THE LIFE OF THIS WORLD IS A TRANSIENT SHADE – Book Sample
Introduction – THE LIFE OF THIS WORLD IS A TRANSIENT SHADE
The All-Mighty Allah `The Exalted,’ says describing this world: “…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)
He has also warned mankind of the trial that children and possessions represent, saying: (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)
The All-Mighty Allah also forbids us to long for what he has bestowed on others:
(And strain not your eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to various groups of them [polytheists and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah], the splendour of the life of this world, that We may test them thereby…) (Qur’an 20:131)
There are many Qur’anic Verses, which dispraise the life of this world and invite mankind to exploit their efforts for the Hereafter. Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)
`Blessings and Peace be upon him’ said: “My similitude and that of the life of this world is that of a traveller who took a rest at mid-clay under a shade of a tree and then left it.” (Narrated by Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi Ibn Majah and Al-Haakim)
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) also urged the Muslims to prepare for death and to take provisions for the Hereafter, He said: “Be in this world like a stranger, or a wayfarer.” (Narrated by Bukhari)
Whenever we see the people pouncing for worldly legal and illegal benefits, we remember what the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “When the All-Mighty Allah gives a person whatever he loves of the worldly benefits despite
his disobedience, then that is a gradual enticement.”
(Narrated by Ahmad and Al-Bayhaqi)
Those who hold on to the false life of the world, yearning for material benefits may be distracted from obedience, worship and performing their religious duties on time and in a perfect manner.
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “The Hour (of Resurrection) has drawn near, whereas the people have become more greedy for the life of the world and more remote from Allah.” [Narrated by al-Haakim]
Collecting worldly benefits by legal means and spending them for legal ends is worship that brings a person close to Allah. But collecting them by illegal means or spending them for illegal ends leads only to Hell.
Yahya Ibn Mu’adh (radiyallahu anhu) `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 (radiyallahu anhu) 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-Basra was asked: “Who is going to cry more than the others on the Day of Resurrection?” He answered: “A man on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace and who uses that for Allah’s disobedience.”
No doubt, the one who uses his money in this life in Allah’s obedience: giving charity, contributing to the spread of Islamic knowledge, constructing mosques, is successful in directing this grace of Allah towards the right deeds that will definitely benefit him in the Hereafter.
Man, by nature, loves collecting money, gold and silver, running, for that purpose, here and there from birth to death, but what will he attain? And where is he going to finish?
Life will never continue on one pattern and is always changing, from richness to poverty, and from happiness to sorrow. This is Allah’s Way with His Creation, but the people are running after a mirage each for a known number of days and years that will expire.
A poet made an image about the life of this world saying that it is like a dead animal encircled by a number of dogs pulling, its parts each in a direction. If you avoid it, then you are safe, but if you decide to pull a part for yourself, the dogs will be your rivals.
`Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallahu anhu) said: “Renouncing the worldly pleasures is a comfort for both the human heart and body.”
Al-Hasan (radiyallahu anhu) said: “I know some people who do neither feel happy for obtaining any of the worldly pleasures, nor feel sorry for missing any of them.”
A believer should not regard the life of this world as a home and a dwelling, but should consider himself as a traveller in it. This is the good understanding and the fruitful knowledge.
Yahya Ibn Mu’adh (radiyallahu anhu) said: “How can’t 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.” Such are the people who should be happy because of the way they regard life, but not those who live in luxurious palaces, neglect worship and reject every deed of obedience.
`Abdullah Ibn `Umar (radiyallahu 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.”
O people! The arrows of death are pointed towards your chests, so keep your eyes on them. The trap of hope is set in front of you, so beware of it. The trials of the life of this world have encircled you, so avoid failure in them. Don’t be misled by your good condition because it will vanish.
Whoever thinks well of the outcome of this life, takes the precautions, and whoever is certain about the long way he has to travel, makes the preparation for that.
O people! We have spent a long time in the amusements of this life, and our sins have accumulated on each other.
Dear brother/sister, where is our place in comparison to these people?
Narrated Anas Ibn `Ayyad (radiyallahu anhu): I saw Safwan Ibn Salim, and had it been said to him: “Tomorrow is the Day of Resurrection, he would have not needed to perform an additional act of worship.”
How amazing our situation is… This life is leaving us and the Hereafter is coming towards us, but we keep ourselves busy with the one that is leaving and turn away from that which is coming, as if we are not going to arrive and settle therein.
`Umar Ibn Abdul `Aziz said in a sermon: “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 world 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 traveller who is residing nowhere and who is proceeding day and night to reach a country of residence.
The people are wrestling for the worldly pleasures, some loose their religion, others forget their children, hatred becomes common and rancour is sown between them.
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.”
To remind us of our destination, Bill Ibn Sa’ad said: “O people! You are not created so as to perish, but you will be shifted from one house to another, as you have been shifted from the back
bone to the mother’s womb and from there to life, then to graves, and from graves to Resurrection and in the end to eternity either in Paradise or in Hell.”
Al-Hasan said: “Beware of the diversions of this world, which are many. If a man opens a door for diversions, then that door may open ten others.”
Ibn As-Sammak said: “Whoever tastes the sweetness of the life in this world for his inclination towards it, will also taste the bitterness of the Hereafter for turning away from it.”
It is important to know that what Allah wills becomes a reality and what he does not will never take place. Be certain that good deeds are a grace from Allah for which you have to thank Him and invoke Him not to interrupt them, and that evil deeds are of his punishment, so you should pray to Him to protect you from them, and not to abandon you to yourself in respect of performing good deeds and avoiding evil ones.
Ibrahim Ibn Ad-ham was asked: “How are you?” He said: “We patch the life of this world by tearing from our religion, so neither our religion remains nor what we patch. Blessed is he who prefers Allah, his Rabb (Lord) and renounces the life of this world for what he expects as reward in the Hereafter.”
The signs of the love shown for the life of this world are: Love of its people, favoritism, flattery. Sufyan Ath-Thawri said: “Man’s love for the life of this world is shown in the way he greets people.”
Look at a chaste poor man… nobody talks to him. People greet him so warily as if fearing that he may pass poverty to them. But see how the people welcome a rich man, even if he does not perform prayer. They stand up with smiling faces, and each one hopes to greet him first. Note the difference between a man who is so great as seen by Allah and another who does not even weigh a mosquito’s wing – but this is life.
Abdullah Ibn `Aun said: “Those before us used to consecrate for the life of this world the surplus of their needs for the Hereafter, and you consecrate for the Hereafter the surplus of your needs in the life of this world.”
O brother/sister in Islam,
Life is very short, and the richest person therein is poor. You have to wake up from this long sleep and to renounce the love of this life. One day this life will have an end and the Hereafter will come forward. What is once remote will become so close. What you used to see in others, people will see in you, a sudden death – or even in your good health you may be taken from your bed to the grave. These are lessons following one another, but we are heedless and lost in error.
Abu Hazim said: “Whoever knows the life of this world feels neither happiness in prosperity nor sorrow in affliction.”
‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (radiyallahu anhu) said: “Whoever has the following six characteristics does all that is required to make him enter Paradise and avoid Hell: to know Allah (M) and obey him, to know Satan and disobey him, to know the truth and follow it, to know falsehood and avoid it, to know the life of this world and renounce it and to know the Hereafter and seek it.”
Ibn `Ayyad said: “Coming to this life is so easy whereas departing from it is so difficult. Death is a very critical moment during which the soul is uprooted. But even if leaving the life of this world is easy, earning for material pleasures and worldly benefits cause distraction, concern and restlessness.”
Be of the children of the Hereafter, and not of the children of this world. The child follows the mother, and the life of this world does not deserve moving a foot towards it, so why do you run after it?
If the people are satisfied with the life of this world, be satisfied with Allah. If they are happy with the life of this world, be happy with Allah. And if they like the company of heir lovers and friends, you should like the company of Allah. If they seek the friendship of their kings and leaders to obtain honour and prestige, you must seek the Friendship of Allah to obtain the true honour and prestige.
`Umar Ibn Abdul `Aziz said in a sermon: “Every journey requires provisions, so let piety be your provision in the journey from the life in this world to the Hereafter. Be like the one who saw the torment that Allah has prepared for him, in order that you may desire His reward and fear His torment. Let not the term be prolonged for you and your hearts be hardened, then submit to your enemy. The All-Mighty Allah has not extended hope for a man who (in the morning) is not certain to live till evening, and (in the evening) is not certain to live till morning. May be death is waiting for him between the two. The one who can rest assured is the one who is certain that he is saved from Allah’s torment and the horrors of the Day of Resurrection. I seek refuge in Allah from commanding you to do what I forbid myself to do lest I may lose my deal on a day when truth only avails.”
A poet said: “O you unmindful to death, deceived by vain hopes, you will leave this life within a short time. You desire to join the good people but without taking the required provisions. Don’t trust the life of this world and its decorations, because you will not stay here. Now you wait to see what will come tomorrow and after tomorrow, but hope may betray you. Your youth has gone forever, and you are now an old man with neither amusement nor argument. Why do we distract ourselves with the life of this world whereas it is offering the people many pleasures that hide serious diseases in them.”
Narrated Muhammad Ibn Abu `Imran: I heard a man asking Hatim Al-Asamm: “On what you have based your dependence
on Allah ()?” He said: “On four points: I knew that my sustenance cannot be eaten by someone else and I am assured, I knew that my duty can-not be done by anyone else, so I kept myself busy with that. I knew that death will come suddenly to me, so I prepared myself for it. I knew that wherever I go I am under Allah’s Eye, so I am always shy of Him.”
A poet said: “Those who travelled to many places allege that a stranger is always submissive even if he is honoured and respected.” I said to them: “If a stranger is a pious person, then wherever he settles himself he will be sublime.”
Abdullah Ibn Al-Mubarak said: “O man! Prepare yourself for the Hereafter, obey Allah to the extent of your need for Him and anger Him to the extent of your patience in Hell.”
O our Rabb! How far you are from imperfection, we disobey you with our ignorance and you forgive us with Your Mercy.
Al-Fudayl Ibn `Ayyad said about the believer in this world: “His only concern is to prepare as much as he can of the provisions that will benefit him when he returns home. He does neither compete with the people of the country where he is a stranger for prestige nor feels concern about submissiveness in their land.”
A poet said: “The life of this world is not lasting and will perish because it is as weak as the spider’s web.”
Wahib Ibn Al-Ward said: “Don’t insult Satan explicitly whereas you take him clandestinely as a friend.”
Satan, desires, and human self-inclination to evil join their efforts to turn the Muslim away from his religion by making evil deeds seem fair to him.
Life in this world is like a racetrack. People are competing: some of them on horseback, others on donkey back and others on foot, but the dust is too heavy to allow a distinction between them. When the dust settles then it becomes clear who is leading the race.
We are proceeding towards death. Every day our life-span decreases and our end comes closer. And we remain unmindful, neither attaching importance nor preparing for the Day of Judgement.
Salamah Ibn Dinar said: “If you are satisfied from the life of this world with what is sufficient for you, then the minimum is sufficient. But if you are not satisfied with what is sufficient, then nothing can satisfy you.”
By Allah, owners of great riches and wealth and poor needy people are equal in what they take from this life at their death: only a shroud. But they differ inside the grave which is either a garden from Paradise or a hole in Hell.
Aba Safwan Ar-Ru’winl was asked: “What is that life dispraised by Allah in the Qur’an and that the sensible man should avoid?” He said: “Whatever you love in this life seeking worldly benefits is dispraised, and whatever you love seeking benefits in the Hereafter is praised.”
`AII Ibn Abi Talib (radiyallahu anhu) said, describing the life in this world: “Its legal benefits will be subject to reckoning in the Hereafter and the illegal ones will lead to Hell.”
The All-Mighty Allah has revealed to Dawud [David (alaihis salam)] `May Peace be upon him,’ “O Dawud (alaihis salam)! Every day and night I look to the old man and say to him: “O my slave! You became old, of a weak body and soft bones, and you will soon return to Me, so be shy of Me, verily, I am shy of you.”
We race after worldly benefits. – We fear poverty and desire for collecting this life’s ruins as if we are going to have an eternal life in it. We fear poverty, but not the reckoning in the Hereafter. We fear hunger, but not Allah’s reproach and torment.
Yahya Ibn Mu’adh (radiyallahu anhu), said: “O how poor is man, if he fears Hell in the same degree of his fearing poverty, then he will enter Paradise.”
Al-Hasan Al-Basri said about our ancestors: “I swear by Him in whose Hand my life is, I lived among people for whom the life in this world was more contemptible than the earth on which they used to walk.”
A poet said: “We dispraise time though it is not guilty, and complain of it but in vain. Time is not to blame, this is what we have committed and we are punished for it. This is Allah’s Decree, and we have to be patient and submit to Him.”
Dear brother/sister in Islam,
Day and night are stages through which people pass until they come to their last journey. If, at any stage, you can send forward provisions, then do so, because soon the journey will end and the matter is so urgent. Prepare the provisions for your journey, because death may come suddenly.
A man wrote to a brother: “Brother, you think that you are a permanent resident in this life, whereas you are in a continuing journey in which you are driven rapidly. Death is moving towards you, and life is being rolled up behind you. What has gone of your life-span will never return to you.”
We proceed in the convoy of those who renounce worldly pleasures and see the caravans of the pious pass by, so how do we see the combination between life in this world and the Hereafter, between renunciation and satisfaction? `Ali Ibn Al- Fudayl said: “I heard my father saying to Ibn Al-Mubarak: You order us to renounce the worldly pleasures and to be satisfied
with the minimum, whereas you are buying goods, so what is that?” He said: “I do that to protect my face and my honour, and this helps me obey my Rabb.” My father said: “How good is that if realised.”
How good is the life in this world if its benefits are legally gained and legally spent. There are many ways to spend legally: give charity to orphans and widows, help needy people and rescue injured and sick ones.
Sufyan said: “Beware of Allah’s wrath in three matters: neglecting His commands, being unsatisfied with what He has decreed to you as sustenance and being angry with Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) in the event of unfulfilled desire of the worldly benefits.”
Livelihoods in this life are distributed by Allah, so you have to accept that without any objection, whether it is in big or small quantity, whether it remains or passes away. You must accept your share of the life of this world as it is decided by Allah, and compare yourself to none of those who are given better than you.
A poet said: “Whoever desires to live observing his religious duties and enjoying worldly pleasures, has to look to those above him as regards piety and to those below him as regards worldly benefits.”
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