A beautiful dayArchive
THE third day of this last July necessitated a visit to Islamabad from my home station Abbottabad. I woke up a little after dawn and set out soon thereafter. It was a beautiful morning. On our way, we found whatever little of the countryside in Haripur is left, bathed in the daylight glory. We considered ourselves blessed as we saw the fields resplendent with ripening corn, cabbage, tomato and a variety of other vegetables.
Quite a few farmers looked engaged in their daily chores, weeding, steadying the water flow and putting up scarecrows to protect their labour of love from the scavenging birds. It was a scene cut out from a landscape described in one of Thomas Hardy’s many novels.
Sadly, the once vast Haripur countryside, fenced by beautiful grey and green hills, is fast disappearing under pressure from the weight of a burgeoning population and their concomitant worldly needs, if not outright avarice.
While thus lamenting our impending comeuppance for defying the laws of nature, we discussed how a substantial population in the cities was denying itself the immense blessings and benefits of the morning life. Ironically, these days it is considered fashionable to spend the night working and socialising, and then consuming a better part of the daytime sleeping till late afternoon.
Islam stresses the importance of morning time.
Morning time, like youth, is robust and bubbling with energy. We all know that in most developed countries of the world, the wheel of life in offices starts when morning is still young.
People in big numbers could be seen scampering to their workplaces as if they were in a race against time. Both in quality as well as in quantity, morning time is particularly productive as far as brainy work is concerned.
At one place in Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte’s great gothic classic, the narrator of the story Ellen advises her listener thus: “You should never lie till ten. There’s the very prime of the morning long gone before that time. A person who has not done one half of his day’s work by ten o’clock, runs a chance of leaving the other half undone.”
Written a little less than 200 years ago, the importance of these timeless lines cannot be overstated in our own peculiar situation where we find ourselves battling against the many evils of inefficiency, lethargy, indolence and neglect that have persistently let us down in our quest for development.
Efforts to enforce even a modicum of disciplinarian regime in our government offices have not borne any fruit. The introduction of biometric registration and attendance system too has not produced the desired results as delinquent officials have found ways to circumvent these technological checks on their movements.
The situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is particularly unsatisfactory where there exists a culture that sees government offices function as traditional guesthouses with guests coming in, staying put and then leaving not before ruining the better part of the day. A scientific and rational study of KP’s bureaucracy will unmistakably bring out this fact as one of the overriding factors responsible for the poor delivery of public services.
Islam lays immense emphasis on the importance of morning time in human life. The Holy Quran in chapter 25, ‘Al Furqan’, verse 47, says: “And it is He who made the night a garment for you, and sleep a rest, and made the day like a resurrection.” A detailed explanation of this verse translates into: and it is He Who makes the night a covering for you, and the sleep (as) repose, and makes the day Nushur (ie getting up and going about here and there for daily work, etc, after one’s sleep at night or like resurrection after one’s death).
Birds of all hues announce the beauty of the morning in their melodious voices, singing the praises of nature. In chapter 17, ‘Al Isra’, verse 78, God stresses upon human beings the value of the recital of His name at dawn most emphatically: “Establish worship at the going down of the sun until the dark of the night, and (the recital of) the Quran at dawn. Lo! (the recital of) the Quran at dawn is ever witnessed.”
How, by staying late in bed during the daytime, we deny ourselves a multitude of opportunities offered to us by nature for free. This realisation tugs at us more acutely in the mountainous areas where nature manifests itself most profoundly, but few of us prefer to behold it after having spent the night wandering around aimlessly in the noisy bazaars with our families in tow.
Our salvation, and that of our younger ones, indeed lies in benefiting from the infinite wonders of the morning time that we otherwise seem to be letting go to waste.
The writer is a freelance contributor.
Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2017