Wednesday, 10 August 2011

How should a person fill his spare time?


I am suffering from the problem of too much spare time, because of which I have begun to feel very strange. My worship has become noticeably less, not because of anything that is distracting me but because I have become depressed. I am learning to memorize Qur’aan with a teacher but I am still in Juz’ ‘Amma (the 30th juz’). I memorize what is required of me, but I still have too much spare time. In an attempt to rid myself of depression I turn on the TV, but I hate it and I do not really want to watch it, but I sit in front of it for ten hours. Can you believe it – ten hours? And I used to watch it only a little. I don’t know. Please advise me as to how I may kill this spare time.

Praise be to Allaah.


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)”

[al-‘Asr 103:1] 

- 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?”

[al-Saff 61:10] 

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. 

The problem that the sister is suffering from is caused by
several things: 

Firstly: she does not understand the value of time. This is
true of many people, as stated above. Even worse than that, by neglecting
this great blessing, her spare time has become something destructive, and
she regards it as an enemy that she wants to kill, but she does not realize
that she is killing herself.  

Secondly: she feels depressed. There is no doubt that wasting
one's time and one's life causes deep depression in man, because he feels
that he is like an animal that eats so it can sleep, and sleeps so it can
eat. Hence we see many disbelievers ended their life by suicide, after being
afflicted by depression and other incurable diseases – may Allaah keep us
safe and sound from that with which He has tested them. One of the primary
causes of depression is disobedience towards Allaah. Undoubtedly wasting
time watching TV leads a person to commit sin, such as watching and
listening to haraam things, wasting time, and other things caused by this
evil machine. The benefits that the sister gains by joining a halaqah for
memorizing Qur’aan are largely cancelled out, if not erased entirely, by
sitting in front of the TV. Just as good deeds erase bad deeds, bad deeds
cause good deeds to be lost. 

[You can refer to the
Books section of this website; in

Dealing with Worries and Stress you will find more details about the
causes of worry and how to overcome them. In
Dangers Facing the Home
you will find mention of some of the harmful effects of TV.] 


She has given up with
regard to time, and she has no determination to fill her time with
beneficial things. 

In order to solve this problem, the sister must strive to
achieve the following: 

Doing acts of worship such as
reciting dhikr and wird, praying, reading Qur’aan, fasting and thinking
about the signs and blessings of Allaah.

She should pay special
attention to the Qur’aan, since she says that she memorizes what is required
of her, then she has spare time that she kills by watching TV. Why doesn’t
she use that time to remember Allaah and read Qur’aan, and memorize more so
that she can memorize the whole Qur’aan, before she becomes burdened with
the responsibilities of life. For (reading) each letter is a hasanah, and
each hasanah brings a tenfold reward. And each verse raises one in status
and increases one’s reward, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) said: “Read and rise (in status), for as you used to
recite in this world, your position (in the Hereafter) will be determined by
the last verse you read.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1464; classed as saheeh by
al-Albaani in al-Saheehah, 2240.

Adopt a cause affecting Muslim
women in the country where you live, such as helping to teach Muslim girls,
undertaking charitable projects, and so on.

Find good and righteous friends
with whom you can meet and get together.

Read Islamic books in
particular and useful stories in general.

Get involved in da’wah, women’s
activities and children’s sports in Islamic centres.

Listen to tapes and lectures,
and write summaries which you can distribute to those who will benefit from

Learn some useful areas of
worldly knowledge such as cooking, sewing, etc.

Learn about computers and
useful programs, for this is a vast area which will take up a lot of time
and can be used to do a lot of good and useful things. This will take you
away from sitting in front of the TV which does not help you in any way, and
does more harm than good.

10-You should read some
books which speak of the importance of time and how to manage it; listen to
some useful lectures on this topic too. 

May Allaah help you and us to do all that is good. 

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