By Abdul Malik Al-Qasim
“Truly, the life of this world is nothing but a [quick passing] enjoyment, and verily, the Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever.” [Qur’an, 40:39]
“And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial and that surely with Allah is a mighty reward.” [Qur’an 8:28]
“And strain not your eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to various groups of them [polytheists], the splendour of the life in this world, that We may test them thereby.” [Qur’an 20:131]
“And put forward to them the example of the life of this world: It is like the water [rain] which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it, and becomes fresh and green. But [later] it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds scatter. And Allah is Able to do everything.” [Qur’an 18:45]
“My similitude and that of the life of this world is that of a traveller who took a rest at mid-day under a shade of a tree and then left it.” [Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and al-Hakim]
“Be in this world like a stranger, or a wayfarer.” [Bukhari]
“When Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’ala ) gives a person whatever he loves of the worldly benefits despite his disobedience, then that is a gradual enticement.” [Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi]
“The Hour has drawn near, whereas the people have become more greedy for the life of the world and more remote from Allah.” [Al-Hakim]
Yahya ibn Mu’adh, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I don’t order you to abandon life but to abandon sins. Abandoning life is a virtue and abandoning sins is a duty, so your need for this latter is greater than your need for the former.”
This life is full of benefits and fortunes: The land on which man constructs his dwelling, and grows his food, drinks, dress... etc., all represents the nourishment for man’s body and soul proceeding towards Allah.
Man of course cannot do without these vital necessities. The one who takes from these necessities only according to his real need as commanded by Allah is saved and praised. But whoever takes more than necessary for himself falls into covetousness which will lead him into harm instead of benefit, and consequently divert him from the right path towards Allah and the Hereafter.
Likewise, taking less than required of the worldly benefits is harmful because the human body needs to satisfy certain basic needs, and that will increase its capability to worship Allah perfectly.
‘Amr ibn Abdullah said: “The life of this world and the Hereafter, in the heart of a person, are like the two scales of a balance, when the one becomes heavier the other becomes lighter.”
Al-Hasan al-Basri was asked: “Who is going to cry more than the others on the Day of Resurrection?” He answered, “A man on whom Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has bestowed His Grace and who uses that for Allah’s disobedience.”
‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said: “Renouncing the worldly pleasures is a comfort for both the human heart and body.”
Yahya ibn Mu’adh said: “How can I love this life? A sustenance is decreed for me in it which keeps me alive and helps me to perform the deeds of obedience that will lead me to Paradise.”
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, radhiallahu ‘anhu, said: “The life of this world is Paradise for a disbeliever and a prison for a believer. When a believer dies and departs from this world, he feels himself like a prisoner who was released to go freely on the spacious earth.”
‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz said: “The life of this world is not your permanent dwelling because Allah has decreed that it should perish and that all its dwellers should leave it. How many a populated area that will soon come to ruins, and how many a happy resident who will soon leave his residence. You should therefore leave this wolrd in the best way you can, and the best of provisions is piety.
“Since the life of this world is neither a home nor an abode for the believer, he should be in it, either a stranger whose objective is to take the required provisions and return home, or a traveler who is residing nowhere and who is proceeding day and night to reach a country of residence.”
A poet said: “Man should take the minimum possible of the worldly pleasures, because he is leaving for a fixed appointment; turn his eyes away from this life and its ornaments, make all the efforts to keep away from its lusts, because it is a place of temporary pleasures and trials, and all the people in it will perish.”
Friday, 20 June, 2008