The worldwide trend is to aim for increase in speed. Is this a good thing?
“Calmness and patient deliberation is from Allah and haste is from Satan.” (Tirmizi)
Our food is increasingly becoming instant and with that comes attendant health problems. A myriad of sicknesses find their root in the chemicals added into food to ensure faster production.
Communication is instant and with it the issues of a flood of hoaxes, unverified information and the like: “A person utters a word thoughtlessly (i.e., without thinking about its being good or not) and, as a result of this, he will fall down into the fire of Hell deeper than the distance between the east and the west.” (Bukhari)
Marketing is designed to tempt us make impulse buys and part with our money with such speed that we spend it before actually having gained it. Shopping is now the draw card for holidays overseas and billions are being invested in advertising and shopping malls:
“The most beloved places on Earth to Allah are its mosques, and the most despised places on Earth to Allah are its markets.” (Muslim)
So the default is to take ones time, weigh the pros and cons and deliberate before doing things, except in situations where Islam encourages being quick. Among these are:
Burial: The hadith singles out burial as an act which should be done as quickly as possible. “When anyone dies then do not hold him back, and hasten him to his grave.” (Tabrani)
Paying Debts: “Delay in payment on the part of a rich man is injustice/oppression.” (Bukhari)
The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam emphatically ordered a Sahaabi to pay his debt he owed to a Jew which in today’s terms amounted to a small sum of around R80.
Good Deeds: When the impulse to do a good act strikes, act on it as quickly as possible. The Quran uses words like “hasten”, “race” and “flee” in encouraging good deeds.