The Best of this World and the Hereafter
As we approach a new Islamic Year it is important that we engage in serious introspection and make appropriate changes both at an individual and collective level. The Holy Qur’ân warns us against becoming complacent and heedless because of prolonged passage of time and inaction. “Do not be like those who were given the Book aforetime, and whose hearts have hardened with the passing of time so that many of them have become rebellious…” Moral degeneration, a loss of purpose and hard-hardheartedness are but some of the failings of the passing of time. We eventually lose the capacity to appreciate Divine Guidance; we lose the humility to search for the truth and the foresight to understand prophetic wisdom. We gradually embrace values that are bereft of Divine Guidance and become victims of spiritual and emotional insecurity.
The Holy Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam has said: “Whoever has been blessed with four things has indeed been given the best of this world and the hereafter. A heart full of gratitude, a tongue occupied with the dhikr of Allâh, a body able to patiently endure hardships and a wife that does not breach his trust regarding herself and his property.” (Baihaqî)
In order to achieve the best of both worlds we need to consciously work towards acquiring the following four ‘blessings’:
Too often, we take the favours of Allâh for granted. We feel aggrieved, deprived, and tend display ingratitude when destiny does not accord with our insatiable dreams and desires
Consider the following:
- If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep … you are richer than 75% of this world.
- If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace… you are among the top 80% of the world’s wealthy.
- If you woke this morning with more health than Illness… you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.
- If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation… you are more blessed than three million people In the world.
- If your Parents are still alive and still married … you are very rare.
- If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful… you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.
- If you can read this message… you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you and, furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all. (Courtesy: Al Balagh)
Nabî Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam has said: “The first (condition) for the reformation of this Ummah is conviction and abstinence, whilst the first cause of its destruction will be miserliness and (unending) desires.” (Baihaqî)
The Holy Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam has said: “The parable of one who remembers Allâh and one who does not, is like the living and the dead.” (Bukharî & Muslim) We have become spiritually dead individuals with no sense of sensation. We neither fear the wrath of Allâh, nor yearn for His pleasure. Hence, religion has become an oppressive imposition designed to deprive us of the pleasures of life. How often do we recite the Holy Qur’ân? When last did we spend time pondering and chanting the glory of Allâh? The Holy Qur’ân refers to this kind of spiritual death in the following words: “They have hearts with which they fall to grasp the truth, and eyes with which they fail to see, and ears with which they fall to hear, They are like cattle: nay even less conscious of the right way…” They live like animals only conscious of fulfilling their natural desires without giving any thought to the purpose of existence. Hearts rust as metal does, and the polish for the heart is the dhikr of Allâh! Dhikr is the spiritual rain that renders the heart fertile and allows for the lush growth of virtue.
We have become selfish, impatient, and intolerant individuals who lose our self composure at the least bit of irritation. We have become pessimists who fret at the presence of thorns oblivious of the beauty of the rose. We become despondent and continue to bemoan the sad state of our affairs least convinced that every experience good or bad has a meaning and purpose. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam has said, “Patience is half of faith.” (Abû Naîm) The Holy Qur’ân states: “Fighting is ordained for you even though it be hateful to you, but it may well be that you hate a thing while it is good for you, and it may well be that love a thing while it is bad for you; for Allâh knows whereas you do not know.” What may at first seem to be a disaster may later turn out to be a means of betterment and enhancement. Hardships, disaster, and calamities are the like the thunder, and lightening that we have to endure before we are blessed with torrential rains. Consider the birth of Islam in South Africa. Islam reached the Cape Province in 1654 when the Dutch East India Company decided to use the Cape as a penal settlement for Muslim prisoners from Batavia In Indonesia. The Cape was chosen as the official place of confinement for political prisoners. They came as slaves yoked in chains and lived under barbaric and sub human conditions. They were treated in the same beastly and savage way as our brothers in Guantanamo Say in Cuba. Yet slavery became the basis for the rise of Islam in South Africa.
“And seek assistance in patience, and prayer, surely it is difficult except for those who fear Allâh.”
A Stable Family
Over the past decade, our society has undergone a rapid social and religious transformation, resulting in high divorce rates, separation, single parent families, and common law relationships. It is becoming extremely difficult to find happiness in marriage and to develop a healthy and vibrant relationship with your spouse. This is because of a fundamental shift from an ‘obligations-oriented bond’ to a ‘rights-orientated relationship’. We tend to demand our rights instead of fulfilling our obligations, which breeds a culture of conflict and tension. The Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam not only encouraged marriage among his followers, he also emphasised the importance of appropriate conduct after marriage so that the marriage endures and in the words of the Holy Qur’ân becomes the “coolness of our eyes.” We need to study the life of Nabî Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam to see how far and alienated we have become from the prophetic teachings.
The Holy Qur’ân states, “Sufficient is Allâh as an Ally and sufficient is Allâh as a Helper.” (4:45) Muslims are promised that Allâh will be on their side and will favour them with His help. However, this Divine Intervention and support are not granted to those who sit idle and wait for things to change, nor do those who adopt a lukewarm approach and commitment to the Dîn ever win them. If we refuse to work towards the best of both the worlds, Allâh forbid, we will have to contend with a terrible loss in both the worlds.
How long will we continue to profess Islam, while discarding its teachings and refusing to abide by its laws or heed its warnings?
If we stubbornly persist in revering the social, cultural and moral decorum of the Kuffâr, we have by our own volition opted for a life of barren existence.