Essay: Islamic Flextime
Posted: 9 Nov 2006 Last revised: 1 Jan 2015
Date Written: November 1, 2006
Islamic flextime is derived from a divine decree that convenience is the organizing principle of cosmic construction. Rigid temporal frameworks restrict freedom and may even impede human happiness, social harmony, and economic efficiency. This essay explains the foundation of Islamic temporality. Islam teaches that human beings can use temporality but they have no control over time, just as they can benefit from sunlight but cannot conquer the sun. A flexible notion of temporality facilitates the performance of obligations, without repudiating the core concepts of punctuality and time commitments. Islamic flextime is an accommodation principle that respects individual needs and mitigates personal hardships. The essay associates Islamic flextime with creative dreaming and inter-generational exegesis of divine texts. Creative dreaming is possible because the human mind can freely mix and match times and places to construct novel combinations. Inter-generational exegesis repudiates originalism rooted in fixed temporality and empowers each new generation to receive and interpret divine texts.
Keywords: flextime, Islam, Qur'an, temporality, accommodation
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