by Aeman Majeed
(This article has been adopted from the audio collection of Huma Najm’s
“Tazkiya e Nafs”)
One of the mortal enemies to time management is the ever familiar trait of laziness or kasal in Arabic. Where Islam talks of building strategies to avail time, it also speaks of eliminating such potential threats as lethargy and laziness.
The Roots of NIFAQ
As a Muslim, one might think, “So what if I’m lazy and delay things a bit? Big deal” Little do we know that if left unattended, laziness at times of worship can lead a Muslim to cultivating the weeds of Nifaq or hypocracy. Allah (sbw) indicates this trait in Quran in Surah Nisa verse 142
“Surely the hypocrites strive to deceive Allah, and he shall requite their deceit to them, and when they stand up for prayer they stand up sluggishly; they do it only to be seen of men and do not remember Allah save a little.”
In contrast we find Allah (swt) describing the ranks of Angels in Surah Ambiyah verse 19 and 20 …
“And whoever is in the heavens and the earth is His; and those who are with Him are not proud to serve Him, nor do they grow weary. They glorify (Him) by night and day; they are never languid.”
It is due to laziness that we lose small opportunities to gain virtue. Say for example, if someone asks us for a glass of water, we decline thinking that we are too tired (an autosuggestion that comes naturally even if we are not), and so miss the opportunity of gaining the reward of this and this much.
Lethargy stops us from doing Dhikr - the remembrance of Allah – and doing dua calling onto Allah (swb) for our needs and desires.
Hadees on Zikr:
(Book 15, Number 15.7.24)
Yahya related to me from Malik that Ziyad ibn Abi Ziyad said that Abu’d-Darda had said, “Shall I not tell you the best of your deeds, and those that give you the highest rank, and those that are the purest with your King, and are better for you than giving gold and silver, and better for you than meeting your enemy and striking their necks?” They said, “Of course.” He said, “Remembrance (dhikr) of Allah ta ala.”
And finally lethargy in completing tasks causes us to lie when we attempt to give false excuses. It is a source of many dangerous sins and therefore must be controlled before it gains the control.
- Mufti Taqi Usmani, in one of his famous works, Islahi Khutbaat volume 5, mentions the weakness of laziness when it crops up during routine tasks like offering salat. In this case, an individual has only 2 choices,
(1) He can submit to his urge of laziness and give up on a routine task just for once. Result? He will later find that it’s one task compromised today and another routine task compromised another day. A slow but sure downfall. OR
(2) He can confront his urge of laziness and use, the only weapon that works against lethargy – the strength of will. Initially, some difficulty will be faced, but the more will power demonstrated, the easier it becomes to carry on with this and other routine tasks.
Also reflect on practicing the following:
- Lure yourself into doing the deeds you don’t feel like doing due to laziness. After all the more the effort put in the more the reward inshallah.
- Maintain a good sleep cycle, which includes going to sleep immediately after Isha (taking a cup of warm milk and a shower is recommended). And wake up early for Fajar, not sleeping afterwards but rather, taking a short midday nap after Zuhar.
- Avoid over eating as it makes one lethargic and adopt the sunnat of eating till just when the hunger has been quenched.
- Look forward to work and avoid fearing it. Find ways of working with an alert mind rather than just working to get the job done.
- Ask for Allah’s help in the form of an invocation (dua)
“Allahumma inni auzubika minal hammi wal huzni wa auzubika min al ijzi wal kasal wa auzubika min al bukhli wal jubni wa auzubika min ghalibatid daeni wa qahrir rijal” (dua 38)
O Allah! Indeed I seek refuge in You from worry and grief, and I seek refuge in You from helplessness and laziness, and from miserliness and cowardice, and I seek refuge in You from the overpowering of debt and domination of others.