The Ummah Timer An Essay by

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…