|Kun fidunya ka’anaka ghareeb
“Be in this world (this present life on earth) as if you were a stranger …”
Imagine that you have to go out of town on a business trip. I often enjoy going on business trips. I get to see new cities, stay in nice hotels, eat at nice restaurants, drive sexy model luxury sedans and relax in a nice, big hotel bed.
That’s not the kind of trip you will be going on. No, you have to go for a specific mission. You need to close a deal with your biggest client. If you don’t get awarded this deal, not only will your department fall short of its annual budget, but you will certainly be laid off. Your boss is depending on you, your coworkers are depending on you and your family is depending on you. Since your company is sponsoring your work visa, if you get laid off, you will lose your residency and you will have nowhere to go. All that you have worked hard to establish (a nice house, nice furniture, nice car) will all be gone. Now, do you really care how big your hotel room is or how big your rental car is???
Let’s jump out of the analogy and into reality for a moment. This dunya and everything in it is just a hotel room. It’s not our real home. Some people choose to believe that this dunya is our home. Both science and the Qur’an will disagree.
The Qur’an states:
“Every soul shall have a taste of death. Then unto Us shall ye return.” (29:57)
Can we prove the Qur’an wrong?
Look at all the great kings, emperors and leaders of the past. Where are they now? Are they still alive or have they all perished? Everyone dies. It’s a scientifically proven fact. Therefore, our life in this dunya is not our permanent home. We are just temporary visitors here.
We are here with an important mission. We need to ensure that we go to Jannah without facing the punishment of the Hellfire. That is our important mission. That is what we need to focus on. Everything else is insignificant.
Let’s jump back into the analogy. Let’s look at the extreme case of negligence. Assume that your company has been planning for this trip. They made hotel arrangements, purchased your plane ticket and rented you a car. You picked out a nice, professional outfit to wear, polished your shoes, prepared for the meeting, drove to the airport, flew to your destination, took a bus to the car rental office, took a bus to your car, drove to the hotel, checked in and went to your room. Now imagine, after you saw your luxurious hotel room, you decided to enjoy the luxury a little. You order room service, lay down on a nice, comfortable bed, watch a movie, go down to the gift shop, get a massage, eat at a five-star restaurant at the hotel, go back to your room, get a good night’s sleep and then return home the next day and you forgot all about the meeting. What do you think will happen to this person when he goes back to his boss and his boss asks him how the meeting went? “Meeting? What meeting?”
If you look around you, there are many people in this dunya who have forgotten what their purpose is. They are just enjoying the amenities of this life and forgot what their mission was.
“ That which is on earth we have made but as a glittering show for the earth, in order that We may test them - as to which of them are best in conduct. (18:7)
How will they answer to Allah (swt) when He asks them what they did?
As I mentioned, that is the extreme case. Let’s look at another case. Let’s suppose that the person reaches the hotel room and spends his time enjoying the amenities of the hotel so much that he becomes indulged in it. The next morning, he oversleeps, goes to the meeting late, disheveled and unprepared. He wasted his time enjoying one night at a hotel instead of concentrating on what was really important. This person will surely regret not being prepared when he isn’t able to close the deal. He would lose everything … and for what? For a few moments of enjoyment?
Let’s jump back into reality. I am not saying that we should not enjoy the dunya. We are here for the night. We need a good night’s sleep. But all enjoyment should be in the context of helping us do better in our mission. We need to eat, yes. We need to sleep, yes. We need transportation, yes. We need to relax and enjoy, yes. But all of these should not be our goal but should be used to help us accomplish our goal.
But those who believe and work deeds of righteousness - to them shall We give a Home in Heaven,- lofty mansions beneath which flow rivers,- to dwell therein;- an excellent reward for those who do (good)! (29:58)