The blessing of time is one of the greatest blessings that Allaah can bestow upon His slaves. Allaah even swears by time in some cases, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“By Al‑‘Asr (the time)”
- because of the importance and blessing of time.
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Make the most of five things before five others: life before death, health before sickness, free time before becoming busy, youth before old age, and wealth before poverty.” See Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 1077.
But most people are unaware of the importance of this blessing and are neglectful of their duties towards it, namely to fill it with acts of gratitude and obedience towards Allaah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are two blessings which many people do not make the most of and thus lose out: good health and free time.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6412.
Al-Teebi said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) likened the Muslim (who is accountable for his deeds) to a merchant who has capital and seeks to make a profit whilst also preserving his capital. The way to do that is to look for the right people to deal with and he himself will be honest and will try to be smart lest he be cheated. Good health and free time are our capital, and we should deal with Allaah with faith, striving against the evil inclinations of our nafs and the enemy of religion i.e., the Shaytaan, so that we may attain the best in this world and in the Hereafter. This is similar to what is mentioned in the passage where Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Shall I guide you to a trade that will save you from a painful torment?”
We should avoid following the dictates of the nafs and keep away from the Shaytaan lest we lose both our capital and our profit.
Fath al-Baari by Ibn Hajar.
If time is so important, then the Muslim should not have any free time, for he should be going from one act of worship and obedience to another. If he cannot spend all his time going from one act of obedience and worship to another then, he may spend some of his time in permissible pursuits, in which he should ensure that his intention is correct, so that he may earn reward thereby, as Mu’aadh (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “I get up and I sleep, and I hope for the same when I sleep as I hope for when I get up.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6923; Muslim, 1854.