The Ummah Timer

Essay by
Nov 21, 2009 · 3 min read

Just a few days ago, Algeria and Egypt had a neck-to-neck competition to see who would qualify for the 2010 World Cup. Players were stoned, people were held hostage, and there was general pandemonium…over a soccer game.

What was most striking about this game was that these teams were both representing Muslim-majority Arab countries but yet, we saw so much enmity. Even putting all the hatred and enmity aside, it is amazing just to see the millions of Muslims that tuned in to watch the show. Shaykh Muhammad AlShareef once said in a Khutbah,

“When a Muslim nation plays in the World Cup, over three million Muslims from that one country tune in to television to watch the game. Multiply that by the duration of the match, and you have almost five million hours of the ummah’s time wasted on a football game, in one sweeping night.”

That’s only if it were three million people tuning in to watch the game. Take how many people watched the World Cup in 2006 and you will be amazed; according to FIFA, there were “715.1 million viewers” in the final match alone and a “cumulative TV audience of 26.29 billion”. Imagine 26,290,000,000 spending their time watching soccer!

Out of all these numbers, it would be safe to say that at least 1,000,000,000 Muslims tuned in at one point to watch the games (if not drastically more). Just with these numbers, and multiplying it by the duration of a match (same way as done before), that would mean one billion six hundred sixty-six million six hundred sixty-six thousand seven hundred hours of the Ummah wasted, and that is just on a single World Cup. Take that and imagine how much time we waste on television, Internet, parties, etc…

It helps to think of your time as Ummah time. So for every minute that you waste, you have wasted a minute of the Ummah Timer. Conversely however, for every minute that you do something beneficial, the Ummah has just benefited from another action. If we are to think of our time from this viewpoint, we would see that our time is very limited and that we need to contribute as much as possible can before our deaths to benefit the Ummah. You may not think you yourself will make a major difference (the same way people who vote think they make no difference in a national election), but if you do it right and hundreds of thousands of millions do it also, then this would make a paradigm shift for our Ummah.

There’s the butterfly effect in which the flap of a butterfly can cause tornadoes in Kansas (or so it goes). You are more than a butterfly; you are a human being that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) endowed with special talents. Go out and do something for the Ummah in your own unique way. Remember, it’s great to make grandiose long-term plans, but make sure to act on them daily and to inspire all those around you to do the same. In this way, the Ummah will regain the honor that it had sustained for many centuries past…

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10 Responses to "The Ummah Timer"

  1. Nahyan says:

    Niice, I like the point about Ummah Timer. Like wasting a minute of the Ummah’s time thing, good stuff bro.

  2. Arif Kabir says:

    @Nahyan thanks bro :)

    It was basically to get the feeling of urgency that you were discussing on your blog. Any tips on how to keep this sense ongoing instead of on spurts?

  3. asalaam o alykum

    thanks for the interesting facts, and jazakALlah for highlighting the significance of time for the Ummah.

    i like ur blogsite, will add to my blogroll and visit frequently inshaALalh.

    you are so right about all these matches ending up in enmity… have you heard of stray bullets that kill the innocent, or bassant(aka kite flying) which is a big disaster and a killer(yea literally a killer)

    i cant believe i wasted all my precious time on Arsenal football matches and Pakistani Cricket team’s 20 twenty series… have to change that inshaALalh.

    your article reminded me of what Sheikh Yasir Qadhi said,” if i ask you of the latest Bollywood updates, you would know alot but if i ask you about the life of the Holy Prophet PBUH, you would know very little; isnt it better to know about something that is beneficial to us?”

    take care salaam

  4. Nahyan says:

    Niice, I like the point about Ummah Timer. Like wasting a minute of the Ummah's time thing, good stuff bro.

  5. MR says:

    I don’t think it’s time wasted. Muslims have the freedom do be Muslim and also enjoy themselves with what is halal. Would you say participating in a Muslim Basketball league a waste of time? Why should Islamic schools have “recess” or summer break?

    World Cup brings communities together. There just needs to be balance. You can’t look at the extremist who act violent or go crazy. Your doing the same as FOX News who looks at the extremist Muslims as representative of all Muslims.

    There needs to be moderation and balance.

    You can do your work and watch the matches. You can even eat food and watch the matches. You can read books while you watch the match.

    It’s not wasted time, unless it wasn’t managed time. Unmanaged time is wasted time.


    • Arif Kabir says:


      I wouldn’t say participating in a basketball game is a waste of time because you are physically active. Schools have recesses and breaks so that the students can do something they enjoy instead of being asked/forced to do something else.

      With that being said, especially the last part, the question is what was the level of productivity or what was the intention behind what they were doing? If it was indeed, just an effort to bring communities together or to do something while eating, then khalaas, it seems fine. However, if you think about it, a game is 90 minutes, and there are 30+ games before the finals, so that’s over two thousand minutes, and I’m very sure that most of it is just spent glazing over the TV screen while not being productive.

      Your last statement is what I agree with, and that was the basic premise of the whole article; continued unmanaged time is a detriment to the Ummah. If someone can just watch the highlights of the match and do something more interesting for their chill period (while actually being productive), then that would be more ideal. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) was known to be fully chill at some points (just literally hanging out), but I’m sure those periods had their limits and didn’t extend to the long periods that we have today.

      Wa Alaikumus Salaam to you too bro.

  6. SumaiyahKhan says:

    so true. I loved the point about the ‘Ummah Timer’

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