AMONGST the secrets of a successful life include punctuality. It is an important ingredient in the life struggle of many successful people.
It implies maintaining regularity, avoiding delays and procrastination in work schedule. It is considered the gateway to success.
Recently, a delegation from Pakistan went to the UK on an invitation from some NGO. It was supposed to attend a conference the next morning. Therefore, the members asked the driver to pick them up from the hotel at 8.30am but when the driver reached the spot, nobody was there. He waited for a few minutes but the traffic sergeant did not allow him to wait at the main gate as it was a no-parking area. Consequently, the delegation missed the first two orientation sessions of the conference.
We Pakistanis are known to be weak when it comes to punctuality. We fix a time for almost all events but rarely abide by the stipulated time. It is said that the whole nation lacks a sense of punctuality. It is in the grip of a carefree attitude of missing deadlines.
No government project is completed within a specific time period, resulting in cost escalation. Whether it is the green or orange line project or a court case, it takes years to see conclusion. Similarly, hardly any flight takes off, no bus or train arrives or departs and no ceremony — happy or otherwise — is held on time. Recently, it was observed that even a funeral ceremony was delayed by many hours as the closest relatives were late in arriving and others were kept waiting.
With the rise of the sun, our day starts, and we should be seeking Allah’s bounties.
It is unfortunate that we do not learn any lessons from nature. The sun and moon are Divine signs (41:37); it is for humanity to learn from them.
With the rise of the sun, our day starts, and we should be seeking Allah’s bounties, busy in search of His blessings and working for our livelihood. But many people do not get up with the rise of the sun; they keep sleeping till midday. The markets open late, when the initial hours of the day have passed. Thus we do not take full benefits of daylight.
Children in schools are normally taught punctuality is the gateway to success through various means. Every subject teacher is directed to be in class well on time.
Similarly, in an examination hall, the students are required to be on time to solve their papers but when children enter their practical life, they face contradictions in society.
Punctuality and time management are key factors in today’s life. If a person wants to live a quality life, he needs to be punctual.
Those who understand the importance of time are rewarded and they lead a successful life.
If a person lacks punctuality, he would have to face many hardships. Therefore, the value of time must be understood in order to be punctual in life.
It is said that time is money. It is not only money but the raw material of everything that we do in our life. No one can proceed with his plan unless he has time. It is the chief capital and one needs to be most conscious of passing time.
In the Quran, Allah says “By the time (al-asr), verily man is in loss (103:1-2)” because most people spend their time without gaining anything worthwhile.
Every time we look at a watch or a clock, we see a hand move forward by one second or by a minute; this means we have one second or one minute less to fulfil our life mission.
As time passes by, we are getting nearer and nearer to our ajal. Allah says that He it is Who has created you from clay and then decreed a stated term ie ajal (6:2).
It is no less than a miracle that every individual gets 24 hours when he gets up in the morning. This is an asset that nature awards freely to all of us as a non-transferable, non-saveable and non-bankable gift. These hours have to be spent carefully.
Therefore, it is essential that the nation should give due importance to punctuality in its day-to-day working. The importance of time must be conveyed through formal or informal means of education.
Though it would be a long and hard struggle of changing our habits, attitudes and above all the national psyche, we have to consider the fact that Islam regards human life as the most precious gift of Allah — every single moment of it. Believers have been warned time and again to be careful in spending life as they have to account for every moment spent in its final audit in the next world.
The writer is an educationist with an interest in religion.
Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2019