Thursday, September 10, 2015

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy...

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, 'Selawat' (blessings) and 'salam' (peace be upon) Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


"And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me." (Surah Adh-Dhariyat 51: 56-57)

SOMETIMES when he was bored doing his proof reading work, my former colleague, Haji Muzaffar Mohd Dom would go my desk and cried aloud a famous English proverb: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."

Haji Muzaffar who still works as a proof reader at Harakah was right because the proverb means that without time off from work, a person becomes both bored and boring. 

When he uttered the words, I knew he wanted me and some of our friends to accompany him for a tea break, dinner or supper at a few restaurants or stalls around our office premise. Sometimes he took us to faraway famous eateries such as Arab restaurants and 'tom yam' stalls in Setapak, Kampung Baru and Sentul.

Why 'Jack' (or anyone) becomes bored in life? One reason is that we keep on repeating doing the same chores day after day or worse still hour after hour. 

While enjoying the leisure of reading when 'holidaying' in Langkawi recently (see my previous article entitled 'The Journey...' Harakah 24-27 August 2015) I came across this article that attracted me to do some some 'muhasabah' (reflection) and after being not satisfied with 'my own mind', I brought it to the attention of an 'ustaz' (religious teacher).

The article read: "At the age of 38 and with a family, life is very much like a routine. Just like the yellow duck confined in the blue bucket; comfortable and uneventful. Sometimes, there are ups and downs in our family or work, but it still accounts for only a faction of this routine life.

"I am not complaining, I am actually thankful for the life I have. However, a routine makes life unattractive and unappealing. Most of us wake up early, get ready for work, pack our own breakfast, say goodbye to our loved ones and prepare to face the world only to get stuck in a traffic jam.

"We return in the evenings feeling exhausted. We take a shower and get ready for dinner. We spend some time with our family before it is time for bed. The thought of finishing up some work crosses our mind, but we procrastinate because we are too tired. There goes another day, and life repeats itself.

"This is how life is, whether intentionally or it just happens on its own, we fall into a routine. Yet, our life does not have to be fixed. Sometimes, we are presented with opportunities. Most of the time, it is not about the dollar and cents, but instead, it is the small changes that matter.

"We need a broader perspective in life. We knows where it might lead us. As long as it does upset our normal way of life, the family we support and does not burn a hole through our pocket, we should give it a try. It can be a hobby, a walk in a nearby park or even eating food that you have wanted to try for a long time.

"If we take a closer look, there is always a crack in the blue wall that surrounds us. Take a peep through the crack, sometimes it may lead us to a pleasant surprise. Although most of the time nothing happens, it does not matter as long we are happy and life is sweet again.

"We still have our routine, but it is less dull now. Now is that for a change?" - The Crack by Francis Jong, UrbanHealth June 2009

Subhanallah (All praise only to God), we need to peep through the crack, said the 'ustaz'. We should open up our hearts. We should have a curious mind. We should think about the things around us and search for answers regarding phenomena. 

Great people are thinkers; for example Prophet Ibrahim a.s. (Abraham) in search for God at first said the moon is god but when it vanished during the day turned to the sun but it too vanished; thus he pushed them aside; saying - there is no god but He, the Ever-living, the Self-subsisting (by whom all subsist)...

Thus every soul (human being) must be back to his or her 'fitrah' (natural gift) in submitting to the Life-giver, God - there is no god but He. God had sent human beings prophets to guide them in life and Muhammad s.a.w. was the last of the prophets and the Qur'an is the word of the ever-loving God; it has sent down to guide man for all times to come.

After we have His blessing to be in His truth path; only then we would realized that our existence in the world is to make as much as good deeds as possible to benefit us in our life in the Hereafter.

Allah SWT says in the Qur'an: "Whoever brings a good deed, shall the value of ten like it. And whoever brings an evil deed will be punished with one like it. And they will not be wronged." (Al-Qur'an 3:160)

And what are the good deeds? Allah says in the Qur'an: "We did not create the jinn and men except to worship us." (Al-Qur'an 51:56)

Yes, our time in this world is to worship Him. In worshiping Him we must obey Him; the Prophet s.a.w. and the Qur'an is our guide; then everything we do in life is with purpose that is to surrender to Him thus we would not feel bored in the things we do. Everything we do are accountable to 'pahala' (good rewards) and 'dosa' (commit sins).

All of our good deeds are considered 'ibadah' (devotion to Allah SWT) thus performing our daily chores earnestly would be rewarded by Allah SWT. With this feelings always in our hearts, 'insya-Allah' (God Willing) we would not feel bored in the routine things we do.  

In Islam, there are many ways to beat the feeling of bored; if we look at the 'Rukun Islam' (Principles of Islam), the 'ibadah' mentioned varies that are 'solat' (praying), 'puasa' (fasting or siyam), paying zakat (tithe) and performing hajj.

In executing our duties as Muslims; we are expected to be 'always on the move' - for example 'solat' is to put a stop on too much focus on our work and relaxed or minds, while 'puasa' is to help our digestion system, paying zakat is to foster great relationship with our society while hajj is a way to promote the spirit of travel among us. Yes, why bog down with your work, go travel to see the wonders of the world...

To a good Muslim, time is very precious to him/her because it gives him/her opportunity to perform good deeds. Every seconds counts, even while performing his/her duties say for example being a 'jaga' (guard) his/her time is spend in remembering Allah SWT in form of 'dhikir' (for example mentioning Subhanallah and doing reflection in his/her heart).

In the Qur'an Allah says: By Al-'Asr (the time). Verily! Man is in loss, Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma'ruf) which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allah has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allah's Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad, etc.). - Surah Al-Asr, 103)

Islam guides mankind not only to the importance of time but also how to value it. Allah SWT and His Messenger, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. very clearly tell us the value of time, why we must not waste it and how we can make use of our time wisely to increase our 'iman) (faith) and thus attain success, especially eternal success in the life Hereafter.

Both the Qur'an and the Sunnah enjoin Muslims to be conscious of time. We are reminded that life in this world is nothing but temporary. We never know when death has been appointed for us. We must value time for the satisfaction of Allah SWT. For our guidance and success, we must never waste time nor abuse it.

Yes dear reader, everything we do in accordance with the Qur'an and the Sunnah is an act of worship. Such worship must be done sincerely for the pleasure of Allah alone. We should make use of our time (which includes our 'free time') in doing beneficial things especially those that will make us closer to Allah and earn His Mercy.

If we realized the important of 'a second' (time) we have in this world, then we 'insya-Allah' would not feel bored in the routine things we do everyday. Why? It was because you still have the chance to perform good deeds, say for example do you 'dhikir' at work or during traffic jams...well you are still blessed with life compared to those who are dead!

A scholar gave this warning: The clock is running. Make the most of today. He said: 

* To realize the value of one year, ask a student who has failed a grade.
* To realize the value of one month, ask a mother who has given birth to a pre-mature baby.
* To realize the value of one week, ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
* To realize the value of one day, ask a daily wage laborer who has kids to feed.
* To realize the value of one hour, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
* To realize the value of one minute, ask a person who has missed the train.
* To realize the value of one second, ask a person who has avoided an accident.
* To realize the value of one milli-second, ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.

Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time...and remember that time waits for no one...every second of your time is accountable to 'dosa' and 'pahala'.

Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today is a gift, that's why it's called the present. So, turn your 'boring work or job' to a platform for you to perform your earnest devotion (ibadah) to Allah SWT. 'Insya-Allah you will not be 'down' anymore for all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy...!

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