If we ponder over our lives and ourselves, we will find that more often than not we take a situation for what it appears to be without bothering to look deeper. This applies in all aspects of life. For example, if someone presented us with two gifts to choose from, one wrapped in a beautiful gift wrap and big in size, and the other a small box wrapped in newspaper. We'd automatically go for the big one. It turns out to be a dustbin, and the other one happened to be a diamond ring. We are then left with nothing but regret.
It is our nature to make a decision based on the exterior or outward appearance of a thing or even a situation, even though time and time again we see that there is a deeper side to life.
The point of my mentioning this is that we behave in the same manner when it comes to the main objective behind our creation, "preparation for aakhirah". We are told over and over again about the transitory nature of this world and all it contains. Yet we fall for the trap repeatedly and give preference to the glitter and glamour of the world, and in the interim we neglect and forsake the eternal luxuries of the hereafter. We strive for the fleeting success of this world and forsake the eternal success of the hereafter. We hanker after the wealth of this world and forsake the endless treasures of Jannah. We live to enjoy life in this world and cause eternal distress for ourselves in the Aakhirah.
My Sheikh Hazrat Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saahib (daamat barakaatuhum) says in a couplet:
Oh heart do not incline towards the embellishments of this world, It is a snake in disguise, it will bite you.
Allah has made the right path look difficult from the outside, but once a person treads on it, he will never want to set foot on any other way. The road to Jannah seems long and hard, while the road that seems easy and enjoyable takes a person directly to Jahannam.
Rasulullaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) states in a hadeeth that Jannah is hidden behind the veil of difficulties, while Jahannam is veiled behind fulfillment of one's desires.
So what we see is not actually what we get. Let us look beneath the surface and not be fooled by appearance.
I leave you with the words of Maulana Rumi (rahmatullaahi alayh):
Allah made the illusion look real, and the real an illusion.
He concealed the sea, and made the foam visible,
the wind invisible, and the dust manifest.
you see the dust whirling, but how can the dust rise by itself?
you see the foam, but not the ocean.
invoke Him with deeds, not words; for deeds are real and will save you in the infinite-life.
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