The Desire For The Hereafter
Imam Ibn ul-Qayyim's "Al-Fawa'id" by Abu Aasiya
The desire for the Hereafter is not complete without renouncing this world, and renouncement from this world is not achieved except after:
a) Looking at this world, and how quickly it passes away and reaches its end, its deficiencies, decline, vileness; the distress of competing for it, and the way it spoils and causes misery. Also, its ephemerality and discontinuation comes with misery and regrets. The one who seeks this world benefits only by having sadness before acquiring it, worries when he is enjoying it, and grief after its passing away.
b) Knowing with surety that the Hereafter is going to come and its arrival is certain. The eternality, endlessness, and nobility of the good and pleasing things in it, and the difference between what is there and what is here. It is as He said:
"Although the life to come is better and more enduring." (88: 17)
For over there are complete, unending pleasures, and over here are insufficient, ephemeral, and vanishing fancies.
After completely understands these two aspects the intellect is required to make its preference and renounce what it should renounce.
So anyone who is naturally disposed to leave the enjoyment of this world and the present pleasures for the pleasures that are hidden and yet to come in the Hereafter will not do so unless the excellence of the next life over this one is clear to him, and has a strong desire to achieve the superior instead of the inferior.
When he prefers the transient and the inadequate it is either because he does not understand what is better for him or because he does not have the desire to obtain the best.
Either one of them shows weakness of Eemaan, intellect, and insight. This is because the one who desires this world and prefers it is either because he believes that what is there is nobler, better, and more enduring, or he does not.
If he does not believe this, he would loose his Eemaan right away. On the other hand, if he believes this but does not prefer it, then he has weak intellect and will power. So, preferring this life over the next one could either be from corrupted Eemaan or imperfect intellect.
This is the reason why the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Companions put this world behind their backs, turned their hearts away from it, and abandoned it. They did not befriend it, instead they renounced it. They did not incline towards it. They considered it to be a prison, not Paradise! They renounced it as it ought to have been renounced. Had they wished, they could have had anything they liked and reached anything they desired because the key of its treasures were presented to them, but they refused to accept them.
They did not exchange their share of the Hereafter with her. They knew that it was a corridor and a passage way, not a residence of permanence and stability. They understood fully well that it is a transit station, not a pleasure house. They took it for tis real worth - a summer cloud that shall disperse soon.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said in authentic narrations:
"What am I in this world except for like a person who is traveling and stopped under the shade of the tree to rest for a few moments and then continues with his traveling."
"What is this world compared to the Hereafter except like when one of you puts his finger in the sea, so he sees what he takes out (of the sea with his wet finger)."
Our Lord, the Creator of this world, draws a parable from our own lifes to illustrate the real value of this world:
"The parable of the life of this world is but that of rain which We send down from the sky, and which is absorbed by the plants of the earth whereof men and animals draw nourishment, until - when the earth is clad with its adornments and is beautified, and they who dwell on it believe that they have all the powers of disposal over it - there comes down upon it Our judgment, by night or by day, and We cause it to become (like) a field mown down, as if it had not flourished yesterday.
And (know that) Allah invites (man) unto the abode of peace, and guides whom He wills onto a Straight Way." (10: 24, 25)
So Allah, our Lord, informs us about the ignobility of this life and ascetism from it, and tells us about the home of peace and invites us to it.
In another passage Allah says:
"And propound unto them the parable of the life of this world: (it is) like the water which We send down from the skies, and which is absorbed by the plants of the earth: but (in time) they turn into dry stubble which the winds blow freely about.
And it is Allah (alone) who determines all things.
Wealth and children are an adornment of this world's life: but good deeds, the fruit whereof endures forever, are of far greater merit in your Sustainer's sight, and a far better source of hope." (18: 45, 46)
" and they rejoice in the life of the world, whereas the life of this world as compared with the Hereafter is but a brief passing enjoyment." (14: 26)
He has threatened with the greatest threat the one who is pleased with the life of this world, is satisfied with it, is ignorant of His aayat, and is not hopeful of meeting Him:
"Verily, those who hope not for their meeting with us, but are pleased and satisfied with the life of the present world, and those who are heedless of Our aayat, those, their abode will be the Fire, because of what they used to earn." (10:7, 8)
"O you who believe, what is the mater with you, and when you are asked to march forth in the Cause of Allah you cling heavily to the earth? 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." (9: 38)
Meaning that the obedience of Allah and seeking the Hereafter becomes a burden on the one who desires this life and is pleased with it.
It is enough to renounce this life by the saying of Allah (in translation):
"Tell Me, if We do let them enjoy for years, and afterwards come to them that (punishment) which they had been promised! All that which they used to enjoy shall not avail them." (26: 207)
" And on the day when He shall gather them together, (it will be) as if they had not stayed but an hour of a day. They shall recognize each other." (10: 45)
"On the Day when they shall see that (torment) with which they are promised (it will be) as if they had not stayed more than an hour in a single day. But shall any be destroyed except people who are disobedient." (46: 35)
"The day they see it, (it will be) as if they had not tarried (in this world) except an afternoon or a morning." (80: 46)
"And on the day that the Hour is established, the disbelievers will swear that they stayed not but an hour." (30: 55)
"He will say: 'What number of years did you stay on earth?'
They will say: 'We stayed a day or part of a day. Ask of those who keep account."
He (Allah) will say: "You stayed not but a little,- if you had only known!'" (23: 112-114)
"The day when the Trumpet will be blown: that Day the disbelievers will be blue eyed with dark faces. In whispers will they speak to each other (saying): 'You stayed no longer than ten (days).'" (23: 20)