Sunday, August 19th, 2018 marks the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (p), 7th Dhu…
The religion of Islam is a faith that presents us a guideline in terms of how to live our life in a way that is as productive as possible. It is important to make sure that we are taking care of the affairs of this world and the next—the responsibilities that we have to our family, employment, school and so forth, as well as our religious obligations. At the beginning of every week, many of us make a mental or physical list of important tasks that we must complete for the week. Often, we find ourselves delaying completing these tasks, because we feel lazy or we feel we still have time. Before we know it, it is mid-week and we still have not accomplished our goals. As we glance at our long list of “to-dos,” we often get overwhelmed, then continue making excuses for not being productive. Realizing that we have not reached our goals because of the excuses we have given ourselves, we start to feel regretful, upset, and stressed about the workload that is piling up.
Postponing day-to-day responsibilities like schoolwork, family obligations, and most importantly, prayers and asking forgiveness from God can have negative effects on us. Teachings of the Quran, the Messenger of God, and his family (pbut) demonstrate that procrastinating tasks is dangerous to our spirituality and can have serious, detrimental effects. Imam Ali (p) states, “How many people have postponed doing something until death falls upon them.”1 It is important that we realize the value of the time that we have in front of us and work toward accomplishing the necessary tasks that bring us closer to our Creator.
It is very easy to be negligent of the reality that procrastination and delaying important tasks can have a negative effect on our health. Experts say that it “causes stress, and this additional stress contributes to negative psychophysiological impacts on the body which increase our vulnerability for illness. Previous research has linked chronic procrastination to a range of stress-related health problems such as headaches, digestive issues, colds and flus, and insomnia.”2
Moreover, like being on top of our day-to-day responsibilities, it is vital to not delay our religious obligations. For example, we should offer our obligatory prayers during the beginning of their times and recognize God’s wisdom in allotting those specific times. There are so many blessings that we can attain during these specific portions of the day that God does not want us to miss. God is so merciful to stress things like this, because He wants us to maximize the potential for reward.
Furthermore, asking for forgiveness from the Almighty is another thing that we should not postpone. God states, “Compete with one another to achieve forgiveness from your Lord and to reach Paradise, which is as vast as the heavens and the earth, and is prepared for those who believe in God and His messengers. This is the blessing of God and He grants it to whomever He wants. The blessings of God are great.”3 This life passes so quickly that we should not delay something as fundamental as seeking mercy from our Creator for our vices and lapses. In fact, seeking forgiveness immediately after committing an act of sin is a demonstration of our humility before the Almighty. Constantly and sincerely seeking God’s forgiveness will increase our chances of His forgiving us and our being successful in the next world.
Bits of Advice
1. Recognize the Value of Time: Every day is a new opportunity for us, and we should see the time that we have during a day as a blessing. The Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) advises, “Beware of procrastinating, for verily you have today and have not yet reached tomorrow. If you do have tomorrow, you will be the same in it as you are today. [By taking advantage of your time today] even if you do not have tomorrow, you will not have regret for all that you neglected today.”4
2. Seek Forgiveness Early and Often: Everyday, we commit acts of transgression—sins of our eyes, ears, and tongue. Sometimes the sins are larger and sometimes the sins are smaller, and as the moments pass, we often downplay the impact sins have on our lives. In a tradition, Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (p) states, “Delaying repentance is an act of self-delusion.”5 Let us be sure to not procrastinate when it comes to admitting our faults to our Creator and seeking forgiveness.
3. Manage Time Appropriately: Social media and entertaining ourselves consumes so much of our time., which is not always bad but can be a deterrent against actualizing our responsibilities. If we have the time to accomplish a task—fulfilling a household chore, responding to a call, completing our school assignments, and so forth, then we should be sure to do them immediately. Imam Ali (p) advised his companions in a letter he wrote, “Seize what you have left of your life, and do not keep saying, ‘Tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow,’ for verily those before you were ruined because of their persistent wishful thinking and their procrastination, until suddenly the command of God [i.e., death] overtook them while they were heedless.”6
1. Uyun al-hikam wa al-mawaidh, p. 379.
2. “Better Get to Work: Procrastination May Harm Heart Health,” Association for Psychological Science – APS, accessed October 9, 2019, https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/minds-business/better-get-to-work-procrastination-may-harm-heart-health.html.
3. The Holy Quran 57:21, Muhammad Sarwar translation.
4. al-Tusi, Al-amali, p. 526.
5. al-Harrani, Tuhaf al-Uqul, p. 456.
6. al-Kulayni, Al-kafi, vol. 2, p. 136.
1. روي عن الإمام علي (ع): “كم من مسوف بالعمل حتى هجم عليه الاجل”
3. قال الله تعالى: ﴿سَابِقُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا كَعَرْضِ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ أُعِدَّتْ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرُسُلِهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّـهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ﴾ القرآن الكريم: الحديد 57، آية 21
4. روي عن النبي (ص): “يا أبا ذر، إياك والتسويف بأملك، فإنك بيومك ولست بما بعده، فإن يكن غد لك تكن في الغد كما كنت في اليوم، له ان لم يكن غد لك لم تندم على ما فرطت في اليوم ”
5. روي عن الإمام محمد الجواد (ع): “تأخير التوبة اغترار”
6. روي عن الإمام علي (ع): ” فتدارك ما بقي من عمرك ولا تقل غدا [أ] وبعد غد، فإنما هلك من كان قبلك بإقامتهم على الأماني والتسويف حتى أتاهم أمر الله بغتة وهم غافلون”