It is easy to be fooled in to thinking that happiness lies in wealth and successful education, employment and careers. Although none of these things should be overlooked and belittled altogether, we should question ourselves as to what lies in the heart and mind as opposed to the hand. There were sahabah رضى الله عنهم (companions) who were rich and wealthy - wealth was in their hands and at times it may have showed on their bodies (in their clothing) but their hearts and minds were totally free from that wealth. Their hearts and minds lingered not in the dunya (worldly life) but rested in the hereafter even though they were walking the earth. One example is Sayyiduna Khabbab ibn al-Arat رضى الله عنه who was a blacksmith and was brutally persecuted by the pagans in Makkah. He survived to see the wealth of the Persian and Roman civilisations opened up to the Muslims and had plenty of wealth but had no love for his wealth in his heart. In fact, Khabbab ibn al-Arat رضى الله عنه lamented his wealth and said 'What are we doing with this wealth? We are depositing it in the dust of the earth (i.e. constructing walls and buildings)'. When Khabbab Ibn Al-Arat رضى الله عنه died at the age of 73 in Kufa, Ameer-ul-Mumineen Sayyiduna Ali رضى الله عنه prayed janazah over him and said 'May Allah have mercy on Khabbab for he embraced Islam willingly as a devotee, he did Hijrah with Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم as an obedient servant of Allah, and he lived his life as a Mujahid'.
Today we find even those who are poor, who have no wealth in their hands, but their hearts still lie in wealth and their minds are still devoted and attached to wealth and the glitter of the world. Thus, what is in the heart and mind is what really matters. Unfortunately, most Muslims are in that state where the dunya has caught them; its glitter has deceived them - the worldly life has attracted them in such a manner and in such a way that they have fallen for the promise of shaitaan, which is that success lies in the wealth of the dunya and related things and hence one should work only for the dunya and not the hereafter.
[This short excerpt is based on two separate talks delivered by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq: 'Lure of Shaitaan and the Promise of Allah' and also Lesson 169, Book of Funerals (from the Abridged Saheeh al-Bukhari discourses) which was delivered on Friday 19th October 2007. For a more comprehensive understanding of this topic please refer to those lectures]
'The likeness of this worldly life (dunyâ) is that of a snake: soft to the touch, it will kill you with its poison. So turn away from what impresses you of it, since what stays with you is so little. And do not be concerned about it, since you are certain about its parting. And be most happy in it when you are most heedful of it; for every time its companion takes solace in one of its delights, it gives way to one of its woes.'
It is reported that some people asked 'Alî ibn Abî Tâlib (radiallahu ta'ala anh) to describe this worldly life (the dunyâ). He said:
"Do you want a long description or a brief one?" They replied, "a brief one." He said, "Its permissible things (halâl) [lead to] accounts being taken from you, and its forbidden things (harâm) [lead to the] Fire."
The Provision of a Traveler [this world to the next] Anas Ø±Ø¶ÙŠ Ø§Ù„Ù„Ù‡ Ø¹Ù†Ù‡ reports that when Salmân [Al-Fârsî] Ø±Ø¶ÙŠ Ø§Ù„Ù„Ù‡ Ø¹Ù†Ù‡ was ill, Sa'd Ø±Ø¶ÙŠ Ø§Ù„Ù„Ù‡ Ø¹Ù†Ù‡ visited him and found him crying, so he asked him:
'O my brother, what makes you cry? Did you not accompany the Messenger of Allâh (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)? Did you not do such-and-such [good deeds]?' He replied, 'I am not crying over any one of two things: I am not crying out of love and yearning for this world nor out of dislike for the hereafter, but I am crying because Allâh's Messenger (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) took a covenant from me about something I think I have only transgressed. He made me promise that it is enough for anyone only to have enough [of this world] as would suffice as the provisions of a traveler, but I think I have only gone too far. As for you o Sa'd, fear Allâh when you judge, and when you distribute anything and when you think about doing anything.'
Thâbit (one of the reporters) said, "And it reached me that [when he died] he left only about twenty dirham of spending he had."
Khâlid ibn 'Umayr Al-'Adawî reports, 'Utbah ibn Ghazwân (radiallahu anh) once gave us a sermon. He praised Allâh, then said:
'The life of this world has announced its departure and is quickly turning away, and nothing remains of it save the likes of the last drop of water in a vessel as its possessor tries to catch it. You are moving on to an abode that has no end, so move on with the best [deeds] that you have. For it has been said to us that a rock can be dropped from the edge of Hell and fall for seventy years without reaching the bottom. Yet, by Allâh, it will be filled. Do you not then wonder? And it has been said to us that a single entrance to Paradise is as wide as a journey of forty years, yet there will come a day when it will be crowded.'
It is reported that 'Alî ibn Abî Tâlib (radiallahu anh) said:
'Goodness is not in your wealth and offspring being plentiful; true goodness is when your [good] deeds are plenty and you have great understanding and forbearance, and when you compete to worship your Lord. If you do good you praise Allâh and thank Him, and if you sin you beg Allâh's forgiveness. There is no good in this life except with two types of men: A man who sins but then corrects himself through repentance, and a man who strives and hastens to get [the good] of the hereafter.'
It is reported that Al-Hasan Al-Basrî (rahmatullahi alaih) often used to say, "O youth! Seek the hereafter, for we often see people pursuing the hereafter and finding it as well as the dunyâ (worldly wellbeing), but we have never seen anyone pursue the dunyâ and gain the hereafter as well as the dunyâ."
Observe how the life of this world deceives those around you. It lures them into the traps of vanity, wealth, and fame, and exalts them above others. This splendor blinds them, and they are lost forever in illusion. But then in one instant, life deals the blow of death, and all is gone, and with the Beguiler it stands laughing at their sad end. So overcome your egos that you may be saved from the snares that devoured kings and paupers alike.
Know that days are but hours, and hours are but breaths, and every soul is a container, hence let not any breath pass without benefit, such that on the Day of Judgement you find an empty container and feel regret!
Be aware of every hour and how it passes, and only spend it in the best possible way; do not neglect yourself, but render it accustomed to the noblest and best of actions, and send to your grave that which will please you when you arrive to it.
(Ibn al-Jawzī in his Lafat al-Kabid fī Naṣīḥat al-Walad)
Those before us used to give to their worldly affairs what was left over from their pursuit of the hereafter. But today, we give to the matters of the hereafter the left-overs from our pursuit of worldly affairs.
It is narrated that 'Uthmân ibn Áffân - Allâh be pleased with him - said in a sermon:
Son of Adam! Know that the angel of death who has been assigned to you has not ceased to pass you and move on to others, ever since you have been in this world. But it is as if he is about to pass someone else and move on to target you, so be careful and prepare for him (by correcting your deeds). And do not forget him, for he does not forget you. And know o son of Adam, if you are heedless about yourself and do not prepare, no one else will prepare for you. You must meet Allah the Mighty and Majestic, so take for yourself and do not leave it to someone else. Peace be on you.
[Abû Bakr Al-Daynûrî, Al-Mujâlasah wa Jawâhir Al-Ílm 2: 73, 74]
It is reported that before his death, Abû Mûsâ Al-Ash'arî - Allah be please with him - used to exert himself intensely in worship. It was said to him, "If only you would slow down and go easy on yourself." He replied, "When steeds are let loose and come close to the end of their course they finish by giving it all they have, and what remains of my life is less than that."
[Al-Dhahabî , Siyar A'lâm Al-Nubalâ` in his biography of Abû Mûsâ Al-Ash'arî]
A man once asked Abû Al-Dardâ' - AMay llah be pleased with him - for advice. He said:
Remember Allah in good times and He will mention you in hard times. When you remember those who have passed away, consider yourself like one of them. And when you think of involving yourself in some worldly matter, consider first what it will lead to in the end.
[Al-Dhahabî in Siyar A'lâm Al-Nubalâ', under the biography of Abû Al-Dardâ']
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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