Time: who owns its property rights? 


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Time: who owns its property rights?

by Shakeel Ahmad

Time is just Allah's way of keeping everything from happening at once!

PART-1: Who owns the property rights for Time?

Well, in high tech language, we could ask this way: who owns the intellectual property rights, for TIME? 

Any doubts about who owns the property rights? 

We do hear people say, “I don’t have time, now”, or “sorry, you do it because you have plenty of time”, or “my good wishes are with you, I will spend time when I am free from my current assignments”. And so on. 

I wonder how could one say, “I don’t have time, now” as if one will be able to have it, later? As if ownership rights will be transferred to him some day! 

I don’t as yet doubt the sanity of a person who says, “Sorry, you do it because you have time”, as if I own the treasure chest containing “time”! But, some day, I might! 

I might? Vow!

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We spend time without owning either the property rights, proprietary rights or the intellectual property rights for it. 

Well, possibly, we waste more of it than we spend! Whether we claim to be busy or not, the fact remains the same if we genuinely seek the truth. 

We waste more than we spend, we abuse more than we use, we “don’t have” more than we “have”, we dishonour more than we honour (our commitment with respect to an appointment/ a meeting)

Is it because we don’t own it?

Do we do the same thing with our properties – things that we think we own, like money, for example? So, our treatment with time is this because we think its ownership is with some other entity? 

Who said, “Time is money”? Must have been an idiot!

Well, for some, time indeed means money, because they are able to churn out dollars and dimes for every minute if not for every second. 

For them, time is like a leased asset that yields wealth. Is there any other leased item for which there is no rental being charged by its rightful owner? They are sure it may not remain FREE for ever, so they make the best use for this superb opportunity to create wealth out of it. 

From something they don’t own they are able to create something they think they own (wealth in its various glittering forms). 

They don’t pay the lease rental for time, nor the copyright fees, nor any royalty, because 

(a) They don’t know how much to pay.

(b) They don’t know whom to pay. 

a. Are they ignorant?

b. Are they naïve?

c. Are they acting ignorant or naïve? 

(c) They know how much and whom to pay, but don’t know how to.
(d) They know how much and whom to pay, but don’t want to pay as long as they are not forced to. 

Imagine you invested (leased out) your money in a partnership business, with expectation that there will be returns from this investment, but once your partner started creating wealth out of it, he refused to pay you your share. 

How would he possibly be forced to pay?

a. Physical force – erect barriers on their way
b. Psychological force – make them think they don’t have time any more (the resource is completely consumed and none of it exists any more)
c. Penalise them for every default. The choice here is to impose the penalty either immediately or it could be a deferred penalty (when? In the hereafter?).
d. What about compensation claims for all the past defaults?
e. What about compensation claims for all the mental agony the rightful owner might have gone through?
f. What about the opportunity cost of this capital? Had the rightful owner invested this asset (time) somewhere else (where he would not be cheated), he might have multiplied it several times over.
(e) They are sure there is no payment required, as it is FREE. No obligations at all. Where is the time even to think about any obligations!

Well, what about those of us who neither spend nor use time (money: time is money) but sit over it because we know it’s FREE, and we are sure it’s never going to exhaust? We are better off! Even if we considered it not to be FREE, we know we didn’t use the asset, so we don’t need to pay any lease rentals. Why should we? Well!

Like I rented a flat for a year but didn’t use it even for a second. So, why should I pay the rental? 

Intellectuals among us know pretty well nothing in the market comes free (there are no free lunches in the market). Are there no exceptions? What about things like water, air, sunshine, views? 

Well, we do pay for water in Dubai (for consumption as well as for drainage) … sh sh sh sh … don’t give the authorities idea about charging for air, sunshine, views! 

Well, we do pay higher rents for accommodation with better views and for areas where there is more air to breathe or more sunshine (moon light), etc. And, of course, through taxes, they may already be charging us a premium! But, is the rightful owner getting any share from these charges (rental) arising from use by us?
Who is the rightful owner of such "free goods" abundantly available? This is one question that has been skipped until now. Do I know the answer? I would be boasting if I said I knew the answer. 

I would be lying if I said I do not know the answer!
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "Allah said, 'The son of Adam hurts me for he abuses time though I am time: in My Hands are all things, and I cause the revolution of day and night.' (Sahih Bukhari, Book #60, Hadith #351)

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... PART-2: Should we pay for Time, used or unused?