Getting the Barakah:
An Islamic Guide to Time Management
Written by Abu Muawiyah Ismail Kamdar | Published by Partridge Publishing
Reviewed by UmmBilal
This article was originally published in Issue #72 of SISTERS magazine.
Oh yes! you read that right. I have now published a piece and it requires me to get paid…when your passion or make that two of your passions (reading and writing) pay your bills…Alhamdulillah!
Abu Muawiyah started as a tutorial assistant at an online university in 2010 and was required to teach six classes a week, answer emails and forum posts and grade hundreds of assignments. He complained about his workload to his employer who advised him to do his best to make it work. Then he started reading a lot of time management and self-help books. Fast forward five years later, he is the head tutorial assistant at his university, teaches twelve hours a week, grades over a thousand assignments every semester, home-schools his kids, writes articles and books, teaches at other institutes and still has time for other things.
Getting the Barakah is a personal narrative, which puts our Deen at its forefront. Abu Muawiyah’s writing style is laconic and crisp, his tone is objective and emotional and his approach is simple and pragmatic enabling him to connect with his readers. Despite reading a lot of books on time management, what he wanted to read was not written, so he took a cue and the idea of the book was born.
Barakah is a gift from God and is something most of us are guilty of forgetting to ask Allah I for, even if we remember to ask for barakah in our money, we forget to ask for it in our time so we should ask for it and strive towards it in all we do, you know trusting in Allah I but tying your camel. Time is the greatest resource we have and it factors into every aspect of our religion; our Salat, Ramadhan, and Hajj are time specific. In the words of Muhammad Alshareef, “No time!’ is one of the greatest lies we tell ourselves.” If it is important to you, make time for it. Abu Muawiyah made something clearer to me; time is not just time, as we know it, it is youth, health, wealth, free time and life itself.
Hence the hadith:
“Take benefit of five before five: your youth before old age, your health before sickness, your wealth before poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death.” (Hakim)
The book couldn’t have come to me at a better time, alhamdulillah. I got it a few days before Ramadhan and we all know that’s when we need to find balance the most; between Ibadah, work, school and chores. The book is arranged like a step-by-step guide making it flow easily. Sprinkled through the book are awesome quotes as well as the author’s reflection of ahadith, which gives you a whole new way to look at even prior known ahadith. He ends each chapter with action points so one get’s to analyse one’s personal situation.
Abu Muawiyah concluded that wasting time is worse than wasting money as time is not renewable or revivable. A lot of the time, we are caught trying to find time to do certain things not realising we need to make time. He went further to explain the stumbling blocks to managing time; not being able to differentiate urgent and important tasks, lack of concentration on ongoing tasks, neglecting your personal needs and development, focusing on only one area of your life (mostly we focus on work) and procrastination. He gave tips to aid in the formation of new and positive habits like planning, chunking, focusing, allocating time and sticking to a schedule.
There are two categories of people based on how they perceive time, first those “in time” who live in the spur of the moment without long-term plans and are usually happier but are late for appointments and the like. Then there are those “through time” who plan every aspect of every day of their life, are well organised and punctual but are rigid and do not live in the moment. We all need to find the balance, manage our time properly including long term planning while having fun and spending time with family.
Time can be managed majorly through planning. Abu Muawiyah explained various methods of planning along with their pros and cons and organising tasks, which got me to realise that I don’t make as much time for my important but not urgent tasks until they become urgent, such as writing projects. Another thing I could relate to was burnouts. I am guilty of over-tasking myself till I burn out and then cannot make progress. Multitasking is also not a good habit of productivity, which I am guilty of as well. I was also introduced to the cathartic activity that is ticking tasks carried out from your to-do list. I find myself writing down tasks I carried out without pre-planning just so I can get the joy of ticking them off my list. Abu Muawiyah promised to make time for everything you wanted to do and Alhamdulillah I see my productivity has improved and I have mostly “positive procrastinations” now.
It is important that we take account of ourselves before the account is taken for us and make changes as such. Abu Muawiyah clearly exemplified how to account for a whole day.
No, this book is not just another self-help/ time management book! It was an awe-inspiring read which I benefitted from and hope you do too. It is important we control time so it does not control us.
UmmBilal is a wife and pharmacist who loves to read, write or just hoard books. She aspires to inspire people with her books one day and you can find her on her blog where she rambles on about anything and everything. She does all this while still continuously striving hard to please her Rabb.