Worldly life not have infinite value for all

Reality of This Worldly Life

Allah provides us with a complete picture of our existence in the Quran. Islam does not separate the worldly life from the Hereafter. Actually, Islam challenges us to maintain balance in life. All material things in this life are meant as tools for people to work hard towards the pleasure of God. We have to work hard, not in accumulating stuff to enjoy or to show off to others, but in utilizing what we have been given and the opportunities before us to please God. Allah says:

الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا

“The wealth and children (are) adornment (of) the life (of) the world. But the enduring good deeds (are) better near your Lord (for) reward and better (for) hope.” (Surah Al-Kahf 18:46)

In Islam, man’s entire individual and social life is an exercise in developing and strengthening his relationship with Allah. One of the dangers of becoming too attached to this world is that we lose sensitivity to the blessings God has given us. When we grow permanent roots on this earth, we become frustrated by the lack of contentment material things give us. So we accumulate more and more, trying to fill that emptiness with friends, addictions, or new things. Allah says:

وَمَا هَٰذِهِ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا لَهْوٌ وَلَعِبٌ ۚ وَإِنَّ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ لَهِيَ الْحَيَوَانُ ۚ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ

“This worldly life is nothing but diversion and amusement. Verily, the home of the Hereafter is the true-life if only they knew.” (Surah Al-Ankabut 29:64)

God is the Most Just; He will establish justice among all His creatures and no one can escape from God. This world is one big attraction, making those who in reality are meagre and full of weakness look strong and mighty, making those who are ignorant seem intelligent, and portraying those who have been misguided and enslaved to their desires as being the most guided of people. Allah says:

رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

“Our Lord, give us goodness in this life and goodness in the Hereafter and save us from the punishment of the Hellfire.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:201)

A true Muslim should consider the worldly life as short-term, and act within the Islamic philosophy of existence, which will bring about the ultimate success in the hereafter. On the Day of Judgment, the entire record of people from the age of puberty will be presented before God. God will weigh everyone’s good and bad deeds according to His Mercy and His Justice, forgiving many sins and multiplying many good deeds.

We all love the worldly life, the truth of the life of this world:

  1. Life on the earth has been made alluring, a trap and a test
  2. Life does not establish peace and justice in society
  3. Life does not enjoin upon its believers in purifying 
  4. Life does not have the dignity of all human being
  5. Life is misunderstood including some Muslims
  6. Life does not encourage people to be generous
  7. Life does not command love, mercy, and peace
  8. Life does not mean to know where you stand
  9. Worldly life to make a positive difference
  10. Life does not have infinite value for all
  11. Life does not provide for one’s family
  12. Life does not have patience & humility
  13. Life does not seem to be a healing agent 
  14. Life means to think you will return to God
  15. Life spread rumours and do not listen to them
  16. Life does not consider all life forms as sacred
  17. Life does not focus on what is in your control 
  18. Life does not provoke kindness to neighbours
  19. Life lose heart by a lack of any other material thing
  20. Life does not establish peace and justice in society

When we understand that this whole world is equal to less than a fly’s wing in the sight of God, we see that it is too worthless to drain our energy and youth in its pursuit. Instead, we set our eyes on our real home, our final destination, where we truly belong and where we will find the answers to our deepest, most cherished longings. This life is just a journey to that place, and living with that knowledge will bring us deeply, contented peace. Allah says:

مَن كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا نُوَفِّ إِلَيْهِمْ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فِيهَا وَهُمْ فِيهَا لَا يُبْخَسُونَ

“Whoever [is] desires the life (of) the world and its adornments, We will repay in full to them (for) their deeds therein, and they in it will not be lessened.” (Surah Hud 11:15)

Islam is a religion that balances worldly life and the life to come. According to Islam, the worldly life is like a farm in which a Muslim sows the seeds of good deeds in all aspects of life to reap the rewards of his hard work both in this life and the hereafter. A man has always been greedy by nature and has wished for more than he should own. The Quran encourages Muslims to enjoy the pleasures of their worldly life, but on the other hand, it warns us of squandering and prodigality. So there is a limit to enjoying the pleasures of our worldly life. Allah says:

إِنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَإِن تُؤْمِنُوا وَتَتَّقُوا يُؤْتِكُمْ أُجُورَكُمْ وَلَا يَسْأَلْكُمْ أَمْوَالَكُمْ 

“[This] worldly life is only amusement and diversion. And if you believe and fear Allah, He will give you your rewards and not ask you for your properties.” (Surah Muhammad 47:36)

In the eyes of Allah, Man is only valid when it entails the complete surrender of one’s will and freedom of choice to the will of Allah. It is a state of thought and action, coming from the heart, wherein man submits himself fully to Allah, renouncing all claim to his supremacy. The Quran describes believers as the people who seek for the good in both lives: the worldly life and the hereafter, not the Hereafter only. Allah says:

يَا قَوْمِ إِنَّمَا هَٰذِهِ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا مَتَاعٌ وَإِنَّ الْآخِرَةَ هِيَ دَارُ الْقَرَارِ

“O, my people! Only this, the life (of) the world, (is) enjoyment, and indeed, the Hereafter – it (is the) home, (of) settlement.” (Surah Ghafir 40:39)

The world is a veil and plaything; no human being should lose himself in it. Human intelligence and dignity are above the transient moments of the world. But as God’s work of art, the world also unveils His grandeur, design and mercy. It serves as a sign, pointing to something larger and more significant than the sum total of its physical/material qualities. It can be a source of pain, suffering and violence but also wisdom, love, friendship and compassion.

All these facts are described in the Holy Quran, Allah Almighty says:

  • “Indeed successful are the believers.” (Quran 23:1)
  • “Let not then this present life deceive you.” (Surah Fatir: 5)
  • “And had preferred the life of this world.” (Surah An-Naziat, 38)
  • “But the Hereafter is better and more enduring.” (Surah Al-Ala, 17)
  • “…We all belong to Allah and Him, we shall return.” ( Al-Baqarah: 2:156)
  • “The life of this world is merely the enjoyment of delusion.” (Quran 3:185)
  • “And take provision, verily the best of provisions is at-taqwa.” (Quran 2:197)
  • “ And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Quran 51:56)

The classical Muslim thinkers and scientists took the physical reality of the world seriously but never considered it as having a self-fulfilling meaning in and of itself. They produced an advanced and scientifically sound study of the natural world, providing a detailed analysis of the physical properties of the universe. Yet this “world” that they studied so assiduously was not a self-explanatory and self-justifying reality. They studied the physical world within the larger context of what the Quran called Hayat al-Dunya, “life of this world” or “world. Allah says:

إِنْ هِيَ إِلَّا حَيَاتُنَا الدُّنْيَا نَمُوتُ وَنَحْيَا وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمَبْعُوثِينَ

“Not it (is) but our life (of) the world, we die and we live, and not we (will be) resurrected.” (Surah Al-Muminun 23:37)

The pleasures of this worldly life, such as wealth, children and wives, are a trial. If you were so attached to them, they would be your enemies. The Quran reminds us that the enjoyment of worldly life is for only a while —not forever, like the Hereafter. The Quran warned us of the punishment reserved for those who work very hard to gain the benefits of worldly life while they ignore the Hereafter. We should prefer the Hereafter, but God does not ask us to choose just one. Allah says:

يَعْلَمُونَ ظَاهِرًا مِّنَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ عَنِ الْآخِرَةِ هُمْ غَافِلُونَ

“They know (the) apparent of the life (of) the world, but they, about the Hereafter, [they] (are) heedless.” (Surah Ar-Rum 30:7)

It is a sin when you wrong yourself and accept this type of lifelike animal, so if you are in a weak position and you cannot fight for your life, the Quran encourages you to move to another land where you can have a better life as the human whom God honours. The Quran warned us of being deluded or deceived by the enjoyments of worldly life. Yes, enjoy life but do not let it delude or deceive you. Allah the All-Knowing has put the matter regarding the hereafter in perspective for us to ponder over and reflect. Allah says:

رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

“Our Lord, give us goodness in this life and goodness in the Hereafter and save us from the punishment of the Hellfire.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:201)

The Islamic standpoint that should be understood is that there is no conflict or opposition between this life and the Hereafter. On the contrary, Islam establishes harmony where a Muslim lives in this life but his heart is devoted to Allah and the Hereafter. The only right course for man is to acknowledge Allah as the only Lord, the Sustainer. His sole objective should be to merit the approval of Allah. Allah says:

وَأَنْ أَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا وَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

“And that, “Direct your face to the religion upright, and (do) not be of the polytheists.” (Surah Yunus 10:105)

Allah cautions us not to get carried away by the charms of this life because, in comparison with the hereafter, this life has quite a limited span. We are thankful to Allah for His blessings and show gratitude to people as well for what we get from them, earn our livelihood through lawful means, and so on. Let’s remember that when we live our lives according to what Islam teaches us, we not only live fulfilling lives, we are also pleasing Allah and thus contributing toward credits that will count in the Hereafter.