The reality of the world

  • بَلْ تُؤْثِرُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا   (But you prefer the worldly life Surah 87, Verse 16) وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَى   (While the Hereafter is much better and much more durable  Surah 87, Verse 17)
  • Abu Darda (RA) narrates from the Prophet (ﷺ):  If you knew what I know, you would leave your homes and go out into the jungle seeking refuge and crying upon yourselves.  You would have left your wealth behind without anyone to protect it.  You would never return back to it, except what is necessary for you from it.  Hopes and fancies have swayed you and concealed from your heart the remembrance of the Hereafter.  The dunya has become a king of your deeds, dictating what you do, and you have become like those who have no knowledge.  Some of you have become more evil than the animals, the ones that don’t leave their desires and have no fear of where their actions lead them.  What is with you that you do not love nor advise each other despite being brothers in the religion of Allah?  This is because of love of the dunya.  If you were united upon righteousness, then you would love each other.  You consulate in the matters of the dunya, but you don’t seek consultation in the matters of the Hereafter.  Nor do you assist him in the matters of his Hereafter.  All of this is because of less iman in your heart.  If you had full faith of the good and evil of the Hereafter as you do in the matters of the dunya, you would give preference to seeking the Hereafter because it is more controlling over your affairs.  If you say that the love of the dunya has overpowered you, then I say that I see you put yourself through difficulty but there is a possibility you might not attain it.  If you are in doubt about anything the Prophet (ﷺ) brought, come to us and we will show you the light by which your hearts will become content.  By Allah, it is not that you are deficient in understanding. In your matters of the world, you go out and seek the right opinions.  What is with you that you become happy with the little you attain from the world and saddened by the little that you lose/miss from the world?  The sadness is to such an extent that the effects of it are clearly apparent in your faces and expressed by your tongue.  You call them difficulties.  The majority of you have left major parts of your religion, but that does not show on your faces nor does your state change.  When you meet each other, you greet each other with a smile only because you fear if you greet him in any other way, then he will greet you in a way you don’t like.  You are in deception and you adhere to your hopes and fancies.  I wish that Allah SWT take me away from you and I join those that I love to see, the Prophet (ﷺ). If the Prophet (ﷺ) was alive, He (ﷺ) would never be patient upon your actions.  If there is any good in you, I have already mentioned it to you.  If you seek what is with Allah, you will find it easy.  I seek the assistance of Allah upon myself and upon you.
    • Abu Darda was famous for his zuhd (asceticism)
    • Even if we have knowledge, we become like those who don’t because the dunya dictates what we do
    • Abu Darda is saying if we truly loved Allah, we wouldn’t love the dunya in the way he sees his companions loving it (he is saying this at the time of the tabi’un, which is the best generation after the sahaaba)
    • We need to only be united on Allah and His Messenger.  Unity does not mean that we have to have uniformity amongst ourselves. The love of Allah and His messenger will bring mutual love.  The love of the dunya prevents this mutual love
    • People are not accepting of good counsel, and are also afraid to give it (due to love of the world)
    • We are aware of what is harmful in the world and we avoid it (e.g. not placing our finger in an electrical socket).  If we have the same level of understanding of what is harmful for our hereafter, we would stay away from it and that would suffice us
  • We forget to remember the hereafter and our death because of our hopes and aspirations of the dunya
  • We should remember death a minimum of twenty times each day
  • We can send the reward for deeds to those who have passed, e.g. reciting Quran with the intention of the reward being for those who have passed away
    • The reward for reciting Surah Ikhlas (Surah #112) three times, or reciting Surah Kafiroon (Surah #109) four times, or reciting Surah Al-Zalzala (Surah #99) twice is the completion of the Quran
    • The Prophet (ﷺ) taught:  The dead wait for somebody to send them some deeds because they themselves cannot do anything.  The angels come before them and present the deeds people sent in platters of gold and silver.  The angels say, such a such person has sent this reward for you
  • Isa (AHS) said:  O my disciples, be happy with less in the world as long as your religion is intact, just as the people of the world are content with little of the religion as long as their worldly affairs are  intact
  • A poet said:  I see men that are content with a little amount of religion, but they are not content with a little amount of the world.  Be content with religion and independent of the world, just like kings are content with the world and independent of religion
  • Isa (AHS) said:  O seeker of the world, become righteous and the world will leave you alone and you will be content
  • The Prophet (ﷺ) said:  The dunya will come after me and eat your iman the same way fire eats dry firewood
  • Allah sent revelation to Musa (AHS):  Do not lean towards the love of the world. A person doesn’t come to Me with a greater sin than the love of the world
  • Musa (AHS) passed by a man who was crying.  He returned and found him still crying.  Musa (AHS) then said, “O Allah, Your servant is crying because he fears You.”  Allah SWT replied, “O son of Imran, even if his brain flowed out with his tears and he kept his hands raised until they became paralyzed, I will not forgive him as long as he loves the world.”
  • Ali (RA) narrates: A person who has the following six qualities will attain paradise and be saved from the fire of Jahannam.  (1)  He recognizes Allah and obeys Him  (2)  He recognizes shaytan and disobeys him  (3)  He recognizes the truth and follows it   (4)  He recognizes something as being wrong and saves himself from it  (5) He recognizes the dunya and leaves it  ( 6) He recognizes the hereafter and seeks it
  • Luqman (AHS) said, “O my son.  This world is a very deep ocean.  Many people have drowned in it, so you should have a ship that is built upon taqwa (fear) of Allah SWT.  The padding inside the ship should be iman (belief) on Allah SWT and the sails should be tawakkul (reliance) upon Allah SWT.  Maybe you might save yourselves, but I don’t see you saving yourselves
    • According to some scholars, Luqman (AHS) was offered prophet hood.  He said no to it because: If Allah SWT gives it to me on His own accord, then He will also give me the wisdom and the ability to fulfill the duty.  But if I have been asked to become a prophet and I say yes, then I have asked for it on my own accord
    • يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ ادْخُلُواْ فِي السِّلْمِ كَآفَّةً  (O you who believe, enter Islam completely  Part of Surah 2, Verse 208)
    • For iman our submission has to be complete, even though our actions may not be complete.  Complete submission means believing everything in the Quran and the Sunnah and not picking and choosing what we want to believe in
    • If we do an action that is specified as a sin in the Quran, we cannot think of it as being permissible.  Doing so would be an act of kufr because we would be denying what is said in the Quran.  If we do something wrong, we should think of it to be wrong.  We should not try to justify our wrong actions as right
    • قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا  (The Bedouins say, “We have come to believe.” Say, “You have not come to believe; instead, you (should) say, ‘We have surrendered  Surah 49, Verse 14)
      • Tawheed is the belief in the oneness of Allah
      • Islam is a verbal submission
      • Iman is a submission of the heart.  Iman comes from doing actions in line with tawheed
  • إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا مَا عَلَى الْأَرْضِ زِينَةً لَّهَا لِنَبْلُوَهُمْ أَيُّهُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا   (Surely, We have made what is on earth an adornment for it, so that We test them as to who among them is better in deeds  Surah 18, Verse 7)   وَإِنَّا لَجَاعِلُونَ مَا عَلَيْهَا صَعِيدًا جُرُزًا  (And surely, We are going to turn whatever is thereon into a barren land  Surah 18, Verse 8)
    • Fudayl (RA) spent much time pondering on these verses
    • Our life is a test to see who is the best in deeds
    • Imam Qurtubi narrates a hadith:  The world is sweet and green (alluring).  Allah SWT has deputized you in it so that He can see how you act
    • Imam Qurtubi narrates a hadith giving an example of the dunya:  Whoever takes it in a good way, Allah SWT will give barakah in it.  A person who takes it otherwise is like the person who eats but never gets full
  • A wise man said:  You never attain anything from the dunya except that there was an owner of it before you and there will be an owner of it after you.  You do not have anything of the dunya except the evening dinner of one night.  So don’t destroy yourself for a morsel of food.  Fast in the dunya and eat in the Hereafter.  The root of all wealth in this dunya is desire.  Its profit is the Hell fire.
    • Fasting in the dunya means to refrain ourselves and not follow our desires.  In the hereafter, we will have what we desired
  • A monk was asked, ”How do you see time?”  The monk replied, “The bodies become old, hopes become renewed, death becomes close, and the objects of desire go far.”
  • A poet wrote:  Whoever praises the world because of a life that pleases him, by my life (taking an oath), if he has less he will start blaming the dunya.  When the dunya goes away, it becomes a source of remorse for him.  If the dunya comes to him, its causes a lot of distress 
  • A wise person said:  The dunya existed when I wasn’t in it.  The dunya will go away and I will not be in it.  Verily, this life is troublesome.  The people of dunya are in a constant fear that:  either they have a favor that is going to perish, some calamity that is going to befall them, or death that is going to end everything
  • Whoever seeks the world out of love for it, he will always want more than what he is given.  Whoever seeks the Hereafter out of love for it, he will always want more than what he is given.  There is no end to wanting more in this world and wanting more in the Hereafter
  • Imam Qurtubi mentioned:  A definition of zuhud is the love of death
    • Zuhud does not mean to leave the dunya.  It means to live in the dunya but loving the Hereafter
    • We have to earn a living in this world, but that earning is a means of reward.  Everything in this dunya can be a means of reward when taken in a good way
    • When things from the dunya are taken in a wrong way, it will harm the hereafter and goes against zuhud
    • One day the Prophet (ﷺ) came into a gathering and saw an affluent man dressed in tatters.  He (ﷺ) said, “I do not see the favors of Allah SWT upon you.”  (eg, he should have dressed better, based on the means that Allah SWT provided him)
    • One day Isa (AHS) went to a grave and said “stand by the command of Allah”.  Suddenly the person in the grave stood up and all his hair was white.  The people said, “We just buried this man.  He was a young man.”  The man said, “When you knocked on my grave, I thought it was a knock of the Hereafter and from the fear of it my hair went white.”
    • Our belongings in this dunya are an amana (trust) so we should look after them
  • Yahya ibn Muad (RAH) narrates:  The dunya is like a shop of shaytan.  You shouldn’t steal from his shop. If you do, shaytan will come seeking it and take you instead
    • We should not take what we are not allowed to take
  • Fudayl (RAH) narrates:  If the dunya was made from gold and one day it will come to an end, and the Hereafter was made from dirt but it is everlasting, it would be better for us that we choose the dirt that is going to remain forever over the gold that is eventually going to finish.  How foolish can we be that we have given preference to dirt that will come to an end (the dunya) over gold that remains forever (the Hereafter)?
    •  كُلُّ مَنْ عَلَيْهَا فَانٍ  (Every one who is on it (the earth) has to perish Surah 55, Verse 26)  وَيَبْقَى وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ   (And your Lord’s Countenance will remain, full of majesty, full of honour  Surah 55, Verse 27)
    • Allah SWT has given us examples in the dunya of what is in the Hereafter so we have something to relate to.  Our minds cannot comprehend the true reality of the treasures of the Hereafter.  What Allah SWT has placed in the Hereafter is superior to what is in the dunya
    • Instead of looking at the glamour of this world, we should look at how the world will eventually come to an end
    • We should give preference to what is everlasting over what is temporal
  • To earn a living is a Sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ).  Man is commended for going out into the world to earn a living instead of sitting idle
    • Our share of the world is going to come to us, but our responsibility is to make an effort
    • We should not forsake Allah’s command and our Hereafter in order to attain the world.  There needs to be a balance.  An example of giving preference to the dunya over Allah’s commands would be not praying because we are busy with work
    • When Abdur-Rahman ‘Ibn ‘Uwf (RA) migrated from Mecca to Madina, the Prophet (ﷺ) paired him with a man from the Ansar.  The man from the Ansar offered Abdur-Rahman ‘Ibn ‘Uwf (RA) half of everything he owned.  Abdur-Rahman ‘Ibn ‘Uwf (RA) declined, but asked to be directed to the markets.  He started trading with what little he had and eventually he amassed a fortune.  One day his wife saw him looking distressed and asked him why he was distressed.  Abdur-Rahman ‘Ibn ‘Uwf (RA) responded they had too much money and that he was worried Allah SWT had given them the reward of the Hereafter in this world.  The wife said she would resolve the problem.  She started distributing the wealth and by morning all of the wealth had been distributed.  Abdur-Rahman ‘Ibn ‘Uwf  (RA) became happy at this
  • Abu Hazim (RAH) said:  Beware of the dunya.  A servant will be made to stand on the Day of Judgement.  He will be questioned on his main focus being how to attain a greater share of the dunya and on his giving so much preference to what Allah SWT has degraded
  • Ibn Masood (RA) said:  When a person wakes up, he says I am a guest in Allah’s world and the wealth and everything I have is borrowed from Allah’s treasures.  The guest will eventually depart and everything he has will be returned to its owner, Allah
    • The Prophet (ﷺ) would read the following dua when waking up:  الْحَمْدُ للهِ الَّذِي أَحْيَانَا بَعْدَ مَا أَمَاتَنَا وَإِلَيْهِ النُّشُورُ  (Praise is to Allah Who gives us life after He has caused us to die and to Him is the return)
    • The wealth we have is not ours.  We are limited on what the wealth can be spent on.  Once we die, we do not even control how our wealth is distributed to our inheritors
    • A father’s sustenance is increased when he has more people to provide for
    •  When waking up in the morning, we should think we are guests in the dunya and Allah SWT is our host.  As a guest, Allah (being the host) will provide for us.  As a guest, we will know that we have to eventually leave this dunya.  As a guest, we will know we have to behave ourselves in a manner that is acceptable to the host (Allah).  As a guest, we follow the host’s schedule (what Allah has dictated for us daily, e.g. salah)
    • We break many rules of our host Allah; however, He continues to provide for us from His mercy
  • Al-Qurtubi has reported from Sayyidna Jabir ibn Abdullah (RA) that a man came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and complained that his father was taking away what belonged to him. He (ﷺ) said, “Go and ask your father to come here.” Right then, came Jibrail (AHS) and told the Prophet (ﷺ), “When his father comes, ask him about the words he has composed in his heart and which his own ears have not heard yet.” When this man returned with his father, He (ﷺ) said to the father, “Why is it that your son complains against you? Do you wish to take away what belongs to him?” The father said, “You better ask him on whom do I spend other than his paternal or maternal aunts or myself” The Holy Prophet (ﷺ) said: (an expression which denoted that he had understood the reality and there was no need to say anything else). After that, He (ﷺ) asked the father of the man, “What are those words that have not yet been heard by your own ears?” The father said, “O Rasulallah, Allah Taala increases our faith in you through everything.” Thereby he meant that He (ﷺ) got to know what was not heard by anyone, which was a miracle indeed. Then, he submitted, “It is true that I had composed some lines of poetry within my heart, something not heard even by my own ears.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Let us hear them.” Then he recited the following lines of poetry he had composed:
    • Poem:  I fed you in childhood and took care of you when young. You lived on my earnings alone. When on some night, you became sick, I spent the whole night remaining awake and restless because of your sickness.  As if your sickness was my own and not yours and because of which my eyes kept shedding tears throughout the night.  My heart kept trembling lest something happens to you, though I knew that the time of death is fixed, being neither early nor late. So, when you reached the age and maturity that I had always been looking forward to, you then made hard-heartedness and harshness my return as if you were the one doing me favors and giving me rewards. Alas, if it was not possible for you to fulfill my right as a father, you could have at the least done what a good neighbor would have done. So, you could have given me the least right of a neighbor and abstained from becoming miserly in my case in my own property
    • After having heard these verses of poetry, the Prophet (ﷺ) held the son by his shirt and said: Go, You and your property, everything belongs to your father
  • When a person continues learning beneficial knowledge, it will eventually make its way through the darkness and through the heart
    • Once we learn something, we can never unlearn it.  We may forget it.
  • The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was sitting with a group of the Sahabah (RA) in the masjid and He (ﷺ) said “A man will now enter [who is] from the people of Paradise.” and a sahabi (companion) walked in. Later it happened again, and then a third time. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘aas (RA) wanted to find out what was so special about this man, so he asked the man if he could stay over his house for three days. The man allowed him to stay. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr noticed that the man didn’t do anything out of the ordinary: He didn’t fast all the time, he slept some of the night and prayed some of the night, and so on. So after the three days, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (RA) told him the real reason why he requested to stay with him, and he asked him what it was that could be the reason why he was from the people of Jannah.  The man (RA) couldn’t think of anything, but after a bit he said “Every night, before I go to sleep, I forgive whoever has wronged me. I remove any bad feelings towards anyone from my heart.”
    • The sahabi did not hold malice in his heart towards anyone
    • As humans, if someone says or does something hurtful towards us we will become upset.  Being upset is different from having malice towards someone
    • Having malice will slowly rot the heart and eventually lead a person to harm another or do something to cause them pain
  • A poet said:  Wealth and family are a trust given to us by Allah.  One day we will have to return the trust given to us
    • When something is given as a trust, we have to maintain that thing based on how the person who gave us the trust wants it maintained
    • Because children and family are a trust given to us, we can only introduce them to those things that are permissible
  • Rabi’ah Basri (RAH) was visited by some friends and the friends began discussing worldly affairs.  She said to them, “Do not discuss the dunya because if the dunya did not have a place in your heart, you would not discuss it.  It is from the love of a thing that a person mentions it.”
  • Ibrahim ibn Adham (RAH) said:  We raise our dunya by shredding our deen.  At the end, our deen does not remain nor the dunya that we raised up.  Glad tidings for the servant who gives Allah preference,  who is his Sustainer, and he is generous in his dunya for what he has hoped for in the Hereafter
    • وَابْتَغِ فِيمَا آتَاكَ اللَّهُ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ وَلَا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا   (And seek the (betterment of) the Ultimate Abode with what Allah has given to you, and do not neglect your share from this world   Part of Surah 28, Verse 77)
  • It was said:  I consider the person who goes after the world, even if Allah blesses him with a very long life and he attains many blessing and happiness in it, as a person who builds and erects a building.  When the building is fully built, it becomes demolished
    • This is for a person who chases the dunya with no focus on the Hereafter
    • There was a king named Shaddad bin Aad.  He spent many years trying to build a paradise for himself on earth.  He imported precious materials from all over the world.  When the construction was finally finished and he took one step into it, the angel of death took his soul and Shaddad died.  This is an occasion on which the angel of death felt sorrow for taking a soul
  • Think of the dunya as nothing and it will come to you for nothing
  • A poet said:  Even if the dunya comes to you, isn’t it eventually going to finish?  Your dunya is nothing but the example of a shadow.  It gives you shade for a while and then it takes permission of leave (ie, death)
  • Luqman (AHS) said:  Sell your dunya for the Hereafter and you will attain both.  Do not sell your Hereafter for the dunya or you will lose both
    • إِنَّ اللّهَ اشْتَرَى مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُم بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الجَنَّةَ   (Surely, Allah has bought their lives and their wealth from the believers, in exchange of (a promise) that Paradise shall be theirs   Part of Surah 9, Verse 111)
    • يَوْمَ يَجْمَعُكُمْ لِيَوْمِ الْجَمْعِ ذَلِكَ يَوْمُ التَّغَابُنِ  (Be mindful of) the day when He will gather you for the Day of Gathering. That will be the Day of loss and gain   Part of Surah 64, Verse 9)
    • In the tafseer of this verse, it is written every human has a place in Paradise and the Hell-Fire.  When a believer enters Paradise, he will inherit the Paradise real estate of his neighbor who was a disbeliever.  When a disbeliever enters the Hell-Fire, he will inherit the Hell-Fire real estate of his believing neighbor.
  • It is said:  Don’t look at the lives of the kings, except to see how fast they depart from this dunya and have nothing
  • Ibn Abbas (RA) said:  Allah SWT divided the dunya into three parts: one part for the believer, one part for the hypocrite, and one part for the disbeliever.  The believer invests his share in the Hereafter.  The hypocrite shows off.  The disbeliever takes enjoyment from it.
  • A poet said:  Oh the one who addresses the dunya, refrain from addressing it in abundance and you will have peace in your life.  Verily the one that is addressed (the dunya) is treacherous. 
  • Abu Darda (RA) said:  One of the ways Allah has made this world detestable is that a person cannot disobey Allah except in this world.
  • A poet said:  When a person tests the dunya, it will become apparent that the dunya is an enemy for him dressed in the garment of a friend.
  • Abu Umamah (RA) said:  When Allah SWT sent the Prophet (ﷺ) as a messenger, shaytan’s army came to shaytan and said a prophet has been sent and an entire nation has been selected to bid good and forbid the evil.  Shaytan said, “Do they love the dunya?”  They replied, “Yes.”  Shaytan said, “The love of the dunya is sufficient for me to take them astray, even if they don’t worship idols.  Morning and evening I will go and present them three things:  (1) to take wealth with no due right  (2)  to spend wealth where it is not supposed to be spent  (3)  to refrain spending where it is supposed to be spent.  All evil will sprout from this.