But then Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), the Most Benevolent, gives people what they yearn for and whatever they work for as He also says this:
مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا نُوَفِّ إِلَيْهِمْ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فِيهَا وَهُمْ فِيهَا لَا يُبْخَسُونَ [هود: 15]
“Those who seek (merely) the worldly life and its beauty, We will fully recompense them herein for their acts, and their right will not be curtailed in this world.” (Hood 11:15)
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), therefore, lets those who are eager to lose themselves in this world remain content with it, but also warns that they’re buying these pleasures at the price of the Aakhirah.
Hadhrat Abu ‘Abbas Sahl ibne Sa’ad As-Sa’idi narrated that a man came to the Prophet (SallAllahu ‘Alaihe WaSallam) and said: "O Messenger of Allah! Show me an action for which Allah will love me and for which people will love me if I do it.
The Prophet (SallAllahu ‘Alaihe WaSallam) said: “Do with little of this world and Allah will love you, and do with little of what belongs to other people and people will love you” (Ibne Maajah)
What is the price we pay for not giving this life its due share? However, we do have to give this life its due share. We have to live it; we cannot escape from it, nor can we ignore the real challenges it poses. Moreover, Islam does not expect us to withdraw ourselves from the world. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) tells us in the Quraan:
وَابْتَغِ فِيمَا آتَاكَ اللَّهُ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ وَلَا تَنْسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَأَحْسِنْ كَمَا أَحْسَنَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ وَلَا تَبْغِ الْفَسَادَ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ [القصص: 77]
“And seek the (betterment of) the Ultimate Abode with what Allah has given to you, and do not neglect your share from this world, and do good as Allah did good to you, and do not seek to make mischief in the land. Surely, Allah does not like the mischief-makers.” (Al-Qasas 28:77)
We see from the life of the Prophet (SallAllahu ‘Alaihe WaSallam) that he had passed his life as a merchant before being chosen as a prophet. During his life of prophethood, he had family and dealt with worldly affairs like any human being. We, too, are supposed to lead life, utilizing all the resources Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), the Most Gracious, has bestowed on us. Accordingly, we need to know the worldly matters and to use that knowledge to lead a good life and also to help prevent injustices and exploitation of humanity at large.
The life and example of the Prophet (SallAllahu ‘Alaihe WaSallam) should make it clear as to how we should engage ourselves in the activities of this life. No one should withdraw from life forgetting his responsibilities. Hadhrat Hakeem ibne Hizaam narrated that the Prophet (SallAllahu ‘Alaihe WaSallam) said: “The upper hand is better than the lower hand, (i.e., he who gives charity is better than him who takes it)… And whoever abstains from asking others for some financial help, Allah will give him and save him from asking others, Allah will make him self-sufficient.” (Bukhari)
How can we strike the right balance? The obligation to live this life while providing for ourselves and our families effectively and by ensuring that we are not violating others’ rights does create internal conflicts that must be managed accordingly. We ought to adopt attitudes where our actions strike the right balance between any competing and conflicting situations. We need to remind ourselves that by respecting the tenets of Halaal (Lawful) and Haraam (Unlawful) as laid out by Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), we can lead a life where we can make the most of this life while our hearts are always conscious of, and devoted to, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and the Aakhirah. He says in the Quraan:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُلُوا مِنْ طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِلَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ [البقرة: 172]
“O you who believe, eat of the good things We have provided to you and be grateful to Allah, if it is He whom you worship (in real terms).” (Al-Baqarah 2:172).
We can, thus, lead fulfilling lives by bringing more Islam into our lives. For example, we can become wise in our interactions and dealings with each other, fulfill our trusts and duties toward each other, be patient in adverse circumstances with an unwavering Faith in Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), become thankful to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) 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 (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and thus contributing toward credits that will count in the Aakhirah.
However, while living this life none of these should take precedence over Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Commands and none of these should divert us from our real purpose of life. The desire to attain the Favor of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) should supersede all other considerations. Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says in the Quraan:
بَلْ تُؤْثِرُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا o وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَى o إِنَّ هَذَا لَفِي الصُّحُفِ الْأُولَى oصُحُفِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَى [الأعلى: 16-19]
“But you prefer the worldly life, while the Aakhirah is much better and much more durable. Indeed this is (written) in the earlier divine scripts, the scripts of Ibrahim and Moosaa.” (Al-A’laa 87:16-19)
Let’s make the following Du’aa part of our daily worship in which we beg Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) to give us the good in this life and in the Aakhirah!
رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ [البقرة: 201]
“Yet there is another among them who says: .Our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the punishment of Fire.”