The Islamic View of This Worldly Life
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
(Friday Speech was delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, N. C., on July 25, 1997)
I had spoken in the past about the intellectual foundation of Islamic tarbiah, upbringing that includes three main points. I already spoke about the Islamic view of the human being and the Islamic view of the universe. Today I will talk about the Islamic view of this worldly life.
The Islamic view towards this worldly life is a testing and examination period. This worldly period is temporary and short because it will end with death. Man will pass it, ending up in another life, the hereafter, which is permanent and there is no death in it. There will be accountability, then great reward or severe punishment.
Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat Yunus, (Verses 23 & 24), what can be translated as, "O Mankind! Your rebellion (disobedience to Allah) is only against your ownselves, -- a brief enjoyment of this worldly life, then (in the end) unto Us is your return, and We shall inform you that which you used to do. Verily the likeness of (this) worldly life is as the rain which We send down from the sky, so by it arises the intermingled produce of the earth of which men and cattle eat until when the earth is clad with its adornments and is beautified, and its people think that they have all the powers of disposal over it. Our Command reaches it by night or by day and We make it like a clean-mown harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday! Thus do We explain the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessens, signs, revelations, laws, etc.) In detail for the people who reflect."
Also Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat Al-Qasas, (Verse 60), what can be translated as, "And whatever you have been given is an enjoyment of the life of this world and its adornment, and that (Hereafter) which is with Allah is better and will remain forever. Have you then no sense?"
Also Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat AL- Hadid, (Verse 20), what can be translated as, "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 both), a severe Torment (For the disbelieves, evil doers), and Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers, good doers), whereas the life of the world is only a deceiving enjoment."
This is the reality of this worldly life. It has been mentioned in many Qur’anic verses.
This testing and examination period started when Allah (S.W.T.) created Adam, and blew life into him. He then asked the angels to prostrate before Adam as a type of respect. Allah then said, "Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight, but don’t come near this one tree." Satan then whispered to them, to disobey Allah. Then they ate from what Allah had forbidden them.
Qur’an mentions this story in different places because it was a very important trial and test, our father Adam failed in. We should learn a valuable lesson form it. It is also mentioned for us to know the reality of this worldly life and the dangerous role of our enemy Satan.
Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat Al-Araf, (Verses 10 - 27), what can be translated as, "And surly, We gave you authority on the earth and appointed for you therein provisions (for your life). Little is the thanks you give. And surely, We created you (your father Adam) and then gave you shape (the noble shape of a human being), then We told the angels, "Prostrate to Adam", and they prostrated, except Iblis, he refused to be of those who prostrate. (Allah) said: " What prevented you (O Iblis) that you did not prostrate, when I commanded you? Iblis said: "I am better than him (Adam), you created me from fire, and him You created from clay." (Allah) said: " Get (O Iblis) down from this (Paradise), it is not for you to be arrogant here, get out, for you are of those humiliated and disgraced." (Iblis) said: "Respite me till the Day they are raised up (i.e. The Day of Resurrection)." (Allah) said: "You are of the respited." (Iblis) said: "Because You have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path." Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and form their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. they will not be dutiful to You). (Allah) said (to Iblis) "Get out from this (Paradise) disgraced and expelled. Whoever of them (mankind) follow you, then surely I will fill Hell with you all." "And O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise, and
Eat thereof as you both wish, but approach not this tree or otherwise you both will be of the Zalimun (unjust and wrong-doers)". Then Satan whispered to them both in order to uncover that which was hidden form them of their private parts (before); he said: "Your Lord did not forbid you this tree but to prevent you from becoming angels or becoming the immortals". And he (Satan) swore by Allah to them both (Saying): "Verily, I am one of the sincere well-wishers for you both." So he missed them with deception. Then when they tasted of the tree, that which was hidden from them of their shame (Private parts) became manifest to them and they began to stick together the leaves of the Paradise over themselves (in order to cover their shame). And their lord called out to them (saying): "Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you: Verily, Satan is a clear enemy unto you?" They said: "Our lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You don’t Forgive us, and don’t bestow upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers." (Allah) said: " Get you down, one of you and enemy to the other (i.e. Adam, Eve, and Satan, etc.) On earth will be a dwelling-place for you and an enjoyment, -- for a time." He said: "Therein you shall live, and therein you shall die, and from it you shall be brought out (i.e. resurrected)." Then Allah (S.W.T.) said, "O children of Adam! Let not Satan deceive you, as he got your parents (Adam and Eve) out of Paradise." Then Allah said, "Verily, he and (Qabiluhu)" (his soldiers from the Jinns of his tribe) see you from where you cannot see them."
We understand from these verses that Satan is a clear and dangerous enemy to mankind. Allah (S.W.T.) told us this fact in many places in the Qur’an. He said in surat Yasin, (Verses 60-62), what can be translated as, "Did I not ordain for you, O Children of Adam, that you should not obey Satan. Verily, he is a plain enemy to you. And that you should obey Me Alone. That is a Straight Path. And indeed he (Satan) did lead astray a great multitude of you. Did you not, then, understand?" Allah also says in surat Fatir, (Verse 5 & 6), what can be translated, "O mankind! Verily, the promise of Allah is true. So let not this present life deceives you, and let not the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allah. Surely, Satan is an enemy to you, so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his "hizb" (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the Blazing Fire."