“Muslim Standard Time” has become something of an accepted custom amongst Muslims – viewing it as acceptable to be late to appointments and other arrangements.
This is something that goes directly against the etiquettes of a Muslim, as it displays open disrespect towards those transgressed against, and also shows a lack of appreciation of the value of time. During the closing du‘ā’ of Rihla 2014, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf repeated thrice: “Oh Allah, protect us from wasting our time.”
Unfortunately, this has also become commonplace amongst students of knowledge and often scholars of religion. So let this be a reminder to us, one & all.
Being late is a form of stealing. When you make others wait for you, you rob minutes from them that they’ll never get back.
Being late is arrogant and shows an overestimation of ones worth. Being on time shows your respect for others.
Being late is essentially breaking a promise. Being on time shows others that you are a man of your word.
In the ﬁrst verse of Sūrat al—Mā’ida, Allah called upon the believers, O you who believe! Fulﬁl your promises (Quran, 5:1). Allah also praised Prophet Ismā‘īl, He was true to his promise, He was a Messenger and a Prophet (Quran, 19:54).
Keeping appointments is vital to our lives. Time is the most precious commodity. Once wasted, it can never be recovered. If you made an appointment, whether with a friend, colleague or for business, you should do your utmost to keep this appointment. This is the right of the other persons who, despite other commitments, favoured you with a part of their valuable time. If you do not come on time, not only have you disrupted their schedule but you have also marred your image and reputation. If your punctuality becomes poor, you will lose people’s respect. You should keep all your appointments whether they are with an important person, a close friend or a business colleague. You will then be responding to the call of Allah, And keep the promise; the promise is a responsibility (Quran, 17:34).
Never make a promise while intending not to keep it. This is forbidden as it falls within lying and hypocrisy. Bukhārī and Muslim narrated that the Prophet said,
“Three traits single out a hypocrite, even if he prays or fasts and claims to be Muslim:
If he speaks, he lies.
If he makes a promise, he does not keep it.
If he is entrusted, he betrays the trust.”
Source: Islamic Manners, by Shaykh Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah
One thought on “The Etiquette of Punctuality”
A very good reminder, thank you for posting and inshaAllah it reaches the masses. As Muslims we have to start attending events on time as well, and not adopt the attitude of “oh well, the class or event will not start on time so it doesn’t matter if we are late because we won’t miss anything”. I think event organisers also need to be more stricter and start on time. It always baffles me as to why an event is advertised to start at 7pm, yet doesn’t start till like 7:30 and 8pm. Logistically it ends up being difficult, especially for those who have travel long distances and are not able to stay for the full duration of the event.