In everyday life, people make time for any number of things. Even if they have to make other sacrifices, they will always manage to set aside time, especially when their own benefit is at stake. Moreover, if their circumstances prevent them from carrying out an advantageous task, they are quick to think about the situation and find ways of removing the obstacle. However, people usually do not show the same determination when it comes to observing their acts of worship.
You often meet people around you who present such excuses as, “I want to pray but I can’t find the time,” “I’m at school and I can’t make time for prayers because I have to study,” or “This is my summer house, I can’t fast here.” In the same way, you can also see lots of people who excuse their bad behavior by saying, “I want to be a patient person, but everything happens at once,” or “I don’t want to get angry but I’m in a very stressful environment.”
In reality these people are not approaching the religion of Allah with sincerity because, as we have said before, they are capable of ignoring the time and their circumstances and coming up with all kinds of solutions when they stand to make a material gain, but when the matter in question is the need for them to fulfill their responsibility to Allah, Who created them, they start complaining about difficulties right away.
They deceive themselves by saying, “I do not have time,” “I am very busy,” “I have work I need to finish,” “I have plans for the future” or “I will do it later.”
Let us give a more concrete example to make this easier to understand. If someone receives an offer to set aside one hour a day for a job that pays a lot of money (let us say ten times his monthly salary), then whatever circumstances he is in, he accepts immediately. This person may be preparing for his university examinations or he may have another very important job to do at the same time. Whatever he may be doing, if necessary he sacrifices his sleep or cuts down on his leisure time but he does not put forward lack of time as a problem. Right away he rearranges his entire schedule to fit in with the well-paid work which has to be done. This is an undeniable truth that applies to most people.
If the person does not show the same determination in earning Allah’s approval, this is insincerity and lack of conscience. Above all, the return a person will receive for his prayers is Paradise and the eternal mercy of Allah, a reward that cannot be compared with a few extra dollars received for a job of work.
However, most people are bewitched by the property and money they are striving to acquire, the credit cards they carry, the dollars they save and the houses, cars and fine clothes they enjoy, and they direct themselves to worldly pursuits, setting their religion aside and forgetting about the Hereafter.
They deceive themselves by saying, “I do not have time,” “I am very busy,” “I have work I need to finish,” “I have plans for the future,” or “I will do it later,” instead of devoting themselves to the worship which will gain a reward for them in the Hereafter.
They do not live according to the superior morality Allah teaches, they do not pray, nor do they fast. They do not give to the needy from the things Allah has given them and they waste their lives in the pursuit of worldly gain.
People who deceive themselves in the belief that the excuses they make will be accepted, and so either do not pursue their worship or put it off, are told what they will meet with in the Hereafter in the following terms:
That Day man will be told what he did and failed to do. In fact, man will be clear proof against himself in spite of any excuses he might offer. (Al-Qiyamah 75:13-15)
So be careful. Do not deceive yourself like these people by making excuses in this world that will be meaningless in the Hereafter. As we are told in the above verses, whatever excuses you make, you really have an intelligence that is capable of understanding that they are not acceptable. If you pursue the desires of the self, you will account for this to Allah, our Lord. No work which you have to do is more urgent or more important than this because your eternal salvation is possible only through Allah’s mercy.