Surveying through Islamic teachings, we find out that Islam pays special attention to leisure time and defines carefully principles and approaches for how to spend it optimally. Some of the most important principles derived from the Islamic teachings in that regard are as follows:
• Planning: Some people don't plan for their leisure time whereas religious teachings require us to seize the time. Taking the most out of leisure time requires careful planning. Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) advises Abu Dhar al-Ghifari to take advantage of five important things before they get lost:
"Take advantage of five things before five others come about: your youth before you get old, your health before you get ill, your well-being before you get poor, your leisure time before you get totally busy, and your lifetime before your death”, said Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.).
• Divine orientation: One of the most significant points in Islamic teachings to consider with regard to leisure time is that people are not allowed to do whatever they please in their free times; on the other hand, their leisure time need to be divinely oriented so that they are in line with the path of serving Allah and try to seek His satisfaction. Imam Sadjad (A.S.) in one of his prayers says:
"If you have ordained that we enjoy peace after we have done a job, make it a safe and sound one so that we may not any commit sin and not get harmed by it”.
Moreover, a commentary on the verse 77 of Al-Qassas Surah reads: "Use some of the wealth which Allah has bestowed on you for your Hereafter by spending it in charity. Do not forget your portion of worldly life …’ Imam Ali (A.S.) says: "Forget not your health, power, leisure, youth and vivacity and seek your Afterlife through them (these five great blessings)".
• Including work in leisure time: In a system based on religious values, working is revered as something sacred and the people living in such a society are not alien to assiduousness. In such a culture, leisure time does not mean being idle or wasting one’s time, but it means that one should spend all his time doing a purposeful activity. Proper leisure time in Quranic culture does not equal idleness and not doing anything. The Holy Quran says in this regard that:
"Therefore, when thou art free [from thine immediate task], still labor hard. And to thy Lord turn [all] thy attention."
Since the theme of “Being free” has not been stated in this holy verse and the word" labor" is used here to mean hard work, the verse seeks to articulate a general comprehensive principle which is to remind prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) as a role model for humanity not to get rest after doing an important task and to keep on trying hard. This verse emphasizes finishing one job and engaging oneself with another; thus generally advises anybody not to remain idle and never stop trying hard, but try to start a new activity as soon as you finish one.
• Avoiding limiting one’s leisure time to entertainment: Leisure time is not synonymous with entertainment and the ways defined for spending the time are not limited to entertainment only. A variety of ways have been recommended for people to spend their leisure time. In Islamic culture, leisure time is regarded as a part of one’s lifetime which bears a huge significance and should not be spent solely by entertainment but it should be planned for comprehensively and be spent in a variety of ways.