The Secret Beyond Matter

The outlook of believers on the life of this world

"The life of the world is nothing but a game and a diversion. The abode of the hereafter—that is truly Life, if they only knew it." (Surat al-'Ankabut, 64)

Allah has created this world as a temporary place to put man to the test, to purify him of his wrongdoings, to make him attain a soul worthy of paradise and to reveal the evil of disbelievers… Very few people, however, ponder upon and grasp this truth: it is they who are the people of faith.

The outlook on life of a believer who has attained faith is based on this very important fact which is stressed in the Qur'an. Unlike disbelievers, such a person does not feel attached to the life of this world. On the contrary, he strives for the life in the hereafter. Aware that he is created "to serve Allah alone", he remembers the verse, "I only created jinn and man to worship Me." (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 56)

Serving Allah is not limited to observing some forms of worship such as the regular saying of prayers or fasting. On the contrary, being Allah's servant encompasses the entire life of the individual. A believer of perfected faith is one who may be defined as spending his entire life serving Allah. He lives for Allah alone, works for Allah alone, and devotes all his resources to the cause of Allah. He is truly aware that this world is but a place of trial. In the Qur'an, Allah draws attention to this: "We created man from a mingled drop to test him, and We endowed him with hearing and sight." (Surat al-Insan, 2)

Allah, moreover, draws attention to the deceptive nature of this world and warns people:

Mankind! Allah's promise is true. Do not let the life of the world delude you and do not let the Deluder delude you about Allah. (Surah Fatir, 5)

People of faith are those who are not deceived by the beauties of the life of this world, no matter how enticing they may seem. This is because the book of Allah has shown them the true face of the life of this world. As the Qur'an puts it, the life of this world is "a game", "an amusement", "pomp", "boasting among people" and "a vying in the multiplication of wealth and children". The following analogy in the Qur'an makes the nature of this world clear:

Know that the life of this world is merely a game and a diversion, ostentation and a cause of boasting among yourselves and trying to outdo one another in wealth and children. It is like the plant-growth after the rain which delights the cultivators, but then it withers and you see it turning yellow, and then it becomes broken stubble. In the hereafter there is terrible punishment but also forgiveness from Allah and His pleasure. The life of this world is nothing but the enjoyment of delusion. (Surat al-Hadid, 20)

As this example reveals, nothing in this world can resist the detrimental effects of time; neither beautiful mansions, eye-catching cars, gorgeous landscapes, nor young people with brilliant careers can save themselves… Everything new wears out, young people grow old… Time crushes the most precious of good things and makes them lose all their charm. The most cherished moments pass quickly and become history. After some time, everything good becomes a faint memory. In one verse, Allah informs us of the passions that make man feel attached to this world:

To mankind the love of worldly appetites is painted in glowing colours: women and children, and heaped-up mounds of gold and silver, and horses with fine markings, and livestock and fertile farmland. All that is merely the enjoyment of the life of this world. The best homecoming is in the presence of Allah. (Surah Al 'Imran, 14)

The common trait of the worldly blessings stressed in the verse above is their temporary and limited nature. For this reason, nothing exists in this world to which man can greedily attach himself. Neither the physical make-up of man, which is simply of bones and flesh, nor other material things, all of which are very vulnerable and ultimately perishable, allow man to attach himself to this world. The blessings we see around us are but imperfect copies of the blessings of paradise and are created with the purpose of foreshadowing the hereafter.

Believers who have grasped this important fact receive the best benefits possible in this world. But there is one essential difference between them and those who are allured by this world; they don't feel greedy for these blessings. On the contrary, they feel grateful to Allah for what He has bestowed upon them, because, they know that the real owner of all things on earth is Allah.

Those who assume that they possess property, beauty or power in fact deceive themselves, because it is not they who have created all these things. They are incapable of creating even a single one of them. Furthermore, they cannot prevent them from disappearing. They are beings who are created themselves… One day, they will certainly taste death, leaving behind everything that belongs to this life. Awareness of the verse, "These people love this fleeting world and have put the thought of a Momentous Day behind their backs". (Surat al-Insan, 27) is what distinguishes people of perfected faith from those who live in a state of heedlessness. People of perfected faith prepare themselves for the next life rather than for this one. The Qur'an records the prayers of such people:

And there are others who say, "Our Lord, give us good in the world, and good in the hereafter, and safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire." (Surat al-Baqara, 201)

In return for their sincere behaviour and prayers, Allah gives them the blessings of this world and the hereafter alike. Allah gives the glad tidings of this in the Qur'an as follows:

So Allah gave them the reward of this world and the best reward of the hereafter. Allah loves the righteous. (Surah Al 'Imran, 148)

There is good news for them in the life of this world and in the hereafter. There is no changing the words of Allah. That is the great victory! (Surah Yunus, 64)
2010-03-10 01:27:24

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