[Ahmad Family Comic] Don’t Waste That!

Its amazing how many people avoid wasting money and other material things, but end up wasting a lot of the most important thing in life…

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Ahmad Family Comic - Don't Waste That!

[Ahmad Family Comics] Tick, Tick, Tick…

This episode is about something many of us struggle with on a daily basis and we’re ruining our lives because of it…

Do you struggle with with this problem? How do you overcome it?

[Click Image to Enlarge]Ahmad Family Comic - Tick, Tick, Tick...

A Meaningful Life – Is it Really an Option?

1 meaningful life“A time will come when your life will flash in front of you. Make sure it is worth watching.” For a man, this might happen thrice. Once, when he is ripening in age and occasionally going down the memory lane. Secondly, when he is on the death bed, and his entire past reels before his eyes. Lastly, it will be on the day of standing, when he will account for his worldly life before his Lord (swt). Fifty thousand years of standing and waiting will turn a child into an old man.

How many of us even think about this amidst the frenzy of undertaken tasks or, conversely, when having nothing to do? Quite amusingly, we find people ranging from those for whom twenty-four hours are not enough, as they are madly dashing from one finished business to the next unfinished one, to those who have ample time at hand to waste and still the day is not done. Both categories have one trait in common. They will stand before Allah (swt) and account for every second they spent.

It all begins with the need to lead a meaningful life. What is it? A meaningful life is a life with purpose. Suleman Ahmer of “Timelenders” explains that it has the following four elements:

  1. Vision
  2. Time management
  3. Leadership
  4. Additional required competencies

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Important or Urgent – The Forked Road

2 important or urgentShould I finish my report first or take care of my emails at the office? Should I attend to my sick mother-in-law or go to my child’s parent-teacher meeting? Is it more urgent to do the laundry or to cook the lunch? Life tosses at us choices to be made round the clock, and we find ourselves continuously deciding what to do. Some of us prioritize in terms of value, while others arrange items to do in terms of time. Nevertheless, all of us would benefit from learning what we need to do first, what we need to do next, and what we do not need to do at all.

It is helpful to understand that most of our daily prioritization springs to action from our discretionary mental routines (DMRs). We develop our DMRs over a lifetime, depending upon our education and experiences. Hence, our choices are automatic, unless we consciously reflect before coming to a decision. For instance, you may know three people who either live with you or work with you. One day you notice that all three make the same mistake, and you decide to help them out by offering sincere advice.

You approach ‘A’ and correct him gently. He not only listens to you carefully but also seriously assesses his mistake, and eventually thanks you for helping him grow. Next, you offer the same piece of advice to ‘B’. He immediately becomes defensive, and starts explaining himself, without listening to you. At the end, he thanks you ceremoniously, and you feel highly uncomfortable following this incident. Lastly, you talk to ‘C’, who blows up in your face. He reacts bitterly to your counsel, and you regret bringing it to his attention to begin with.

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But Why Arrive on Time?

3 why arrive on timeSome people do not give any importance to arriving on time. And we are not referring only to Pakistani weddings (we will address that later)! It applies to any event, be it a business meeting, an appointment, a casual get-together, or a formal dinner. It is a principle for such individuals to walk in late, regardless of the inconvenience caused to their host, friend, or business associate. They disregard it with the flick of a fly.

Such individuals offer three common arguments to defend their practice:

  1. What will happen if I arrive early or on time, and everyone else is late? What will I do with my spare time? I will be wasting it anyway! So I cautiously delay my arrival to save my own time.
  2. What is the big deal if I was detained and have arrived late? It’s not the end of the world. Everyone is alive and kicking. Why does everybody have to make such a hue and cry about being punctual all the time?
  3. I am worthy of being waited for. Of course, all dignitaries and luminaries never make timely arrivals to grace any occasion. If the best showman will arrive on time, perform and then leave, how will concerts last until the wee hours of the morning?

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Planning Ahead to Save Time

4 planning ahead to save timeAyesha was running late. She had set her alarm for 7:00 am, and actually gotten up without pressing the snooze button even once. She had estimated that she needed around half an hour for breakfast and for getting ready, and would be at the convention centre (half an hour’s drive away) by 8:00 am sharp, where she was volunteering at a seminar that day.

However, things did not go as she had planned. She hadn’t ironed her Abaya the night before. She still had a few things to put in her bag. And making and eating breakfast took longer than she had imagined. When she finally set out of the house, it was 7:45 am. Traffic signals, a bottleneck at one intersection, and a flat tyre on the way delayed her further. When she finally reached her destination, it was almost 8:45 am.

One can say that Ayesha planned ahead of time but still managed to get her timings wrong. How?

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Love Allah and Allah will Love You

ALLAHIn one of my favourite verses of the Quran, Allah (swt) the Almighty, commands: “And indeed We have created man, and We know what his ownself whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein (by Our Knowledge).” (Qaf 50:16)
This verse of the Quran says it all. Allah (swt) is the Most Merciful. He loves His creations more than a mother’s love multiplied by seventy. It is only us who have to feel His presence in each and every aspect of our lives.
We are bound to thank Him for His blessings upon us. Even single second we breathe is itself a reward from our Lord. We have to seek Allah’s (swt) help in every matter and as a reward Allah (swt) will make us comfortable in our matters. If we try to make ourselves closer to Allah (swt), He will definitely and undoubtedly come towards us. I realized these impacts on my lifestyle.

1. More Meaningful Life

Once you set your priorities according to Allah’s (swt) commands, you will eventually feel that Allah (swt) does everything for a reason. You find that your efforts are fruitful and worthwhile. For example, if you are a student and you are focused to achieve good grades; if you are running a household, you know that it is not just for the sake of doing it – it is an obligation upon you and you will be rewarded for all your efforts and sincerity. It seems to you, as if everything you have been doing is worthwhile.

2. Time Management

You have a number of duties and responsibilities. Thus, once you schedule them, you can easily complete your tasks and get away from chaotic situations. You master the art of managing time with all your tasks accomplished. You try to keep away from all the worldly and, of course, useless activities, because you realize that this time is an Amanah from the Almighty. Managing time gives you worldly rewards as well as rewards in the hereafter. So you have a win-win situation!

3. Reward for Your Actions

You always get rewarded for whatever good you do. Allah (swt) rewards for all your good deeds. One exemplary deal from Allah (swt) is that even if we think to do something good and somehow we are not able to do it, we get a reward for it! Subhan’Allah! And when we perform it, we get double the reward. So whatever tasks you perform, do them with zeal and fervour and Allah (swt) will grant you success in both the worlds. Insha’Allah.

4. Relief from Worries, Distress and Troubles

If you are facing a stressful situation, Allah (swt) gives you the courage to handle it. You get stronger for that situation and are able to tackle it wisely. Moreover, Allah (swt) says that He is happy with the person who raises his hands in front of Him. He is always ready to bestow His mercy upon us.

5. Submission to Allah’s (swt) Will

When you submit to Allah’s (swt) will, you eventually find everything in Allah’s (swt) hands. You will feel that whatever is happening in your life, wherever the road is going, is absolutely Allah’s (swt) will. You have that feeling deep inside that it is all predestined by Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) is in favour of the believers, because He loves you and you love Him, too!

Go with the Flow

health checkThe juggling act women or men usually face between work and family is very tedious and difficult to manage successfully. How do you plan ahead to avoid the obvious pitfalls and anticipate the unexpected twists life throws at you? I have come up with a simple solution: “Go with the Flow.” This might seem as an antithesis to what most articles advise but bear with me and follow these ten simple yet flexible rules.

Prioritize your tasks for the day. Buy a pretty diary (doesn’t have to be too expensive) and use it to jot down your tasks the night before. I realize that smart phones do all that for you, but take a few moments to gather your thoughts, sit down in seclusion (I do this in the laundry room), and jot down everything you must accomplish that day. Do not write down things that can wait for another day. This is your next twenty-four hours’ hot list. There should be only three to five items on the list so that it is flexible enough add two more to, if required. This is your self-analysis. Seerah teaches us that the Prophet’s (sa) day consisted of spiritual development, family time, and personal/social interaction. The questions to ask while jotting down tasks are:

  1. What is worth spending an hour on?
  2. What comes first?
  3. What is a must-do and what is good-to-do?

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Rule Over Your Time

Photo credit: John-Morgan / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: John-Morgan / Foter / CC BY

Managing time is a hot topic in the life of majority of us. Some people respond to this reality that we do not have more than twenty-four hours in a day very casually, but few of them freak out.

If you are in the second category, then you are required to follow up the tips given below to become the master of your time and remember that only you can be the change; no time management gadget or tool will help you, until you are not willing to follow up the guideline given to you.

  1. Set your goals

The most important and effective time management starts with a clear goal and vision. You are required to spend at least ten to fifteen minutes, thinking about the tasks you have to accomplish in a day. Once you have a goal in mind, then it will be easier to put your efforts in the right direction in order to accomplish your goal effectively.

  1. Prioritize wisely 

After setting up the goal, one needs to prioritize wisely – scrutinize the tasks that require urgent attention. There are four categories in which you can locate your tasks according to their importance and urgency.

  1. Important and urgent
  2. Important but not urgent
  3. Urgent but not important.
  4. Not urgent and not important

Also make a check list where you can mark the task accomplished. This will give you a sense of achievement and accomplishment.

  1. Eliminate the unnecessary

Careful consideration required to eliminating the unnecessary from our lives as it helps us to be more productive. We can understand it by a simple example: Your goal is to write a deadline oriented article for which you open up your laptop. But before starting your work, you spend 20-30 minutes or may be more on Facebook; or start using whatsapp or any other social media; and after an hour you realize that you have wasted a lot of your precious time. You are strictly required to draw a clear line between the necessary and the unnecessary. The more firmly you define these terms, the more productive and goal oriented you’ll become.

  1. Multi-tasking

Multi-tasking is a very important skill which will help you become an effective time manager. But it is more important to have clear knowledge about yourself whether you are capable of multi-tasking or not. Because many times it happens that people try to do multi-tasking without having the ability, which therefore affects the quality of their work; and instead of an advantage, it becomes a disadvantage.

But for those who are capable of multi-tasking, it’s a great blessing for them, using which they can manage the tasks in such a combination that allows them to perform efficiently and effectively.

  1. Learn to say no and delegate more often

Decision is in your own hands. Do not hesitate to refuse a request in order to accomplish or attend something that is really urgent and important- simply say ‘No’. The same response is a must for any projects or activity which is of lesser importance. Prepare yourself to move on to more productive tasks, and avoid wasting time on the matters of less productivity and importance.

Secondly do not try to over burden yourself with a lot of work. Try to delegate down few of your tasks which require your least personal involvement. Don’t hesitate in passing up few of your responsibilities to the people about whom you are quite sure that they can perform the task with a greater responsibility.

Finally, take good care of yourself – take time out for your personal growth; and this can only be done with your self-determination, and aim to get more out of your limited time by using it effectively and efficiently while focusing on these effective time management tips.

Time Management, the Sunnah Way

time management sunnah

  1. Set Your Goals in Life
  • Your goals will shape your life and your schedule.
  • When doing any task, always begin with the end in mind.
  1. Self-Discipline is the Key
  • Break such habits as procrastination and laziness.
  • Make a weekly schedule along with a daily one and stick to it.
  • Realize the difference between urgent and important. The urgent things may not always be important.
  • Everything else will fit in automatically.
  • Avoid distractions caused by such unimportant things as messages, posts, tweets, and mails.
  • If the task is large or time-consuming, divide it into small chunks and start working on it immediately. Don’t procrastinate.
  • Allah (swt) does not expect immediate results from us. He wants us to grow and learn on a constant basis, as He loves consistent good deeds. Even the Shariah was revealed gradually.
  1. Delegate and Take a Break
  • Avoid burnout and fatigue. Narrated Abdullah bin Amr (rta): News of my daily fasting and praying every night throughout the night reached the Prophet (sa). He sent for me or I met him, and he said: “I have been informed that you fast everyday and pray every night (all the night). Fast (for some days) and give up fasting (for some days); pray and sleep, for your eyes have a right on you, and your body and your family (i.e., wife) have a right on you.” The Prophet (sa) said, twice: “Whoever fasts daily throughout his life is just as the one who does not fast at all.” (Bukhari)
  • Recharge yourself. Make time for Halal fun with your family; it is Sunnah.
  • Do teamwork. Delegate tasks to others, if they are able and willing to do it.
  • The Prophet (sa) used to delegate tasks to his companions according to their abilities.
  1. Eliminate Time-Wasters (Al-Laghw)
  • Eliminate things that don’t give you any benefit, especially the Haram ones.
  • Even if the time wasters aren’t Haram, it is better to replace them with something productive.
  • A good example is from Imam an-Nawawi’s childhood: he used to prefer studying rather than playing outside with the other kids. He prioritized studying over other usual things because that’s what he really wanted to do.
  1. Bonus Tips
  • Multi-task only if it is beneficial. Avoid it where it is harmful, for example, during family time.
  • Keep positive company. Be with those who increase your Iman, and who motivate and stimulate you to accomplish your goals.
  • Be open to advice and correction. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t let your ego stop you from growing.
  • Learn to say ‘no’ politely if somebody wants you to do something that distracts you from your schedule.
  • Stay fit and healthy, because the opposite of fitness is laziness. Health and fitness are a part of Deen.
  • Strive for excellence. Do everything with Ihsan. This is the characteristic of a true Muslim.
  • One way to discipline yourself, or to break bad habits, is by giving a fine in the form of charity every time you indulge in that behaviour .
  • Reward yourself with small treats when you stick to your routine or accomplish your goals. A nice ice-cream would work.

Transcribed by Ahmed Faraz. This is an abridged transcription of a webinar conducted by Shaykh Kamdar. For complete transcription, visit www.hibamagazine.com.



Learning to Manage Time

Many of us would agree that today time seems to be slipping through our fingers much faster than a year ago. Mehreen Ganny has summarized for you a unique approach to time management that has changed lives.

Do you leave your work to pile up till the very last night before the deadline? Stressed and exhausted, keeping awake by drowning in endless cups of coffee. . . I can surely put myself in this category. But my attitude towards organizing time, changed the day I began attending “Strategic Time Management” course by Suleman Ahmer. His approach to this topic is unique, for it combines worldly and Islamic knowledge.

Mr. Ahmer began the course by making us realize the difference between ‘important’ and ‘urgent’ tasks. In defining ‘urgent’, most of us tend to include ‘important’ with it.  When I was asked to define ‘urgent’, I said: “Something important, which has to be done instantly’. However, the correct definition of ‘urgent’ is: “Any action of ours that cannot wait and, if delayed, will lose its relevance”.

‘Important’ on the other hand is “Any action of ours that takes us towards our goal or objective” Similarly “Any action that takes us away from our goal or does not take us towards our goal is called ‘not important’”.

Time Quadrants

Once we understood the difference between ‘important’ and ‘urgent’, we broke down our activities into four quadrants:

Q1: Urgent and Important Q2: Urgent and Not Important
Q3: Not Urgent and Important Q4: Not Urgent and Not Important

All our activities can be categorized according to these four quadrants.

Q1 Activities

These activities are ‘important’ and ‘urgent’. Breathing, responding to a heart attack, or reaching an airport for a flight – all of these are Q1 activities.

Q1 activities are important, because they lead to an urgent goal. If these activities are not done at their due time, they lose their relevance. If we will not respond immediately to somebody having a heart attack, the person will die, and we will not complete our goal of saving his/her life.

We should avoid creating Q1 activities for ourselves, by leaving our tasks till the very last moment. Suppose, your report is due on the 10th of June and you have the whole month of May for completing it. Nevertheless, you start your work only on the 9th of June. Your report has now become urgent, which has increased the level of your stress unnecessarily. Remember, all activities of Q1 happen under high level of stress.

Q2 Activities

Q2 activities include tasks, which are ‘not important’ but ‘urgent’. This is a tricky category. Going to a concert, checking your horoscope, or celebrating a birthday all are Q2 activities. At first, I could not understand, why going to a concert fits in Q2, if it does not concern me at all – since I do not participate in concerts, they do not affect my life. The reason turned out to be that although concerts do not affect my life, they still take place. If a concert is scheduled for the 14th of August, it will happen on this date, no matter if I attend it or not. Therefore, it becomes urgent, but since it does not lead to any goal, it is not important.

Q3 Activities

This is the category, in which true Muslims should spend their whole life. Activities of this quadrant are ‘important’ but not ‘urgent’, and there is no stress involved in carrying out these tasks. If Q3 activities are not done in their due time, they end up becoming Q1 activities. Take, for example, Fajr Salah. The time of the Adhan is 5:15 am, the sun rises at 6:30 am, and the average time needed for the prayer is 10 minutes. If you wake up for prayer at 5:30 am, it is a Q3 activity; however, if you wake up only at 6:25 am, it becomes a Q1 activity.

Doing Q3 activities makes one relaxed. Since you have ample time you focus better, maximize your potential and produce best results. Looking at the Salah example, if I were to leave it for the last second I would rush to finish it and not have any value in my prayer. To avoid urgency, we must complete our activities on time. This can only happen if we do not give priority to wasteful activities that eat up on our valuable time.

Q4 Activities

This quadrant is my favourite one – ‘not important’ and ‘not urgent’. Daydreaming, slouching before the TV, reading comics, and gossiping! By leaving out these activities, we instantly gain lots of extra time for focusing on what is truly important. Remember – Q4 activities are those that have no significance at all. They may be pleasing to our desires and aroused by Satan, since he wants us to be losers, but in reality they only take us far away not only from Allah but also our goal in life.

Keeping a Notebook and a Scheduler

Start out by getting organized. In the morning, wake up 45 minutes early and plan your day. Have a proper scheduler with a detailed time frame. Write down all your appointments, plan the time for studies, and do not forget about the time you wish to spend with your kids. If you will check your scheduler every morning, you will not miss any of your activities.

Also, clear your mind from unnecessary information like recipes, phone numbers or new e-mail addresses. Record all of these in a mini-notebook as soon as you hear them. Later, transfer this information into its proper place, for example, your recipes book or telephone directory etc.

Saying NO!

Learning to say no is a big relief! However, when requested something, most of us face the problem of saying ‘no’. If a friend or a family member needs you when you already are in a Q1 situation with your own responsibilities, it is better to say ‘no’, followed by a brief explanation. If the request is urgent and cannot wait and you obviously are unable to help, guide the person requesting to a dependable source that can help him/her instead. This way you give the person another option and not hurt their feelings.

Similarly the phrase “Insha’Allah” is nowadays being used as an escape from saying ‘no’. Use this expression only with your sincere intentions. If someone invites you for a visit, do not commit, knowing that later you will cancel the plan. Always keep your promises and make honest commitments.

Cure for Tardiness

How can you avoid being late? The answer is simple: ‘Keep a buffer time’. Suppose, you need twenty minutes for reaching the place of your destination. Before setting off, consider all the hurdles that might come in your way – a flat tire, stopping at a gas station, rush time traffic, etc. Calculate the time you might need for these activities (your ‘buffer time’) and add it to your twenty minutes. Leave your house according to your new calculation and you will avoid being late!

What if your ‘hurdle activities’ do not occur and you reach your destination early? Take along a Q3 activity like carrying a book, in case if there is a little time left over here and there. This way, the time does not get wasted.

By attending Mr. Ahmer’s course, many people have made radical changes in their lives. Family relationships have improved and environments within companies have changed. Do YOU want a change in your life too? Start following the above tips and believe it or not you will be a more organized and happier person Insha’Allah!