Published — Friday 11 April 2014
Last update 10 April 2014 11:30 pm
The home you acquired with such effort, your belongings, the food you eat, flowers with their dazzling colors, verdant green trees, your own body, in short everything you have is condemned to grow old, fall apart and decay. The life of this world, which seems as if it will never end, in fact consists of a very brief test, and all beauty eventually fades.
There are many things that everyone wants to happen. For some people the time and the conditions are right for these to happen now; for others, it looks more difficult for the things they desire to come about. Yet those people whose means are very closely suited to achieving their desires and others whose means are not both passionately want their dreams to come true. That is one secret of the test in this world.
Even if everything one desires comes true in the most perfect way, or whether it doesn't by the time one dies, there is a reality that people must reflect well on and never forget: All those who achieve their desires, and all those who do not, will live only a very short time in this world.
This world is as fleeting
as the blink of an eye
The life of this world will pass in the blink of an eye, and the happiness that people attain will rapidly fade away. For that reason one must concentrate, not on whether one’s desires come true or not, but on whether one’s moral values are such as to allow one to attain Paradise. Because even if all a person’s desires come true, in just the way he dreamed, the happiness resulting from them will last no more than a few decades at the most. Eventually, these blessings will depart, and with death, everything he has will be left behind. However, someone who aims to attain all the delights he desires in the Hereafter will be able to enjoy that happiness for unending moments.
It is very important to reflect on this and to make the appropriate comparison. One must take a decision for oneself; one must see that focusing on obtaining delights in this world alone is of no benefit. If God so wishes, He can also bestow blessings on people in this world, and that is indeed a blessing for the person concerned but it is a grave error and a waste of time to make that one’s “absolute” aim and to tie all one’s peace of mind, happiness and joy to it. What one must do is to ask God to bestow all the blessings one desires in this world and in the Hereafter; but one must then be content with whatever God has given.
However, the important thing is to be able to experience that happiness as a genuine happiness, as the hope that God will bestow all one’s desires on one in the eternal life, not merely as a superficial happiness. One must not forget that believers will attain the finest of the blessings of this world and of the Hereafter: “For them are glad tidings, in the life of the present and in the Hereafter...” (Qur'an, 10:64)
God has created the life of this world to test which people will behave best and who will demonstrate fidelity and remain devoted to Him. Beauty and ugliness, good and evil, flaws and perfection are placed side by side in this place of testing, and an immaculate test system has been established; people are tested in a myriad of ways for their faith to emerge. In the end, those who properly know and appreciate God will be distinguished from the unbelievers and will attain salvation. This is revealed as follows in the Qur’an: “Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, "We believe", and that they will not be tested? We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false.” (Qur'an, 29: 2-3)
People’s aim must be to
earn the approval of God
It is of course improper to want hereafter solely to live forever and to obtain everything one wants there for all time. People’s true aim must be to desire the love of our Lord, to seek to attain His friendship and to live as people with whom God will be pleased for all eternity; God will bestow unlimited blessings on a person with such a powerful love of Him. It is impossible, however, for someone whose true aim is not the love of God, to enjoy the same outcome.
As a sign of His infinite might and omniscience, God creates many delights, art and marvels and various flaws and defects together at one and the same time. Perfection and permanence are against the law of this world; nothing of which the human mind can conceive, not even developing technology, can change this law.
So people must long for and strive to attain the Hereafter and must show gratitude and appreciation to God. They must also realize that their true abode is not this fleeting world, but the eternal life of Paradise, free of all flaws and imperfections and specially prepared for believers. This truth is revealed explicitly in the Qur’an: “But you prefer the life of this world; But the Hereafter is better and more enduring.” (Qur'an, 87:16-17)