Time, the preciousness of time. As one embarks on a new life journey as a middle-aged woman, time has become of the essence as in rather being preoccupied with chasing it; filling it with a preoccupation with time activities; one is actually slowing down. The lockdown has even brought more standstills than one truly anticipated but it has been a blessing. Covid-19 had forced most of us to stand still enough to appreciate the sacredness of time.
The sudden urge to pay attention to time as one realises that time has passed with all the good, the bad, and the ugly. Realisation of it’s sacredness and preciousness is in the determination of the test of time ; what outcome am I anticipating that will either benefit me or be of disadvantage will depend solely on my use of ‘time’.
With time one has learned that some fear time, as they feel it is passing them as they do nothing, some fear it passing them as they need to acquire more, or earn more, or do more. Everyone’s relationship with time is different, however, how you spend your time affects your energy level and well-being. If time is spent under strenuous activities and thoughts, the outcome of that time may be detrimental to your well being in the short and long term.
Treat time with care; consideration, and frame it well during your day.
How we view time is important in determining how we spend it.
If we are to see the blessings, the gift that time is; we will learn to appreciate it more and view every aspect of it as moments in which we existed and experience as sacred time, the moments in which we were pained, or blissful or confused or ecstatic or sad or joyful – whatever the condition in-between time is what the gift of life in time is all about.
The ancient Greeks had a concept of time called; Chronos and Kairos. Chronos is clock time, which is measured in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years; this is mechanist and determinist of time; in which we engage in the realms of to-do lists, 9-5 jobs, social obligations, etc. Whereas Kairos, is the opposite; it is the sacred time, it is the infinite realm of one’s soul. The challenge is to be able to intertwine the two; so one can have both the timebound and timeless without being cornered or overwhelmed by the clock. As Shakespeare alluded to about ‘never resting Time’ – if we are to run a race against time, we are indeed to lose, hence the importance of understanding time, accepting the reality of time and living within the time in harmony between the to do and the to be.
As a Muslim; the accountability of time is mentioned again and again in the Quran.
Allah SWT mentions time in surah Asr ‘By time, verily man is in loss’; time a great capital- how one utilises is what counts. Does one cultivate in time as it dwindles away with each passing moment; with it the loss of possibilities in material and spiritual declining.
As time is ascribed in worship; as in times to pray, months to fast and do pilgrimage; time is also ascribed for the times to sleep, to do dhikr, for speaking to Allah. Time to ponder, to contemplate, to connect with creation and the Creator. As we understand time will pass and the end is inevitable; why does man waste it in competition, in meaningless activities, in despair?
As Allah reminds us in Surah Al Takathur as the journey of life, the destination is death and you walk towards your grave. How have you spent your time? Have you spent your time in foolishness or In cultivation?
To borrow Rumi’s wisdom ‘ Inside the Great Mystery that is, we don’t really own anything. What is this competition we feel then, before we go, one at a time, through the same gate?’
Treat well so it can treat you well too.
Spend it wisely; in work, in devotion, in giving, in loving, in seeking, in contemplation, in the moments of every moment; time requires you to be present.
Zeinab Sulemani is a mother of one. She teaches English as a second language in a secondary school and volunteers working with young people. She is currently, training to be a children & youth counselor and coach.