“Every person should be aware of the importance and value of time. So that he wastes none and benefits from every moment [of his life] to draw nearer and closer to Allah. Start with the best of words (qawl) and actions (‘amat) then the lesser in virtue and so forth. The intention (niyya) to indulge in good deeds that he is capable of should be maintained and active all the time. Because an intention to do a good deed might be better than actually doing a good deed as reported in the hadlth, “The intention of the believer is better than his deed.” Many people from the righteous predecessors (salaf) were known to take advantage of their time and cautious about how to spend it. [The following are some examples illustrating the high level of appreciation that the righteous predecessors gave to time]:
It has been reported that a man once said to ‘Amir Ibn ‘Abdu’l- Qais: ‘Converse with me.’ ‘Amir replied: ‘[Only if you could] hold the sun’ [i.e. stop the time so that 1 talk with you].
The son of Thabit al-Banant narrated: ‘When my father was on his death bed I sat next to him to ensure his last words to be ‘There is no god worthy of worship except Allah.’ However, as I was about to do so, he interrupted me by saying, ‘O son, leave me alone for I am now busy doing my sixth portion of prayers (dhikr).’
When some people entered upon a dying person from the righteous predecessors they found him praying, so they blamed him [i.e. they admonished him from exhausting himself while he is on his death bed]. But he responded, ‘my book in which my deeds are recorded will be closed shortly’ [i.e. I would like to take advantage of my last moments to do more good deeds before I can no longer perform any more].
Book: Captured Thoughts | By al-Hāfiz Abū’l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzī | Translated and Published by Dār as-Sunnah Publishers | P. 93-94