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Sunday, May 09, 2010

The life of this world/Dunya

The life of this world

The greatest veil that mankind is faced with, on a daily basis, is the world. The world is a passing place in which we will dwell for a certain time then we leave it at an appointed time. Yet so many people limit our vision into thinking that the life of this world is the be all and end all. We desire so much wealth and property that this desire can never be satiated. We consume vast quantities of food that are richer and richer without concern for our health. We waste energy by misdirection and waste our lives chasing false dreams.

We seek everything for the sake it of it. We fight, we argue, we even kill for the sake of it. Yet have we really thought about why we are here? We are not meant to live sixty or seventy plus years without thinking for ourselves. One of the major problems that we face is that many people think like this and it is not easy to break this cycle. And in some cases only a calamity will really make us think about our situation. Otherwise we will remain as asleep as the children in cots fast asleep as the world turns and we are none the wiser.

We need to wake up. It is as simple as that we have to wake up. This world is a place of treachery that we will waste our whole lives without giving it any real consideration. What am I talking about? The real reason for our existence.

Rejecters of the afterlife

The rejections of those who do not believe in the afterlife are recorded in the Quran. The following is one such rejection.

“And they say, 'There is only our present life; we shall not be raised.” (The Cattle 6:29)

For some people this world is it, there is nothing else besides. They die and that’s it nothing else happens except that their bodies root six feet under. This is also what they use as justification to commit many sins ‘you only live once’ is a common phrase. Well you do but what you do in this lifetime will result in you being rewarded for eternity or punished. Muslims should not get stuck into repeating some of the nonsense that they hear from disbelievers.

“What, did you think that We created you only for sport, and that you would not be returned to Us?” (The Believers 23:115)

This life is not just for us to enjoy and gather masses of wealth. This world has a purpose and those who have forgotten their purpose need to read this carefully.

“I created the jinn and humankind only that they worship Me.” (The Winnowing Winds 51:56)

That is the reason for your existence and that is what we have to aspire to. Aspiring to a level of worship that we see the great men of God perform. You only have one chance at this life and when it is over we are out of time. We will not be given a second chance after that.

“If you could see when they are stationed before the Fire, and they say, ’Would that we might be returned, and then not cry lies to the signs of our Lord, but that we might be among the believers!’” (The Cattle 6:27)

When we have died we cannot barter ourselves into paradise or barter our way out of hell. Once we have died our faith and action are now sealed.

“As to those who reject Faith, and die rejecting,- never would be accepted from any such as much gold as the earth contains, though they should offer it for ransom. For such is (in store) a penalty grievous, and they will find no helpers.” The Family of Imran 3:91

“And let me not be in disgrace on the Day when (men) will be raised up; "The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, "But only he (will prosper) that brings to Allah a sound heart.” (The Poets 26:88-89)

So all the Dunya that you have gathered up all your lives, all those thousands of millions of pounds that you have been saving up is worth nothing now. What was the point? It cannot save or help you now. We could not see beyond that pound or that dollar we were so busy earning to think is this all there is to life?

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, “Love of the world is source of all errors.”  (Ibn Abi Dunya and Al-Bayhaqi)

The Dunya is cursed

The Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, “Allah, mighty and majestic, has not created anything more odious to himself than the world.” Ibn Abi Dunya and Al-Bayhaqi

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow upon him peace and blessings) said, “The world is cursed and everything in it is cursed except that which is for Allah.” At-Tirmidhi. Ibn Majah has the following addition, “Except the remembrance of Allah and a teacher and a student.”

So think, if Allah curses something does it have any value? It has no value at all.

Sahal Ibn Saad (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessing upon him) say, “If Allah, the Exalted, considered the world to be equal to a wing of a gnat then he would not have given a disbeliever a sip of water.”  (At-Tirmidhi 2323 graded Hassan Sahih)

The above narration confused me for many years. What does it mean? It means that the world is worthless and if it was worth a wing of a gnat then he would not have given it to a disbeliever!

People seem to be under the illusion that the more Allah loves a person the more Dunya that person has. This is just rubbish because this narration proves that if Allah gives Dunya (anything worldly) to a disbeliever then he has given him nothing of value! In fact, he has given him something worthless. So do not think that making the numbers of your bank balance increase means anything. The world is worthless and it is not linked to how much Allah loves a person.

Do not preoccupy yourself with the world

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow upon him peace and blessings) said, “Do not busy your hearts by remembering the world.” Al-Bayhaqi

If you head for the afterlife then you will lose some Dunya but that is nothing compared to the everlasting reward of doing something for the afterlife.

What have you lost?

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow upon him peace and blessings) said, “Whoever loves the world harms his afterlife; whoever loves the afterlife harms his world. So the effect remains on what passes.” Imam Ahmed, Tabarani, Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim

What have you lost when you lose Dunya? Nothing. You came into the world naked and are leaving in a white cloth. Everything that you were given is on loan to be returned after a while. Your family, your spouse, your children, you belongs, your home, everything will be given back when you leave and it will be given back. So do not weep over what has gone because what has gone is never going to come back. So have a good opinion that it will be replaced with something better and move on. Remember what was decreed for you was always going to be and what was never yours was never meant to be; no matter how much you try.

Imam Al-Mawlud said in Matharat Al-Qulub (p.36 Trans Sheikh Hamza Yusuf), “Realise also that blameworthy love of this world is what is solely for the benefit of the self.”

Please note we are not saying that you should sit at home, give up your job, sell all your property then give it away in charity. There is no blame upon you to have that amount of dunya that your worldly status is at but do not desire more than that. Yes, you need wealth to feed your family and children etc. But it should not be excessive or extravagant.

Ponder the following story about the Boatman

Imagine that you are on a boat in the middle of the sea. The boat has a hole in it and you know it will sink one day. You can put water out, on your left which is the dunya but the water that you bail out on the left comes back in. You know it makes no difference but you do not do anything.

If you bail the water on the right side, it turns into ice and you can build on it, as much as you want.

In the world, everything needs re-building, repairing and attention. Some things need to be cleaned then constantly checked and re-checked. The man in the boat is each one of us. We know working for the dunya weighs the boat down further and could cause us to sink. And we know that bailing the water on the right will give us a chance to escape the sea because we will be able to build something solid. That’s the difference the world is something that is ephemeral something useless and the afterlife has no end.

We can build what we want there but we have to start here to make sure we have got something to go to when the boat finally sinks.

Final note

We live in the Dunya and we are here for a fixed period that is unknown to us but that does not mean this world is the be all and end all. This world is a stopping place that we need to stock up on supplies before we pass on into the afterlife. This world is temporary and the afterlife is the place of permanence. What are we stocking up on? Sound belief and righteous actions. As these are the only things that we will take with us to our graves.

Yahya Ibn Muadh (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The life of this world is the wine of satan, and whoever is intoxicated by it only wakes up once he is amongst the hordes of the dead, lamenting among the losers.” (Purification of the Heart Various p.142)

For an explanation of the Prophetic narration, “The world is a prison of the believer and the paradise of the disbeliever,” please see the link.

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