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March 14, 2004
How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard?

by Nadia Khan


Procrastination… I have been intending to write on this topic for a long while but each time I am about to hold my pen, the same, old “procrastination” gets in my way and brings my noble intentions to a complete halt. Lately, however, this procrastination has been getting to me until I cannot take it anymore. I just cannot afford to have my life led by something that throws me right into an extensive labyrinth of troubles.


However, the problem is, once entangled in its alluring net; it is very hard to disentangle yourself. It is one of those cancers whose symptoms appear only after it has firmly taken its roots. The stress, anxiety, anger, sleepiness or lacks of sleep thereof, are all the guests that appear once procrastination has found a permanent abode in our hearts. Each time we promise ourselves to kick out the devil, it steals through the back door, takes up our control machinery and starts its covert work.


The question that comes to mind is: How long are we going to put up with this vicious devil, while it is busy digging and planting the seeds of inaction in us? How long are we going to blindly follow its decree instead of controlling our own lives? How long are we going to close our eyes before we collide head-on into the Reality of “Time is up”?


We all know that anything which does not sit well with our guts is not good for us. Yet how many of us feel relieved and light, once we are done making an excuse for not turning in our homework? Most of the times, we end up with regrets and what ifs such as “I wish I had studied for my exam properly or I wish I applied for law schools in time or If only I had woken up for Fajr”. The situation is the same as of those about whom Allah (swt) states in Quran:
“Or (lest) it should say when it (actually) sees the penalty: 'If only I had another chance, I should certainly be among those who do good!” 39:58]


If we look around, we would notice that everything around us abides by a clock. The sun, the moon, the plants and animals all are subservient to time but unlike us, they do not wake up to their alarm clocks only to press the “snooze” button. With the twilight comes out the squirrel and with the first glimpse of light sings the lark. About the punctuality of sun and the moon, Allah (swt) states in Quran: “He hath created the heavens and the earth with truth. He maketh night to succeed day, and He maketh day to succeed night, and He constraineth the sun and the moon to give service, each running on for an appointed term. Is not He the Mighty, the Forgiver?” [39:05]


Imagine how would we feel if the sun and the moon started procrastinating and failed to appear at their appointed time? Imagine how narrow the horizon of Islam would have been if our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) started procrastinating at any point of his life? No matter how much we deceive ourselves, the reality is that we, as Muslims, are not allowed to procrastinate. We do not have any room for procrastination and we cannot afford to procrastinate.


Our Muslim Ummah lags behind the tides of time today because it is plagued by procrastination. Just look at the rate at which Islam spread during the first 23 years of its birth and look at how far down we have come during the last 1400 years. Just look at the glory of Islam in those 23 years and look at the condition of Islam in these 1400 years. The sad state of affairs clearly indicates that “procrastination is at work”.


It is high time that we let go of our all time favorite occupation and learn how to take action. Instead of being “slackers”, we should be the “Muslim ummah” in its true sense. As Muslims, we should only submit to Allah’s will and not to procrastination’s whims which clearly come from the Satan. The respected scholar Imam as-Sadiq (a) said, “Beware of tedium and laziness. They are the key to every vile. The tedious cannot fulfill any duty. The lazy cannot keep any pledge.”


Instead of abiding by the distorted version of the tested adage, “Do not put off till tomorrow what you can put off forever”, let us just act upon the original one, “Do not put off till tomorrow what you can do today”. If we actually finish our to-do lists, come what may, we would soon find ourselves at peace with ourselves instead of discovering ourselves in doldrums.

Let us all integrate this dua in our Salah and prayers:"O Allah! I seek refuge in You from worry and sorrow. I seek refuge in You from incapacity and sloth, from stinginess and cowardice, and I seek refuge in You from the burden of debt, and from being transgressed by men". Inshallah this dua will definitely work as long as we are not lazy about it. May Allah (swt) give us the “taufeeq” to emerge as the most active, efficient and punctual Muslim Ummah. Ameen.

Last, but not the least, here is an inspiring piece that will sound much sweeter than my ramblings. Just don’t forget to turn up your volumes. [Come on!!Don't be lazy!! the speakers are just an arm length away...]

http://www.biznaseducation.com/koko2003/lastbreath.swf


of and relating to...
Rami said

Alhamdullillah. I woke up this morning realizing that once again I didn't complete all my homework. I made myself a cup of coffee, sat down, and decided to read what was on Hidaya.

"We all know that anything which does not sit well with our guts is not good for us. Yet how many of us feel relieved and light, once we are done making an excuse for not turning in our homework?"

Exactly.

So I got off my lazy butt and 90% finished it, then read my mandatory reading before class started. Alhamdullilah...I indeed felt much better inside.

Shukran Kathheerun,

Wa Salaam Warahmatullah Wabarakatu

on March 15, 2004 2:06 PM
Talal said

This piece is just so apt for its timing. I was caught deep under the rubble of procrastination, but alhamdulillah, the way out isn't that hard.

very nice work, mashaAllah.

on March 15, 2004 11:33 PM
saima said


The Ummah is asleep. Snoring. Rolling over once in a while. We need an alarm clock. :)

The reality of it is, the more we do for the sake of Allah (swa), the more we WON'T get tired.

Physical exhaustion is a controlled factor of the whispers of shaitaan to deprive you of the essentials you need in order to prevent exhaustion.

Kinda like.. mind over matter.

on March 16, 2004 3:52 PM
Tanweer said

As-salamu 'Alaikum,

Time management is a science in itself. I would suggest reading some books on this topic. We should start "dreaming" about what we want to achieve- convert them to "goals" by writing them down and devise a "plan" to meet deadlines. Understand the difference between prioritizing your schedule and scheduling your priorities...

Ofcourse the most important thing, as Sr Nadia mentioned is to make that duaa' and strive to do good deeds to attract the baraka of Allah(swt).

May Allah(swt) give us the tawfeeq not to procrastinate, may He give us the hidaya to do good deeds. Ameen

Tanweer

on March 16, 2004 4:11 PM
Justoju said

Seems like a good article...I think I'll read it tommorrow...

good job Nadia

on March 17, 2004 11:38 PM
Khan-E-Khanah said

*yawn*

on March 19, 2004 10:57 AM
Tanweer said

*************************************************
Book 042, Number 7129:
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying:

Yawning is from the devil. So when one of you yawns he should try to restrain it as far as it lies in his power.

*************************************************
-Sahih Muslim

on March 19, 2004 12:19 PM
Nadia said

lol. Jazakallah khair Br.Tanweer for the timely response :)

on March 19, 2004 1:49 PM
Khan-e-Khanah said

Br Tanweer yawning is merely the human body's natural reaction to lack of oxygen. Since the human body itself was put together by none other than ALLAH (swt) i fail to see how a normal bodily function can be attributed to the devil.

on March 24, 2004 2:29 PM
Gillette aka Hassan Khaja said

Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 509:
Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Yawning is from Satan and if anyone of you yawns, he should check his yawning as much as possible, for if anyone of you (during the act of yawning) should say: 'Ha', Satan will laugh at him."

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/054.sbt.html#004.054.509

Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 242:
Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Allah likes sneezing and dislikes yawning, so if someone sneezes and then praises Allah, then it is obligatory on every Muslim who heard him, to say: May Allah be merciful to you (Yar-hamuka-l-lah). But as regards yawning, it is from Satan, so one must try one's best to stop it, if one says 'Ha' when yawning, Satan will laugh at him."

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/073.sbt.html#008.073.242

Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 245:
Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Allah loves sneezing but dislikes yawning; so if anyone of you sneezes and then praises Allah, every Muslim who hears him (praising Allah) has to say Tashmit to him. But as regards yawning, it is from Satan, so if one of you yawns, he should try his best to stop it, for when anyone of you yawns, Satan laughs at him."

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/073.sbt.html#008.073.245

Muslim, Book 042, Number 7129:
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The yawning as from the devil. So when one of you yawns he should try to restrain it as far as it lies in his power.

Muslim, Book 042, Number 7130:
The son of Abu Said al-Khudri reported on the authority of his father that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: When one of you yawns, he should keep his mouth shut with the help of his hand, for it is the devil that enters therein.

Muslim, Book 042, Number 7131:
The son of Abu Said al-Khudri reported on the authority of his father that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: When one of you yawns, he should try to restrain it with cue help of his hand since it is the Satan that enters therein.

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/042.smt.html#042.7129

on March 24, 2004 3:20 PM
Faisal Akhtar said

Assalam-o-alaikom Khan-e-Khana.

There are many Ahadith reported to us that are authentic about the subject of Yawning. Here are some of them

Hadith - Bukhari 4:509, Narrated Abu Huraira

The Prophet said, "Yawning is from Satan and if anyone of you yawns, he should check his yawning as much as possible, for if anyone of you (during the act of yawning) should say: 'Ha', Satan will laugh at him."

Hadith - Bukhari 8:242, 8:245,
Narrated Abu Huraira

The Prophet said, "Allah likes sneezing and dislikes yawning, so if someone sneezes and then praises Allah, then it is obligatory on every Muslim who heard him, to say: May Allah be merciful to you (Yar-hamuka-l-lah). But as regards yawning, it is from Satan, so one must try one's best to stop it, if one says 'Ha' when yawning, Satan will laugh at him."

Hadith - Muslim,
Narrated AbuSa'id al-Khudri

Allah's Apostle said: When one of you yawns, he should try to restrain it with the help of his hand since it is the Satan that enters therein.

Hadith - Mishkat,
Narrated AbuHurayrah,
transmitted by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah.
Allah's Messenger said, Yawning in prayer is an act of Shaytan, so when one of you yawns he should restrain it as much as possible. In another version it the word are: He should place his hand upon his mouth.

So the gist of the above Ahadith is that if you must yawn, cover your mouth.

It is also a common misunderstanding that Yawning is due to a lack of oxygen. I found an interesting article on ABC news about yawning which says,

"The common theory about why we yawn is to get more oxygen to our brains. But according to Provine, it is not so simple. In scientific experiments, he discovered that even with 100 percent oxygen, his subjects yawned just as much as when they had less."

The fact is that yawning also is very contagious. On the same website it says

“Yawning is extraordinarily contagious,” says Provine, who has published much of what is known about the subject, particularly its behavioral aspects. “Seeing a person yawn triggers yawns. Reading about yawning causes yawns. Sitting alone in a room thinking about yawning triggers yawning.”
A brain mechanism, Provine explains, actually detects a yawning face, which then triggers that behavior. “Once the neurological machinery in our head gets underway,” he says, “it’s hard to stop a yawn.”

This is so true that I was amazed. While doing the research for this comment, I started yawning myself (Try it, it works). Check my findings about yawning and just by researching about yawning, you will start yawning too.
Now imagine standing in congregation and one person yawns but doesn’t cover his mouth. The brain mechanism of other worshipers is triggered when they see a yawning face and soon enough, we have a sleepy yawning congregation that is more interested in sleep than worshipping Allah SWT. I find it incredible that our Prophet required us to cover our mouth if we yawn to prevent this.

Lets for arguments sake say that yawning is due to a lack of body oxygen. Since this is controversial, lets for a moment accept that yawning is due to a lack of oxygen. There are other natural bodily and involuntary functions (I think you can guess what) that we are required to control. If we didn’t, that would be rather disgusting. So the same goes for yawning, Islam requires us to control other bodily functions, why not yawning? Allah SWT and his Messenger SAW know best their reasoning when they forbid something. None of our Prophet’s SAW saying is without a reason and when our Prophet gives us something, we should take it and when he forbids something we should refrain from it. That is the characteristic of a true believer. I hope I answered your concern.

If there is anything good in this, it is from Allah and all faults are my own

Wasalam

Faisal Akhtar

My Sources
http://www.muttaqun.com/yawning.html
http://abcnews.go.com/onair/2020/2020_000712_contagiousbehavior_feature.html

on March 24, 2004 3:27 PM
maryam said

intresting facts!!! I heard sleeping is also from satan, how r we suppose to refrain from that?!!

on February 26, 2005 6:20 PM
Faisal Akhtar said

There is a difference between hear say and actual evidence.

If there is a hadith or verse saying sleep is from shaitan, I ouwl like to see it.

on February 27, 2005 8:13 PM
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