I was cleaning up my inbox and came across an article my sister sent me a year ago about the importance of work-life balance. The body of the email had a saying (Hadith) from the Prophet Muhammad PBUH about understanding that every aspect of our life has rights upon us – family, friends, our bodies, and of course, our Lord has rights upon us too. The Hadith, as further explained by the author, highlights the point that when we weigh our responsibilities in one area more than the other (such as work for example), the price to pay, obviously, is that our other responsibilities suffer.
One area that I think many of us, myself included, undermine is sleep. For many years, I would run on four to five hours of sleep, and compensate my tiredness with a triple Venti Vanilla Latte. In those years, without a doubt, I would get sick at least five to six times a year, and literally go to the doctor and ask her to prescribe me antibiotics, because I didn’t have “time” to get sick. But it wasn’t until I truly stopped to figure out what was going on, that I realized, after many scoldings from family and friends, that I couldn’t keep functioning at this sleep-deprived-caffeinated pace. My body needed sleep, and islamically, my body also had this right upon me that I was so seamlessly denying.
In Islam, (took me a while to figure out, but hey, better late than never right!), God has created a balanced lifestyle for us. Even when it comes to our spiritual responsibilities, Allah SWT has made it realistic plan for us to balance our worship to Him (five beautiful times throughout the day), while also fulfilling our responsibilities here on earth - earning an honest income, providing for our families, and enjoying time with friends and family.
Aside from this invaluable and timeless lesson that I have sitting in my inbox, I also have the one liner my sister sent me along with this email. It simply said this:
"This one is for you right now."
My response back to her at the time was, "Word [I was pretending to be cool by saying "worrdd"], I slept yesterday."
Fast forward to this very moment right now. I came on to start blogging and found a blog post in my drafts folder. I opened it up, and all it had was the title you see before you: "The Clock Is Ticking." As I think back to the time my sister sent me this email, my response to her, and the title of the then, un-finished blog post, I can't help but wonder - can I truly say that every single aspect of my life, whether it be my relationships, my work and/or my community work, and sleep too - are they all constantly worked upon with the intention of presenting it to Allah SWT one day as a form of worship, hoping that will it grant me entry into paradise? I can't say that I consciously go to bed every night thinking this is a form of worship too, and then get up every morning and think that I'm doing x, y, z for the sake of Allah SWT, and I'm going to keep my relationship with x, y, z based on these Islamic principles and values. But perhaps this is why, it was Allah SWT's plan that I come across this Hadith to remind myself first and foremost, that yes, while I love being busy and doing 50 things at once, I need to reflect on the various aspects of my life, and ensure I'm giving each aspect it's due right. It is also a timely reminder, with the blessed month of Ramadan not too far away, inshAllah, to reflect on things I do, and in turn, we all do, and how it's truly preparing us for our after-life.
Just some reflections....and with that, I shall give my body it's due right, and go to sleep.