Rafed English

Free Time

First we ask this question: Is there anything called free time?

We can surely say: No, because man when he finishes a work, will be engaged in another. It may be less or more important than before. Even sports, itself, is an unproductive work though it is productive in its psychological output for a player.

Islam - as we mentioned previously - gives man the time for which he refreshes and amuses himself and his family and enjoys its pleasures and delights. It even gives this time more value and importance, because it is a supporter of the periods of work and worship.

But, our discussion about free time is not that which gives man renewed energy, rather it is that a wasted time in which the youth not only scorn their vital and great responsibilities, but also, live in the state of useless, negative, and wanton time.

Mostly, free time falls into disorder when we waste our time and neglect its value, whereas, it can be an opportunity for seeking science, or for learning some new skills, or for correcting wrong conceptions, or for helping Allah's creatures, or for meeting the needs of a believer, or to be acquainted with the issues of the Muslim world, or for developing what we have obtained of previous knowledge, or to become acquainted with a new friend seeking Allah's pleasure, or to strengthen an old relationship with a friend, and so on.

Even if an unexploited time is considered out of the scope of age, because the real age is the age of that farm which was previously mentioned in a Hadith, is it wise for a man who owns a wide land arable for agriculture, to leave it unplanted?!

In this regard, one scientist says: I read more and if I become tired of reading, I take a rest by reading. He explains this by saying: I incline to reading scientific books, but when I feel exhausted of reading, I turn to read literary or history books in order to ease the tiredness of scientific reading.

Look at those who are around you. Do not you respect the one who stands before a shop waiting for his turn, or at a station waiting for a bus, or in a clinic holding a book in his hand and reading it?!

Do not you respect a man going on his way remembering a poem which he memorized before, or a verse of the Qur'an he does not want to forget, or repeats some glorifications which increase and strengthen his relation with Allah, the Most High?!

Do not you show respect for a person who holds in his pocket a small notebook in which he records a proverb or a saying he read in a newspaper, or an information he got by chance, or an important number he found here and there which helps him in quoting what he says, or he records an idea which comes suddenly to his mind and is afraid to miss or forget it?

Surely, telephones now exist which can record messages, and wall secretaries are placed in front of houses to be used by visitors to record their notes in case of not seeing the owner of the house. These are clear evidences for the attention of the owner of the house as to what has happened during his absence.

A person who daily reads newspapers; follows newscasts and visits sites on the Internet or is acquainted with what happens around himself in this ever-changing world, is a man who is careful not to cast his time aside like a disregarded paper into a wastebasket. He feels that he is cut off from the world if he does not keep up on the movement of the world, and if his steady vigile is stopped, surely he feels loneliness as if he has lost something precious.

The people of an American town discovered that an illiterate woman learned how to read and write late and without a teacher. When she was asked about this, she answered: Indeed, I felt the loss of precious time that I had missed, therefore, I tried to compensate for it and, thus, I used to eavesdrop and steal a look at my small daughter while she was studying and, with her, I used to savour all her lessons.

Thus, we should eliminate the following expressions from the dictionary of our life:

- I missed the train!
- What is the use of working now. Indeed, I have lost various opportunities, and chance always opposes me.
- Many people preceded me in that endeavor and I have no place, now.
- I tried and I failed. There is no reason to repeat the same experiment ... etc.

We should replace the above mentioned expressions with the following: There is always time to work before death.

But, regarding "compensation of wasted time"; this term is not correct. Because wasted time cannot be compensated, nor can it be delayed. Wishing the period of youth to come back after passing away is a false desire which is captured only by poets and there is no possibility to achieve it in reality. Nevertheless, it is possible for youth to avoid additional negligence, and excessive loss by regretting and utilizing what remains of their lives, and not to cause their lives to be a plunder of play, levity and idle relaxation.

Through experiments, it is proved that laziness, unemployment and leisure factors cause deviations and corruption. In this respect, a poet says:

"Surely, youth, spare time and luxury are causes of corruption for man and what corruption they are." We should, also, differentiate between spare time, in which there is no use, and a dedication to review, self-criticize, and be alone with one's self, or to take permission in order to renew one's activity. This is a part of work, not free time. It is something desirable due to its being the time which distributes more abundance to other times.

Adapted from: "How to Utilize Our Free Time?" by: "Al-Balagh Foundation"

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