ah, etc. We cannot perform jumu’ah when we have the time to do, say on a Saturday afternoon ! Our activities in life must harmonise with these responsibilities which are time-related. For then our daily activities will become an extension of our ‘Ibaadah.

Time is valuable to us. Let us not waste it on vain conversations and arguments which are irrelevant to our upliftment individually and as an ummah. Let us be constantly aware that every moment in time is a favour Allah SWT bestows on us, and surely we repay honour with honour. Let us express our gratitude to Allah SWT by using every moment in His service: teaching others, inviting others to good and serving our less fortunate brothers in distress. Al-Fudayl, a wise man of Islam, once asked a man his age. The man looked at Al-Fudayl puzzled and gave his age. “Sixty years !” exclaimed Al-Fudayl. “Do you realise that for sixty years you had been on a journey towards your Creator and that you have almost reached your destination ?” He looked at his questioner and replied (quoting from the Qur’an:

“We are Allah’s and unto Him is our return.”

Al-Fudayl half expected this reply and went on to tell the man the significance of his reply. Consider the wisdom of his explanation: “The one who realises that he is the servant of Allah and that he would return to Allah, should know that he would face his Creator, and would be questioned on his doings and misdoings. he should, therefore, prepare himself here in order that he might give a favourable reply.” The man asked Al-Fudayhl to give him a plan whereby he could escape the dangers of that day. “Do good in the time you still have to live,” came the reply, “and all your past would be forgiven. If you continue with the evil of the past, you would be punished for both the past and the present.”

Rasoolullah SAWS advised the ummah thus:

“Observe five things before five others:
Your life before your death,
Your good health before your illness,
Your leisure before your busy times,
Your youth before your old age,
Your days of wealth before you become poor.”

Brothers and Sisters in Islam,

Take your lessons from our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAWS and face life with confidence. Do not sit idly and ask: “I wonder what the future holds in store for us ?” The future is here ! Islam has no place for fatalism. You have the power to design the future! If we consider the uncertainties, the insecurity of the community in South Africa, then now is as good a time as ever to go out and become part of the future. Everyone of us, no matter what our circumstances, can play a meaningful role in designing the future: be it the education of our children in the madrassah or the so-called secular schools, the plight of the physically and mentally handicapped, maintaining the community’s institutions, establishing a new socio-political order, and so on. Let us make a start today by joining existing organisations in which we have a contribution to make. There cannot be true happiness without involvement in the affairs of man. This Allah SWT confirms in the Holy Qur’an:

“The one who does good, whether male or female
and he is a believer, will live a happy life
on this earth and shall be rewarded in the best
of manner for the good he has done.”

Let us, at the same time, safeguard ourselves from falling prey to the Christmas-New Year seasonal decadence in Cape Town. Many of us have worked hard during the year and deserve this annual rest, even if it is for three weeks. Our children, too, have spent so much time without us while we were busy working and they occupied with schooling. Do not let our desire for fun and relaxation drive us into the Satanic web of Western fasaad assisted and abetted by their media, the TV and the press. Let us take our children out and let them experience the beauty of creation. Our youth have a positive and significant role to play. I can only appeal to them to stay away from nightclubs, disco’s and such dens of iniquity. Such places mean business to a few unscrupulous people who do not care how many young people they corrupt, how many innocent lives they destroy in the process, as long as their money is made. Do not allow yourselves to be exploited for the sake of being “with it”. Remember, you have the intelligence, strength, stamina, and creativity which are needed by the community. Get involved in activities which will benefit you and the entire ummah.

Let us remember our accountability to Allah SWT. Tabraani relates that Ma-aath ibn Jabal reported that once, while on a journey with the Prophet SAWS, he heard the Nabi saying:

“Every person would be asked of four things:
of his life, ………how he lived it.
of his youth, ………..what he did with it.
of his wealth,…………how he earned it.
of his knowledge what he did with it.

Did he share it or keep it to himself. If he kept it to himself,
then he betrayed the Amaanah (trust) which was given to him.

Knowledge is like wealth, both having been entrusted to one.
It should not only be spent on one’s self but on one’s fellow humans.

Ameen! Aqeemus salaah!