Dunya Versus Akhirah – Who’s the Winner?

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In the story of the blind men and the elephant, each of them was touching different features of the animal and had a different description for what an elephant looked like. Similarly, we humans may have various perceptions about life, based on our knowledge and experiences. However, our knowledge is too limited to grasp the entire concept of life. Our only source for knowing the ultimate truth is the revelation sent by our All-Knowing Creator (swt).

In the Quran, Allah (swt) has repeatedly reminded us about the true nature of this world and the next, so that we may live and act accordingly. Allah (swt) describes the life of this world as ‘deceiving enjoyment’, ‘fleeting pleasure’, ‘play and amusement’, and ‘temporary abode’. Whereas the hereafter is ‘better, eternal, and lasting’.

Allah (swt) mentions in the Quran: “Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children, as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the hereafter (there is) a severe torment (for the disbelievers, evil-doers), and (there is) Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers, good-doers), whereas the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.” (Al-Hadeed 57:20)

He says in another Ayah: “…Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the hereafter? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared with the hereafter.” (At-Tawbah 9:38)

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A Rich Muslim’s Dunya

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In the world of great economic recession and thriving business fields, wealth is a topic that has aggravated the son of Adam with immense force. While many individuals are anxious about earning livelihood and supporting their families, there is also a group of people who have no clue how to spend the wealth they have been blessed with. This ironic contrast can be evened out by the Islamic values, if followed appropriately – the two sides could draw closer, enriching the society with peace and brotherhood envisioned by the Prophet (sa). Moreover, the Quran has repeatedly asked the believers to spend in the way of Allah (swt), because this worldly wealth is only temporary. Likewise, the Quran advises to gather those deeds which would assist us in hereafter.

“O you who believe! Spend of that which We have provided for you, before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. And it is the disbelievers who are the Zalimun.” (Al-Baqarah 2:254)

Where and on Whom to Spend?

Many Muslims believe that paying Zakah lifts from them the responsibility for whatever goes on in the society. Zakah is indeed an obligatory act, but its payment does not expiate the liability off the rich elite because they possess the power to bring change – they should deal with the deprivation of the poor. Allah (swt) has also asked the believers to spend whatever is beyond their needs, as mentioned in the following verse:

“And they ask you what they ought to spend. Say: That which is beyond your needs. Thus Allah makes clear to you His laws, in order that you may give thought.” (Al-Baqarah 2:219)

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The Mirage of More

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This was her third nightmare in the past two weeks.

A couple of weeks ago, Farhat dreamt she was inside a tunnel – running in search of light. Finally, when she was able to see some light at the end of the tunnel, a train came out of nowhere and hit her.

Earlier last week, she dreamt she was drowning in a river. She tried hard to come to the surface, but to no avail. It was so frightening. Yet after waking up, she felt relieved it had been a dream.

Last night, she had another nightmare. She was in a desert with no sustenance, looking everywhere for water. After a long search in the scorching sun, her throat filled with thorns, she could see it. It was water indeed. “It will quench my thirst and give me life,” thought Farhat to herself. When she dragged herself to that natural pond, all she could see was sand. It was a mirage.

“What’s happening? Why am I seeing these nightmares? Something’s not alright,” she thought.

“Perhaps it’s because I was at a restaurant with my friend yesterday, enjoying their ‘all you can eat’ offer. All this eating probably caused an uneasy sleep,” she assumed. But her stomach was alright! And what about the previous dreams? She could think no more.

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Preserve Your Iman in Dunya

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Where does Iman stand in the life of a believer? When you realize the purpose of this life, Iman stands first in the priority list. All worldly relationships are temporary. The only matter we will be concerned about as we breathe our last, lie in the grave, and stand on the Day of Judgement, will be our Iman.

To spend a righteous life, we need to polish, nourish, cleanse, and purify our Iman. Only after that will we be able to lead a pure life of Taqwa.

Dunya is full of temptations, but there are certain wonderful tips which can help keep our Iman fresh and everlasting. Here are some of them:

Dua

Talk to Allah (swt). Have indepth conversations with Him. When we supplicate to Allah (swt), we should follow the way of the prophets. If we ponder over the starting verses of Surah Maryam (the supplication of Prophet Zakariya (as)), we can learn the art of presenting our problems and needs in front of Allah (swt) in the most beautiful way. Prophet Zakariya (as) talked to Allah (swt), telling Him his entire situation, including the minute details. He did not hand to Allah (swt) a list of desires and needs. Instead, he talked and discussed the things because he loved Allah (swt) and had a strong relationship with Him.

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Finding Our Way To Jannah

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While reciting the ending verses of Surah Al-Bayyinah, tears do not stop. You cry out to Allah (swt) to make you among those with whom He is pleased and who are pleased with Him. You wonder what a great honour to have it mentioned in the Quran that Allah (swt) is pleased with you.

It is the love and pleasure of Allah (swt) that our souls seek for if that has not been attained, then what have we really achieved? It will be a life wasted.

Allah (swt) tells us that if we follow the footsteps of the prophets, their companions, and the pious predecessors, we too might become the inheritors of Paradise. But to follow them, first we will have to learn the character traits that got them Allah’s (swt) pleasure.

Abu Bakr (rtam) – Truthfulness

After learning that the Prophet (sa) has been given prophethood, it did not take Abu Bakr (rtam) even a second to testify. Embracing Islam, he rushed to convey the message to others. When the Quraysh mocked and refused to accept the miraculous journey of Isra, Abu Bakr (rtam) said: “If he (the Prophet [sa]) said so, then he has told the truth.” It was this incident that earned him the title of As-Siddiq (the truthful).

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