Many Muslim theologians in their discussions on the Problem of Evil have argued that existence in the material realm and the systems that govern it are the best possible systems (al-niẓām al-aḥsan) that could have been created and that they enjoy excessive good (ziyādah al-khayr) as opposed to excessive evil. Thereafter, Allah (swt) based on His infinite Love and Beneficence certainly [55:3] created man [95:4] in the best of forms, so that He [18:7] may test them to see which of them is best in conduct.
Our lives are a journey where we are meant to improve day by day, working towards nurturing our best possible selves. In order to do so, we must refrain from anything that distances us away from that which is better for us and we ought to remain subservient to the Lordship of Allah (swt), subscribing to the path He (swt) has ordained for us – [3:19] Indeed, with Allah religion is submission (Islam). One of the prerequisites for self-improvement is to be able to manage our time and to have discipline. One of the greatest tragedies afflicting us in our lives is the loss of time, particularly when caused by lack of discipline and a failure to organize ourselves. This issue afflicts not just the young, but as well as the elders – males and females.
Imam ‘Alī (a) in one of his letters1 advises his children to fear Allah (swt) and to keep their affairs in a naẓm. When the beads of a rosary are tied together with a string, this act is called naẓm – you give the beads an order, as you count the beads you expect there to be one bead after another, you know how many there are in total, and you know how many times you are meant to recite any given dhikr. Naẓm is the opposite of being disorderly and all over the place.
The journey towards nurturing our best possible selves requires us to contemplate over our day to day affairs, make changes to our lifestyle, repent and learn from our past sins and mistakes, increase the amount of good we do, decrease our bad behaviour towards others, and so on. This can only be done effectively when we have discipline in our lives and are able to manage our time appropriately. In the limited lifespan we have, failure to make any improvement on a daily basis is nothing but a loss. Imam Ṣādiq (a) has said, one whose two days are equal has been deceived, one who does not see any improvement in themselves during the course of the day is at loss, and one who is at loss then death is better for them than life.2
Featured image: House of Mullā Ṣadrā (1572 – 1640) in the village of Kahak taken in March of 2013.
Sayyid Ali studied in the seminary of Qom from 2012 to 2021, while also concurrently obtaining a M.A in Islamic Studies from the Islamic College of London in 2018. In the seminary he engaged in the study of legal theory, jurisprudence and philosophy, eventually attending the advanced kharij of Usul and Fiqh in 2018. He is currently completing his Masters of Education at the University of Toronto and is the head of a private faith-based school in Toronto, as well as an instructor at the Mizan Institute and Mufid Seminary.