"Whoever seeks the life of this world damages his rewards in the Hereafter, and whoever seeks rewards in the Hereafter, damages the pleasures of this life. You should therefore damage this transient life for the sake of the permanent one."
"Three things astonished me till I laughed and three things caused my sorrow till I wept. The first three are: a man who seeks worldly pleasures whereas death seeks him, a man who is unmindful towards Allah's duty whereas Allah is not unmindful towards him and a man who laughs loudly whereas he does not know whether Allah is pleased or angry with him. And the second three are: being separated from Muhammad (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), being separated from my loved ones and being judged by Allah on the Day of Resurrection and not knowing whether I will be ordered to Paradise or to Hell."
"If you do not take in your journey in this life the provisions of piety, and if you meet after death someone who
has done so; then you will regret for not having been like him and for not having deposited any balance in your account for that day."
"Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children, as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment (for the disbelievers, evil-doers), and (there is) Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers, good-doers), whereas the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment." [Surah al-Hadid, 57:20]
Al hamdulillahi rabbil 'aalameen wa salaatu wa salaamu 'ala ashrifil anbiyaai wa al mursaleen nabeeyana Mohammad wa 'ala aalihi wa sahbihee ajma'een.
Truly, we were granted this life to be tested which of us would remain steadfast in the dhikr (remembrance) and shukr (gratitude) of Allah (Subhaanahu wa ta'aala). Living in a landmine where every step you take can lead to your possible destruction, and not destruction of the body but rather of the soul, we see people being annihilated every single day.
This world is one big attraction, making those who are in reality are meager and full of weakness look strong and mighty, making those who are ignorant seem intelligent, and portraying those who have been misguided and enslaved to their own desires as being the most guided of people.
Know, that no one lives in this dunya except that he will be eaten by it in its entirety or will leave bruised and scarred except for those whom Allah (Subhaanahu wa ta'aala) has mercy upon. Hassan al Basari (Rahimahullah) had some wise words concerning the dunya when he said: "So beware of this land (the dunya) that is falling down and is misleading and deceiving, being decorated by its deceit and having eluded (others) by its delusion, and having killed its people with its hopes. It looks forward with anticipation towards the one who proposes to it for marriage. Hence it becomes like the unveiled bride -all the eyes are looking towards it, and the souls are in love with it, and the hearts are captivated by it." Indeed he was true in his words, as we are all guilty of the crime of being deceived by the dunya with its beauty and glamour. Some of us were fortunate to get out, al hamdulillah, while others have wandered off into the everlasting dark tunnel that had no light at its beginning and has no light at its end, and the only thing that will allow him to leave is death itself. Refuge is sought with Allah (Subhaanahu wa ta'aala) from such an evil ending.
And know for a fact that no matter how much good you may see in this dunya, in reality it is just a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing. Had there been any good in it, then Allah (Subhaanahu wa ta'aala) would have made it a place of reward, and place of dissension of His mercy. But rather Allah (Subhaanahu wa ta'aala) only sent one of His mercies upon the earth through which we are kind to one another, and rather has made it a place of trial and tribulation and a true prison for the believer. Likewise, had there been good in it we would have seen the Prophet (Salla Allahu 'alayhee wa Sallam) being attached to it and living in its luxuries but rather he sacrificed it all with full certainty in that which will come after is better and everlasting. Thus, he (Salla Allahu 'alayhee wa Sallam) said: "The dunya is cursed. Cursed is all that is in it except for the remembrance of Allah, and that which resembles it, a scholar, and a student (of knowledge)."  So do we need anymore proof that this dunya is an end less pit for the one who is not careful and falls into it?
One of the most beautiful words ever uttered were at the end of a seerah lecture where the speaker said referring to the Prophet (Salla Allahu 'alayhee wa Sallam) "He had the world at his feet, yet not a dinar to his name." Indeed that's what true zuhd (asceticism) and taqwaa (piety) is, having the dunya bestowed upon you from every angle imaginable and sacrificing it for the noble face of your creator and sustainer, truly noble attribute that most have lost, except those who have been encompassed by the mercy of Allah (Subhaanahu wa ta'aala). So let us abandon this dunya and its temporary beauty for the joys, which will last for eternity. Let us be the children of the aakhirah and not of the Dunya as 'Ali (Radiya Allahu 'anhu) said: "Verily the dunya is coming to an end, and the aakhirah is coming to a beginning and they both have children. So be children of the aakhirah and don't be children of the dunya. For verily today there is action with no account and tomorrow there's account with no action."  So let us wear the garments of Imaan (belief) and Taqwaa (piety) as they are the only true garments the cover the 'awrah, and are the only protection from the tribulations of the dunya. Like Allah (Subhaanahu wa ta'aala) said "And take provision, verily the best of provisions is at-Taqwaa"  and as He (Subhaanahu wa ta'aala) says, "Verily for the Muttaqeen (people of Taqwaa) is success (paradise)"  and as He (Subhaanahu wa ta'aala) says, "Indeed successful are the believers"  and as he (Subhaanahu wa ta'aala) says, "Verily those who believe and do righteous deeds will have the gardens of al-Firdous (the loftiest form of paradise)."  May Allah (Subhaanahu wa ta'aala) make us of these people. Aameen.
Lastly, before I end off I leave you with the words of the Prophet (Salla Allahu 'alayhee wa Sallam) "Every man starts his day being a vendor of his soul, either freeing it or bringing about its ruin." He who enslaves his soul to Allah has indeed liberated it and he who enslaves his soul to his whims and desires then let him prepare for a marriage to captivity till death do you part. Proving this point is the statement of the 'Allaamah of raqaaiq Ibn ul-Qayyim (Rahimahullah), "Verily the life of man is in the life of his heart and his soul. And there is no life in the heart except by knowing its creator, having love for him, worshipping him solely, turning to him in times of need, and seeking tranquility with His remembrance. And he who loses this life has lost all good. Even if he attempts to substitute (this loss) with all that is in the world. For verily not even all of the world together would be able to replace this life. And verily for everything that a slave loses there is a substitute, but the one who loses Allah will never find anything to replace Him." 
So take these two sayings, read them, understand them, and implement them to the best of your ability, and know, without a doubt, that Allah (Subhaanahu wa ta'aala) is the one who grants success.
The statement of Fudayl bin `Iyyad (Rahimahullah), "Man's fear of Allah is equal to his knowledge of Him and his renunciation of worldly pleasures is equal to his desire in the Hereafter." 
Secondly, the advice of Sufyan ath-Thawree (Rahimahullah), "Work for the sake of this life within the extent of your stay in it, and for the Hereafter within the extent of your stay therein." 
And Allah (Subhaanahu wa ta'aala) knows best.
May Allah (Subhaanahu wa ta'aala) make us of those people who benefit from admonition and of those who when they are given are thankful, when tested are patient, and when sin are repentful (as these are the keys to success in this dunya and the aakhirah). Aameen.
Completed on the 3rd day of Safar 1424 A.H.
By the Slave of Allah, the one most in need of His mercy
Abu 'Abdir Rahman Mohammad Al Kanadi
Al Madeenah An-Nabaweeyah
 Related by Abu Nu'aym in Al Hilyah (2/135-136)
 Related by Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah, and Bayhaqi.
 Related by Ibn ul-Qayyim in Ad Daa' wad-Dawaa- Fasl 15.
 Surah Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 197.
 Surah An-Nabaa (78), Ayah 31
 Surah Al-Mumi'noon (23), Ayah 1.
 Surah Al-Kahf (18), Ayah 107.
 Related in Ibn ul-Qayyim's Ad Daa' wad-Dawaa- Fasl 49.
 Related in Abdul-Malik Al-Qasim's Life is a Fading Shadow, (Dar-us-Salam).
"Suppose you learn today that you have only one more day to live; you'll die tomorrow. How will you spend your last day?"
This interview question was posed long before the age of mass media. The interviewer approached prominent scholars and people known for their virtuous lives with the idea that he would compile their answers in a book. Such a book would provide the readers with inspiration for the most important virtues.
But the most inspiring response came from the person who did not provide a wish list of virtuous deeds. He was the great muhaddith Abdur Rahman ibn abi Na'um and he replied: "There is nothing that I could change in my daily schedule learning that it is my last day. I already spend everyday in my life as if it is going to be my last."
Death is the most certain aspect of life. According to the latest statistics, 6178 people die in the world every hour. These are people of all ages, dying of all causes. Some of these deaths will make headlines. The great majority will die quietly. Yet everyone will enter his grave the same way. Alone. At the time appointed by God. Science and technology can neither prevent nor predict death. It is solely in the hands of the Creator.
"O mankind! If you are in doubt concerning the Resurrection, then lo! We have created you from dust, then from a drop of seed, then from a clot, then from a little lump of flesh shapely and shapeless, that We may make it clear for you. And We cause what We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed time, and afterward We bring you forth as infants, then give you growth that you attain full strength. And among you there is he who dies young, and among you there is he who is brought back to the most abject time of life, so that after knowledge he knows naught!" [Al-Haj 22:5]
We see it happening all the time. Yet it is amazing how we feel that it won't happen to us. At least not anytime soon. We bury our own friends and relatives but think that we'll live forever. Our attitudes about death defy all logic. In a way we recognize it and even plan for it. We take out life insurance policies. We may do estate planning. Businesses and governments have contingency plans to carry out their operations in case of sudden loss of their leaders. But this is recognition of death as an end point of this life. Where we fail is in recognizing it as the beginning of another life that will never end and where we'll reap what we sow here.
A central teaching of Islam is that it is our recognition of and preparation for that eternity that must separate those who are smart from those who are not. As the Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: "Truly smart is the person who controlled his desires and prepared for life after death."
There is a moving story about Bahlool, who, in his innocence seems to be on the opposite end of the scale of worldly-smartness. Khalifa Haroon ur Rashid had given him access to his court probably because his naiveté was a source of entertainment to him. Once the Khalifa gave him a walking stick saying, "It is meant for the most foolish person in the world. If you find a person more deserving of it than yourself, pass it on." Several years later Haroon ur Rashid fell seriously ill and no medical treatment seemed to work. Bahlool visited him and inquired about his condition. The conversation went something like this:
Haroon: "No treatment is working. I see my final journey ahead of me."
Bahlool: "Where are you going?"
Haroon: "I am going to the Other World."
Bahlool: "How long will you stay there? When will you come back?"
Haroon: "No one ever comes back from that world."
Bahlool: "Then you must have made especial preparations for this journey. Did you send an advance group to take care of you once you arrive?'
Haroon: "Bahlool, you have to go there alone. And no I did not make any preparations."
Bahlool: "Ameer-ul-M'mineen! You used to send troops to make extensive preparations for you for even short trips of only a few days. Now you are going to a place where you'll live forever but you have made no preparations! I think I have found the person more deserving of the stick that you had given me some years ago."
This story speaks to all of us. We may not be kings but we do plan our trips of even a few days very carefully. How about preparing for the journey into eternity? How about making the concern for the Hereafter the cornerstone of our lives here?
Actually, that concern can change our lives here as well. This world is an abode of deception. Here we are not punished the moment we commit a sin. This fools us into thinking that we can get away with it. Remembering death is the antidote for that deception. A person who remembers that he will have to stand before his Creator and be accountable for his actions simply cannot defy God!
In the story of Pharaoh, we learn that when he saw death approaching he declared belief in the God of Moses. Before that he had been fooled by his apparent power. His repentance came too late but it did show how his arrogance and intransigence evaporated when faced with the certainty of death.
It is amazing how a lot of our own "confusions", frivolous arguments, excuses (for why we cannot do this or avoid that), or plane laziness can melt away when we visualize ourselves in our grave! Death settles lot of arguments. Its remembrance can do that too. Before it is too late. He was indeed a very wise person who spent everyday of his life as if it was going to be his last day. But that certainly should be the goal for all of us!
"Surely the life in the hereafter is better for all who are God-fearing. Will you not use your reason?"(7:169)
Indeed, the abode of the hereafter is the one to seek. Its value, as it is recognized by those who are God-fearing, is bound to tilt the scales. Seeking it provides the determination to resist the fleeting pleasures that present themselves now, in the life of this world. It is the motivation to gain admission into that abode of the hereafter that mends hearts and sets life on the proper footing.
Without observing the requirements for such future life, this present life will go awry. How else can a human being resist the great pressure of indulging the immediate pleasures of this life? What stops a human being from indulging his greed or taking away what belongs to others? What can tame people's urges, cravings and powerful aspirations? What can give people the reassurance that what is lost in this life struggle will not have been totally lost at the point of death? Rather, there is still more to come in a future, everlasting life.
What gives the believers support in the battle between good and evil, truth and falsehood, when they see life's pleasures slipping away from their hands, and find evil gaining increased power and imposing tyrannical authority? Nothing can give such strength and help to believers to remain steadfast in the face of misfortunes and changing circumstances during an unabating battle with falsehood except the firm belief in the life to come and that it is far better and superior for those who are God- fearing. That abode belongs to those who forgive, rise above the fleeting pleasures of this world, show determination to follow the truth and to do what is good, remain unshakeable, as they go along the way, reassured that what Allah has for them is infinitely better than what they may have in this world.
Abu Hatim: 'The intelligent person must never be deluded by this world and its dazzles, its beauty and splendors, such that he occupies himself with it as opposed to occupying himself with the eternal Hereafter and the everlasting delight (of Paradise). Rather, he should place the world where Allah has placed it because its end will no doubt perish. Its civilizations shall become ruins, its inhabitants shall die, its magnificence will depart and its greenery will be destroyed. There will remain no arrogant leader in command and no poor and humiliated one, except that the glass of death shall pass over them. Then they will depart to the dust where they will become worn out until they return to what they were in the beginning; ruins (i.e. dust). Then the Knower of the Unseen (Allah) shall inherit the earth and all that is upon it. Thus the intelligent one never places his reliance on a home of this description and he cannot find tranquility in a world like this - for indeed what lies in store for him is that which no eye has seen, no ear has heard and has never occurred to the human mind. So he holds back by abandoning this small and diminutive world and instead takes pleasure in that superior and abundant world.'
The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, "Whoever wakes up with good health, safety and he has with him food for the day, then it is as if the world has been gathered for him. O Ibn Ju'shum, what suffices you of it is that which prevents your hunger and that which conceals you; whether that's a garment which you can wear or an animal which you can ride upon, then indeed, how fine that would be! (It is) half a bread and some running water, and you shall be called to account for whatever lies above the Izar (lower garment)." [Majma' al-Zawa'id 10/292, Mawarid al-Dham'an 2503]
Abu Hatim: 'This world is like an overflowing sea, and people are overturned in its waves. Whoever is given these 3 things from the world has indeed been given the world in its entirety: Safety, Provisions and Health. No-one is deceived by it except the foolish and no-one relies upon it except him who is deprived. Whoever wishes to be free, let him avoid desires even if they are sweet. Know that not every sweet thing is of benefit but rather every benefit is sweet. Every desire is blameworthy, except that which brings profit, and the greatest of profits is Paradise and having Allah suffice you of the people.'
Ma'n ibn 'Awn once said,'How often has a person faced a new day but yet failed to complete it, and how often has a person waited for tomorrow but yet failed to reach it? Were you to look carefully at the matter of death and its paths, you would have come to hate having hopes and its delusions.'
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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