“Preserve your time! Your time in acquiring knowledge, so be a confederate of action and not a confederate of idleness and boastfulness, and a devotee to productivity and not to idle-play and idle-talk.
Preserve your time through serious exertion, adherence to study, being in the company of scholars and occupying yourself with knowledge by reading or being read to, researching, contemplating and memorizing, especially during the prime of your youth and in the early years of your life,
the source of your well-being.
Seize this precious opportunity (i.e. seeking knowledge in your youth) in order that you attain the highest levels in knowledge, for it is the “time of the heart’s composition, and the assembly of thoughts”
due to freedom from all that preoccupies and diverts [your heart and mind] through the responsibilities of life, and due to the lack of dependents.
“What does the breadwinner want with dependents;Beware of being overcome by procrastination;
For indeed only the single person strives to attain them.”
so do not procrastinate by saying to yourself ‘after I finish doing such-and-such,’
or, ‘I will do such and such after I retire from doing this task’
and so forth. Rather, you should hasten to it immediately
before the saying of Aboo at-Tahhan al-Qaynee applies to you (poetry):
“I was bent by the bending factors of time until
I became as if I was a hunter drawing nearer to the prey;
Taking short steps, that if anyone were to see me, would think,
That I am tied up, when I am not.”
And it was said (in poetry) by Usaamah ibn Muniqdh:
“And with the age of eighty, weakness caused mischief in my body,
And the weakness of my leg and the shivering of my hands upset me.
And if I were to write, my handwriting would be like that of a shaky person,
Like the writing of a shivering person with shivering hands;
And you will become amazed at my hand, too weak to carry a pen.
When it used to carry the spear to the lion’s throat;
So say to the one who wishes to live long:
This is the outcome of a long life.”
So if you hasten, then this is a witness from yourself that you carry “high aspirations in knowledge.”
From: The Etiquette of Seeking Knowledge, by Shaykh Bakr Aboo Zayd