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Time Management in the Life of the Prophet Muhammad

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Acknowledgment
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This power point presentation has been prepared based upon the article “The time management in the life of Prophet Muhammad” by Yuksel A. Aslandogan. The source of the article is Fountain Magazine, issue 66. http://www.fountainmagazine.co m/article.php?ARTICLEID=965

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Introduction

In the preface to his book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, Michael Hart noted the supreme success of the Prophet Muhammad, on both the religious and secular level [Hart 1978].

In this presentation we will review some of the time management practices that he employed in his life.

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Four principles in his time management

Appreciation of the value of time and, consequently, making the best use of every piece of available time.
The guidance of a mission, a set of values, and priorities in planning every activity.


Establishment of a time policy or a time budget.
The scheduling and completion of activities within allocated time slots.

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The value of time in the Qur’an and the Sunna

God swears by time in the Qur’an

“1. By the (token of) time (through the ages)! 2. Verily man is in a state of loss. 3. Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to steadfastness.” “(1) By the morning hours, (2) And by the night when it is still.”

Prophet Muhammad passing by a person and he said:

“The majority of humanity is at a loss as they do not recognize the value of two of God’s gifts: Health and (discretionary) time.”

His whole time was occupied with a useful activity or prayer

For rain, when he was looking at a mirror, against cold and heat etc.

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Guidance of a mission

After receiving the divine call, the life of the Prophet Muhammad was focused on living and conveying the message.
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TWO RESULTS On the personal front a spiritual ascension towards the state of being a perfect human (insan-i kamil) as a servant of God On the social front sharing the faith and practicing conduct that was pleasing to God and others.

In his last sermon, he said: “Do you bear witness that I have fulfilled my mission as God’s messenger?” Of course the answer was a resounding yes, accompanied by tears

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Weekly time policy

In a weak hadith, his regular activities of his days are listed:
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Sunday is the day for planting seeds and construction. Monday is for travel. Tuesday is for giving blood. Wednesday is for acquisition and alms giving. Thursday is for bringing community matters to the governor. Friday is for weddings and spending time with your family. Saturday is for hunting for livelihood. The authenticity of this narration is weak, but still it does give the idea of designating specific days of the week for specific projects or activities.

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Daily time policy

The spontaneous (un-programmed) activities

For example: Giving an audience to an envoy or a representative group, the meeting of an urgent need, or helping a stranger

Such activities were accommodated within the time slots that were not dedicated to programmed activities. Furthermore, if a representative body were to arrive in Medina for a one-off meeting, then it would be scheduled at the first available time. The example of the tribe from Thaqif

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Daily time policy

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Regular/scheduled activities
The same activities were scheduled in the same time period every day

Five times daily prayers: Time limits were thought him by Gabreal

“The best of deeds in God’s sight is the prayer that is performed in time” Hadith

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Each activity had a designated time limit. He was very careful in the observation of his daily schedule because when the Prophet changed his schedule, this was a cause for worry in the community.

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Night activities

The Prophet used to divide his night into three segments
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For his family, sometimes for the community For his personal matters For worship

The Prophet was observed to halt his daily activities after sunset As a general principle, he did not like sleeping before the night prayer or talking after it He used to sleep during the early part of the night and wake up for worship during the later part

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Night activities

He is reported to have spent on average between 2/3 to 3/4 of each night in worship, remembrance, reflection, and supplication. This corresponds to a period of 4 to 7 hours each night, depending on the season.

He also likened his night stances to those of the Prophet David: “The best nightly prayer in God’s sight is that of David. He used to sleep during the early part of the night, then wake up and spend a third of the night in prayers and sleep a little again before dawn”

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Daytime activities

The Prophet prohibited his companions from sleeping after the morning prayer.
He used to stay at the mosque until sunrise and have group conversations with his companions.

Following the conversation with his companions, the Prophet would then spend time with his family and have a late breakfast with them.
His second meal for the day used to be the dinner.

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Daytime activities

Towards noon, he would take a nap and encourage others to do the same, as this would help them to stay awake at night for prayers
After the noon prayers came the time for community matters.

The afternoon prayer was followed by time for the family once again.

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Human biorhythm and activity changes

Researchers on human biorhythms tell us that multiple periodic biorhythms operate within the human body with different cycle times, changing from 90 minutes (ultradian) to daily (circadian), to longer than a day [Smolensky 2001].
As the human body operates with chemicals, hormones, and electrical signals, it needs to replenish these resources once in a while [Chafetz 1992]. One mechanism for achieving this is having a short break such as a nap [Rossi 1991, Mednick 2002] and another is to change one’s activity when feeling tired like praying 5 times a day as the Prophet used to do.

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Estimated time allowances for various activities in Prophet’s day

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Conclusion

The popular mental picture of the Prophet Muhammad in the non-Muslim world depicts a person who spent most of his time in the battlefield or enjoying the spoils of war. Nothing can be further from truth.
We learn that the Prophet spent most of his time engaged in worship, prayer, remembrance, and supplications. The next two most important activities in his life were community matters, including spreading God’s message and family matters. We also learn that the Prophet was a very punctual time keeper. He did not waste even the smallest amount of time