Issue 109 » March 16, 2001 -
"But seek, with that which God has given you, the home of the Hereafter, and forget not your portion of the present world....."
[Al-Quran- Sura Al-Qasas 28:77]
PROPHETS ESTABLISHED THE BALANCE BETWEEN THIS WORLD AND THE NEXT
- At a time when some led an isolated life in monasteries and others drowned in luxury, the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, came with the above Quranic instruction.
- All of the Prophets, peace be upon them all, came to establish this balance – the balance between material and spiritual life, between reason and soul, between this world and the next and between indulgence and abstinence.
- While we should, on the one hand, declare all that Allah has bestowed on us in order to indicate our gratitude and due praise for Him, as commanded in the Quran, we should not forget, on the other hand, that we will be asked to account for every good we enjoy, as announced, in the Quran, "Then you shall be questioned that day concerning every good you enjoy" (al-Takathur, 102.8).
- This principle, like the others, was so deeply inculcated by the Prophet in the hearts of his Companions that it could be seen in every aspect of their lives. To cite an example: it was the time to break the fast on a day of Ramadan when Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, was offered a glass of cold water. He had just taken a sip when he suddenly burst into tears and stopped drinking.
- When asked why, he replied:
- I was once with God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. He did something as if he was pushing something away with his hand and saying to it, ‘Stay away from me!’
- I said to him: "O God’s Messenger! You are pushing something away, but I cannot see anything."
- He answered: "The world appeared to me in an ideal form and presented itself to me with all its pomp and luxury. I pushed it, saying: 'Leave me. You will not be able to seduce me into accepting you.' It (the world)withdrew itself and said: 'I am not able to conquer you, but I swear by God that I will captivate those who come after you.'"
- After narrating the Tradition, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, concluded: "At this time of breaking fast, I thought that the world allured me with a glass of cold water, and I wept."
- Abu Bakr and most of the other Companions lived a balanced life despite the fact that they had every possibility to live in comfort.
Signs Before the Hour- What have we prepared for it?
- that there are people who behave like animals;
- that there are women who wear their clothes like a second skin so that they appear naked even though they are clothed;
- that many people drink alcohol;
- that adultery and fornication are common;
- that men lie with men and women with women;
- that men wear silk;
- that female singers and musical instruments are popular;
- that usury (interest) is so widespread that even those who are not directly involved in it are affected by it;
- that there are very few people that are honest in their business transactions;
- that people distrust those who are honest and trust those who are dishonest;
- that writing is widespread;
- that attempts are made to make the deserts green;
- that there are people who attempt to change the balance of nature and who interfere with and interrupt the basic cycles and processes of existence;
- that earthquakes and natural disasters increase in frequency and intensity;
- that people wish they were out of this world and in their graves;
- that people believe in stars rather than trusting in God;
- that there are many false prophets, each claiming to be a messenger of God;
- that voices are raised in anger in places of worship;
- that many of the Muslims become extremely wealthy;
- that Muslims are numerous and powerless - because of their love for this world and fear of death - and unable to stop the nations of the world from invading and plundering them.
Thought-provoking Bits from Islamic Literature
Reflections on Tazkiya and Self-Development
Is not honesty a means to enter Paradise?
Will not striving to fulfill the needs of fellow human beings make me deserve Paradise?
Will not abstaining from vain talk and aimless actions, bring me closer to Paradise?
Is not consciousness of the best use of my time a key to Paradise?
Will not keeping promises and offering Salat on time, which are distinguishing traits of the righteous, put me on the highway to Paradise?
Must not all of the above be sought to attain Paradise?