Company of Idle Folk
Ibn al-Jawzi (rahimahullaah) said in Sayd al-Khaatir (p. 240-241): I seek refuge with Allaah from the company of idle folk! I have seen many people who tried with me what is customary among many people of visiting a great deal and they call these frequent visits a kind of service; they want to sit with me and chat as people chat about what people are talking about, and what does not concern anyone, and what may be gheebah (backbiting).
This is what many people do nowadays, and the one who is visited may ask for that, or long for it, and feel lonely when no one visits him, especially when there is a celebration or on Eid. So you see them going to visit one another, and they don’t limit it to offering greetings and saying salaam, rather they add to that a great deal of what I call wasting time.
When I realized that time is the noblest thing, and that it should be spent in doing good, I hated that, and I had two choices with regard to them: if I tell them off, it will cause problems, and if I accept it from them I will be wasting time! So I began to avoid meeting people as much as I could, then if I did meet them I would try to keep the conversation brief so that I could leave quickly.
Then I prepared things that I could do to prevent talking to them when they met me, lest time be wasted. Some of the preparations that I made for meeting them were cutting paper for writing, sharpening pens and putting papers together to make notebooks, because these things are essential, but they do not need any thought or focus. So I kept them for the times of their visits so that none of my time would be wasted.
We ask Allaah to make us realize the preciousness of time and help us to make the most of it.
I have met many people who do not know the meaning of life. Allaah has made some of them independent of means because they have a great deal of wealth, so they sit in the marketplace for most of the day, watching people, and they may see a great deal of evil deeds and objectionable things.
Some of them focus on playing chess and some waste their time in talking about the rulers, or how expensive or cheap things are, and so on. I realized that Allaah does not guide anyone to understanding the preciousness of life and the value of time and health, except the one whom He inspires to make the most of it. “and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of happiness in the Hereafter, i.e., Paradise and of a high moral character)” [Fussilat 41:35].