Maximize Use of Your Time With These Tips From the Seerah

Maximize Use of Your Time With These Tips From the Seerah | Productive Muslim
Photo by Kim Carpenter: flickr[dot]com/photos/kim_carpenter_nj/

Time is limited. Death is certain. However, our intention to live a productive life and to serve Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and His creation will itself be enough to count as a positive action.

If you study the seerah (life of Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)) with specific focus on his daily and regular routines, it is an eye-opener. How meticulous he was in planning every aspect of his day; how he prioritized tasks; how serious he was about keeping his word and how he kept his speech precise and not indulging in idle talk. He was the best of creation, Khayru-l-Khalq, and it is natural we should learn from his example. Below are five lessons on time-management that we can draw from the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) enormously productive and purpose-driven life.

1. Be an Early Riser

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “O Allah, bless my nation in their early mornings (i.e., what they do early in the morning).” [Ibn Majah]

Schedule your important tasks earlier in the day, especially those which require mental exercise, and watch the barakah (blessings) from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) do the magic. If you have problems staying up after Fajr, here’s an article that discusses tips on how you can do just that. In a nutshell, they are:

  • Go to bed early and rest
  • Untie your three knots
  • Perform the prescribed dhikr (remembrance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)) after Fajr
  • Aim to pray Duha
  • Recite/reflect on/memorize Qur’an
  • Exercise
  • Have a list of tasks ready

2. Schedule Your Day Around the Five Daily Prayers

It was narrated that ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) which action is most beloved to Allah? He said: ‘Establishing prayer on time, honoring one’s parents and jihad in the cause of Allah.’” [Sunan an-Nasa'i]

Narrated Al-Aswad bin Yazid: I asked ‘Aisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) “What did the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) do at home?” She said, “He used to work for his family, and when he heard the adhan (call for the prayer), he would go out.” [Bukhari]

No compromises. The discipline to give up all your work and life’s distractions to perform salah strengthens your willpower to live a purposeful life. Just as you endeavor to be punctual for meetings with your colleagues or project team mates, you should perform your salah on time.

While some of us who are students or working professionals may find it difficult to pray on time, we can overcome this by discussing the issue with your colleagues or friends. If you find yourself constantly finding pockets of time to peform your salah, your khusyu’ will be affected. Performing your salah on time will energize you — once you have fulfilled your most important obligation, the rest will become easy for you.

3. Prioritize and Be Consistent 

If we look into the seerah, we can deduce that the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) day was divided into three main parts.

  • Spiritual development: This was the time he dedicated solely to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). It was typically the late part of the night when the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would recharge himself spiritually for the next day and boost his resolve to face the challenges in his mission. It was during the night that he engaged in intimate communication with his Lord, the Source of all strength and empowerment, through qiyam (night prayer), dua (supplication) and dhikr.
  • Family affairs: The prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was consistent in making time for family matters.
    Anas ibn Malik said: “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was the most merciful of people towards members of his family. He had his son (Ibrahim) suckled in part of Madina and the husband of his wet-nurse was a blacksmith. We used to go to him and the house would be full of smoke from the bellows. He would kiss the child and take him in his lap.” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]

    Narrated ‘Aisha: that the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “The best of you is the best to his wives, and I am the best of you to my wives, and when your companion dies, leave him alone.”
     [Jami' at-Tirmidhi]
  • Personal/Social affairs: He consistently made time for his followers so no one felt neglected or had their affairs swept under the carpet. This was the time when men and women would come with their personal, marital, financial, spiritual and even health problems. This is when he would receive delegations from other nations and faith group or attend to nerve-racking issues of politics, conflicts and leadership.

Figure out the real priorities in your life. What is worth spending an hour on? What comes first? What is a must-do and what is good-to-do? Allocate time consistently to activities that matter. Unless you plan for and schedule time for community work, studies or attending to parents, your spouse or children on a daily basis, they are not considered important enough to you. Chances are, you will eventually start neglecting these high priority actions.

4. Hasten in Doing Good

Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) had a sense of urgency in doing good and warned others against procrastination.

Narrated ‘Uqba bin Al-Harith: Once the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) offered the Asr prayer and then hurriedly went to his house and returned immediately. I (or somebody else) asked him (as to what was the matter) and he said, “I left at home a piece of gold which was from the charity and I disliked to let it remain a night in my house, so I got it distributed.” [Bukhari]

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) having said: Hasten to do good deeds before six things happen: the rising of the sun from the west, the smoke, the Dajjal, the beast and (the death) of one of you or the general turmoil. [Muslim]

Procrastinators do not appreciate time nor the means and the opportunities that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) gives them to be productive. Each day has its own share of work and each time has its own share of obligations. Therefore, in the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) life, there was no such thing as idle time. Use every single opportunity to do good. Don’t wait to ‘get old’ to fix your life. If you are not willing to live a purpose-driven, productive life now, then how do you expect to live such a life when you are old?

5. Honoring the Time of Others

Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was sensitive to his companions’ raḍyAllāhu 'anhum (may Allāh be pleased with them) time and needs. His khutbahs (sermons) were brief, concise and powerful.

Abu Wa’il reported: ‘Ammar delivered to us the sermon. It was short and eloquent. When he (Ammir) descended (from the pulpit) we said to him: Abd al-Yaqzn, you have delivered a short and eloquent sermon. Would that you had lengthened (the sermon). He said: I have heard the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) as saying: The lengthening of prayer by a man and the shortness of the sermon is the sign of his understanding (of faith). So lengthen the prayer and shorten the sermon, for there is charm (in precise) expression. [Muslim]

Similarly, he emphasised the importance of fulfiling one’s promises.

Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri: Some women requested the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to fix a day for them as the men were taking all his time. On that he promised them one day for religious lessons and commandments. [Bukhari]

It is reported on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: Three are the signs of a hypocrite: when he spoke he told a lie, when he made a promise he acted treacherously against it, when he was trusted he betrayed. [Muslim]

Aim to arrive for meetings, classes and events 10 minutes before they are scheduled to start. If you are running late, inform the other parties. Honoring others’ time is part of fulfilling your promise. Breaking a promise not only causes inconvenience to others, but also causes you to lose their respect. The Qur’an says:

“… and fulfill (every) engagement, for (every) engagement will be inquired into (on the Day of Reckoning). [Qur'an: Chapter 17, Verse 34]

Transforming your life into one that is much more productive, meaningful and enjoyable depends on one instantaneous decision: Managing your time the way our beloved Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) taught us. Start NOW!

The life of our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was an example to us in every way. This article has looked at just a few of those. What time-management tips have you extracted from Prophet Muhammad’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) life? Please share with us in the comments below!

About the Author:

Taha Ghayyur is a writer, consultant and community organizer. He works as a freelance writer with WordMatters.ca and as the Development Manager with Sound Vision, a pioneer in Islamic multimedia in North America. He writes and speaks extensively on issues related to Muslim youth engagement, education, leadership, communication, self-development and community development.


35 thoughts on “Maximize Use of Your Time With These Tips From the Seerah

  1. As-salamu’alaikum Taha, what a good article, indeed. I think one of the golden words there was that the prophet ﷺ took his life ‘seriously.’ He undertook every task seriously, because he ﷺ knew every affair he was involved in will be asked about in the Day of Audit.

    In my humble opinion, if we take ourselves seriously and be Allah-conscious in all of our affairs, might push us towards success inshaAllah.

    What do you think? :-)

  2. wa alaikum assalam Br. Hashem Ghazzawi,

    Jazakallahu Khairan for your valuable feedback. I agree with you 100%. It really boils down to how seriously you take yourself and your attitude toward time. It’s a state of mind before anything else.

  3. Asalamalaikum brother Taha. Any tip or prayer to help someone.some1 very dear to me is not time concious at all and it pains me a lot. I have being trying 2 make him better but Wallahi its not easy. He is above 40 and it worries me if he is ever going 2 change. When I wake up early trying to lead by example he get very angry. Dse is affecting D R/ship. And I think he needs. I even forward ds article 2 him but am not sure he is going to read any time soon, may be in a months time or maybe when I force him to. Jazakallahukhyran.

    1. Try to be as scrupulously time conscious yourself! as time goes on, he will ultimately be intimidated by the superior virtue and will adjust, Perhaps, In sha ALLAH.

  4. Subhan’Allah
    Alhumdolillah! What an excellent example we believers have.to follow, a complete code of life.
    Al-Qur’an 21:107
    “And We have not sent you[O, Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.”

    Jazak Allah Khair , unmatched article!

  5. JazakAllah for this simply written yet powerful article. i want to specially make a comment on the segment: Honouring others time where you have written that we must shorten our sermon as there is charm in precise expression. How beautiful! But alas many of us think the more we speak the better impact it will leave. How wrong we are!

    Second comment is about Early rising. Please explain “untie your three knots”

  6. Well written article.
    What is the meaning of “untie your three knots” in the segment Early rising.

    I especially like the line: “Shorten your sermon, there is charm in precise expression ” Hope we all understand this!

  7. MashAllah, a great lesson.

    One thing I can say that has been a key factor in the barakah of Prophet Muhamad saws was his clear vision about his life. He spent all of his life into his mission.

  8. Mashallah nicely written.Its so amazing that the prophet or His wives never had time to be bored.Thier life had a mission which we have lost may Allah rekindle that mission in our lives. may Allah reward you brother

  9. Jazakallahu khayran yu’shau. I guess u were referring to me very helpful ,not happy I didn’t get a reply from brohter Taha or Abu productive.

    1. @Aisha Hussain – Br. Yusha’u gave excellent advice. I just happened to come across this video clip yesterday on making change and showing respect to time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXJYsc_o_3s.

      The key point that struck me is that we each have to change ourselves to see change around us. I’m hoping it will help you, and as the brother you’re concerned about begins to see your life becoming more significant, more successful, I pray it will be a means of guidance for him, in sha Allah.

      Lastly, do remember to continue to make lots of dua for yourself and him.

  10. Jazakallah khair ^_^ time is the only thing we don’t have control of , but we can manage it ! And if we manage it properly we can acheive wonders ! The son of adam is just made of time and as time fades away , he fades away too ! Great article , and very useful tips I tried them during my exams and was able to finish a studying material scheduled for 4 days in just one day so manage your time people and always put salah before studying as praying salah will help you focus more on your studying ! Peace be upon you all :D

  11. Asalam u Alykum. What time gets included in the early hours? Is it after fajr? Or waking up before fajr for tahajjud?

  12. Sister Ayesha .Assalamalaikum ,i had this similar problem . Believe u me, try dis. Keep on saying 1 hadith or another in a very beautiful manner. To start wind ,only da interesting ones , afterwards every hadith will look interesting. And make .hm realize Allah loves .hm sooo much. Plz don’t force .hm into nething .

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