May 3, 2013

Life is Fleeting

By Asma Khan


Borrowed from

Abu Hatim said: ‘The intelligent person must never be deluded by this world and its dazzles, its beauty and splendors, such that he occupies himself with it as opposed to occupying himself with the eternal Hereafter and the everlasting delight (of Paradise). Rather, he should place the world where Allah has placed it because its end will no doubt perish. Its civilizations shall become ruins, its inhabitants shall die, its magnificence will depart and its greenery will be destroyed. There will remain no arrogant leader in command and no poor and humiliated one, except that the glass of death shall pass over them. Then they will depart to the dust where they will become worn out until they return to what they were in the beginning; ruins (i.e. dust). Then the Knower of the Unseen (Allah) shall inherit the earth and all that is upon it. Thus the intelligent one never places his reliance on a home of this description and he cannot find tranquility in a world like this – for indeed what lies in store for him is that which no eye has seen, no ear has heard and what has never occurred to the human mind".

The example of [this] worldly life is but like rain which We have sent down from the sky that the plants of the earth absorb - [those] from which men and livestock eat - until, when the earth has taken on its adornment and is beautified and its people suppose that they have capability over it, there comes to it Our command by night or by day, and We make it as a harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday. Thus do We explain in detail the signs for a people who give thought (24). And Allah invites to the Home of Peace and guides whom He wills to a straight path.”
(10: 24-25).

What happens when rain falls from the sky? You see an immediate change on the earth. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says that when the rain falls down on the earth, nabat-ul-ardh (the vegetations of the earth) fully absorb the water, and once they absorb it, they grow and become lush. You immediately see greenery everywhere; it seems as if the whole earth has been revived. The vegetation becomes so thick and lush that you cannot tell which tree is coming from where (Sister Taymiyya, Al Huda Institute teacher).

Allah (subhanahuwata’lah) then says “ … until, when the earth has taken on its adornment and is beautified and its people suppose that they have capability over it …

Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’ala) says when the rain comes down from the sky, the earth starts to become beautiful: you see plants growing, animals have food, the vegetables are all lush, and there are fruits on the trees.

My dear brothers and sisters, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) uses the word adornment (zukhruf) to explain this beauty. The word ‘zukhruf’ means the height of beauty, it does not have any flaw, and has been adorned and beautified. Zukhruf is the pinnacle of beauty, where everything is decked up and every fine detail has been taken care of. Therefore, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says that when rain comes down from sky, He makes the whole extremely beautiful, everything looks fresh and green (the insects, the people, the plants, the sky, and the atmosphere). Zukhruf in this verse particularly refers to flowers, fruits, the plants. (Sister Taymiyya, Al Huda Institute teacher)

All of these blessings have been made for us to enjoy, and to show our gratefulness to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).

My dear sisters and brothers, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then says, “…and its people suppose that they have capability over it, there comes to it Our command by night or by day, and We make it as a harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday!

The ayah explains that the people suppose those who plant in the ground have all the powers of disposal over it to cultivate it and harvest it. But while they were in that frame of mind, a thunderbolt or a severe, cold storm came to it. It dried its leaves and spoiled its fruits (Qtafsir).

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said: There comes to it Our command by night or by day, and We make it as a harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday!

What command is this? The decree of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) in regards to the destruction, such as hail, hot wind, tornado, after which the blooming earth is destroyed. When this punishment comes ‘laylan’ (meaning at night), or ‘naharan’ (day), it shows that to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) it does not matter whether the punishment is coming in the day or night – or whether it is young or old; death will approach them (Sister Taymiyya, Al Huda Institute teacher).

Reality of this life

The reality of this life is that it is fleeting. The moment you feel you have control over it, it is gone. Therefore, the example of this life is like the rain that falls on this earth, where the rain signifies the blessings of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) on a person. For example, when a person gets a job, it changes everything around him; his clothes change, he may get a house, he has friends, everything around him changes. Additionally, he is happy and is busy enjoying one thing after another. Then what happens? He faces a decline. Just like things changes, people will also change, and circumstances in our life also change. Nothing in this life is permanent, everything is constantly fleeting, it’s changing. (Sr. Taymiyya)

Through this verse, Our Creator wants to draw our attention towards the reality of this life; He wants us to wake up from this dream and realize what the higher goal and purpose of our life is: to please Him and earn His pleasure through all of these blessings.

We should not get lost in this duniya. Consider when you first get something new, you find it so beautiful, and you enjoy it. But within days, you realize that its beauty has declined, and so has its pleasure. Let us say you buy a nice sofa or a nice car, and a few months go by. You begin to see scratches. The moment you first got it, you felt its importance to you. You counted it as a prized possession, which no one can take from you. Within days or months, its beauty declines in your eyes. This is similar to the reality of this life. Everything faces decline. This shows us that the Qadr of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) stands firm. What is this Decree of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), my dear brothers and sisters in Islam? Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is constantly reminding us that “ this duniya is matha al ghuroor”- this life is a temporary enjoyment- it is fleeting, it is constantly changing, and Allah’s Command is that everything must come to an end. When the Decree of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) comes, no one can resist it.

Can you ever prevent your sofas from sagging, your clothes from getting worn out, or your car from getting any scratches? No. You cannot stop the process of change. We spend so much time trying to get the best of everything, yet we fail to realize that no matter how perfect and best the thing is, it will become exhausted or worn. Five years down the road, everything will get dumped. We should only give as much importance to the things of this world as they deserve. We should not get lost in them. They are not permanent. The fact is that whoever you have in your life right now, whomsoever you love the most at this moment, he/she will go away one day. Even your most beloved and cherished newborn will grow up, he/she will go to school, get a job, get married, and then pass away. This is the reality of life; nothing in this life will remain in its actual state. You can never hold onto any moment, time, wealth, child, health, or age. So why do we get so deceived by the attractions of this life?

My dear brothers and sisters, do not waste your life in pursuing the things you want. But if you do get what you want, do not forget Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Do not get so indulged in things, that you forget Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), that it makes you miss you prayers, that it occupies your mind and does not allow you to take time off to read and understand the Words of your Creator (i.e. the Qur’an). Do not get so indulged in building your dream home that you sacrifice the eternal home in the hereafter.

Thus do We explain in detail the signs for a people who give thought.”

This is stated so the people may take a lesson. As the world swiftly passes by, people continue to be deceived by it. They trust this world and its promises, and then it unexpectedly turns away from them. This world, in its nature, runs away from those who seek it but seeks those who run away from it. (Qtafsir)


1) Do not sacrifice your hereafter, for the sake of pleasing people, for the sake of earning a high status, a high rank in this life. Do not sacrifice your hereafter by not doing what Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has commanded you to do.

2) It is natural for women to like to decorate their houses, to keep their houses spotless, clean and beautiful. It is not wrong to do so. If Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) provides us with money to have such things, we can have them. However, we should not let these things distract us from our salah, our dhikr, from reading qur’an and studying the deen of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). We should not get so indulged in our furniture, houses, cars, and in spending time to clean them to the extent that we miss our salah or on the opportunity to learn and study the religion of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Even if we are blessed with children, this should not make us miss our prayers, for Who is the One who blessed us with the children? It is Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Then how can we think of displeasing Him when He is the source of all these blessings?

3) Show gratefulness to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) for each and every blessing you have through your words, actions, and intentions. Inshallah you will be successful.

4) The biggest lesson one can take is do not attach your success, joy, happiness, or peace with the people of this life. Be good to them, show excellent Ihsaan (perfect goodness) towards them, treat them nicely, do not be unjust to them, serve them wholeheartedly, assist them. However, do all of this with one intention and one high goal: to achieve the Love of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), to achieve the Pleasure of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), to achieve a home in Paradise in the hereafter. If you make this your goal, you will not be grief-stricken because you are not attaching your success or happiness to people, but rather you are performing all of these services to please Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), and in return Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) will bless you with beautiful sweets in this life and hereafter.

5) Do not expect praises, do not expect love, do not expect from anyone in this life. Rather love Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). He will love you in return, and place love in other people’s hearts for you.

6) “For them who have done good is the best [reward] and extra. No darkness will cover their faces, nor humiliation. Those are companions of Paradise; they will abide therein eternally.” (10:26).

1) Taleem al Quran English Course, Sr. Taymiyya
2) Qtafsir:

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