IMPORTANCE OF TIME IN THE LIFE OF THE UNIVERSITY STUDENT
DR. MUHAMMAD SANI AHMADU. BSc, MBBS, FMCR.
DEPARTMENT OF RADIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MAIDUGURI TEACHING HOSPITAL, MAIDUGURI, BORNO STATE, NIGERIA
DELIVERED DURING THE MARHABA WEEK OF MSSN ON SUNDAY SAFAR 3RD, 1434 AH (16TH DECEMBER, 2012).
Indeed, all praise is due to Allah. We praise Him, seek refuge with Him, and seek His Forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evils of our souls, and the mistakes in our actions. Whoever Allah Guides, there is none who can misguide him, and whoever Allah misguides, there is none who can guide him. And I testify that there is none worthy of being worshipped except Allah, and I testify that Muhammad (SAW) is His servant and Messenger.
“O you who believe! Have taqwa of Allah as He deserves, and do not die except as Muslims.” (Surah Al-Imraan, verse 102).
“O people! Have taqwa of your Lord Who created you from a single soul, and created from it its mate, and sprouted from it many men and women. And have taqwa of Allah, from Whom you demand your mutual rights, and do not cut off the relations of the womb. Verily, Allah is Ever-Watching over you.” (Surah An-Nisaa’, verse 1).
“O you who believe! Have taqwa of Allah, and say that which is truthful. He will rectify your actions for you and forgive you your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has indeed achieved a great success.” (Surah Al-Ahzaab, verses 70-71).
Indeed, the most truthful of speech is the Speech of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (SAW). The worst of affairs are those that are newly introduced, and every newly introduced affair is an innovation, and every innovation is a misguidance, and every misguidance leads to the Fire.
Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu.
My brothers and sisters, I feel honoured to be given this opportunity to deliver this short presentation to you by the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), University of Maiduguri Chapter. When the officials of this association met me for a presentation on this great occasion of “Marhaba Week” which is aimed at welcoming newly admitted students to the University, I had no idea on which topic to present because, for me, there are so many challenging topical issues that the Muslim Ummah have at stake, especially as regards our youths who, in most cases, are the pillars of the society.
I am a medical doctor and if I were to choose a topic on Medicine, I may not have delivered to the majority of the newly admitted University students what they needed as “guzuri” for their sojourn at the University. Perhaps only those in the College of Medical Sciences may benefit fully from the topic, if I had chosen a Medical topic.
I then decided to talk on the IMPORTANCE OF TIME IN THE LIFE OF THE UNIVERSITY STUDENT despite the fact that I may be a novice on issues that relate to time utilization. My major reason for choosing this topic is because of the fact that many of our students at the University “misuse” the little time they have to finish their programmes at the expected time. Some students repeat a class/level and, most unfortunately, others get withdrawn from the University because they have not used their time wisely. I pray this presentation would serve as a reminder to everyone here present and beyond so that we all wake up from our slumber as regards the use of time in our daily lives.
I may be talking to a group of Muslim students for now, but I have the firm believe that this topic will reach a vast majority of audience who are not Muslims. At the end of it all, people will then realize that Islam as a way of life has placed great emphasis on time utilization in the daily lives of Muslims.
Whoever examines Islam closely, would find many astonishing facts in the areas of organization of time… In fact, all the pillars of Islam, with perhaps the exception of the Kalimatush-Shahada, are time-bound worships. The five daily prayers have their times stipulated, so is Zakat, Hajj and Fasting (in the month of Ramadan).
In addition to the time-bound worships, the importance of time in the life of a Muslim was beautifully emphasized in the Surah carrying the last of oaths and adjurations in the Holy Qur’an...i.e. surah Al-‘Asr. Allah, The Almighty and Exalted, says to those who take heed:
“By Al-`Asr (Time). Verily, man is in loss. Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and recommend one another to the truth, and recommend one another to patience and constancy.” (Surah Al-‘Asr, verses 1-3).
In his Tafsīr, Ibn Kathīr mentions, “(By al-Asr) That is, the ages during which the deeds – both good and bad – of the sons of Adam (AS) take place. Allah swears by (time), that man is in Khusr, which means in loss and destruction. (Except those who believe and do righteous good deeds). So Allah makes an exception, among the species of man being in loss, for those who believe in their hearts and work righteous deeds with their limbs. (And recommend one another to the truth,) This is to perform acts of obedience and avoid the forbidden things. (And recommend one another to patience) meaning, with the plots, the evils, and the harms of those who harm people due to their commanding them to do good and forbidding them from evil.”
Hasan al-Basrī said, "I have lived with a people (the salaaf) who were more careful with their time than you people are with your money”.
From the moment a believer wakes up in the morning, he knows that there is (as Allah calls them in the Qur'an), a "sign" in every experience he has in the course of a day. The word "sign" is given to those events in existence that are clear proofs of the existence, unity and the attributes of Allah—and it is also the name for a verse of the Qur'an. Another idea similar in meaning is "the facts that lead to faith." This may be defined as those facts that bring a person to faith, and at the same time cause faith to grow, develop and become strong. But only those who sincerely turn to Allah can recognise these "signs" and facts that lead to faith. The 190th verse of Surah Al-Imraan is an example of this:
“Behold! In the creation of the Heavens and Earth, and the alternation of Night and Day, there are indeed Signs for men of understanding” (Surah Al-Imraan, verse 190).
There are many traditions of The Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that put emphasis on time utilization among which are the following:
The Prophet (SAW) said, “On the Day of Judgement the feet of a servant will not move away till he is questioned about four matters:
1. On what he SPENT his life…
2. On what he made his youth PASS away…
3. Whence he acquired his wealth, on what he spent it… and,
4. What he did regarding what he knew”… Tirmidhi.
He (SAW) also said, “Seize the opportunity of five things before five others:
1. Your life before your death…
2. Your youth before your old-age/senility…
3. Your riches before your poverty…
4. Your health before your illness… and,
5. Your free time before you become busy”… Tirmidhi.
Islam encourages Muslims to care for time, to utilize it wisely and not to waste it. Besides, Allah (SWA) will hold them responsible for their time.
Every day passes by us, every hour of our lives goes by without return, even the seconds do not return....those simple minutes that went by without us realizing, we will eventually know their value and worth.
We live in an age where our time is wasted thoughtlessly. When time is, in fact, the currency with which we buy safety and bliss in the Hereafter.
Attending University is a huge step in the life of every student. You will face new experiences, make new friends, and open yourself up to a whole world of knowledge. It can be a very exciting time in your life, but also a bit intimidating and scary if you don’t plan your time well. As a Muslim, it is important to find a way to navigate and explore these new horizons, while maintaining your Islamic lifestyle and identity as far as the utilization of time is concerned.
If you reflect back, you will realize that before getting admission into the University, you spent valuable time in primary and secondary schools. Many of you must have used their time well before reaching this level of your academic career. So your life as a University student also requires that you utilize time properly in order to reap the benefits of your stay here.
The student of knowledge should utilize his youth and free time in his life to gain as much as he can, and he should not be deceived by the temptation to put things off for another day. Every hour that passes of his life is crucial and will not be replaced. He should cut off what he can of the distracting relationships and obstacles that are in the way of the knowledge he seeks, and should instead exert his energy and power in gaining as much as he can, since these obstacles are like roadblocks in his way.
Let me paint a scenario of your entry, stay, and exit in the University… You applied to gain admission into the University through JAMB or other means; you get admitted into a stipulated period course – 4, 5, or 6 years. Some of you get admitted into certificate/diploma courses. Others came back for postgraduate studies. Once admitted you begin to face series of lectures, tutorials, field works, pre-clinical and clinical postings, seminars, etc. All these are aimed at imparting certain kinds of knowledge on you. Then you are tested or examined on the knowledge that was taught at the end of the semester or session. Then you pass the prescribed tests/exams. Then you get promoted to the next level until finally you graduate with bachelors, masters, or a doctorate degree.
All these University activities are time-bound and it requires you as a University student to make good use of the stipulated times allotted to each of these activities. The result of a “negative” use of time in the University (and of course anywhere) is usually a failure which I believe none of you here present would want to be associated with.
At the beginning of every semester, lecture schedules/time-tables are usually issued for every course in the University which every student of that course is expected to familiarize him/herself with. And at the end of the course/semester/session, an exams time-table is fixed for students to prepare for exams. All these are time-bound activities.
Unfortunately, some students, even before they got admission into the University, have erroneously imprinted on their minds that the University is a place for only “socializing”. Others have taken the University to be a place where other western values and not "good character and learning” are acquired.
For the student who really wants to excel in his/her course programmes, the utilization of time is a “paramount course” and a part-and-parcel of his/her scholarship in the University. A student that neglects his/her studies and whiles away his/her time would surely get the results of his/her actions at the end of the semester/sessional exams.
Time is a priceless wealth in our life. One who doesn’t care about time can never achieve his or her goals in his/her life. Everyone should know the value of time to get success in his or her life. Time plays a vital role in a student’s life. One should be on time everywhere. Students should be on time in classroom for lectures, in exam hall etc. We all know that once time runs, it can never return. It is as important as breath in our life. We should utilize our time in good work.
Time and tide wait for no man…This indeed is a well-known proverb. But how many times in our life have we desired that time was something we could capture in our hands and never let go. We have to realize that there is no rewind option in life's clock. The people of old said, “Time is like a sword, if you don't cut it, it cuts you”. And always remember that you can never buy yesterday even if you spend the rest of your life.
We should realize the importance of taking the right decision at the right time. In that way, we will never regret any decision that we make in life. Procrastination will not help you to achieve the best things in life. So wake up before it is too late. Become excellent time utilizers. Be more organized in life and most importantly, be time-bound.
All things are born in time, grow in time and then decay and die in time. Time moves at its own pace. It cannot be commanded. It does not wait for you because you want it to.
People say time is money. But it is more precious than money. Money lost can be recovered, but not the time lost. A moment lost is lost for ever. Time is ever changing. Change is the law of nature. Nothing is independent of change or time. Man’s life is very short but the work is much and difficult. There is so much to do. Therefore, we should not waste even a single minute. Every breath, every second should be used properly and meaningfully. Our school work, homework, assignments, other tasks, hours of rest and sleep, time of recreation and exercise, etc., should be well planned and organized.
We should never postpone doing good and important things. We should never be idle when we ought to be working hard. Leisure is enjoyable only after fruitful hard work. It is our duty to not to leave any work till tomorrow that can be done today and now.
We should not waste time. Actually, nobody can waste time. In reality, it is we who are being wasted by time. Economy in time is very important. Great men and women use their moments most profitably and economically. It is through this method that they have invented great things, discovered wonderful things and left their footprints on the sands of time.
If a Muslim puts time in its proper place, for seeking the pleasure of Allah and rendering service to humanity through doing the right thing at the right time while in the University, then he/she will be fortunate in the world and be successful in the Hereafter. However, if he/she wastes his/her time, he wastes life and his/her efforts are a failure.
The University student, especially the Muslim student, should as early as possible, realize that time is the most important that he/she needs to be careful of because it is a God given gift in which all acts of worship are performed. He/she she must, therefore, learn at an early stage in the University to be able to organize and utilize time. He/she must make realistic plans for worldly and religious duties, without any of them overlapping the other.
One of the methods of utilizing time is for you to get up early and sleep early (Muslims are known for waking up early for Fajr prayers); for early hours always yield great blessings. Starting and ending your day with prayers/du’as bring Allah’s blessings and grace on the things you do. Doing tasks at their right and due times bring about peace of mind and comfort.
Hasan al-Basri was once quoted to have said, “Life is no more than three days long: Yesterday, which is gone forever with its events; Tomorrow, which you may not get there; and TODAY, which is all you have as yours, so seize it and work within it”.
He was also quoted to have said, “O son of Adam (AS)! You are but a bundle of days. As each day passes away, a portion of you vanishes away!”
Preserve your time. Your time in acquiring knowledge is vital, so be a confederate of action and not a confederate of idleness and boastfulness, and a devotee to productivity and not to idle-play idle-talk. Preserve your time through serious exertion, adherence to study, being in the company of scholars and occupying yourself with knowledge by reading or being read to, researching, contemplating and memorizing especially during the prime of your youth and in the early years of your life.
So I admonish you, as a part of my Marhaba advice, to always remember that you are in the University for a purpose that is “time-bound” and time is life as far as your existence is concerned. If you squander time, you have indeed squandered your life.
These are few of what I usually advice students at the College of Medical Science on their academics whenever I am opportune to be with anyone/group of them:
1. Have a “To-Do” list on the things you plan to do for the day,
2. Make sure you learn at least 3 new things daily,
3. You have a lecture schedule:
- Read the topic before the lecture and note any grey area,
- During the lectures, listen attentively to the lectures/lecturer and ask questions on those grey areas you found when you read before the lectures,
- Revise the topic, at least 3 - 7 times after the lectures/before you go to sleep that day,
4. Endeavour to read at least 50 pages per day. This may sound impossible, but try it before you complain,
5. In the course of your academic pursuit, you have to be PATIENT, PERSEVERING, and above all PRAYERFUL (I call this the 3Ps),
6. You have to be COMPOSED, CONFIDENT, and learn to use your COMMONSENSE (and I call this the 3Cs),
7. At the end of your stay in the University you will all be certified with a degree, but what is most important is your ability to put in practice the “theoretical knowledge” you have acquired over the years,
8. You have to “respect” time because it’s the stuff life is made up.
Although, there is so much to discuss on the IMPORTANCE OF TIME IN THE LIFE OF THE UNIVERSITY STUDENT, “time” may not permit me to go on. However, I refer you to the following valuable books that have extensively discussed the topic of “TIME UTILIZATION”. I have referred and benefitted a lot from them:
1. Time in the Life of A Muslim (Al-waqtu fiy Hayatil Muslim). By Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradaawee. Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd. London, UK.
2. Time Utilization (Islaamic Perspective). By Abou Maimoonah Ahmad Bin Muhammad Bello. Olucouger Prints, Lagos, 2002.
3. Time Management in A Muslim’s Life. By Mustafa Muhammad Tahhan. Tranlated by Abdul-Hameed Solate. Revised and edited by Isma’il Badmus. Islamic Heritage Foundation, Lagos, 2003.
4. The Etiquette of Seeking Knowledge. By Shaykh Bakr Ibn Abdallah Aboo Zayd.
Finally, I pray to Allah (SWA) to guide and give us the ability to utilize our time in order to gain His Pleasure. May whatever you learnt in the course of your stay as students in the University be of immense benefit to humanity and the Ummah of Muhammad (SAW). May Allah (SWA) also make your steps firm, and grant every one of us piety and success in this temporal World and the Everlasting Hereafter.
And may the blessings and salutations of Allah (SWA) be upon our Noble Prophet Muhammad (SAW), his family and all his companions.
I pray Allah (SWA) accepts this as an act of ibadaat from all of us.
Dr. Muhammad Sani Ahmadu. BSc, MBBS, FMCR.