“The worldly life from its beginning to its end is not worth an hour’s sorrow, let alone a lifetime’s.”
“O you who are afraid of poverty, the real poverty is the fear of poverty, and the real affluence is being satisfied with Allah (mighty and glorified is He) not with the silver and gold coins!”
Shaykh Abdul Qaadir Al Jilaani
What’s more important to you, this world or the next? Forget theoretical and wishful answers.
Rather look to your daily routine and actions. What do you do on time, pursue diligently and think about most of the time?
When you analyse this, you’ll discover really what’s important to you. What you give priority and most of your effort & concern to.
Here is the reality, most of us give precedence to this worldly life, whether it’s studying, building a career or enjoying ourselves. In between we fit in acts for the hereafter let alone reflect on our true purpose of existence and mission in life, which is ultimately to know and worship Allah.
The affair has become upside down, we have in reality chosen this finite life over infinite afterlife. We stress and think about exams, work, children, chores and our favorite football team rather than Allah, pray, death, Judgement day and pursuit of good deeds for the pure sake of Allah.
So, let’s reflect on our true mission in life, make that our priority and then make the affairs of this world revolve around the afterlife. We need to demote this life to secondary importance, to its true place relative to eternity.
It is only when we give the hereafter the primary stage in our lives will we realise our ultimate purpose of life. Which is to know, love, hope and be in awe of Allah. We will then make that our primary concern and do works accordingly. Then life will be in balance and we will achieve ultimate success in this life and the hereafter, inshaa Allah.
The slave of Allaah cannot actualize ‘You are the One that we worship’ except with two principles: one of them is following the Messenger and the second is having sincerity (Ikhlaas) for the one worshiped.
Ibn al-Qayyim – ‘Tahdeeb al-Madrij’ 68
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Imaam ibn Al Qayyim—may Allah have mercy upon him—said:
He went to his Shaykh—Shaykh of Islam ibn Taymiyyah—because he wanted to speak to him about something, or to take knowledge from him. So he found him siting remembering Allah. He was too afraid to speak to him until he finished from the remembrance of Allah. Then he turned to him and said: How long have you been here? He said: Since such and such a time and I am waiting. Thus the Shaykh (Ibn Taymiyyah) may Allah have mercy upon him said: ‘This is my breakfast, if I do not take my breakfast, I would not have strength to work that day’.
Thus his portion of remembrance was his breakfast which gave him strength to deal with work during his day; may Allah have mercy upon him. And this is how the Muslim is.
For this reason he (Ibn Taymiyyah) said:
‘Verily to Allah belongs a paradise in this world, whoever does not enter it, will not enter the paradise of the next life’.
Meaning the remembrance of Allah سبحانه وتعالى, it is paradise in this world because it relaxes the Muslim and soothes him and expands his chest, and removes his anxiety and repels the devils away from him. Thus it is a paradise. He enjoys it more than he enjoys food, drink, and desires. For this reason, you will find if a person does not say his portion of remembrance during the first part of the day or the first part of the morning, or the first part of the evening, you find him dejected and disconsolate. But if he adheres to his portion of remembrance in the beginning of the morning or the first part of the evening, you find him at ease with his chest expanded.
For this reason, the remembrance of Allah always and forever accompanies the Muslim; in the morning, in the evening, at the time of sleep, when he is aroused during the night or while sleeping, and when he awakens. The remembrance of Allah is always upon the heart and tongue of the Muslim. He is never able to do without it.
This is in contrast to the hypocrite, disbeliever, pagan and sinner. Their pleasure and enjoyment is in music, instruments, plays, skits and comedies. They are not familiar with the remembrance of Allah. For this reason He said concerning the hypocrite:
وَلاَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً
And they do not remember Allah but little. (Soorah An Nisa 4:142)
They are not put at ease by the remembrance of Allah; they are only put at ease by the remembrance of the devil. We ask Allah for safety and security.
The remembrance of Allah connects the person to his Lord; as it comes in the hadith Qudsi. Allah سبحانه says:
أنا مع عبدي إن ذكرني في نفسه ذكرته في نفسي، وإن ذكرني في ملأ ذكرته في ملأ خير منه
I am with My slave, if he mentions me to himself I mention him to Myself, and if he mentions Me in a gathering I mention him in a gathering better than his gathering.
Meaning: a gathering of Angels.
And Allah جل وعلا said:
فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُواْ لِي وَلاَ تَكْفُرُونِ
Therefore remember Me. I will remember you, and be grateful to Me and never be ungrateful to Me. (Soorah Al Baqarah 2:152)
Thus how can the person do without the remembrance of Allah, that which brings him near to Allah, and grants him the favor of Allah mentioning him and lauding him in the highest gathering?! These are tremendous benefits from the remembrance of Allah عز وجل.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم gave the resemblance of the person and the remembrance of Allah, to the person whose enemies came out in quick pursuit of him, desiring to kill him. Thus he took shelter in a strong fortress, and thus he was saved from them. He said: ‘Likewise is the remembrance of Allah, it is the fortress of the Muslim.’
This is what protects him from his enemies, from the devils of man and jinn; thus it is necessary for the Muslim to adhere to the remembrance of Allah with his tongue, his heart, and his actions.
Translated by Rasheed ibn Estes Barbee (hafidhahullaah)
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