all praise is due to allah, lord of all the worlds. peace and blessings be upon the messenger, his household and companions.
fellow muslims! fear allah whose knowledge and mercy encompass all things. thank him for the unseen and evident blessings he bestowed upon you. remember that he has promised the grateful that he would give him more and promised the ingrate that he would punish him severely.
allah endows his servants with many blessings as he says,
“and if you count the blessings of allah, never will you be able to count them. verily! man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer, a disbeliever (an extreme ingrate).”
in the midst of these abundant blessings are two favour's in which may people are deluded. the messenger of allah mentioned them when he said, “there are two blessings which many people lose: (they are) health and free time for doing righteous deeds.” (al-bukhaaree)
many are those whom allah blessed with hearing, seeing and power and youthfulness and yet they fail to use these blessings to seek allah’s pleasure and his abode of honour, and they fail to use them in what can bring about happiness in this world and the hereafter. they forgot that the bane of blessing is removal.
there are many healthy people who are later weighed down by diseases that lead them to early old age and prevent them from enjoying what they desire.
there are others who spent their youthful days in forbidden things and desires; they did not seek the pleasure of their lord or put forth good deeds by which they can attain happiness when they meet him. theirs is a loss upon loss and regret upon regret. this is because they wasted the opportunities provided for them.
brethren in faith! free time is also a blessing that allah bestows upon his servants. so if allah blesses someone with free time and he does not show the gratitude for this blessing through deeds that can elevate him, bring prosperity to his society or strengthen his nation but instead of that, spends it in fun and pastime and sinful words and deeds thereby wasting that precious time, such a person is in a serious and irrevocable loss. it is in the light of this that the prophetic admonition came thus, “seize the opportunity of five things before five things come to you: your life before your death, your health before your illness, your free time before your time of occupation, your youthfulness before your old age and your time of wealth before your time of poverty.”
one of the most beautiful and the most successful means of using free time is the habit of some wise people, who, during the end of session holidays, spend their time in things that benefit them physically and intellectually and in righteous deeds and in enjoying pleasant lawful things. they do not spend their holidays in keeping awake during nights engaging in gossips and rumours and spreading lies that lead to evil consequences, roaming about in market places causing disturbance and bothering believing men and women or watching useless and immoral satellite programs that are abhorrent to allah
to these righteous people, holidays are not an opportunity to sleep for most hours of the day and as a result stay away from congregational prayers or abandon useful activities or give free reign to indolence. rather, they regard holidays as reinforcement in competition in righteous deeds and to an opportunity to enjoy pleasant lawful things. this is because they understand the great responsibility of standing before the one who endowed them with these blessings on the day of resurrection. this is a responsibility that the prophet referred to in his saying, “the feet of man will not slip on the day of resurrection until he is asked of five things: of his life as to how he spent it; his youth as to how he used it; his wealth as to where he got it and how he spent it; and of his knowledge as to what he did with it.”
they also realise the greatness of the responsibility that is upon fathers, mothers and teachers as regards managing our youths’ free times, teaching them on how to use their time in the most fruitful way and making them the best youth ever evolved for mankind.
above all, they certainly realise that the path of gratitude that they take leads to more blessings. for, allah says,
“and (remember) when your lord proclaimed: "if you give thanks (by accepting faith and worshipping none but allah), i will give you more (of my blessings); but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily my punishment is indeed severe.” (ibraaheem 14:7)
the responsibility of parents towards their sons and daughters should not be neglected at any time. the messenger of allah said, “every one of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charges. the ruler who has authority over people, is a guardian and is responsible for them, a man is a guardian of his family and is responsible for them; a woman is a guardian of her husband's house and children and is responsible for them; a slave is a guardian of his master's property and is responsible for it; so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your charges.” (al-bukhaaree and muslim)
it is therefore incumbent upon every muslim who hears this prophetic declaration not to shirk his responsibility towards those who are under his guardianship. holiday is not an occasion for overlooking children’s behaviours under the excuse of allowing them to have fun. holiday should not be made a pretext to give children free rein to do whatever they like. it should rather be an avenue for giving them greater care.
in fact, during the holiday season the children need more of wise and judicious supervision and continuous follow-up. this is because; there are many dangers that are threatening our youth and they are more exposed to hazards.
dear brethren! fear allah and emulate the successful and righteous servants of allah follow their path in giving thanks to allah for his uncountable blessings on you. show gratitude to him in order to avert calamities and as a way of fulfilling your responsibilities to him, and always remember him.