Value Two Blessings
Nasir Jamal Attari Madani
The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said:
نِعْمَتَانِ مَغْبُوْنٌ فِیْھِمَاکَثِیْرٌمِّنَ النَّاسِ: الصِّحَّةُ وَالْـفَرَاغُ
“There are two blessings many people are in deception about; health and free time.”
Allah Almighty has blessed man with innumerable blessings. Hence, it is stated in the Quran:
وَ اِنْ تَعُدُّوْا نِعْمَتَ اللّٰهِ لَا تُحْصُوْهَاؕ-
“If you count the favours of Allah, you will therefore not be able to count ˹them˺.”
We are incapable of truly thanking Allah Almighty for each of His innumerable bounties. Yet, despite this shortcoming, our Merciful and Compassionate Lord continues to favour us with His unbound generosity and kindness. The noble Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم mentioned two blessings which people typically overlook. They do not recognise their true value and fail to take advantage of them for a better life and Hereafter. Health refers to the body being in a strong and sound condition, and free time is to be free from the worries of the world. Here is a summary of the explanations that the commentators of Hadith have provided for this narration.
1. It is clear from the hadith that people do not value good health and free time. Only when good health makes way for sickness and free time all but vanishes, do we realise the value of those two blessings. Although we may feel remorse, that will not bring back the blessings which we disregarded. The hadith compares free time and health with wealth, as both are sources of benefit. Using free time and health to serve Allah Almighty will surely benefit you. Whereas using these blessings to disobey Allah Almighty and beckon Satan’s call incurs nothing but loss. The significance of these two blessings is also clear from another narration. The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, “Take advantage of five before five: Life before death; free time before busyness; wealth before poverty; youth before old age, and health before sickness.”
This is how Man is Deceived
There are healthy people who have time for virtuous deeds, but fall prey to indolence and forgo these precious opportunities, vindicating themselves with excuses: “I will do it later, I am young; I have my whole life ahead of me. These are things to do when we reach old age.” Like this, they prolong their hopes and fall into the trap of laziness and procrastination, wasting their precious time and days of health. Someone once asked a hakim to prescribe something to make him fall asleep during the day. The hakim replied, “You are extremely foolish! You already spend half your life sleeping. Whereas sleep is another name for death, and now you wish to spend three quarters of your life sleeping and only one quarter living?” The man asked, “How is that?” The hakim explained, “For example, if you are 40 years of age, you will be awake for 20 years and now you wish to reduce it to 10 years.” In other words, if he sleeps during the day too, another 10 years will be reduced, leaving him with only 10 years to prepare for the Hereafter.
There is a lesson in this incident especially for those who spend most of their days and nights sleeping or lying-in like the sick. Such folks are oblivious to their duties, the daily prayers, and the rights of their family members. Unnecessarily sleeping for long periods of time is a bad habit which not only wastes time but causes humiliation in this world and the Hereafter. The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, “˹Prophet˺ Sulaymān’s mother said to him My son! Do not sleep too much at night, for sleeping excessively at night will leave a man poor on the Day of Judgement.’”
Understand the Importance of Health
The sick are excused from many civil and religious duties. A healthy individual, however, can use his strength to serve society. He can aid the oppressed and help the needy. Illness may distract a person from others’ needs, but health keeps us alert and active. Illness deprives us of consuming blessings, but a healthy person can enjoy those blessings. Someone who is ill cannot perform the worship of Allah Almighty like someone who is healthy. Allah Almighty has given you the blessing of health, so take advantage of it and refrain from committing sins and encourage others to do the same. Make virtuous deeds a lifestyle choice, a part of who you are, not irregular acts.
From the words of the wisest of all creation, the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, we come to know that wisdom lies in understanding the importance and value of health and free time, protecting these two bounties, and benefiting from them in this world and the Hereafter.
 Bukhari, vol. 4, p. 222, Hadith 6412
 Kanz-ul-Irfan (translation of Quran)] (Part 13, Surah Ibrahim, verse. 34)
 Sharh Al-Masabih Ibn Malik, vol. 5, p. 381, Hadith 3997
 Fayez Al-Qadeer, vol. 6, p. 375, Hadith 9280
 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, vol. 8, p. 127, Hadith 18
 Qoot Al-Quloob, vol. 1, p. 206
 Ibn Majah, vol. 2, p. 125, Hadith 1332