With every new year comes celebrations. Likewise, as another birthday rolls by people celebrate.
Islam teaches a different philosophy regarding our attitude towards time.
Allah Ta’ala, in the Qur’aan, takes several oaths upon the different phases of time: upon the day, night, dawn. Similarly oaths are taken upon the bodies used to regulate change in time: the sun, moon, stars.
Further, Allah Ta’ala takes an oath upon time itself. All this serves to highlight the importance of time as a precious asset given in fixed amount to every individual and constantly decreasing, never to return.
In acknowledging that time is precious and that every moment takes one closer to the grave, the point at which nothing will allow one to do good deeds, the Muslim takes no joy in celebrating the passage of time. Rather, it becomes a moment of reflection, of realisation that change must occur so that time becomes beneficial.
Every moment of time can either be used for good or evil. Every individual has impulses to do good or evil. How we respond to these choices dictate whether that moment of time is beneficial or not.
When an impulse to do good strikes, the secret is to act upon it immediately. The Qur’aan uses terms like hasten, be quick, be the first, run, in encouraging good deeds.
As for the temptation to succumb to evil, the Qur’aan mentions that the solution is to make some remembrance, to use ones mental faculty in warding off the temptation (7:201). The topic of remembrance is left general so that every person might ponder upon an aspect that s/he feels an affinity with. With some it might be to imagine the horrors of death, the grave, Hell, and thus abstain from the evil they were tempted to commit out of fear of punishment.
Others might ponder on the pleasures of Paradise in store for one who does good and leaves off evil. As a result, s/he makes up his/her mind to stay away from sin and do good to attain Paradise.
The Islamic calendar begins with an event that was the epitome of sacrifice for Allah Ta’ala: migration from their hometown of Makkah to Madinah by the Sahaaba for the sake of Allah Ta’ala. This makes us aware that only those moments of time spent in the obedience of Allah Ta’ala are worth commemorating.
We need to reflect on how much of our time qualifies as such.
The passing of time for a Muslim is a grim reminder of time winding down and another world approaching, hardly an occasion to party and celebrate.

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