Infinite Aspirations




Assalamu alaikum WRWB,


Anas Ibn Malik (RA) reported that the prophet (SAW) said "A man ages but two things remain with him, love of worldly things and multitude of hopes (and aspirations)". (Bukhari & Muslim).

Life remains an individual's most important possession that is why man prefers to have long life,and a-never-ending desire for worldly achievements. But both the Quran and Sunnah are replete with cautions for man in his short stay in this world. Allah (SWT) has said:

"The mutual rivalry for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you (from the serious things) ... Until you visit the grave". (106:1-2)

Hassan Al-Basri says piling up wealth referred in the verse means amassing wealth and children...and neither of these benefit one in the hereafter, for the prophet said:

"Three things follow a dead man (to the grave) but two return back while one stays with him; his family, wealth, and deeds escort him but only his deeds stay with him".

Again A'isha (RA) reported that the prophet (SAW) frequently said:

"Even if a man were given two treasures (valleys) of gold he would seek a third. ... And nothing fills his belly (satisfies him) except earth". i.e. he would continue to seek more until he is buried in mother earth.

Allah (SWT) has given wealth to serve as an aide in serving Him with prayers and Zakat, not to distract from serving Him. Abu Darda'i (RA) once commented about excessiveness of human desires saying - You build what you will not reside in (i.e. yours is the grave); you aspire to what you do not really need; you collect what you will not eat from.....just like those before you had built, amassed and had farfetched hopes, only for them to wake up and find their houses as graveyards, their hopes had deceived them and their wealth of no use to them. Similarly, Ali Ibn Abu Taleb (RA) cautioned: "I fear two things for you multiple hopes and inclining to your own whims (or fancies), the former makes mankind forget the hereafter while the latter hinders and repels the truth. While Abu Dharr (RA) said that the best of people is one who renounces the world and the worst of them is he who collects from the world in excess of what is enough for him.

Abu Huraira (RA) reported that the prophet SAW said "A man said my money, my money ... but really he owned only three parts of the wealth; what he ate until it finished or what he dressed with until it wore out and what he gave out as alms and it ran out (finished). ... anything other than those is a left over for people.

Elsewhere, the prophet, while cautioning against excessive hopes and desires said: "Desire for the world leads to excessive worry and sorrow, while renouncing it leads to lightening of the mind and body. It is not poverty I fear for you but rather, I fear for you the wealth that bares open the world (and its glitters) like it happened before you and then you become selfish like they did, leading you to your destruction like it did to those before you.

In the commentary of the textual hadith above, by Imam Muhammad Habib ash-Shinqeety who said "Excessive hopes are generally to be denounced except for seeking
useful knowledge, particularly religious, which is expected to improve on ones deeds.

Unfortunately mankind always desire long life, even if at times not productively spent. Many people including scholars hasten to buttress their desires by citing the saying 'Seek in this world as if you will live forever and seek for the hereafter as if you will die the next day'. But it is doubtful whether the saying emanated from the prophet, its validity remains critical. Ibn Qutaibah brought it in his book of doubtful ahadiths entitled [Odd narrations]. The world's most renowned hadith scholar of our time, the Syrian based, Sheik Muhammad Nasirruddeen Albaniy commented about the saying in his [Silsilat ahadithu dha'ifah], "It is baseless, even though it is popular on peoples tongues". Furthermore the
prophet SAW has said in an authentic hadith "You should frequently remember the great terminator of pleasures (ie death)" (Bukhari & Muslim).

It is reported that Umar Ibn AbdalAziz used to frequent the graveyards saying that is his permanent residence, for he is in the world only temporarily.

And Allah (SWT) cautioned "Nothing is the life of this world but play and amusement. But best is the home in the hereafter for those who are righteous. Will you not understand". (6:32). So life in this world should be regarded as a preparation for the eternal life not for mere worldly ephemeral pleasures. And Abdullah Ibn Umar (RA) reported that the
prophet said "Be in this world like a stranger or a wayfarer and start counting yourself among the tenants of the grave" and Ibn Umar also said "When you wake up in the morning do not be certain of reaching the evening. When you reach it do not be certain of reaching the next morning ... and save out of your life for your death (hereafter) and during your
health for your sickness, for you do not know your name tomorrow. Sheikh Abdurrahman al-Manawi summarized it all saying "... the key to all that is good lies in desire for the next world. ... and the key for all that is evil lies in the love of this world and of having infinite inspirations.

We pray Allah SWT curtail and restrict our worldly desires and guide us unto the straight path,amen.

And Allah (SWT) knows best.