Be grateful for busy schedules: free time is not always good for us

Reflection
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During times like these where most of us will be fasting or engaging in more worship in order to seek the blessings in Ramadan, we may also be feeling stressed out due to the current global pandemic and the instructions to stay at home. We may have begun to feel that our schedules have become busier and more stressful than usual.

People who are working from home may feel that they are busier now as it may take longer to finish a piece of work due to them not being in their usual place of work. It may be that families are around each other more often, and that could be contributing to a person feeling as though their days have become busier.

As much as it is important to take time out to rest – as is advised in Islam – but we must understand that too much free time can be harmful for us, so we should be grateful if we have busy schedules. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:

“But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” (Qur’an 2:216)

We must remind ourselves to be grateful if we have busy schedules as sometimes having free time can make us focus more on our hardships. It can then be easy to fall into anxiousness. Free time can often create an avenue or mind space for us to think about our difficulties as well as challenge our emotional stability and health. Therefore, when we feel negative about our busy schedules, we must try to remember that always having free time is not necessarily a good thing. We read in the Holy Qur’an:

“But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners.” (Qur’an 8:30)

If we find that we are around our family more often, we must try to see the good in this and realise what the positive effects of this are. Having the chance to speak to our families can help us to avoid feeling lonely and stressed. We should also remind ourselves that there those among us who wish to be surrounded by their family but they cannot be, for an array of reasons. We read in a hadith that we must be grateful to Allah and look at what we do have rather than what we do not:

“Look at those below you (less fortunate than you), and don’t look at those above you, for this is better.” (Muslim)

However busy our schedules become, we should be trying our best to build our schedules around salah – not the other way round. Having this clear structure in place will also make it easier for us to actualise the importance of Salah in our hearts and we will be more likely to focus properly in Salah, as opposed to rushing our Salah and not concentrating on it at all. This will also help us to feel calmer and avoid becoming overwhelmed by our duties.