Surah Al Kahf, ayah 46
March 11, 2022
This is how this world is: whilst the one who focuses on this world is enjoying his youth, surpassing his peers, acquiring wealth, indulging in physical pleasures, fulfilling his desires at all times and thinking that this will continue for the rest of his life, suddenly death comes upon him or he loses his wealth, and his happiness disappears and his joy and pleasure vanish; he is faced with pain and anguish at the loss of his youth, strength and wealth, and he is left with nothing except his deeds, good or bad. At that time, the wrongdoer will bite on his hand with regret, when he realizes the reality with which he is faced, and he will wish to go back to this world, not to carry on fulfilling his desires, but to make up for what he missed out on at the time of negligence, by repenting and doing righteous deeds. But the wise and prudent person who is rightly guided imagines himself in this situation and says to himself: Imagine that you have died, for you must inevitably die: which of the two situations would you prefer? To be deceived by the adornment of this realm and enjoying it in the manner of grazing animals, or to strive for that realm where food and shade are always available, in which one will have all that one desires and will enjoy all that delights the eye? Thus a person may know whether he is guided or forsaken, winning or losing.
Hence Allah SWT tells us that wealth and sons are the adornment of the life of this world, and they are no more than that; what will remain and benefit a person, bringing him joy, are righteous deeds of lasting merit. That includes all acts of obedience, both obligatory and recommended, having to do with the rights of Allah SWT and the rights of His slaves, such as prayer, zakah, charity, Hajj, 'umrah, tasbeeh, tahmeed, tahleel, takbeer, reading Qur'an, seeking beneficial knowledge, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, upholding ties of kinship, honoring one's parents, fulfilling the rights of wives, slaves and animals, and all acts of kindness towards people. All of these are righteous deeds of lasting merit, and they bring a better reward with Allah and are a better source of hope. Their reward will remain and be multiplied for ever and ever, and that reward and benefit are hoped for at the time of need. This is what people should compete for and strive to attain.
Reflect on how Allah SWT gives this likeness for this world and how it will diminish, and He tells us that in it there are two types of things:
The first type is adornment that is enjoyed for a short while, then it diminishes without bringing any benefit; rather it may in fact bring harm - this refers to wealth and sons. The second type will remain and bring eternal benefit; this is the righteous deeds of lasting merit.