Allah Almighty states in the Holy Quran:
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللہَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِہٖ وَلَا تَمُوۡتُنَّ اِلَّا وَاَنۡتُمۡ مُّسْلِمُوۡنَ﴿۱۰۲﴾
‘O believers! Fear Allah as rightly He is to be feared, and do not die ever save as Muslims.
(Aale ‘Imran 3, Verse 102)
فَاتَّقُوا اللہَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ
Therefore, fear Allah as much as you can.
(Al-Taghabun 64, Verse 16)
This is the meaning of the first command.
عَنْ أَبِیْ سَعِیْدِنِ الْخُدْرِیِّ رَضِیَ اللہُ عنہ عَنِ النَّبِیِّ صَلَّی اللہُ عَلَیْہِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ:إِنَّ الدُّنْیَا حُلْوَۃٌ خَضِرَۃٌ وَإِنَّ اللہَ مُسْتَخْلِفُکُمْ فِیْہَا فَیَنْظُرُ کَیْفَ تَعْمَلُوْنَ فَاتَّقُواالدُّنْیَا وَاتَّقُواالنِّسَائَ فَإِنَّ أَوَّلَ فِتْنَۃِ بَنِی إِسْرَائِیلَ کَانَتْ فِیْ النِّسَائِ
(مسلم ،کتاب الرقاق، باب اکثر اھل الجنۃ الفقرائ…الخ ص۱۴۶۵،حدیث:۲۷۴۲)
Sayyiduna Abu Sa’eed Khudri – may Allah be pleased with him – reported that the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – has stated: “The world is beautiful and green. Allah has made you His caliphs in it in order that He might watch you and see how you behave in it. Therefore, beware of the temptations of the world and of women. The first trial of Bani Israel was by means of women.“
Trials and Tests for the Servants of Allah:
Hadrat Sayyiduna Mohammed bin Ahmed Mufeed – may Allah be pleased with him – narrates that he heard Hadrat Sayyiduna Junaid Baghdadi – may Allah be pleased with him – declare:
I was sleeping next to my master, Hadrat Sayyiduna Sirri Saqti – may Allah be pleased with him, when he woke me and said, “O Junaid! I dreamt that I was standing in front of the Divine Creator and He said to me, ‘O Sirri! When I created mankind, everyone declared their immense love for Me. However, when I created the world, ninety nine percent ran away from Me. There only remained ten percent. When I created Jannah, ninety percent of this ten percent ran away from Me. Only ten percent was left. Then when I created trial and tribulation, only ten percent remained of this ten percent and the balance of the ninety nine percent ran away from Me.
‘I then asked the balance of those who remained behind, ‘You people did not want the world, neither did you ask for Jannah and nor did you run away from trial and error. What is it that you want?’
‘They replied, ‘Our wish is only for You. If you place all the trial and tribulation upon us, we will never ever leave You and the love for You.’
‘I then declared to them, ‘I will place such trial and test upon you which even the mountains would not have the strength to cope with. Will you display patience in those times?’
They replied, ‘Why not! O our Lord! You have the power to bestow test and trial on a person and You may test us as You wish.’ O Sirri! These are My real servants and my true beloved.”
Trial and test and the beloved servants of Allah Almighty
There is no doubt that Allah Almighty in His infinite Mercy has certainly destined trial and tribulation for his special servants. He has sometimes made their bodies subservient to Him and has captured their hearts. They will continue to live in this manner until they finally meet their Creator.
Among these beloved servants was Hadrat Sayyiduna Ebrahim Khawwas – may Allah be pleased with him. He used to sometimes visit me in the evening. However, when I used to present some food to him for Iftaar, he used to only drink water. After Esha, he used to spend the entire night in Ibadah until the moment of Sehri. I used to hear his Du’a which was, “O Allah! If You decide to punish me, then I am someone who will continue to love You and if You favour me, then too I will continue to love You.”
He used to then weep a lot and fall unconscious. When I asked him, “O Utbah! How did you spend the night?”
He used to reply, “O Ebrahim! Very soon we are to be presented in His Divine Court and this has broken every bone in my body with fear and anxiety.”
He used to again fall unconscious and used to implore, “O my Lord! What is Your Divine Intention about that person who claims to love You, will You punish him or will You allow him to suffer from the pangs of separation from You.”
Suddenly a voice could be heard declaring, “Certainly not! That person who is a true lover of Allah Almighty and whom Allah Almighty has chosen, no punishment will be given to him.”
These are those special servants of Allah Almighty who do not worship because they need Jannah and who do not worship Him because they fear the Fire of Hell. They worship Him sincerely believing that He is their Divine Creator and as sincere servants and slaves, they worship Him in all conditions whether they are facing trial and calamity or not. We make Du’a that the Allah Almighty gives the strength to all true Muslims to worship Allah Almighty in this manner.
Fitnah of Duniya:
Ibn Abid Dunyah narrates through a long chain of narrators from Hadrat Sayyiduna Wahb bin Mambeh – may Allah be pleased with him – who states that, “In some recordings, it is mentioned that for the intelligent, the world is a great gift and for the ignorant, it is a source of forgetfulness. (In other words, the intelligent person is someone who uses the world to do good and noble deeds while the Jaahil completely ignores this and becomes so immersed in the word that he forgets to use it to better his state in the Hereafter). In fact, the Jaahil is someone who when he dies, wishes to return. But where is there a possibility of returning?”
Ibn Abid Dunyah narrates from Jabir bin Aun Asadi who mentions that the first words which were mentioned by Sulayman bin Abdul Malik when he became the leader of the Muslims were: “All Praise is due to that Creator Who has the power to do whatever He wishes. He raises whomever He wishes and lowers whomever He wishes. He gives to whomever He wants and refuses to give to whomever He wants to. There is no doubt that the world is nothing but a house of deception. It is something which will end. A show which changes all the time. It makes a person who cries, to laugh and the one who laughs to cry. It creates turmoil for one who is at peace and creates peace for the one who creates turmoil. It makes the rich into a poor person and the poor person into a rich person. It plays with a rich person and takes him here and there. O servants of Allah! Make the Qur’an your Imam and guide. Be content with its decision and testimony. There is no doubt that this Qur’an clearly reveals the evil plans and intentions of the Satan. In fact, the Qur’an reveals this in the same manner, in which the light appears to dispel the darkness.”
Ibn Abid Dunyah reports from Abdur Rahman bin Yazeed who stated to people, “There is no doubt that your Salaah, your fasting and your Jihad is much more than the blessed Ashaab, but in spite of this, they are far superior than you.” The people asked him the reason for this, and he replied, “The reason is that they avoided the world much more than you and turn their attention towards the Hereafter much more than you.”
Love of this World
There was once a great sinner among the Bani Isra’eel. As he continued to increase in his sin and transgression, it seemed like his wealth and property also increased. However, one day, when he heard about the terrible punishment which awaited a sinner, he approached Nabi Moosa Alayhis Salaam and asked, “O Moosa! What does my Lord need? In fact, the more I increase in sin and transgression, the more He seems to give me in blessing.”
Nabi Moosa Alayhis Salaam was very surprised by this. He approached the mountain of Thur and inquired from Allah azza wajal about this, “O Allah! You are fully aware of what this sinful person has said and that whenever he commits more sin and transgression, You, are even more kind to him by increasing his wealth and property.”
The Almighty Allah azza wajal replied, “O Moosa! I am punishing him, but he is unaware of it.” Nabi Moosa Alayhis Salaam then asked, “O Allah! What type of punishment are You giving him because You are increasing his sustenance and You are also sparing him?”
Allah azza wajal replied, “I have distanced him from My Divine Court and have taken away My Mercy and Kindness from him. I have made him oblivious of my Remembrance. He has robbed himself of presenting his words of appeal in My Court and he has also robbed himself of listening to My Divine Warning. By My Divine Being, he will certainly taste My Divine Punishment and he will rob himself of My Divine Mercy.”
O Muslims! Look at the person who continues to commit sin and transgression! Look at the break the Allah azza wajal gives a person and learn a lesson from this! Look at how the Almighty Allah azza wajal does not immediately punish a person but gives him time. But, instead of learning a lesson, a person begins to enjoy this act of keep going against the Divine Command of Allah azza wajal. However, this same enjoyment will ultimately result in immense regret and sadness. The Allah azza wajal declares in the following verses a dire warning indeed.
In Surah Al Mu’minun, verse 55-56:
اَیَحْسَبُوۡنَ اَنَّمَا نُمِدُّہُمۡ بِہٖ مِنۡ مَّالٍ وَّ بَنِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۵۵﴾
Do they assume that the wealth and sons which We provide them –
نُسَارِعُ لَہُمْ فِی الْخَیۡرٰتِ ؕ بَلۡ لَّا یَشْعُرُوۡنَ ﴿۵۶﴾
Are quickly giving them goodness? In fact, they do not know.
(Al-Mu’minoon 23, Verse 55-56)
In these verses, Allah azza wajal has revealed the truth about their abundance of wealth and children.
In Surah Yunus, verse 24, Allah azza wajal further declares:
“The example of the life of the world is like that water which, We have sent down from the sky, on account of which the vegetation of earth came out in abundance of which men and cattle eat, till, when the earth took on its ornament and was fully adorned, and its owners thought that it is under their authority; there came upon it Our command by night or by day, then We made it mow down as if it had not existed yesterday. Thus, We explain fully Our signs for a people who reflect.”
Hadrat Sadrul Afaadil, Moulana Naeemudeen Muradabi Radi Allahu ‘Anhu, in the “Khazaa’inul Irfaan” explains: “This is the example of those who love the world and have no concern for the Hereafter. In this, the hunger for the world and its riches have been explained as gardens and crops and when a person spends his entire life acquiring it and becomes satisfied that now he has earned everything, suddenly death approaches him without any warning. All this glory and status is then taken away from him. All these pleasures and enjoyment becomes non-existent. Hadrat Sayyiduna Qatadah Radi Allahu ‘Anhu explains that, ‘when greed for the world makes a person oblivious of everything and he forgets everything, it is at that time the Divine Punishment comes to him and all the wealth, the riches, the comforts which he had so much of hope in is destroyed. He is no longer able to take comfort in these things.’”
In Surah Naba, verse 40, the Qur’an declares:
اِنَّاۤ اَنۡذَرْنٰکُمْ عَذَابًا قَرِیۡبًا ۬ۚۖ یَّوْمَ یَنۡظُرُ الْمَرْءُ مَا قَدَّمَتْ یَدَاہُ وَ یَقُوۡلُ الْکٰفِرُ یٰلَیۡتَنِیۡ کُنۡتُ تُرٰبًا ﴿٪۴۰﴾
We warn you of a punishment that has come near; a day on which man will see what his own hands have sent ahead, and the disbeliever will say, “Alas – if only I were dust!”
(Al-Naba 78, Verse 40)
What disgrace will await man on that day when they have, through their own, forgotten their way to Allah azza wajal and Allah azza wajal through the bad deeds of these people, have made them oblivious of their ultimate damnation. But they forget to remember that Allah azza wajal is fully aware of everything.
O Muslims! We urge you to remember the severe punishment of disobeying the Commands of Allah azza wajal. Think and ponder carefully about it! How quickly will the enjoyment of this world disappear and there will only remain torment and disgrace. Save yourself from being made oblivious and forgetful of obeying Allah azza wajal. This is the ultimate disgrace. How lucky are those people who strive to keep their record of deeds clean as possible and have fashioned themselves both internally and externally to obey the Divine Command of Allah azza wajal.
(Ar Roudul Faa’iq).
No interest in the World
It is reported that Hadrat Sayyiduna ‘Umar – may Allah be pleased with him – nominated Hadrat Sayyiduna Salman Farsi – may Allah be pleased with him – as the Governor of Madaa’in.
However, the eminent companion, Hadrat Sayyiduna Salman Farsi – may Allah be pleased with him, continued to wear ordinary woolen clothing and eat unrefined barley bread. In other words, his reputation as the supreme leader of the Muslims in a specific region, did not have any effect on him.
When it was time for Hadrat Sayyiduna Salman Farsi – may Allah be pleased with him – to pass away, he began to weep. When Hadrat Sayyiduna Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas – may Allah be pleased with him – asked him the reason for crying, he replied, “I heard the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – state that there is a valley in the Hereafter and only those people will be able to cross over this valley who do not have excess weight with them. Look around me and the goods which surround me.”
However, the amazing thing is that when they looked at the items he had left behind after he had passed away, it consisted of only a small basin, a small bucket, a small water bottle and nothing else. Despite this, Hadrat Sayyiduna Salman Farsi – may Allah be pleased with him – still feared, that he is not questioned by the Allah Almighty for carrying immense items from the world. The blessed people in this Hadith signifies those people who chose others over themselves and had completely no interest in the world or anything wordily.
Don’t be attached to this World
Ibn Abid Dunya through a long chain of narrators report from Abul Asad Sahl who states that, “It is said that a person who wishes to combine both the word and the Hereafter is like that slave who has two masters. He is always worried about who he should please.”
Ibn Abid Dunya from Sa’eed bin Abu Bardah who once wrote to someone that, “O Abu Moosa! In the world, only that fitnah has remained which was expected and those tests and trials which will place a person is grief and stress.” (Hulyatul Awliyah; Kitaab Az Zuhd). In other words, there is nothing else which is to be found in this world.
Ibn Abid Dunya reports for Hadrat Sayyiduna Hasan Basri – may Allah be pleased with him – who mentions that, “That person who loves the world and its joys, fear for the Hereafter disappears from his heart. That person who seeks knowledge and, also seeks the world, with Allah he is a cursed person and will increase in this.”
(Hulyatul Awliyah. Bahjatul Majaalis)
Ibn Abid Dunya from Ibn Mehraan who mentions that, “The entire world is very little and only a small part of this little portion has remained and very little is still available.”
Ibn Abid Dunya mentions that someone once stated that, “The world is indeed very small and even smaller than small even though it may look very huge and large. There is no doubt that it will appear looking very beautiful in front of you, but it will take you from peace and tranquility and place you in stress and trial. Real peace and tranquility is with Allah, where there would be no trial and tribulation.”
Ibn Abid Dunya reports from Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ud – may Allah be pleased with him – who has mentioned that there are many examples of the world in the world itself. (Kitaab Az Zuhd). In other words, you merely have to look around, and you will find examples all around you.
Ibn Abid Dunya reports from Hadrat Sayyiduna Sa’eed bin Abi Saeed – may Allah be pleased with him – who reports, that once a person asked the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, “O Prophet of Allah! How can I perceive whether I am in a good state or a bad state?” The Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – replied, “When you see that when you seek something for the Hereafter it becomes easy and when you seek anything material, it becomes difficult to achieve, then you should understand that you are in a good state. And if you are opposite to this, then you are in a bad state.”
(Kitaab Az Zuhd)
Ibn Abid Dunya reports from Imam Sirri bin Yan’am who was among the famous Saints from Syria and who has stated that, “There is complete destruction for the person who loves the world. How can you love something which is disliked by Allah Almighty?”
Ibn Abid Dunya reports from Imam Sufyan Thouri – may Allah be pleased with him – who mentions that Hadrat Sayyiduna ‘Umar – may Allah be pleased with him – has stated that, “If you are attracted to the Hereafter and you also acquire a few material things, then you should not be worried about it.”
Ibn Abid Dunya reports from Ahmed bin Moosa Saqafi who explains that, “A jaahil is someone who does not restrict himself from those actions which are prohibited. He is always in a state of oblivion. Day and night, he is busy in sport and play. He is unaware that tomorrow he will have to face trial and tribulation. I was once walking past a large mansion which was covered in sin and transgression. There was a corpse laying on a bed and when I inquired from people who this person was, they mentioned that it was a King who was very boastful. I noticed that there was a black cloth on the door as a sign of grief and his female servants were wailing. They were also breaking all the musical instruments present. Therefore, wherever you live, be careful. Do not become attached to it and understand its reality.”
To purchase the World in place of Jannah
Some people have mentioned that, “The Satan presents the world to people every day and he also mentions, ‘Is there anyone who will purchase such a thing who will only create calamity for him in which there is no benefit and it will only immerse him in sadness and grief.’
When the people of the world hear this, they declare that they are prepared to purchase such an item.
When the Satan hears this, he will say, ‘The price for the world is not Dirhams and Dinaars, but rather it is your place in Jannah. I have also purchased the world in place of Jannah. Through this deed of mine, I have earned four things. The Divine Curse of Allah Almighty, His Divine Wrath, His Divine Punishment and His Divine Anger.’
However, still the people of the word reply, ‘We are happy with this’.
In the end, no one gains any benefit from this trade.
The Dangers of the World
Ibn Abid Dunya through a long chain of narrators reports from Husain bin Abdur Rahman, who mentioned to him a few lines of a poem whose message was, “Do you not see that in the world there are gatherings of happiness and joy in the evening and in the morning there are gatherings of grief and sadness. The population increases and suddenly without warning, hundreds are destroyed, and they become like they never existed.”
Ibn Abid Dunya reports from Aun bin Abdullah who states that, “Even though the world seems to be decorated with all types of decoration and beauty, it is nothing but a major deception. The greatest revelation will be seen on the Day of Judgement whether we were running towards goodness or failure.”
Ibn Abid Dunya reports from Ayyas bin Hamzah who used to live in Bahrain. He mentions that once a female from this area who was also connected to the Quraish mentioned that, “If the people who divorce themselves from the world are able to see what Allah Almighty has kept for them in the Hereafter, they would certainly wish for death (as speedily as possible) and they would even be prepared to give away their lives so that they acquire as soon as possible what Allah Almighty has kept for them.” (Safwatus Safwah, ‘Alaam An Nisa)
Ibn Abid Dunya reports from Moosa bin Ubaidah Zabadi who mentions that, “Luqman used to advise his son, ‘O my beloved son! When you are were born, from that moment onwards, you began to distance yourself from the world and come nearer to the Hereafter. Therefore, the house towards which you travel comes nearer all the time compared to that house which you are leaving (the world).”
(Kitaab Az Zuhd, Al Ihya)
Ibn Abid Dunya reports from Abu Shuja who mentions that once Hadrat Sayyiduna Ali – may Allah be pleased with him – wrote to Hadrat Sayyiduna Salman Farsi – may Allah be pleased with him – the following words, “The example of the world is like a snake whose body is very soft to the touch but it can kill you with its poison. Therefore, stay away from its attraction because it will remain with you for only a few days. When you are certain about this, then do not waste your time worrying about it. Even if there is immense joy in the world (at one moment) be extremely cautious because the world is such that when a person becomes satisfied with its joy, then suddenly some tragedy takes place.”
(Hulyatul Awliyah; Al Ihya)
Ibn Abid Dunya reports from Hadrat Sayyiduna Malik bin Dinaar – may Allah be pleased with him – who narrates from Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah Razi – may Allah be pleased with him – who has mentioned that, “If you wish to experience sweetness in Ibadah and you wish that it also increases, then build a wall of iron between you and the desires of the world.”
Ibn Abid Dunya reports from Hadrat Sayyiduna Sufyan Thouri – may Allah be pleased with him – who narrates that Nabi ‘Isa – peace be upon him – used to say that, “As fire and water cannot be found in one container, likewise, the Hereafter and the world cannot be found together in the heart of a true believer.”
(Taarikh Dimishq; Al Ihya)
The World is a Prison for a Believer
It is reported that one day, Qadi Sahl Muhaddith was once riding on a horse which looked very aristocratic and he himself was looking very noble and regal.
Suddenly, a Jew who was wearing old and tattered clothing which were also dusty and sandy, appeared in front of him. The Jew then asked him, “Qadi Saheb! Your Prophet had mentioned that, ‘the world is a prison for the believer and a Jannah for the Kaafir.’ Can you please explain this to me because you seem to be living in comfort and luxury and me being a Kaafir, I am surrounded by poverty and need. How can I accept that the world is a prison for the Muslims and Jannah for a disbeliever?”
Qadi Sahl immediately gave him an answer, he explained, “On the Day of Judgement, when they place you in the Fire of Hell, then the difficulties and trials you used to endure in this world, would look like you were in Jannah in this world. And when I experience the rewards of Jannah and when I think of what I went through in this world, it would make me feel that I was in prison.”
(Tafseer Ruhul Bayan)
This certainly was an answer full of wisdom. Basically, whatever greater pleasure you experience after a lessor pleasure, the next pleasure will always look greater. Likewise, when you experience greater difficulty after a small difficulty, the next difficulty will look far greater. This is the reason that the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him –has stated that we should look at those lower or below us to be able to appreciate what we have or what we have been given.
There is no doubt that when a person sees a blind person and remembers that he himself is not vision impaired, he will certainly give thanks to Allah Almighty. Likewise, when you see a person who is hearing impaired and you are able to hear, you will give thanks for this great gift.
They had No Love for this World
Hadrat Sayyiduna Bakr bin Abdullah Mazani – may Allah be pleased with him – narrates:
There was once a King among the Bani Isra’eel who had immense wealth and was also given a very long life. His sons had a very noble attribute and behaviour. Whenever anyone of them matured, he used to seclude himself from all wordily things and retire to the mountain to spend his life in the Ibadah of Allah. In order to survive he used to eat the leaves of trees and whatever wild fruits he found on the mountain. He also wore ordinary woollen clothing and basically adopted the life of a Derwish. This is the manner they passed their lives until their demise. All his sons spent their lives in this manner. When the King became very old and when one final son of his was born, he called a meeting with his community.
He said to them, “All of you can see that I have now become extremely old and even at this stage, I have been blessed with one son. You people are also aware that I have great concern for all of you. However, I have a great fear that this last son of mine will also end up like all his brothers before him and adopt the life of a Derwish. If he does this, then it means that there will be no more leaders from this family of mine, and I can foresee that you people will experience great difficulty. Therefore, I suggest that from a small age, you people take care of this young prince and make sure that he becomes attracted to all the pleasures and wonders of this world. If you people can do this, then perhaps, he might become your new leader. In other words, you people need to make sure that he is completely attracted to this world.”
When the people heard this, they decided to build a large complex and had high walls built around this complex so that nothing could be seen out of this this complex. They also made sure that all the wonders of this world were also found within the walls of this complex.
The prince then lived within the confines of this complex for many years. As we have mentioned, every need of the prince was taken care of so that he does not feel uncomfortable. And at the same time, he did not feel the need to acquire anything. Servants were also at hand to serve him.
One day, as he was riding on his horse, he came to one of the high walls surrounding this complex. He called his servants and asked them what was on the other side of the wall. He said that certainly there must be new things on the other side and perhaps even a completely new community. If he had the chance to meet them, he would learn new things.
When this request of the prince was mentioned to the King, obviously he became very afraid. He was worried that this prince would end up like his brothers and chose the live of a Derwish if they allowed him to leave the complex. He commanded the people to make sure that they busy their prince with other comforts and pleasures so that he will lose interest in going outside.
They did as they were told and again the prince became busy with the pleasures of the world. In this manner, one complete year went by.
After this period, the prince approached the wall again and said that he wanted to see what was on the other side of the wall. Once again the people informed the King about the insistence of the prince.
He finally gave permission but allowed him to be outside for only a few minutes. They then took the prince outside while he was riding on his horse. As he saw the people around him, he noticed someone who was very sick. Through sickness, this person had also become very weak and frail. The prince inquired what had happened to this person and he was told that this person had become ill.
The prince then asked whether other people also became ill and he was told, yes, that other people including themselves also became ill. He then asked whether there were also sick people in his kingdom and again the people replied that yes, there were sick people in his kingdom as well.
He then said, “The life of the world which you people have chosen, it does not look like a very attractive world.”
After saying this, he returned to the complex. When this was told to the King, he ordered the people to place new attractions in front of the prince so that he could remain in the complex and not go outside. The people did this and in this manner another complete year went by.
After this period, the prince again made the request that he wanted to go outside and meet the people. The prince was dressed in royal robes and taken outside. As he went outside, he noticed a very old person standing on one side of the road.
When he saw this old person, he asked his servants, “Does everyone become old like this person?”
His servants had replied yes, and they also mentioned that they will also become old including the prince.
He said, “This life of your people seems to have no attraction whatsoever.”
He again entered the complex in great disappointment. In the third year, he left the complex again and when he came outside, he noticed a Janazah which was going past. When he saw this, he asked the people why this person was sleeping on a bed and being carried along. The people replied that this was someone who had passed away and he was going to be buried. He then asked them what death was, and he wanted to meet this person called “death”. The people then took the prince near the body of this dead person.
As the prince stood in front of this body, he asked the people to instruct this person to sit up. However, the people replied that this person does not have the ability to sit up.
The prince asked the people to instruct this person to say something. However, they replied that this person did not have the ability to speak.
The prince asked them to explain what will happen to this person after this.
They mentioned that this person will be buried, and he will be questioned about his actions. They also mentioned that on the Day of Judgement, everyone will be questioned about their life in this world.
The prince asked whether there is another world after this, and they mentioned that there is another world which is called the Hereafter.
When the prince heard about this, he began to weep and then placed some sand on his face. He mentioned that he did not want to be someone who did not have answers to present to his Creator on the Day of Judgement.
Hereafter, he realised that there was nothing attractive in this world. The prince also mentioned that the people will never see him again. However, the people also mentioned that he could not just leave like that without seeking the permission of his father.
When they took him to his father, the prince was weeping. When the King asked him the reason for this, he replied, “O my father! I am weeping in fear for that day on which the actions of every person will be presented.”
The prince then asked for some woollen clothing and mentioned that tonight, he would certainly leave this palace. In the middle of the night, this prince disappeared into the night leaving everything behind.
After explaining this incident, Hadrat Sayyiduna Bakr bin Abdullah – may Allah be pleased with him – mentions, “This prince was someone who had divorced himself from all worldly pleasures because he had immense fear for Allah Almighty. However, bear in mind that he had no idea what punishment was for what action or transgression. Imagine the state of those people in the world today, who are fully aware of what punishment a person would receive for which transgression and yet they do not seem to care one bit about it. They continue to openly commit sin and do not even think about the consequences of their action.”
The Value of the World
Ibn Abid Dunya through a long chain of narrators records from Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Sa’eed – may Allah be pleased with him – who mentions that, “Once, after leading the Asr Salaah, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – addressed us and declared amongst things that, ‘Be careful! The world is very sweet, green and fresh. There is no doubt that Allah Almighty has given you Khilafah in the world so that He may see what type of deeds you commit. Beware! Protect yourself from the world and protect yourself from females.”
(This is part of a very lengthy Hadith Shareef which is found in Tirmidi, Ibn Maja, Musnad Imam Ahmed and Sahih Muslim, etc.)
Ibn Abid Dunya reports from Hadrat Hasan – may Allah be pleased with him – who mentions that once Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – passed by some old dwellings and he noticed the body of a baby goat which had been thrown on one corner and whose body had not yet been fully developed. In fact, there were also no hair on the body itself. He then asked, “Tell me, is there any value for this corpse in the eyes of the owner?” The blessed Ashaab replied, “Because it has no value, hence it was thrown away.” Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings upon him – then declared, “I swear by that Divine Being in Whose Power is my life, with Allah, the value of this world is even less than the value of this corpse in the eyes of its owner.” Hadrat Hasan – may Allah be pleased with him – also admits that this incident was conveyed to him by someone who was present at that time.
Ibn Abid Dunya reports from Hadrat Basheer bin Ka’ab – may Allah be pleased with him – who used to always say that, “Come let me show you the actual reality of the world.” He used to then take them into a bazaar and to that place where the dirt and filth was thrown and then say to them, “Look at the state of the decomposing chicken, ducks and fruits and their state.” (This is the state of the dunya).
Ibn Abid Dunya reports from Hadrat Mastur bin Shaddaad – may Allah be pleased with him – who mentions that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – has stated that, “The example of the world with the Hereafter is like a person who places his finger into the ocean and should ponder carefully on how much of water would actually touch his finger.” (In other words, as much as the water is found on his finger, so little is the world compared to the Hereafter.
The tragedy is that people spend days and nights working and collecting monies for something which is not even equal to the amount of water on one’s finger when dipped in the ocean. It is truly amazing. Hence, the statement that people have certainly become enemies of the brain. I mean in which part of the word stupidity can this be explained.
Ibn Abid Dunya reports from Hadrat Sayyiduna Wahb bin Mambeh – may Allah be pleased with him – who mentions that, “There were a group of people travelling and suddenly they heard a voice say to them, ‘Beware, the world is only a place for rest for the traveller. Someone who completes what he needs to complete and then leaves. In fact, he does not even know sometimes why he has stopped here. (In other words, it was not his intention to stop at this place in the first instance). Beware! As the world raises you, likewise it will let you fall very hard on your face.”
(Kitaab Az Zuhd)
The Young Man was not consumed by this World
A Du’a, “O Allah Almighty! Please pardon him, please have Mercy of him! O Allah Almighty, please make his heart a symbol of contentment.”
This is a special Du’a which the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – made for a young man. He accompanied the Banu Abzah once when they presented themselves to the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. They said, “O Prophet of Allah! We have approached you (with the purpose of giving you the) Zakah from our wealth.”
The Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – asked them why they had not distributed this among the poor of their own community. They replied that they had brought the amount which (had been saved) after they had distributed the balance among the poor of their community.
When they said this, Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr – may Allah be pleased with him – remarked, “O Prophet of Allah! I have never seen a delegation like this.”
The Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – declared, “This is the Divine Mercy of the Allah Almighty and He bestows this to whomever He wishes.”
This delegation spent a number of days in the blessed company of the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – and like other delegations before, the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – continued to offer them different gifts and presents.
One day, he asked them whether there were still other members of their delegation who had not yet approached him. They replied that there was still a young man who had been left with the caravan. (In other words, he had been delegated the task of looking after the caravan, the camels etc.).
The Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – then requested them to send this young man to him. When the young man presented himself, the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – also gave him some presents and gifts which he had given the other members of the delegation. However, the young man then humbly asked the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, “O Prophet of Allah! Please ask the Allah Almighty to pardon me and bestow Divine Mercy upon me and may Allah Almighty have mercy on me and bless my heart with the wealth of contention.”
The Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – then made Du’a: “O Allah Almighty! Please pardon him, please have Mercy of him! O Allah Almighty, please make his heart a symbol of contentment.”
The following year, the same delegation again approached the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – and informed the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, “O Prophet of Allah! We are the Banu Abzah and we have also had the blessed opportunity of presenting ourselves previously.”
The Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – asked, “What is the state of that young man who was with you.”
They replied, “By Allah Almighty! He is more independent of the world and more inclined towards the Hereafter than all of us. He always continues to remind us of our religion to such an extent that if people are distributing wealth among themselves, he does not even look at the wealth or (he does not even look in that direction).”
The Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – replied, “All Praise is for Allah Almighty, I have hope that he will leave this world with a contented heart.”
They then asked, “O Prophet of Allah! Does it mean that all of us will not pass away with a contended heart?”
The Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – replied, “The concerns and wishes of ordinary people are lost in the valleys of this earth. Before they find themselves lost in any valley, it is irrelevant to the Allah Almighty in which valley they are in, in their final moments of destruction.”
The message of this Hadeeth Shareef is that when a person is consumed with the sorrow and concern of the Hereafter, Allah Almighty becomes sufficient for him against the sorrow (which he faces) in this world. However, when a person is consumed by loss and sorrow of this world, then it does not matter to Allah Almighty in which state this person dies.
The World will Destroy you
Hadrat Sayyiduna Amar bin Auf Ansari – may Allah be pleased with him – narrates that once Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – sent Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah – may Allah be pleased with him – to Bahrain to fetch the Jizyah from that region. Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah – may Allah be pleased with him – then returned with the Jizyah.
When the Ansaar heard about this, they all gathered around Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – the next morning after Fajr Salaah. When he saw the blessed Ashaab, he remarked, “I believe that you are aware that Abu Ubaidah has brought back the Jizyah from Bahrain.”
They replied that they were aware of this.
Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him –then mentioned, “I give you glad tidings that you should have hope in that which will make you joyous. By Allah, I do not fear poverty in you, but I fear that the world will spread (and increase in you, in other words, material wealth) as it increased in people before you. Then you will become attached to the world like those before you and this world will destroy as it destroyed those before you.”
(Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim)
The Trial of Sayyiduna Adam – peace be upon him – and Sayyidah Hawwa:
وَقُلْنَا یٰۤاٰدَمُ اسْکُنْ اَنۡتَ وَزَوْجُکَ الْجَنَّۃَ وَکُلَا مِنْہَا رَغَدًا حَیۡثُ شِئْتُمَا ۪ وَلَا تَقْرَبَا ہٰذِہِ الشَّجَرَۃَ فَتَکُوۡنَا مِنَ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ﴿۳۵﴾
And We said, “O Adam dwell you and your wife in this paradise and eat freely thereof where you will, but do not approach this tree lest you become of the transgressors.
فَاَزَلَّہُمَا الشَّیۡطٰنُ عَنْہَا فَاَخْرَجَہُمَا مِمَّا کَانَا فِیۡہِ ۪ وَقُلْنَا اہۡبِطُوۡا بَعْضُکُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ ۚ وَلَکُمْ فِی الۡاَرْضِ مُسْتَقَرٌّ وَّمَتٰعٌ اِلٰی حِیۡنٍ﴿۳۶﴾
The Satan made them slip and got them out from the place where they lived, and We said, “get down, one of you is the enemy of the other and you have to stay in the earth and to make use of it for a time.
(Al-Baqarah 2, Verse 35)
It is said that the first of the two to eat from it was Sayyidah Hawwa’ because Iblis misled her and that the first of his words were to her so she could whisper to her husband, and it was the first trial for men from women. When she mentioned it to Sayyiduna Adam, he rejected it and mentioned the agreement. Iblis persisted with Sayyidah Hawwa’ who, in turn, persisted with Sayyiduna Adam until she said, “I will eat before you. If anything happens to me, you will be safe.” She ate and was not harmed and went to Sayyiduna Adam – peace be upon him – and said, “I ate, and it did not harm me.” So, he ate and then their private parts became clear to them and they fell into error. This is because the command to them was in the dual. So, there was no punishment until they both did it. Sayyiduna Adam did not consider this fact, for he had forgotten the ruling.
Hadrat Sayyiduna Sa’ad – may Allah be pleased with him – one day asked the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – about who are those who faced the greatest trial (on earth). The Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – replied, “It is the Prophets, then those who are the greatest after them, then those who are the greatest after them.”
He – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – then explained, “A person is tested as per his religion. If he is firm in his religion, then his trial and test is also more severe. If a person is soft in his religion, then his trial and test is also much softer. Therefore, the person who is strong in his religion, is always tested with severe tests so that he is ultimately pardoned and he walks on the earth in such a manner that no sins of his remain.”
(Tirmidi, Ibn Maja, Daarimi)
Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ud – may Allah be pleased with him – narrates that he visited the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – when he was suffering from fever. He then said to the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, “O Prophet of Allah, you experience sever high fever?” He replied, “Yes, I receive fever which is equal to two men among you.” I then said, “That means you also receive double the reward.” He replied that yes, this was so. He also mentioned, “Whatever test comes to a person, whether it is a thorn or something bigger, Allah Almighty removes his sins from him like how the leaves are shed from a tree during autumn.”
(Sahih Bukhari Shareef, Sahih Muslim Shareef)
Hadrat Sayyiduna Aamir Raa’i – may Allah be pleased with him – states that once, the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – explained the state of illness. He explained, “When a believer becomes ill and Allah Almighty gives him safety from that illness (in other words, he becomes well after that), then, this illness does not only remove his past sins but it also becomes a lesson for (him) in the future. In other words, the illness becomes a source of warning for him (so that in future, he can refrain from sinning). And when a Munafiq becomes ill and he is then removed from that illness, (meaning he becomes well), then his examples is like that camel who has been tied by its owner. And then the owner releases it. The camel is unaware of why it was tied (in the first place) and why it has been released.” When one of the people sitting nearby heard this, he replied, “I have never become ill.” When the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – heard this statement, he declared, “Awake and leave us, you are not from among us.”
A mountain of tribulation came on him.
Sayyidah Ayesha – may Allah be pleased with her – mentions that one day, she asked the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, “Besides the Day of Uhud, was there another day that such a severe test came upon you?” He replied, “O Ayesha! Your nation, the Quraish, have placed so many mountains of tests and trials on me. However, the greatest test which fell upon me was that test which fell upon the valley of Taif. This is when I presented myself in front of the leader (of that region who was the leader of Bani Kinaanah) namely Bin Abd Yaleel bin Abde Kalaal. However, the intention (with which I went there), he did not give an answer. (In other words, they refused to accept Islam).
“I then left that place in great sadness and went in whichever direction I wanted. (Bear in mind that this was the moment when they threw stones on him until even his blessed shoes were filled with blood). When I was spared a little, I found myself in a place called Qaran Ath’ tha’aalab. I noticed that a strange cloud had surrounded me and when I raised my head to look at it, I noticed that Jibra’eel Ameen appeared in these clouds. He then called to me and said, ‘Whatever your nation has said to you and whatever they have done to you, Allah Almighty is aware of all of it. The Angel in charge of the mountain has been sent to you so that whatever you wish to do with those who have refuted you, you may do and may command the Angel of the mountain to do so.’
“The Angel in charge of the mountain then made Salaam and said, ‘O Muhammad! Whatever is your wish, you may command me. If you wish that I bring the two mountains together (the Mount of Abu Qubais and Qeqaan on the people of Taif (so that they are crushed like powder, then you may command me to do so).’ At this, I said to the Angel in charge of the mountain, ‘No, in fact I have hope that such people will be appearing from their offspring who will worship only One Allah and they will not associate a partner with Him.’”
(Sahih Bukhari Shareef)
Are problems a test or blessing?
Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mas’ud – may Allah be pleased with him – narrates that he once presented himself in front of the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him –when the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – had a very high fever.
He said to him, “O Prophet of Allah! Indeed you have very high fever.”
The Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – replied, “Yes, as much as two people among you (combined).”
I then said, “Its reward should also be double.”
The Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – replied, “Yes, it is like this. Whatever trouble reaches a Muslim whether it is a thorn or a major problem, through it, Allah Almighty removes his sins and inequities. Allah Almighty treats his sins in such a manner like the leaves which fall from a tree during (Autumn).”
(Sahih Bukhari Shareef, Sahih Muslim Shareef)
Hadrat Sayyiduna Aanis – may Allah be pleased with him – narrates that the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – has stated that, “When Allah Almighty wishes to do good to a person (then the punishment for his sins) are given quickly to him in this world (through problems and calamities, his sins are removed). However, when Allah Almighty does not wish to do good with a person, then the punishment for his sins (in the world) are stopped. This is until the Day of Judgement when total punishment is given to the person.”
The Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – also mentioned, “As far as repayment is concerned, as great as the trial and test (the reward) will also be greater. When Allah Almighty loves a certain nation, then he allows them to experience immense trial and test. Therefore, whoever is satisfied with this, for him is the Divine Pleasure of Allah Almighty. And whoever is displeased with this, for him is the Divine Displeasure of Allah Almighty”.
Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – narrates that the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – has stated that, “Test and trial comes upon a believing man and believing female upon their lives, their children and their possession (and through this, their minor sins are pardoned). Until when the time comes for them to meet their Creator (in other words, they die), there is no sin upon them.”
(Sunan Tirmidi, Haakim)
The answer given by Hadrat Sayyiduna Sa’ad – may Allah be pleased with him – to his mother.
It is reported that when Hadrat Sayyiduna Sa’ad – may Allah be pleased with him – accepted Islam, then his mother stopped eating and remained hungry. In other words, she began to test the Imaan of this blessed companion. She also mentioned to him that, as long as he did not leave the religion of Islam, she would continue to be in this state. The answer given by this blessed companion to his mother is also something which will always be remembered in Islam. Hadrat Sayyiduna Sa’ad – may Allah be pleased with him – said to her, “O my mother, even if you had a hundred lives and each one of them left your body in front of me still too, I will never leave this religion. If you wish you may eat and if you wish you may not eat.” (In other words, the choice is yours). It is mentioned that when she saw the steadfastness of her son, she began to eat.
Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah – may Allah be pleased with him – narrates that the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – has stated that, “The similitude of a believer is like the crops (in the field). The wind always make it bend. Sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left. The believer is always in a state of test and trial. The Munafiq is like the pine tree which never shakes until it is removed from its roots.”
(Jame’ Tirmidi, Muslim, Imam Ahmed)
Hadrat Sayyiduna Jabir – may Allah be pleased with him – narrates that once the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – visited Hadrat Sayyidah Umme Saa’ib – may Allah be pleased with him. (She had very high fever). (When he saw her state, he asked), “What has happened to you that you are shivering so much?” She replied, “It is fever, may Allah Almighty give no Barakah in this.”
The Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – replied, “Do not speak ill of fever because fever eliminates sins from the children of Adam – peace be upon him – as furnace removes dirt from iron.”
(Sahih Muslims Shareef)
Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Moosa – may Allah be pleased with him – narrates that the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – has stated that, “When a person becomes ill or he is on a journey, (and because of this, he is unable to perform his Nawafil), still, in his records of deeds the same amount of action is recorded when he was stationed somewhere or when he was well.” (In other words, even though he is unable to perform these acts of Nawafil, due to these two reasons, still, he is given the reward as if he had completed them.)
(Sahih Bukhari Shareef)
Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn ‘Umar – may Allah be pleased with them – narrates that the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – has stated that, “When a person in on a pious route and then becomes ill, (and he is unable to perform Ibadah), then the Angel who records the good deeds of this person is told (by Allah Almighty to write on the record of deeds of that person) the same as when he was well until he becomes well or he is taken (to Allah Almighty).
(Sharahus Sunnah, Imam Ahmed)
- Wealth and property of this world are favourites of everyone, like the fresh fruit which is sweet, delicious and attractive for all. Everyone likes them and is attracted towards them.
- The most delicious fruit of this world is women but at the same time it is the most baneful one.
- One who is inclined towards wealth and women and ignores the Islamic legal injunctions, has his Deen at stake; and one who benefits from them keeping oneself within the bounds of Islam, would be safe from their ruinous effects ان شاء اللہ.