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Procrastination (postponement)

In The Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Merciful.

His Eminence, Sayyed Ali Fadlullah, delivered in the context of the Friday Talk, a religious speech on Shaban 3,1441 H. /March 27, 2020.. Following is an edited textof his talk:

  Allah, the Most Exalted says in His Glorious Book: “And the intoxication of death will bring the truth; that is what you were trying to avoid * and the Horn will be blown. That is the Day of [carrying out] the threat * and every soul will come, with it a driver and a witness * [It will be said], ‘You were certainly in unmindfulness of this, and We have removed from you your cover, so your sight, this Day, is sharp.’” [50; 19-22]

Allah, The Most Exalted, Speaks the Truth.

In these Ayahs, Allah warns us from getting sick with a spiritual and moral illness: Procrastination, which is stalling and delaying performing deeds and duties, is a behavior that might be demonstrated in man’s dealing with himself or others.   It occurs when he does not hasten to perform his duties in fulfilling its spiritual physical and moral needs or towards his family when he does not attend to its needs, ortowards the ones he is responsible for.

Nevertheless, suchan attitude is even more significant when man delays the performance of the duties God commanded him to do. And then he would leave this life without preparing himself to stand before Allah  which will make himaskGod for a second  chance :[For such is the state of the disbelievers], until, when death comes to one of them, he says, ‘My Lord, send me back That I might do righteousness in that which I left behind’” [23; 99-100].That is why man was called to hasten to perform his duties, for tomorrow is not guaranteed. Allah says:“And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous”[3; 133]and“They who are apprehensive from fear of their Lord* and they who believe in the signs of their Lord *and they who do not associate anything with their Lord* and they who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord -It is those who hasten to good deeds, and they outstrip [others] therein”[23; 57-61].

And this is what The Prophet (p) advised Abu Zarr: “Oh Abu Zarr! Beware of Procrastination for you are (in) today and not (in) tomorrow. If there is a tomorrow for you, be tomorrow as you are today. If there is not a tomorrow for you, you will grievously regret the opportunity you missed today”.Imam Ali (a.s.) advised his companionsnot to say tomorrow or the day after, for those before them perishedbecause they used to stall and delay until death came out of a sudden …

 Dear lovedones: Themotives to delay lie deep in the humansoul.One of them is the hope that one will live a long life, and that the end will not come. Thus, He does not feel any need to hurry to perform his duties towards God and people. This feeling is what made The Commander of the Faithful say, having explained  that hope in a long life  makes one forget the Hereafter  : “Work for a Better Life as if you live forever. And work for Better End as if you die tomorrow”.

Another cause for delay is Allah’s promise for forgiveness, which leads many to commit sins, believing that they will repent later and Allah would then accept their repentance.  Whoever thinks in this way is shortsighted: It, firstly, belittles Allah, Who has actually legalizedrepenting.

It is when people commit sins unknowingly that Allah will forgive them .But when one is aware that he is delaying his duties yet he intentionallypersists, then this is an attempt to “outwit”Allah Who, as Imam Ali (a.s.) says,“cannot be deceived about His paradise”.

 Depending on repenting at some time in the future is simply  shortsightedness;    Who  in the world  is certain that he will live more than the moment he is living in ?This is impossible . And since he cannot, how can he bet that he will repent?

Moreover, delaying is one of the tools of Satan He is its source and initiator.  He also has studied the situation well. He knows that some people will not respond to him if he calls on them to deviate immediately. Thus, he asks them not to to be strictly committed to performing all religious deeds or doing good deeds. Then they will gradually deviate. Satan would tell those who want to perform pilgrimage, for example: that they are still young and that they can go in the following years …etc. He would also tell who wishes to sin: go ahead for you can always repent…

 By such means, Satan would ensure that he would change the relation between you and Allah, in a way that He would not remain your first priority. In this respect, it is regretful that Allah returns to our priority only in wars, illnesses and the like. However, when all is going well, we tend to forget and delay and we will soon find ourselves in a different place.

Delaying or stalling is one of the weapons of Satan. Keep this in mind. And whenever you feel that you are about to delay something, you ought to take refuge in Allah from Satan. And make sure that all your records are up to the level that Allah expects on the Day of Judgment, for Allah will not accept false excuses. What disgrace we will find ourselves in, when we come to Him without having performed righteous deeds orwe were sinful:

And help me to cry for myself for I have wasted my life awaywith procrastination and false hopes.And now I have come to You hopeless of my goodness. Who is more worse off than me,if now I am passed on in my present state to a grave that I have neither paved for my long staynor furnished with righteous deed for my extended abode” asImam zainalabedeen (a.s) said.

It is all in our hands .It is enough to stop saying that we will  give in charityor give people their rights or enjoin good…. Later.

This “later” should be removed from our dictionary. We are commanded by Allah to work beforewe become regretful.“And spend [in the way of Allah] from what We have provided you before death approaches one of you and he says, "My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous” [63; 10].

His Eminence, Sayyed Ali Fadlullah issued on  Shaban 3, 1441 H. /March 27, 2020 a press release in the context of his regular Friday talk. Following   are the main points he touched upon:

The Sayyed began by stressing on the need for patience in this difficult stage, and called for taking Prophet Ayoub as…more