The Reality of this Life

We will be happy to the degree that we remember Allah and recite His Book. After considering this principle, we may estimate our worth in this world and in the hereafter.

“And if it were not that the people would become one community [of disbelievers], We would have made for those who disbelieve in the Most Merciful – for their houses – ceilings and stairways of silver upon which to mount, and for their houses – doors and couches [of silver] upon which to recline, and gold ornament. But all that is not but the enjoyment of worldly life. And the Hereafter with your Lord is for the righteous.”

(Az-Zukhruf 43:33-35)

These verses proclaim in clear terms the temporary, and therefore insignificant, worth of material possessions and social status.

We should realize that this life is not the yardstick of success when we see that the disbeliever often lives a life of opulence, while the believer is often precluded from many worldly pleasures, a phenomenon that merely indicates the paltry value of this world.

While giving a sermon on a Friday, ‘Utbah ibn Ghazwan رضي الله عنه, a well-known Companion of the Prophet SAW, was reminiscing out loud about what the days were like when he lived with the Prophet SAW. ‘Utbah would fight with him in the way of Allah, and to avoid starvation, they would eat the leaves of a tree. Yet he remembered those days to be the happiest of his life. Then he recalled how he departed from the Prophet SAW, becoming a governor of a province. Despite this rise in worldly status, he felt wonder at how much lower the true quality of life became after the death of the Prophet SAW.

After the death of the Prophet SAW, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas رضي الله عنه felt bewildered and confused when he became governor of Kufa. During the Prophet’s lifetime, he too would eat tree leaves or the skin of a carcass. He could not bear the castles of his new life after having tasted the pleasure of his old life in the company of the Prophet SAW.

“And indeed the hereafter is better for you than the present [life of this world]”

(Adh-Dhuha 93:4)

Therefore there is a secret to guide you in this life – and that is to know the triviality of this world.

“Do they think that We enlarge them in wealth and children, We hasten unto them with good things [in this worldly life, so that they will have no share of good things in the hereafter]? Nay, but they perceive not.”

(Al-Mu’minun 23: 55-56)

Once when he entered the house of the Prophet SAW, ‘Umar رضي الله عنه saw marks on the Prophet’s side, the result of his always lying down on straw, and he also noticed the bareness of the room. His eyes swelled with tears after seeing such a moving sight. The Messenger of Allah SAW, the example and leader of all, in such a situation! It was too much for him.

“And they say: ‘Why does this Messenger [Muhammad] eat food, and walk about in the markets [like ourselves]?”

(Al-Furqan 25: 7)

‘Umar رضي الله عنه said, “You know, O Messenger of Allah, of the lifestyle of Khosrau and Caesar!” The Prophet SAW replied:

“O son of Khaṭṭâb, are you in doubt? Are you not pleased that for us is the hereafter, and for them is this world?”

It is a just balance and a fair distribution. So let them try to find their happiness in dollars, gold, silver, mansions, and cars. Verily, by Allah SWT, they will never find it in those things.

“Whosoever desires the life of the world and its glitter; to them We shall pay in full [the wages of] their deeds therein, and they will have no diminution therein. They are those for whom there is nothing in the hereafter but fire; and vain are the deeds they did therein. And of no effect is that which they used to do.”

(Hud 11: 15-16)

Source: Don’t Be Sad by Dr Aid al-Qarni


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