And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided…(3:103)

Insignificance of the Worldly Life

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عَنْ جَابِرٍ رَضِیَ اﷲُ عَنْہُ اَنَّ رَسُولَ اﷲِ صَلَّی اﷲُ عَلَیْہِ وَسَلَّمَ مَرَّ بِالسُّوْقِ دَاخِلاً مِنْ بَعْضِ الْعَالِیَۃِ وَ النَّاسُ کَنْفَتَیْہٖ فَمَرَّ بِجَدْیِ اَسَکُّ مَیْتَۃً فَتَنَاولَہٗ وَ اَخَذَ بِاُذْنِہٖ ثُمَّ قَالَ ’’اَیُّکُمُ یُحِبُّ اَنْ یَکُوْنَ بِدِرْھَمٍ فَقَالُوا مَا نُحِبُّ اَنَّہٗ لَنَا بِشَیئٍ وَ مَا نَصْنَعُ بِہٖ ثُمَّ قَالَ اَتُحِبُّوْنَ اَنَّہٗ لَکُمْ قَالُوا وَ اﷲِ لَوْ کَانَ حَیَّاً کَانَ عَیْباً فِیْہٖ لاِنَّہٗ اَسَکُّ فَکَیْفَ وَ ھُوَ مَیْتَۃٌ فَقَالَ فَوَاﷲِ لَلدُّنْیَا اَھْوَ نُ عَلیَ اﷲِ مِنْ ھٰذا عَلَیْکُمْ‘‘(مسلم کتاب الزھد)

Jabir b. Abdullah ؓ reported that Allah’s Apostle ﷺ happened to walk through the bazar coming from the side of ‘Aliya and the people were on both his sides. There he found a dead lamb with very short ears. He took hold of his ear and said: Who amongst you would like to have this for a dirham? They said: We do not like to have it even for less than that as it is of no use to us. He said: Do you wish to have it (free of any cost)? They said: By Allah, even if it were alive (we would not have liked to possess that), for there is defect in it as its ear is very short; now it is dead also. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: By Allah, this world is more insignificant in the eye of Allah as it (this dead lamb) is in your eye.


It was the blessed habit of the Holy Prophet ﷺ to give an example with view to make the people understand anything especially when it was hard to comprehend. Thus, it would penetrate into one’s mind easily. The same way was adopted by the Holy Prophet ﷺ in the tradition mentioned above. What he did first is to assure his blessed companions about the insignificance of a dead lamb having raised a question about it. When the Holy Prophet ﷺ notice a possible reply crossing their mind that no one pays any heed towards this dead being, he addressed them saying that this world was of no significance, rather it was more insignificant in the sight of Allah than that of the dead lamb in their eyes.

It is worth-considering here that how excessively we are crazy after this world more insignificant than a dead lamb. Whatever we do is for the sake of this mortal world. We have become rather conscious of its transitory pleasures to such extent that our limitless desire for their attainment has caused us be neglectful from the world hereafter. As a result, we have bargained the next-coming life for this mortal world and deem its progress a means of our success while this world is mortal and the world hereafter is immortal.

The Holy Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said:

’’اَلاَ اِنَّ الدُّنْیَا مَلْعُوْنَۃٌ وَ مَلْعُونٌ مَا فِیْھَا‘‘ (ترمذی(

“The world is accursed, and accursed is whatever it contains.”

In fact, through this very Prophetic Tradition, this point becomes quite clear to us that:

جگہ جی لگانے کی دنیا نہیں ہے یہ عبرت کی جا ہے تماشہ نہیں ہے

Meaning, this world is not a place of attachment. It is a place of lesson and not a show.

However, Islam does not exhort its followers to lead an ascetic life, rather it encourages them to benefit from it as per their necessity. Hence, we must make use of it just to meet our basic needs and be rather concerned to make the world hereafter the main ambition of our life. It is the same thing pointed out through the following tradition of the Holy Prophet ﷺ which goes like this:

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ قَالَ نَامَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّی اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَلَی حَصِيرٍ فَقَامَ وَقَدْ أَثَّرَ فِي جَنْبِهِ فَقُلْنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ لَوْ اتَّخَذْنَا لَکَ وِطَائً فَقَالَ مَا لِي وَمَا لِلدُّنْيَا مَا أَنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا کَرَاکِبٍ اسْتَظَلَّ تَحْتَ شَجَرَةٍ ثُمَّ رَاحَ وَتَرَکَهَا۔

Sayyidina Abdullah ؓ narrated: Allah’s Messenger ﷺ slept on a reed mat. He got up and its marks were impressed on his body. We said, “0 Messenger of Allah, if we could fetch for you a bed!” He said, “What have Ito do with the world? I am not in this world but like a rider who shades himself under a tree only to move onward and leave it.”

The significance of the world is only to such extent that it is the sowing-field of the world hereafter. Anyone who sows in it the seed of true faith and belief and water it with his good deeds, on the Day of Judgment, he will reap from it success and with the help of which he will enjoy the bounties of Paradise. On the contrary, one who regards this mortal world a place of entertainment and disregards leading a pious life, he will be doomed to failure in the world Hereafter and be the fuel of the Hell-fire.

In a nut-shell, the world is not a place of attachment, hence, we should not attach more importance to it, since Akirah is the main thing and it is the life for the attainment of which we should pay our full heed.

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