اعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَزِينَةٌ وَتَفَاخُرٌ بَيْنَكُمْ وَتَكَاثُرٌ فِي الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَادِ كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعْجَبَ الْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَاهُ مُصْفَرًّا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ حُطَامًا وَفِي الْآَخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٌ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ ﴿57:20﴾
(57:20) Know well that the life of this world is merely sport and diversion and adornment and an object of your boasting with one another, and a rivalry in the multiplication of riches and children. Its likeness is that of rain: when it produces vegetation it delights the tillers. But then it withers and you see it turn yellow, and then it crumbles away. In the Hereafter there is (either) grievous chastisement (or) forgiveness from Allah and (His) good pleasure. The life of this world is nothing but delusion. *36
*36 To understand this theme fully one should keep the following verses of the Qur’an in mind: Imran; 14- 15, Yunus: 24-25, ibrahim: 18, AI-Kahf: 45-46, An-Nur: 39. In aII those verses the truth that has been impressed on the mind is: The life of this world is a temporary life: its spring as well as its autumn is temporary, Them is much here to allure man. but this, in fact, consists of base and insignificant things which man because of his shallowness of mind regards as great and splendid and is deluded into thinking that in attaining them lies supreme success, The truth however is that the highest benefits and means of pleasure and enjoyment that one can possibly attain in the world, arc indeed bast and insignificant and confined to a few years of temporary life, and can be destroyed by just one turn of fate. Contrary to this, the lift hereafter is a splendid and eternal life: its benefits are great and permanent and its losses too are great and permanent. The one who attains Allah’s forgiveness and His goodwill there, will indeed have attained the everlasting bliss beside which the whole wealth of the world and its kingdom become pale and insignificant. And the one who is seized in God’s torment there, will come to know that he had made a bad bargain even if he had attained aII that he regarded as great and splendid in the world.
Surah 57. Al-Hadid
فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْ مَنْ تَوَلَّى عَنْ ذِكْرِنَا وَلَمْ يُرِدْ إِلَّا الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا ﴿53:29﴾
(53:29) So leave alone those who turn away from the remembrance of Us *24 and who seek nothing but the life of the world *25–
*24 Dhikr here may imply the Qur’an as well as mere admonition; it may also mean that he does not like that even God be mentioned before him.
*25 That is, “You should not waste your time in making him understand the truth, for such a person will never be inclined to accept any invitation which is based on God-worship, which calls to objects and values higher than the material benefits of the world, and according to which the real aim of life may be the eternal success and well-being of the Hereafter. Instead of expending your time and energy on such a materialistic and ungodly person, you should devote attention to the people who arc inclined to heed the remembrance of Allah and arc not involved in the worship of the world. ”
Surah 53. An-Najm
إِنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَإِنْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَتَتَّقُوا يُؤْتِكُمْ أُجُورَكُمْ وَلَا يَسْأَلْكُمْ أَمْوَالَكُمْ ﴿47:36﴾
(47:36) The life of this world is but sport and amusement. *42 If you believe and are God-fearing, He will grant you your reward, and will not ask you for your possessions. *43
*42 That is, “As against the Hereafter, this world is no more than a means of temporary entertainment. The success or failure here is not anything real and enduring, which might in any way be important. The real life is life hereafter success in which should be man’s main concern. (For further explanation, see E.N. 102 of Surah AI-`Ankabut).
*43 That is, “Allah is Self-Sufficient: He dces not need taking anything from you for His own Self. If He tells you to expend something in His way, He dces so not for Himself but only for your own good.”
Surah 47. Muhammad
ذَلِكُمْ بِأَنَّكُمُ اتَّخَذْتُمْ آَيَاتِ اللَّهِ هُزُوًا وَغَرَّتْكُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا فَالْيَوْمَ لَا يُخْرَجُونَ مِنْهَا وَلَا هُمْ يُسْتَعْتَبُونَ ﴿45:35﴾
(45:35) You reached this end because you made Allah’s Signs an object of jest and the life of the world deluded you.” So they shall not be taken out of the Fire nor shall they be asked to make amends (and thus please their Lord). *46
*46 This last sentence depicts the manner of a master who after rebuking some of his servants turns to others and says: “Well, these wretched people now deserve such and such punishment!”
Surah 45. Al-Jathiyah
أَهُمْ يَقْسِمُونَ رَحْمَةَ رَبِّكَ نَحْنُ قَسَمْنَا بَيْنَهُمْ مَعِيشَتَهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَرَفَعْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ دَرَجَاتٍ لِيَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُهُمْ بَعْضًا سُخْرِيًّا وَرَحْمَةُ رَبِّكَ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ ﴿43:32﴾
(43:32) Is it they who distribute the Mercy of your Lord? It is We Who have distributed their livelihood among them in the life of this world, and have raised some above others in rank that some of them may harness others to their service. *31 Your Lord’s Mercy is better than all the treasures that they hoard. *32
*31 This is the answer to their objection, which briefly mentions many important things: First, it asks: “Since when Dave these people become responsible for distributing the mercy of your Lord ? Is it for them to decide whom Allah should favour with His mercy and whom He should not ? (Here, by Allah’s mercy is implied His general mercy from which everyone has a share).
Second, Allah says: °Prophethood is a great blessing: We have even kept the distribution of the common means of life in the world in Our own hand, and have not entrusted it to anyone else. We create someone beautiful and another ugly, someone with a sweet voice and another with a harsh voice, someone robust and strong and another weak and frail, someone intelligent and another dull, someone with a strong memory and another forgetful, some with healthy limbs and another a cripple, or blind or deaf and dumb, someone in a rich family and another among the poor, someone in an advanced country and another in a backward community. No one can do anything about this destiny concerning birth. One is compelled to be what We have made him. And it is in no one’s power to avert the impact one’s circumstances of birth have on one’s destiny. Then it is We our self Who arc distributing provisions, power, honor, fame, wealth, government, etc. among men. No one can degrade the one whom We have blessed with good fortune, and no one can save from ruin the one whom We have afflicted with misfortune. All plans and schemes of man become ineffective against Our decrees. In this universal Divine System, therefore, how can these people decide as to whom should the Master of the unive rse make His Prophet and whom He should not?
Thirdly, “An abiding principle that We have kept in view in this Divine System is that everything should not be given to one and the same person, or everything should not be given to everybody. If you look around carefully, you will see that great differences exist between the people in every respect. We have given one thing to one person but deprived him of another, and given the same to another one. This is based on the wisdom that no human being should become independent of others, but everyone should remain dependent on the other in one way or the other. Now if would be foolish on your part to think that We should have given the Prophet hood also to the same person whom We had blessed with wealth and nobility. Likewise, will you also say that wisdom, knowledge, wealth, beauty, power, authority and alI other excellences should be assembled in one and the same person, and the one who has not been given one thing, should not be given anything else?”
*32 “Your Lord’s mercy”: the Prophet hood. It means: “Your leaders and chiefs whom you regard as big people because of their wealth and dignity and chief ship, arc not worthy of this wealth, which has been given to Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah (upon whom be Allah’s peace). This wealth is far superior to that and for this the criterion is different. If you think that every noble and rich man is worthy of becoming a prophet, it would only show your own thinking. Why do you expect Allah to be so ignorant and simple?”
Surah 43. Az-Zukhruf
مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ حَرْثَ الْآَخِرَةِ نَزِدْ لَهُ فِي حَرْثِهِ وَمَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ حَرْثَ الدُّنْيَا نُؤْتِهِ مِنْهَا وَمَا لَهُ فِي الْآَخِرَةِ مِنْ نَصِيبٍ ﴿42:20﴾
(42:20) Whoever seeks the harvest of the Hereafter, We shall increase for him his harvest, and whoever seeks the harvest of this world, We shall give him thereof; but he will have no share in the Hereafter. *37
*37 Two of the truths have been mentioned in the previous verse, which we arc observing everywhere at aII times: (1) That Allah is Kind and Compassionate to aII His servants; ard (2) that the measure of His provisions is not the same for everybody, but it varies from man to tnan. Now, in this verse it is being told that although the partial differences in kindness and measures of Provisions are countless, there is also a difference of fundamental nature, which is: there is one kind of the provision for the seeker of the Hereafter and of another kind for the seeker of the world.
This is a very important truth which has been stated here briefly. Let us mderstand it fully, for it helps every man to determine his attitude to life.
Both the seeker of the Hcreafter and the seeker of the world have been likened to the farmer in this verse, who labours persistently hard right from the time he prepares the soil till the time his crop is ready for harvesting. He puts in aII his labour so that he may reap and gather the crop of the seeds he sowed. But hecause of the difference of the intention and objective and also the difference of the attitude and conduct, to a large extent, a vast difference takes place between the famer who sows for the Hereafter and the farmer who sows for this world. Therefore, Allah has ordained different results and consequences of the labours of each, although the place of activity of both is this very earth.
As to the farmer who is sowing for the Hereafter, Allah has not said that he will get no share from the world. The world, in a more or less measure, he will get in any case. for he also has a share in the common provisions being bestowed by Allah, and every person, good or bad, is getting his sustenance here. But Allah has not given him the good news of the harvest of this world but that his harvest of the Hereafter will be increased, for he is a seeker of the same, and is concerned about his end there There are several ways in which this harvest can be increased; for example, as he will go on doing righteous deeds with sincere mentions, he will be blessed with the grace to do more and more righteus deeds and his breast will be opened out for more and more good works. When he will make up his mind to adopt pure means for thieving pure aims, he will be blessed with pure means only and AIlah will not Iet it so happen that aII doors to goodness he closed and only doors to evil to remain open for him. Above aII, his each good work, however small and insignificant, will at least be increased ten times over in the Hereafter, and there is no limit to this increase. Allah will increase it hundreds of thousands of tithes for whomever He may please
As for the one who is only sowing for this world, and is not at aII concerned about the Hereafter, Allah has plainly told him of two of the results of his labours: (11 That, however hard he may struggle and strive. he will not get the whole of what he is trying for, but only a fraction of it, which Allah has ordained for him; and (2) that whatever he has to get, he will get only in this world: there is no share for him in the good things of the Hereafter.
Surah 42. Ash-Shura
يَا قَوْمِ إِنَّمَا هَذِهِ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا مَتَاعٌ وَإِنَّ الْآَخِرَةَ هِيَ دَارُ الْقَرَارِ ﴿40:39﴾
(40:39) My people, the life of this world is ephemeral, *56 whereas the Hereafter, that is the permanent abode.
*56 That is, ‘You are being forgetful of Allah on account of your pride in the transient wealth and prosperity of this world: this is your folly.”
Surah 40. Ghafir
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ وَاخْشَوْا يَوْمًا لَا يَجْزِي وَالِدٌ عَنْ وَلَدِهِ وَلَا مَوْلُودٌ هُوَ جَازٍ عَنْ وَالِدِهِ شَيْئًا إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ فَلَا تَغُرَّنَّكُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا وَلَا يَغُرَّنَّكُمْ بِاللَّهِ الْغَرُورُ ﴿31:33﴾
(31:33) O people, fear (the wrath) of your Lord, and dread the Day when no father will stand for his child, nor any child stand for his father. *59Surely Allah’s promise is true. *60 So let the life of this world not beguile you, *61 nor let the Deluder delude you about Allah. *62
*59 That is, “The relationship of a person with his friend, or his leader, or his spiritual guide, etc. is not so close and intimate as the relationship that exists between the children and their parents. But on the Day of Resurrection even the son and the father will not be able to help each other. The father will not have the courage to come forward and say that he may be seized instead of the son for his sins, nor will the son have the nerve to say that he may be sent to Hell instead of the father. How can then a person expect that one will be able to avail something for the other there? Therefore, foolish is the person who spoils his Hereafter in the world for the sake of another, or adopts the way of sin and deviation by dependence on others. Here, one should keep in view the theme of verse 15, in which the children have been admonished not to accept deviation in the matter of the faith and religion on behest of the parents, though in affairs of mundane life they are duty bound to serve them as best as they can. ”
*60 “Allah’s promise” : the promise of Resurrection, when the Court of AIIah will be established and everyone will be called to render an account of his deeds.
*61 The life of the world involves the people, who only see the superficial, in different kinds of misunderstandings. Someone thinks that life and death only belong to this world, and there is no life hereafter; therefore, whatever one has to do, one should do it here and now. Another one who is lost in his wealth and power and prosperity, forgets his death and gets involved in the foolish idea that his grandees and his power are everlasting. Another one overlooking the moral and spiritual objectives regards the material gains and pleasures in themselves as the only objectives and dces not give anything any importance but the “standard of living”, no matter whether his standard of humanity gas on falling lower and lower as a result thereof. Someone thinks that worldly prosperity is the real criterion of truth and falsehood: every way of life that ensures this is the truth and everything contradictory to it is falsehood. Someone regards this very prosperity as a sign of being Allah’s favourite, and assumes the law that whoever is leading a prosperous life here is Allah’s beloved no matter by what means he might have achieved this prosperity, and whoever is leading a miserable life in the world, even if it be so due to his love of the truth and his uprightness, will live a miserable life in the Hereafter, too. These and other such misunderstandings have been called “deceptions of the worldly life” by Allah.
*62 Al-gharur (the deceiver) may be Satan or a man or a group of then, or even man’s own self, or something else. The reason for using this comprehensive and meaningful word in its absolute form without identifying a particular person or thing, is that for different people there are different means that cause them deception. Any particular means or cause that deceived a person to be misled and misguided from the right way to the wrong way, will be al-gharur in his particular Case.
“To deceive (someone) concerning Allah” are also comprehensive words, which include countless kinds of deceptions. “The deceiver” deceives one man with the idea that there is no God at all, and another man with the idea that God after making the world has handed over its control and administration to the men and is no more concerned with it; he misleads another one, saying, “There arc some favourite ones of God: if you attain nearness to them, you will surely win your forgiveness whatever you may do, or may have done, in the world; ” he deceives another one, saying, “God is AII-Forgiving and All-Merciful: you may go on committing sins freely, and He will go on forgiving each sin of yours. ” He gives another person the idea of determinism and misguides him, saying, “Everything that you do is pre-ordained: if you commit evil, it is God Who makes you commit it: if you avoid goodness, it is God Who makes you avoid it.” Thus, there are countless kinds of such deceptions with which tnan is being deceived concerning God. When analyzed it comes to light that the basic cause of all errors and sins and crimes is that man has been deceived concerning God in one way or the other, and that is how he has been misled to some ideological deviation or moral error. ”
Surah 31. Luqman
وَمَا هَذِهِ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا لَهْوٌ وَلَعِبٌ وَإِنَّ الدَّارَ الْآَخِرَةَ لَهِيَ الْحَيَوَانُ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿29:64﴾
(29:64) The present life is nothing but sport and amusement. *102 The true life is in the Abode of the Hereafter; if only they knew. *103
*102 That is “The reality of it is no more than the children’s engaging in a sport and pastime for a while, and then returning home. The one has become a king here, has not become a king in reality but is only playing the king. A time comes when his play ends, and ne leaves the royal throne as empty-handed as he was when he had entered the world. Similarly, no phase of life here is enduring and lasting. Every one is playing his part only temporarily for a limited time. Those who are charmed by the short-lived triumphs of this life and are able to collect some means of enjoyment and pleasure and of glory and grandeur by losing their conscience and faith, are only engaged in a pastime. What will these toys profit them when after amusing themselves with these for a score or three score and ten years in the world they will enter through the gate of death empty-handed into the Next World of eternal life and find their same allurements to have caused them an everlasting affliction ?”
*103 That is, “If these people had known the reality that the life of this world is only a period of preparation for the test, and the real life for man, which is everlasting, is the life hereafter, they would not have wasted this preparatory period in sport and merry-making, but would instead have utilized each moment of it in works conducive to better results in the eternal life of the Hereafter.
Surah 29. Al-`Ankabut
وَابْتَغِ فِيمَا آَتَاكَ اللَّهُ الدَّارَ الْآَخِرَةَ وَلَا تَنْسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَأَحْسِنْ كَمَا أَحْسَنَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ وَلَا تَبْغِ الْفَسَادَ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ ﴿28:77﴾
(28:77) Seek through the wealth that Allah has given you to make your abode in the Hereafter, and also do not forget your share from this world; and do good to others as Allah has done good to you; and do not strive to make mischief on the earth, for Allah does not like the mischief-makers. ”
Surah 28. Al-Qasas
الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا ﴿18:46﴾
(18:46) Likewise this wealth and the offspring are mere transitory adornment of worldly life: in fact the abiding good deeds are best in the sight of your Lord in regard to their end, and hold out for you greater hopes.
الَّذِينَ ضَلَّ سَعْيُهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ يُحْسِنُونَ صُنْعًا ﴿18:104﴾
(18:104) They are those, whose endeavours, in the worldly life, had all gone astray from the Right Way *76 but all along they were under the delusion that everything they were doing, was rightly directed:
*76 This verse has two meanings. The one is the same that we have adopted in the translation. The other meaning is this: “…those who confined all their endeavours to the worldly life”. That is, whatever they did, they did for this world without paying any regard to God and the Hereafter. As they considered the worldly life to be the real life, they made the success and prosperity in this world their sole aim and object. Even if they professed the existence of Allah, they never paid any heed to the two implications of this profession: to lead their lives in a way to please Allah and to come out successful on the Day they shall have to render an account of what they did in this world. This was because they considered themselves to be mere rational animals who were absolutely independent and free from every kind of responsibility and had nothing else to do but to enjoy the good things of the world like animals in a meadow.
Surah 18. Al-Kah
ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمُ اسْتَحَبُّوا الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا عَلَى الْآَخِرَةِ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ ﴿16:107﴾
(16:107) This is because they preferred the life of this world to the life in the Hereafter, and Allah does not show the Way of salvation to those people who are ungrateful!
Surah 16. An-Nahl
اللَّهُ يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيَقْدِرُ وَفَرِحُوا بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا فِي الْآَخِرَةِ إِلَّا مَتَاعٌ ﴿13:26﴾
(13:26) Allah gives abundantly His provisions to whom He will and sparingly to whom He pleases. *42 These people are wholly absorbed in the joys of this life, whereas the life of this world is but a paltry thing as compared with the life of the Hereafter.
*42 This verse refutes the wrong criterion by which the disbelievers of Makkah (and all other foolish people of the world) judged whether one was or was not a favorite of God. They judged a man’s worth by his wealth and worldly prosperity and not by his faith and righteous conduct. They thought that the one who was enjoying all the good things of life was a favorite of God, even if he had erroneous beliefs and did wicked deeds. On the other hand, they considered the one who was poor and indigent to be under the wrath of God, even though he was righteous. That is why in their judgement the chiefs of the Quraish were far superior to the followers of the Holy Prophet. They would say, “You can see for yourselves that God is with the chiefs of the Quraish.”
In this verse, AIlah has warned there that they are absolutely wrong in drawing such a conclusion from the worldly conditions of the people. AIIah gives His provision to the people abundantly or sparingly for reasons different from those which they presumed and richness or poverty is no criterion by which to judge the worth of people. The real criterion of judging the worth of people is their beliefs and deeds. The one, who has righteous beliefs and dces good deeds, shall be higher in rank than the one who has wrong beliefs and does evil deeds. Thus the real criterion is the quality of one’s deeds and not the possession or the lack of wealth.
لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَلَعَذَابُ الْآَخِرَةِ أَشَقُّ وَمَا لَهُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِنْ وَاقٍ ﴿13:34﴾
(13:34) There is a torment for them in the life of this world but the torment in the Hereafter is still more painful; and there is none to protect them from Allah.
Surah 13. Ar-Ra`ad
مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا نُوَفِّ إِلَيْهِمْ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فِيهَا وَهُمْ فِيهَا لَا يُبْخَسُونَ ﴿11:15﴾
(11:15) Those who seek merely the present world and its adornment. *15 We fully recompense them for their work in this world, and they are made to suffer no diminution in it concerning what is their due.
*15. What prompted this Qur’anic remark is the fact that the kind of people who rejected the message of the Qur’an both in the time of the Prophet (peace be on him) and subsequently have one major characteristic in common – they are all steeped in worldliness. Many of the arguments which they advance in order to reject the Qur’an are probably after-thoughts, merely rationalized excuses for not accepting the truth. What lies at the root of these people’s rejection is the hypothesis that everything other than this world and its gains are worthless, and that everyone should have the fullest opportunity to seize the optimum portion of worldly benefits.
Surah 11. Hud
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا مَا لَكُمْ إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمُ انْفِرُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ اثَّاقَلْتُمْ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ أَرَضِيتُمْ بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا مِنَ الْآَخِرَةِ فَمَا مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فِي الْآَخِرَةِ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ ﴿9:38﴾
(9:38) O *38 you who believed! what was amiss with you that, when you were asked to march forth on the Way of Allah, you clung to the earth? What! did you prefer the life of this world to the life of the Hereafter? If it is so, you should know that all these goods of this worldly life will prove to be but little in the Hereafter. *39
*38 From here begins the discourse (vv. 38-72) which was sent down at the time when the Holy Prophet was engaged in making preparations for the Campaign to Tabuk.
*39 “…. you should know that the goods … Hereafter” may imply two meanings. First: “When you will find that the life in the Hereafter is eternal and see that the good things and the provisions of enjoyment are countless, you will realize that the potential and the actual enjoyments of the temporary life of this world were nothing as compared with the blessings of that great Kingdom. At that time you will regret why you deprived yourselves of this everlasting happiness and bliss for the sake of the little-very little-sort-lived enjoyments of the mortal life of this world. ” Second: “The goods of this worldly life are of no value in the Hereafter, howsoever abundant they might be. You shall have to give up each and everything as soon as you breathe your last, for nothing of this world can go with you to the Next World. Of course, you will get credit for what you sacrificed for the pleasure and love of Allah, and lout of Islam.”
فَلَا تُعْجِبْكَ أَمْوَالُهُمْ وَلَا أَوْلَادُهُمْ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ بِهَا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَتَزْهَقَ أَنْفُسُهُمْ وَهُمْ كَافِرُونَ ﴿9:55﴾
(9:55) So let not their great wealth and the large number of their children delude you; for Allah wills to chastise them by means of these very things in this worldly lifes *54 and that they would die in a state of unbelief. *55
*54 “Allah wills to chastise them by means of these things in this world”, because of their great love for their children and wealth as these misled them to adopt the hypocritical attitude which, in turn, degraded them in the Muslim society. Consequently, in the Islamic System they would lose the respect, tire reputation and the prestige they enjoyed in the pre-lslamic society. On the contrary, even the Muslim slaves and the sons of slaves, the farmers and the shepherds, who proved the sincerity of their Faith would win honour in the new system, and the big hereditary chiefs, who refrained from this because of their love of the world, would lose their fame, honour and prestige.
In order to illustrate the above we cite an incident that happened during the Caliphate of Hadrat `Umar. Once some big chiefs of the Quraish including Suhail-bin-`Amr and Harith-bin-Hisham, went to see Caliph Umar and took their seats near him. Soon after this some humble people from among the Muhajirin and the Ansar came there. The Caliph asked those chiefs to make room for them, and seated these humble people near his own seat. This went on for some time till these chiefs reached the remotest corner in the assembly. When they carne out, Harith-bin-Hisham said to his companions, “You have noticed what a humiliating treatment has been meted out to us today!” Suhail-bin-`Amr replied, “It is no fault of `Umar but it is our own fault. When we were invited to Islam, we turned away from it, but these humble people accepted it and made sacrifices for it. ” Then both of them returned to the meeting and said “Today we have noticed your treatment and we feel that it is all due to our own shortcomings, but tell us if there is a way for us to make atonements for our past failures” . The Caliph did not make any reply but merely pointed towards the Roman territory, which meant that the only way of regaining their prestige was to expend their lives and wealths in doing Jihad there.
*55 “They would die in a state of unbelief” because of their hypocrisy, which would not let them attain sincere Faith till they die. Thus after ruining their moral and spiritual lives in this world, they would leave it in the state of unbelief, which will ruin their lives in the Hereafter in a far worse way.
كَالَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ كَانُوا أَشَدَّ مِنْكُمْ قُوَّةً وَأَكْثَرَ أَمْوَالًا وَأَوْلَادًا فَاسْتَمْتَعُوا بِخَلَاقِهِمْ فَاسْتَمْتَعْتُمْ بِخَلَاقِكُمْ كَمَا اسْتَمْتَعَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ بِخَلَاقِهِمْ وَخُضْتُمْ كَالَّذِي خَاضُوا أُولَئِكَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآَخِرَةِ وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ ﴿9:69﴾
(9:69) You are behaving *76 just like those who went before you: they had more power than you, and possessed greater riches and had more children than you: they had enjoyed their portion of the good things of the worldly life and you, too, have enjoyed your portion of the good things like them: you are also engaged in idle discussions like the discussions they held. Consequently in the end everything they did, proved vain in this world and shall be vain in the Next World: surely they are the people who are the losers.
*76 In the preceding verse, they were being mentioned in the third person, but here they are being addressed directly in the second person.
Surah 9. At-Taubah
مَا كَانَ لِنَبِيٍّ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُ أَسْرَى حَتَّى يُثْخِنَ فِي الْأَرْضِ تُرِيدُونَ عَرَضَ الدُّنْيَا وَاللَّهُ يُرِيدُ الْآَخِرَةَ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ ﴿8:67﴾
(8:67) It behoves not a Prophet to take captives until he has sufficiently suppressed the enemies in the land. You merely seek the gains of the world whereas Allah desires (for you the good) of the Hereafter. Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.
Surah 8. Al-Anfal
الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا دِينَهُمْ لَهْوًا وَلَعِبًا وَغَرَّتْهُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا فَالْيَوْمَ نَنْسَاهُمْ كَمَا نَسُوا لِقَاءَ يَوْمِهِمْ هَذَا وَمَا كَانُوا بِآَيَاتِنَا يَجْحَدُونَ ﴿7:51﴾
(7:51) who have made their religion a sport and play. and whom the life of the world has beguiled. So on that Day We shall forget them in the manner they forget their meeting of this Day with Us and persist in denying Our revelations.’ *35
*35. The trialogue between the People of Paradise, the People of the Fire. and the People of the Heights gives some indication of the tremendous range of human faculties in the Next World. These faculties would increase to such an extent that the People of Paradise, the People of the Fire and the People of the Heights will be able to see, hear and talk to one another. Other Qur’anic statements about the Hereafter enable us to realize that the laws operating in the Next World will be altogether different from those in the present. Notwithstanding this, men’s personalities will not undergo any such change.
Those who cannot perceive any thing beyond the present limited world and who are incapable of imagining scales bigger than the ones relating to the present world, make fun of the statements in the Qur’an and Hadith about life in the Hereafter. This only betrays their poverty of understanding and imagination. The fact, however, is that the possibilities for life are not as narrow and limited as their minds.
Surah 7. Al A’Araf
وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَلَلدَّارُ الْآَخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لِلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ ﴿6:32﴾
(6:32) The life of this world is nothing but a sport and a pastime, *20 and the life of the Hereafter is far better for those who seek to ward off their ruin. Will you not, then, understand?
*20. This does not mean that earthly life has nothing serious about it and that it has been brought into being merely as a sport and pastime. What this observation means is that, compared with the true and abiding life of the Hereafter, earthly life seems, as it were, a sport, a transient pastime with which to amuse oneself before turning to serious business.
Earthly life has been likened to a sport and pastime for another reason as well. Since Ultimate Reality is hidden in this world, the superficially minded ones who lack true perception encounter many a thing which causes them to fall a prey to misconceptions. As a result of these misconceptions such persons indulge in a variety of actions which are so blatantly opposed to reality that their life seems to consist merely of sport and pastime. One who assumes the position of a king in this world, for instance, is no different from the person who plays the part of a king on the stage of a theatre. His head is bedecked with a crown and he goes about commanding people as if he were a king, even though he has no royal authority. He may later, if the director of the theatre wishes, be either dismissed from his royal office, put into prison or even be sentenced to death Plays of this kind go on all over the world. Saints and man-made deities are deemend to respond to human supplications even though they do not have a shred of authority to do so. Again, some people try to unravel the Unseen even though to do so lies altogether beyond their reach. There are those who claim to provide sustenance to others despite the fact that they are themselves dependent on others for their own sustenance. There are still others who think that they have the power either to bestow honour and dignity on human beings or to degrade them, either to confer benefits or to harm them. Such people go about trumpeting their own glory but their own foreheads bear the stamp of their humble bondage to their Creator. By just one twist of fortune such people may fall of their pededstrals and be trampled under the feet of those upon whom they have been imposing their God-like authority.
All these people come to a sudeen end with death.As soon as man crosses the boundaries of this world and steps into the Next, the reality will be fully manifest, all the misconceptions that he has entertained will be peeled away, and he will be shown the true worth of his belief and actions.
يَا مَعْشَرَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنْسِ أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ رُسُلٌ مِنْكُمْ يَقُصُّونَ عَلَيْكُمْ آَيَاتِي وَيُنْذِرُونَكُمْ لِقَاءَ يَوْمِكُمْ هَذَا قَالُوا شَهِدْنَا عَلَى أَنْفُسِنَا وَغَرَّتْهُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا وَشَهِدُوا عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ أَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا كَافِرِينَ ﴿6:130﴾
(6:130) (Then Allah will also ask them): ‘O assembly of jinn and men! Did there not come to y ou Messengers from among yourselves, relating to you My signs, and warning you of the encounter of this your Day (of Judgement)?’ They will say: ‘Yes, we bear witness against ourselves.’ *98 They have been deluded by the life of this world, and they will bear witness against themselves that they had disbelieved. *99
*98. The wrong-doers would confess that even though the Prophets had come, in succession, in order to inform them of the Truth, it was their own fault that they did not respond to their call.
*99. They were deniers of, and disbelievers in, rather than ignorant of the Truth. They acknowledged tha! the Truth had been conveyed to them and that they had refused to accept it.
Surah 6. Al-An’am
فَلْيُقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يَشْرُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا بِالْآَخِرَةِ وَمَنْ يُقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَيُقْتَلْ أَوْ يَغْلِبْ فَسَوْفَ نُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا﴿4:74﴾
(4:74) Let those who seek the life of the Next World in exchange for the life of this world fight in the way of Allah. *103 We shall grant a mighty reward to whoever fights in the way of Allah, whether he is slain or comes out victorious.
*103. The point stressed here is that fighting in the cause of God cannot be conducted by people engrossed in the pursuit of worldly benefits. This is the task of those who seek to please God, who have complete faith in Him and in the Hereafter, who are prepared to sacrifice all opportunities of worldly success and prosperity, and of all worldly interests, hoping thereby to win God’s good pleasure. Irrespective of what happens in the present world such sacrifices will not be wasted in the Hereafter. Jihad (struggle in the cause of God) is not for those who mainly care for worldly benefits.
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ قِيلَ لَهُمْ كُفُّوا أَيْدِيَكُمْ وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآَتُوا الزَّكَاةَ فَلَمَّا كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقِتَالُ إِذَا فَرِيقٌ مِنْهُمْ يَخْشَوْنَ النَّاسَ كَخَشْيَةِ اللَّهِ أَوْ أَشَدَّ خَشْيَةً وَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا لِمَ كَتَبْتَ عَلَيْنَا الْقِتَالَ لَوْلَا أَخَّرْتَنَا إِلَى أَجَلٍ قَرِيبٍ قُلْ مَتَاعُ الدُّنْيَا قَلِيلٌ وَالْآَخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لِمَنِ اتَّقَى وَلَا تُظْلَمُونَ فَتِيلًا ﴿4:77﴾
(4:77) Have you not seen those who were told: ‘Restrain you hands, and establish the Prayer, and pay the Zakah’? But when fighting was enjoined upon them some of them feared men as one should fear Allah, or even more, *107 and said: ‘Our Lord, why have You ordained fighting for us? Why did You not grant us a little more respite?’ Say to them: ‘There is little enjoyment in this world. The World to Come is much better for the God-fearing. And you shall not be wronged even to the extent of the husk of a date-stone. *108
*107. This verse .can be interpreted in three ways, and each meaning is equally valid: First, that those who now shirked to fight in the cause of God were themselves initially eager to fight. They often approached the Prophet (peace be on him), saying that they were being wronged, beaten, persecuted and abused, that’ their patience was exhausted, and that they wanted permission to fight. They had then been told to be patient and continue to purify their souls by observing Prayers and dispensing Zakah. At that time they had felt disconcerted by this counsel of patience. Later on, some of those very same people were to tremble at the first sight of the enemy and the dangers of warfare.
Second, that they remained highly ‘religious’ as long as they were asked merely to pray and pay Zakah, which entailed no risk to their lives. But as soon as that phase was over and they were asked to expose themselves to danger, they began to shiver with fear.
Third, that in the former times the same people had unsheathed their swords for trivial causes. They had fought for loot and plunder, and engaged in feuds motivated by animal impulses, so much so that feuding had almost become their national pastime. At that time they had been told to abstain from bloodshed and to reform themselves by observing Prayers and dispensing Zakah. When, later on, the same people were told that the time had come for them to fight in the cause of God, those who had shown themselves to be lions while fighting for their own selfish causes turned out to be as meek as lambs. The strong hands which had wielded the sword so firmly, and had used it so fiercely for the sake of either personal or tribal honour, or for Satan’s sake, became almost paralysed.
Each of these three meanings applies to a different kind of person, but the actual words of the verse seem to apply equally to all who shirked fighting in the cause of God.
*108. Were they to serve the religion of God and spend their energy in that cause, they would surely be rewarded by Him.
مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ ثَوَابَ الدُّنْيَا فَعِنْدَ اللَّهِ ثَوَابُ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآَخِرَةِ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ سَمِيعًا بَصِيرًا ﴿4:134﴾
(4:134) He who desires the reward of this world, let him know that with Allah is the reward of this world and also of the World to Come. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. *163
*163. In the Qur’an God often rounds off His enunciation of laws by urging people to reform those aspects of family life and social order in which they are generally liable to commit injustice with admonitions designed to create in people the urge to follow those legal injunctions. Since in the preceding verse the believers were asked to treat women and orphans with justice and kindness it was deemed necessary to bring home to them the following points:
First, that people should not entertain the illusion that they have the power to make or mar the destinies of others, that if they were to withdraw their support, people would be left helpless. The fact is that the destinies of all lie in the Hand of God alone and He need not remain dependent upon any single person as the sole instrument for helping any particular creature. The resources of the Lord of the heavens and the earth are limitless and He also knows how to use those resources.
Second, that the followers of the Prophet (peace be on him) ought to heed the admonition that was made to them, just as it was made to the followers of the former Prophets: to fear God in all their actions. They are being told in effect that by following God’s guidance they will secure their own well-being rather than be the source of any benefit to God, that they can do God no harm by disobeying Him, just as it did not lie in the power of the followers of the former Prophets to cause God any harm. The Lord of the Universe does not need people’s obedience. If they disobey He may simply replace them with some other nation, and their dismissal will not diminish the majesty and splendour of His realm in the least.
Third, that God alone has the power to dispense the good of this world as well as that of the Hereafter, to lavish transient benefits as well as abiding felicity. It all depends on a man’s nature and the extent of his ambition what kind of benefit he seeks from God. If a man is infatuated with the fleeting benefits of this world, and is prepared to sacrifice the benefits of the everlasting life, then God will grant him only the good of this world and he will have no share in the good of the Hereafter. God’s benevolence is like a river which never dries up, a river which is both capable of, and geared to, providing abundant water to all who need their tillage watered. It is short-sighted and unambitious to want one’s fields to be irrigated only once, and to be prepared thereafter to face the prospect of eternal drought. Anyone with breadth of vision would commit himself to submit to God and obey Him, thereby earning the well-being of both worlds.
The section ends with the assertion that God is All-Seeing and All-Hearing. This means that God is fully aware of the actions of His creatures, and is unlike those negligent sovereigns who are blind in lavishing their favours. God governs the universe with full knowledge and awareness. He has an eye on the capacities and ambitions of all human beings and knows their qualities exactly. He is fully aware of the purposes to which people devote their efforts and energies. Anyone who ‘wilfully decides to be disobedient to God should therefore not cherish hopes of receiving the favours reserved for those who obey Him.
Surah 4. An-Nisa
أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآَخِرَةِ وَمَا لَهُمْ مِنْ نَاصِرِينَ ﴿3:22﴾
(3:22) These are the people whose works have gone to waste in this world and in the World to Come. *20 They have none to help them. *21
*20. They have spent their efforts and energies in a manner leading to catastrophic results in this world and the Next.
*21. No power can make these misdeeds either bear good fruit or prevent them bearing evil fruit. The powers upon which the wrong-doers rely for support in this world and in the World to Come will not be of any help to them.
وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَنْ تَمُوتَ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ كِتَابًا مُؤَجَّلًا وَمَنْ يُرِدْ ثَوَابَ الدُّنْيَا نُؤْتِهِ مِنْهَا وَمَنْ يُرِدْ ثَوَابَ الْآَخِرَةِ نُؤْتِهِ مِنْهَا وَسَنَجْزِي الشَّاكِرِينَ ﴿3:145﴾
(3:145) It is not given to any soul to die except with the leave of Allah, and at an appointed time. *104 And he who desires his reward in this world, We shall grant him the reward of this world; and he who desires the reward of the Other World, *105We shall grant him the reward of the Other World. And soon shall We reward the ones who are grateful. *106
*104. The purpose of this directive is to bring home to the Muslims that it would be futile for them to try to flee from death. No one can either die before or survive the moment determined for death by God. Hence one should not waste one’s time thinking how to escape death. Instead, one should take stock of one’s activities and see whether one’s efforts have either been directed merely to one’s well-being in this world or to well-being in the Hereafter.
*105. The word thawab denotes recompense and reward. The ‘reward of this world’ signifies the totality of benefits and advantages which a man receives as a consequence of his actions and efforts within the confines of this world. The ‘reward of the Other World’ denotes the benefits that a man will receive in the lasting World to Come as the fruits of his actions and efforts. From the Islamic point of view, the crucial question bearing upon human morals is whether a man keeps his attention focused on the worldly results of his endeavours or on the results which will acrue to him in the Next World.
*106. The ‘ones who are grateful’ are those who fully appreciate God’s favour in making the true religion available to them, and thereby intimating to them knowledge of a realm that is infinitely vaster than this world. Such people appreciate that God has graciously informed them of the truth so that the consequences of human endeavour are not confined to the brief span of earthly life but cover a vast expanse, embracing both the present life and the much more important life of the Hereafter.
A grateful man is he who, having gained this breadth of outlook and having developed this long-range perception of the ultimate consequences of things, persists in acts of righteousness out of his faith in God and his confidence in God’s assurance that they will bear fruit in the Hereafter. He does so even though he may sometimes find that, far from bearing fruit, righteousness leads to privation and suffering in this world. The ungrateful ones are those who persist in a narrow preoccupation with earthly matters. They are those who disregard the evil consequences of unrighteousness in the Hereafter, seizing everything which appears to yield benefits and advantages in this world, and who are not prepared to devote their time and energy to those acts of goodness which promise to bear fruit in the Hereafter and which are either unlikely to yield earthly advantages or are fraught with risks. Such people are ungrateful and lack appreciation of the valuable knowledge vouchsafed to them by God.
كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ وَإِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوْنَ أُجُورَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَمَنْ زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَأُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ ﴿3:185﴾
(3:185) Everyone is bound to taste death and you shall receive your full reward on the Day of Resurrection. Then, whoever is spared the Fire and is admitted to Paradise has indeed been successful. The life of this world is merely an illusory enjoyment. *130
*130. Whoever considers the effects of his actions in this earthly life to be of crucial significance, and sees in them the criteria of right and wrong, the criteria of that which leads either to one’s ultimate salvation or to one’s doom, falls prey to a serious misconception. The fact that a person is outstandingly successful in life does not necessarily prove that he is either not prove that he has either strayed from the right way or is out of favour with God. The earthly results of a man’s actions are often quite different from the ones he will see in the Next Life. What is of true importance is what will happen in that eternal life rather than in this transient one.
Surah 3. Al-I-Imran
أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُا الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا بِالْآَخِرَةِ فَلَا يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمُ الْعَذَابُ وَلَا هُمْ يُنْصَرُونَ ﴿2:86﴾
(2:86) These are the people who have preferred the worldly life to the life in the Hereafter. Therefore their torment shall not be lightened nor shall help be given to them (from any quarter).
فَإِذَا قَضَيْتُمْ مَنَاسِكَكُمْ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَذِكْرِكُمْ آَبَاءَكُمْ أَوْ أَشَدَّ ذِكْرًا فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آَتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَمَا لَهُ فِي الْآَخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ ﴿2:200﴾
(2:200) And when you have performed your Hajj rites, remember Allah as you had been remembering your own forefathers, or even with greater zeal. *221 (Even those who remember Allah do it in different ways). Some say, “Our Lord, give us all the good things here in this world. ” Such people shall have no share in the Hereafter.
*221. After the Hajj the Arabs used to hold rallies at Mind. At these rallies people from different tribes proudly narrated the achievements of their forefathers and indulged in much extravagant self-praise. Here they are asked to renounce all such things and devote the time which they formerly spent on trivialities to remembering and celebrating God.
Dhikr refers to the remembrance of God at Mina.
زُيِّنَ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا وَيَسْخَرُونَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا فَوْقَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَاللَّهُ يَرْزُقُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ﴿2:212﴾
(2:212) This worldly life has been made very charming and alluring for those who have adopted the way of disbelief. So they mock at those who have adopted the way of belief ,but (they forget that) the pious people will rank above them on the Day of Resurrection. As to the wordly provisions, Allah has full authority and power to bestow these without measure on anyone He wills.
Surah 2. Al-Baqarah