Intellect of man informs about his mistake

The first question has been answered in the forgone pages, but taking into consideration the importance of the subject we are explaining it again in another way. After reaching the age of maturity and being endowed with intelligence, when in the light of his intellect and teachings of the Holy Quran he is able to distinguish between mortal and everlasting things, he realizes the reality of his eternality and finds the joys of this world unworthy of attention due to their temporality, such a person is able to realize his mistake, and he makes effort to gradually remove it from his heart. He seeks worldly peace and comforts in the everlasting life. This is the reason that in most of the chapters of the Holy Quran,

the temporality, decadence and lowliness of the world has been remembered with reference to the life of the Hereafter and examples are also presented in this connection so that Muslims may know the reality of the firm and shaky life and becoming dissociated from this temporal world they accommodate the love of an everlasting life in their hearts. We have explained in detail that it is within the power of an intelligent man to remove the love of the world from his heart.

[The criterion of the love of the Creator is divine recognition, not seeing Him with our physical eyes]

It is not correct to say that man cannot love something he has never seen. There are countless people who have not seen a particular person and had not been contemporary to them, but only by listening to their human perfections they have become their fans. In this way we come to know that man naturally likes perfection. Now if such a person contemplates on the creation of the universe and perceives that in every part of creation there are numerous wisdoms, mercy and never-decreasing bounties, then indeed the love of the Creator would appear in his heart. This is the reason that the Holy Quran has reminded about the bounties of the Creator at every step, so that man recognizes the real benefactor, he can value His bounties and he becomes His ardent devotee. This is the path where man is able to get the fruits of a pure life.

[Thus why does the love of Allah not inhabit the heart?]

Now the question is, that what is the reason that the hearts of most of the people are devoid of the love of Allah. The reason is that, such people have not yet come out of the prison of animal desires and sensuality. People like these do not gain lesson from anything and since they have not recognized their benefactor, it is clear that they cannot love Him. The Almighty Allah says in Surah Muhammad: Surely Allah will make those who believe and do good enter gardens beneath which rivers flow; and those who disbelieve enjoy themselves and eat as the beasts eat, and the fire is their abode.[365] 

Let us now take into consideration the love of Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad. Who is that intelligent man that is aware of their moral and spiritual perfections and merits, and most of all, their knowledge and intelligence; who knows that they have no equal; who comes to know about their innumerable miracles and accepts them as the most proximate creatures of Allah, but even after all this, he does not love them? Those whose hearts are devoid of their love; it is as if their existence is lacking in humanity, or they are deprived of the capacity of recognition. As much capacity of recognition there is in man, in equal proportion would be the depth of his love and attachment.

[Divine Recognition and love for the Hereafter]

Love for the Hereafter is also such. Now if man contemplates on these verses of Quran, that are with regard to the qualities of the Hereafter and the innumerable bounties, then indeed he would become desirous of them. But the condition is that his heart should be empty of the love of the world, because such a person would be desirous of death, as he would consider death to be the means of the fulfillment of Allah’s promise. Amirul Momineen (a.s.) enumerates the qualities of the pious and says, “If death, which Allah has made holy for them, had not been there, their souls would not have remained in their bodies for the blink of the eye due to their desire of heavenly rewards and their fear of divine chastisement.[366]

[What Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says regarding Paradise and the Chosen People]

Glorified art Thou, the Creator, the Worshipped, on account of Thy good trials of Thy creatures. Thou created a house (the Paradise) and provided in it for feasting, drinks, foods, spouses, servants, places, streams, plantations and fruits. Then Thou sent a messenger to invite towards it, but the people did not respond to the caller, and did not feel persuaded to what Thou persuaded them nor showed eagerness towards what Thou desired them to feel eager. They jumped on the carcass (of this world), earned shame by eating it and became united on loving it. When one loves a thing it blinds him and sickens his heart. Then he sees but with a diseased eye, hears but with unhearing ears. Desires have cut asunder his wit, and the world has made his heart dead, while his mind is all longing for it. Consequently, he is a slave of it and of everyone who has any share in it.[367]

[Additional verse on the unlawfulness of the love of the world]

The Almighty Allah says in Surah Fajr: And you love wealth with exceeding love.[368]

In this verse, the Almighty is denouncing those people who love the worldly things very intensely and all the time they are looking for means to increase them and hoard them for themselves even if they are unlawful. They are such that inspite of the obligatory nature of charity they find it painful to spend it and allow it to be separated from them. This behavior of theirs proves their love for the world and their lack of interest with regard to the Almighty. They are always ready to sacrifice their Hereafter on the world.

This holy verse proves the fact that slight love for the world is not unlawful. But it should never overcome the love for the Hereafter. Rather, the virtue of man is that he must never have permanent love for the world.

[Those who preferred the comforts of the world]

Regarding those who preferred the comforts of the world to the peace of the Hereafter, we have the following verse of Surah Tawbah: …are you contented with this world's life instead of the hereafter? But the provision of this world's life compared with the hereafter is but little.[369]

In this verse, the Almighty Allah has severely condemned those who have intense love for the comforts of the world and they do not give any credence to the life of the Hereafter. Their love for the world is such that they become absolutely unconcerned with the Hereafter, they devote themselves solely for the world and they only desire the life of the world even if there is in it, destruction of their Hereafter. In spite of the fact that belief in Allah and the Hereafter necessitates that the situation be the opposite of this. The love of the Hereafter should be so overpowering the love of the world that he neglects the world and sacrifices his life on the Hereafter. It is clear that in such circumstances, no question arises about fondness for worldly things and worldly position and status.

Some notable verses

1. And seek by means of what Allah has given you the future abode, and do not neglect your portion of this world, and do good (to others) as Allah has done good to you, and do not seek to make mischief in the land, surely Allah does not love the mischief-makers.[370]

2. That is because you exulted in the land unjustly and because you behaved insolently.[371]

Raghib says in Mufradat that here the Arabic word for ‘exulted’ is ‘Faraha’. It denotes swelling up of the chest due to worldly happiness, which is caused by pleasures of eating and drinking and not due to unlawful joys. While “tamrahoon” (behaved insolently) denotes excess and extremism in happiness.

1. And do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the land exulting overmuch; surely Allah does not love any self-conceited boaster;[372]

2. But when they neglected that with which they had been admonished, We opened for them the doors of all things, until when they rejoiced in what they were given We seized them suddenly; then lo! they were in utter despair.[373]

3. Do not think those who rejoice for what they have done and love that they should be praised for what they have not done- so do by no means think them to be safe from the chastisement, and they shall have a painful chastisement.[374]

This last verse mentions two qualities of the infidels and polytheists and then promises divine chastisement for them. That is why it is obligatory on every Muslim to avoid these two qualities. One of them is to pride on oneself after doing something, whether that work was good or bad or done for some worldly motives. The second quality is that he likes for himself that people praise him for some quality he does not have or for doing something he has not done.

Shaykh Tabarsi says in Jameul Jawame that this verse can also be applied to the one who does a good deed and then shows-off proudly about it. One who likes for himself that people praise his piety and righteousness, while he is not having those virtues. It is mentioned in Tafsir Maqtinatud Durar that in this verse “those” refers to the common people. This verse applies to every such person that performs a good deed and then boasts about it. He likes it for himself that people praise those virtues that are not present in him. Fakhruddin Razi says in Tafsir Kabir that this verse refers to the Jews who distorted the Taurat and interpreted it in a wrong way to mislead the people. They were not only pleased with this activity of theirs, they were also desirous that people should praise their religiosity, truthfulness and loftiness of character. Allamah Razi further says that if you want to know the truth, the majority of the people are like this. Because most of the people try to achieve the world through fraudulent and deceitful means. When they achieve their aims they are happy about it and they like that people should extol their honesty, piety and truthfulness.

Muhaqqiq Ardebeli in his book, Zubdatul Bayan says:[375]

It is not unlikely that this verse only proves the unlawfulness of the act of the person. Whether he has performed that deed or not, in both the cases this verse has declared the illegality of boastfulness. But since the verse is general and it is not for any particular aspect, that is why it is unlawful to be boastful about something one has done. But to express joy and happiness on doing something in which there is no angle of boastfulness, is beyond the scope of this discussion. 

The traditions have also prohibited boastful happiness and the holy verse also aims towards this. As the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) has said, “Dust be on the heads of those who extol and praise the creatures.” It is narrated in Oddatud Dai that boastfulness is one of the things that bring destruction. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, “Three things destroy a person:

1. That miserliness which is emulated

2. That sensuality which is obeyed

3. To be boastfully proud of oneself”

Boastfulness invalidates the good deed of man. To be pleased on ones good deed and to consider oneself free of defects and shortcomings is pride or conceit, that cause the destruction of man. But if one is glad on ones good deed in such a way that it is also accompanied by humility and helplessness to the Almighty, and he also thanks God for giving him the divine opportunity, then it is permissible and a good deed. Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said that a believer is one who is glad on his good deed and aggrieved on his evil deed. Muhaqqiq Ardebeli says that Ghazzali has quoted a tradition, which if it were authentic, would indicate that all of us would be destroyed. The tradition is as follows: 

A person was praised in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.). The Prophet said, “If that person is pleased with this praise of yours, he is an inmate of Hell.” The Muhaqqiq says: This verse is sufficient to prove the correctness of this tradition.

[Allah does not like those who are proud and vain]

The Almighty Allah says in Quran:

No evil befalls on the earth nor in your own souls, but it is in a book before We bring it into existence; surely that is easy to Allah: So that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you; and Allah does not love any arrogant boaster:[376]

[What is that unlawful glee?]

Studying carefully the above verses and the statements of the commentators and scholars of language it is learnt that the happiness not liked by Allah is the one which tantamount to boastfulness and excess. That is, the happiness that exceeds limits and is in the sphere of pride, boastful glee and apparent show-off. In order to explain this matter further we take help of an example:

Let us suppose that one is in need of a house. If after making efforts he is able to achieve his aim, even though he knows that it is a temporary place of residence and every month he has to pay a fixed rent also, yet he is happy for getting a place to live in. This limited happiness is not inappropriate and blamable and it is not prohibited. But if that same person after taking possession of the house, usurps it, and with utmost audacity disregards the importance of the landlord, and he considers it the fruit of his efforts and hard work and presents himself to be the actual owner of the house as if no one has any right in it. Not only is he happy on being considered the owner of the house, he also prides upon it and in his glee he exceeds the limits. The intellectuals consider such unbridled happiness worthy of blame.

Now, after this example, it would be quite appropriate to say that if one gets a bounty like money and he considers it a bounty of Allah, and has certainty that the real owner of it is Allah, and he has to fulfill some rights of Allah from this money. Also that this wealth or property are temporal and they will be taken away from him before or at the time of his death, and he is pleased that he could fulfill his needs from this wealth for sometime, then indeed this happiness, if accompanied by thankfulness to God, humility and sincerity, would be acceptable by religious law and be according to divine commandments. Allah Almighty says in Surah Yunus:

Say: In the grace of Allah and in His mercy- in that they should rejoice; it is better than that which they gather.[377] If after gaining the wealth, he forgets Allah and considers this wealth a result of his efforts and also imagines that he is the permanent owner of it and neither does he believe anyone else has any right in it, while having this wealth he considers himself needless and does not believe that it is his, only for sometime. In this way he is not only happy, but also proud and boastful in having it, it is this unrestricted joy that is unlawful and denounced.

The love of the world explained above denotes severe and permanent love. This is the subject of our present discussion. We also quoted a few verses of Quran to prove its unlawfulness. Now, for one who is concerned about the Hereafter, Allah makes his heart self-sufficient and needless. Also He makes arrangement for all the affairs of his life.

The traditions also explain that one who prefers the love of the world over the love for the Hereafter and considers the fulfillment of the worldly desires over that of the Hereafter and gives more importance to the worldly life, Allah impoverishes him and keeps him in poverty forever. For such a person, as much wealth he gets, greedier he becomes and his desires also keep on increasing, till the time that he never could make himself needless. While on the contrary he is also attached to the world and is always in pursuit of worldly desires. Since he would not succeed in achieving the world more, his worries and troubles go on increasing.

Also at the same time there would be decrease in his fear of God. He would become miserly in spending his money on himself and his family. (Inspite of having wealth he would spend a life of destitution). This condition is termed as true poverty.

Because such a person does not believe in giving more importance to the Hereafter, and he does not spend his money in charitable works and good deeds in the path of Allah, that is why he would reach the Hereafter empty-handed.

[Further Explanation] 

One who achieves the worldly desires like wealth and children and is extremely happy on them and also does not consider these bounties to be bestowed by Allah, and also does not accept that there are any rights of God on him and refuses to fulfill his responsibilities laid on him by Allah, such a person is a denier of divine bounties. It is needless to say that one who denies the bounties of Allah would become eligible for Allah’s chastisement. It is necessary for such a person to be fearful of divine wrath. This very fearlessness of Allah and too much of glee (that is, he is fearless of Allah’s requital) is a greater sin.

In conclusion we can say that if there is unbounded happiness on a bounty and it is also accompanied by pride, it would mean that this person is unafraid of Allah’s requital. This action of his is included among the greater sins. Actually, by giving a bounty Allah intends to test a person. He intends to see whether on getting that bounty, the person would be thankful and obedient or be thankless and disobedient. The Almighty Allah says in Surah Naml, quoting Prophet Sulaiman (a.s.) that:

He said: This is of the grace of my Lord that He may try me whether I am grateful or ungrateful; and whoever is grateful, he is grateful only for his own soul, and whoever is ungrateful, then surely my Lord is Self-sufficient, Honored.[378]

[Signs of the Thankful and the Denier]

The sign of the thankful is that on getting the bounty there should be increase in his love for God. Humility and lowliness should appear in his character. He should thank for the bounties and fear Allah for his shortcomings. While the sign of the denier is that he becomes more distant from God and more tied to the love of the world. He makes pride and sinfulness his main occupations and is not fearful of divine punishment. One, who on getting the worldly bounties becomes more deviated, should know that he is caught in divine chastisement due to these very bounties. This is indicated in the following verse of Surah Tawbah:

Let not then their property and their children excite your admiration; Allah only wishes to chastise them with these in this world's life and (that) their souls may depart while they are unbelievers.[379]

One who becomes involved in the love of the world, and the embellishments of the world enchant him, being associated with wealth and children he becomes neglectful, due to material desires he is oblivious of Allah and his own self, always worried about the comfort and luxury for his body and is mesmerized by the material pleasures. Such a person would be subjected to the worst punishment because of those very things that he considers being the means of his success. 

We have all seen that as much one is given the material wealth and bounties as much he becomes negligent of his Lord and earns for himself spiritual punishment. Such a person is always sunk in material pleasures and spiritual chastisement. Whatever he considers to be the means of his happiness, proves to be the medium of his difficulties and sorrows.

Sinan bin Tarif says that he told Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.), “I fear that I do not become a prey of divine punishment.” Imam asked, “What is the reason for this?”

He replied, “I prayed to Allah for a house to live in. He bestowed it to me. Then I requested for a thousand dirhams. They were also given to me. I expressed desire for servants and I got them.” “What was your response when you were getting those bounties?” the Imam asked him. He replied, “I used to say: Praise be to Allah (Alhamdolillah).” Imam said, “Your thankfulness is better than the bounty that you received.” (because thankfulness endures while a bounty perishes some time or the other).[380] 

Conclusion of the discussion is that if happiness resulting from getting a bounty is accompanied with thankfulness, it is rewardable and a good deed. However, if the bounty causes pride, denial and fearlessness of God, it is hateful and deserving of punishment.

[Self-pride distances one from Allah]

As far as despair is concerned, it denotes getting dissociated from Allah. One who achieves worldly desires and does not consider them gifts of the Almighty, instead thinking them to be the fruits of his labor, and in their presence considers himself needless of others and is proud of himself, then know that such a person is dissociated from Allah and is only connected with his material wealth and status. While dissociating from Allah is infidelity. Because he has considered his wealth and position to be his salvation-givers and needlessness-makers and he was satisfied with this only. In other words he has made his wealth and position to be his deities. The Almighty says in Surah Aale Imran: (As for) those who disbelieve, surely neither their wealth nor their children shall avail them in the least against Allah, and these it is who are the fuel of the fire. [381]

[Unlawful despair in the world]

The discussion so far has made clear that excessive grief and sorrow on worldly difficulties earns divine displeasure and is unlawful. This can be further explained by the following example: A person went to the Hajj with his relatives and family. On the way back the camel owner puts his son on the fastest camel so that he can reach home much before the other people and avoid a lot of hardships. Now though the father would indeed be unhappy of separation, he objects to the caravan-owner about it expressing his dissatisfaction, thinking that injustice has been done on the son while actually a favor has been done on him. Such a responsive behavior is considered blameworthy according to intellect.

In the same way, if someone is sorrowful on the death of one of his relatives, and weeps for him, it is a good deed. But if he expresses anger on divine will and objects against it, forgetting the fact that through death he has escaped worldly griefs and difficulties, and that he would also go and meet him after some time. Also that he considers death to be injustice and an unusual happening, then such a type of sorrow and despair is prohibited by reason and Islamic law. The Almighty Allah says in Surah Hadid:

So that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you; and Allah does not love any arrogant boaster:[382] Commenting on this verse, Baidhawi says, “It denotes removing a sadness from ones heart that prevents accepting the command of Allah.” Raghib says, “Sorrow and anger go together. Sometimes, both have to be lamented. The reality of this is so clear that man is restless to take revenge. Then if the desire to seek revenge is regarding someone weaker to us, it gets transformed into anger and if it is regarding someone mightier than us, it reduces and changes into grief. That is why when Ibne Abbas was asked regarding the definition of grief and anger, he replied, ‘Both have the same basis while their names are different. If one fights a person stronger than himself, the other person will express anger and fury while in the case of a weaker opponent, the other person will express grief.’ He says that it is this that denotes ‘sorrow’. That is to be sad on something one has lost.”

[Do not eye others’ property]

The Almighty Allah says:

And do not stretch your eyes after that with which We have provided different classes of them, (of) the splendor of this world's life, that We may thereby try them; and the sustenance (given) by your Lord is better and more abiding.[383] According to some commentators, the words ‘try them’ in this verse denote punishment. That is: We would punish them through the embellishments and fineries of the world so that excess of wealth and children cause them more problems. It is mentioned in Kashful Asrar that the dictionary meaning of the Arabic word ‘Zahra’ (splendor) is ‘a bud’. The Almighty has named this world as ‘a bud’ because the moisture and freshness of a bud does not endure for more than two or three days, and it shrivels up very soon.

[Explanation of Muhaqqiq Ardebeli]

The late scholar, Muhaqqiq says that in this verse, the Almighty has prohibited His Messenger from attachment to the world. As a result of this, it became unlawful for the Prophet to look at the world with love and interest. Therefore, observing this rule, the Prophet refrained from being attracted by the beauty and attraction of the world. In this way following the command of the verse: Certainly you have in the Apostle of Allah an excellent exemplar…[384]

It becomes obligatory for the people to follow the example of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). Due to this, it has become unlawful for the people also, that they do not accord any value to the glitter of the world. It is a different matter if one says that this command is restricted to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). But this is not proved to be so. Also books of Islamic jurisprudence do not include this among the special qualities of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). 

The most hateful matter for Allah is that one looks at the world with hope and attachment as mentioned in Tafsir Kashaf. It is also possible that here it implies seeing the world with greed or with an intention of committing an unlawful act with regard to the world. Although there is no doubt that in these circumstances it is absolutely unlawful.[385] According to some commentators, though this verse is addressed to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) it implies the Muslim community, and love and attachment for the world is prohibited for all.

[Conclusion derived from the above verses]

Those who are content with the teachings of the Holy Quran, well know that a great portion of the Book of Allah is regarding the denouncement of the world. The secret is that the love of the world becomes the greatest hurdle on the path of faith in Allah, the Prophet and the Hereafter. It is the source of every sin and due to it, the world and the Hereafter of man are both destroyed. Therefore it is the duty of every religious person to reform himself. He should remove the love of the world from his heart or continue to decrease it. On the other hand he should make firm the love for Allah and His closest ones. He should deeply contemplate on those verses of the Holy Quran that prohibit intense and permanent love for the world. Since we have already quoted such verses before, here we only give a few traditions in this regard for the sake of brevity.

[Desiring the world brings trouble]

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “One who spends his days and nights in such a way that his greatest sin is to obtain the world, the Almighty Allah puts poverty and difficulties between his two eyes and makes his matter difficult. He would get only as much share of the world as is destined for him. And for the one who spends his days and nights while his greatest aim is to achieve the Hereafter, the Almighty Allah gives needlessness to his heart and completes his affairs for him.”[386]

In addition to what we have stated above to prove that the love of the world is a greater sin and an unlawful matter, it is also important to know that the love of the world is necessarily accompanied by two other greater sins. (The details of which have already been given in the book, Greater Sins.). One of them is to be unafraid of divine retribution. That is, not to be afraid of the hidden chastisement of God. What! do they then feel secure from Allah's plan? But none feels secure from Allah's plan except the people who shall perish.[387] ‘Makr’ the Arabic word for ‘plan’ implies the act of catching someone unaware and hurting him. If one initiates ‘makr’ it is considered blameworthy and is unlawful. But if the intention is to award punishment or it is a reprisal, then it is allowed. If man commits a sin due to which he becomes eligible for a punishment and Allah subjects him to a punishment in such a way that man himself is unable to make out its cause, it is called as divine-deception (makr).

Thus one who denies the bounty must continue to fear the ‘makr’ of Allah. 

[Sorrows of the world and the Hereafter]

When such a person after his continuous efforts is not able to fulfill his desires and needs, and he becomes a prey to worldly difficulties he has himself created, he becomes sorrowful, restless and disturbed. As far as his deprivation of the Hereafter and his lack of provision for it are concerned, the Almighty Allah has clearly mentioned in Surah Shura: Whoever desires the gain of the hereafter, We will give him more of that again; and whoever desires the gain of this world, We give him of it, and in the hereafter he has no portion.[388]

On the other hand there is a person such that he is always worried about the Hereafter. He makes continuous efforts to inhabit the abode of his Hereafter. He is needless of the luxuries of the world. He walks behind the world with utmost dignity and self-respect. He is not in need of anyone, neither he has hope on anyone. He does not extend his hand before anyone to ask for something. He is satisfied with whatever sustenance Allah has given him. This is an example of real peace and needlessness in the world. As the words of an Infallible imply in a supplication:

“And give needlessness in my self. That is, O Lord! Create in my self peace and needlessness.” Such people are meant when the Almighty Allah says in Surah Talaq: That is the command of Allah which He has revealed to you, and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will remove from him his evil and give him a big reward.[389]

In this way there is increase in his peace and comfort. Because such a man was always worried about his Hereafter and he used to struggle to improve it and make it more beautiful. That is why the Holy Quran has given him the good news of comfort and success in the life everlasting. In brief, it can be said that one who is always sunk in the worries about the world, he should know that his world, religion and the Hereafter, all are destroyed. For such a person the most important thing to do is to reform himself. He must wash the blemish of this sin from his garments and think about the Hereafter. Thus, Imam Sajjad (a.s.) says in a supplication:

“O Allah! Do not involve us in the calamities of religion. And do not make the acquisition of the world the main aim of our life. And neither make our knowledge and intelligence the means of acquiring the world.”

[Good deeds, but aimless]

Sulaiman bin Khalid says that he asked Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) regarding the interpretation of the following verse of Quran: And We will proceed to what they have done of deeds, so We shall render them as scattered floating dust.[390] The Imam said, “By Allah! They were of pure character – that is whiter than white Egyptian fine cloth. But when an unlawful thing came before them, they did not avoid it.”[391]

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, “On the Day of Judgment a group would be brought, whose good character would be heavier than the mountains of Mecca. It would be commanded that they be taken towards Hell. It would be asked, ‘Were they performing the Prayers?’ The reply would be, ‘Without any doubt! They used to pray, keep fasts, remain busy in prayers half the night, but as soon as a worldly thing came their way, they used to rush towards it wildly.’”[392]

[Those who sacrifice the Hereafter on the world] 

A close study of the above two traditions and other similar narrations reveals that all these reports are regarding those who are not completely oblivious of the Hereafter, but their faith on the Hereafter is limited and slight. They perform the prayers, keep fasts and have good moral character. But their love for the world is very intense. When an unlawful thing comes before them, they ignore its harms. They sacrifice their Hereafter on the world, and throw themselves upon it unhesitatingly. Their example is like that of a cat, which is adverse to water or moisture, but the moment it sees a fish that it can prey upon, it dives into the water without any hesitation. Love of the world and lack of interest in the Hereafter is also a similar phenomenon and it is included among the greater sins. It is a sin that destroys good deeds and makes all the charitable deeds null and void. Due to which there remains no possibility of the acceptance of their good deeds. Because: 

Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil).[393]

[Good deeds without sincerity] 

When a person who loves the world very intensely, performs a worship act or does a good deed there is no sincerity in it, which is a necessary condition for acceptance of it. This is because such a person does something good with the motive that he may gain some worldly benefit, the people may praise him or that they may not criticize him, that he may get an increase in his wealth etc. Such a person helplessly refrains himself from something good and gives away something that is not much valuable for him, in the path of Allah. Briefly speaking, no matter how great is his apparent action, if there is no sincerity in it, it would be rejected.

[One who loves the world is not eligible for salvation]

It is narrated from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) that he said, “Prophet Musa (a.s.) was passing on the way when he saw a person lying in prostration. He looked at that man and moved ahead. After sometime when he returned the same way he saw that he was still in the same position. Musa remarked, ‘If I had the power to grant his wish, I would have done it by now.’ The Almighty Allah revealed on him, ‘O Musa! Even if he dies in this prostration, I would not accept his prayers till he refrains from that which is against My pleasure and does that with which I am pleased. (That is, he leaves the love of the world and imbibes the love of the Hereafter). In another narration the same story is described in different words.

Prophet Musa (a.s.) passed by a person who was weeping. When he returned he saw him still in tears. He said, “O My Lord! Your slave is weeping in Your fear.” Allah said, “O Musa! Even if this man weeps so much that his eyeballs fall out, I would still not forgive him, because he is surrounded by the love of the world.”[394]

It should be clear that since this person was involved in the love of the world, that is why both his hope and fear are related with regard to the worldly problems even though apparently he was uttering the name of God. Thus it should be known that the Lord Almighty sees the intentions. If the intention itself is not based on the fear of Allah, how can He forgive him? This is the reason that scholars say that the condition for acceptance of repentance is that fear of Allah and regret of having committed a sin must accompany his intention of never committing that sin in the future again. If he gives up the sin due to the fear of people or to avoid some worldly loss, his repentance would not be accepted.

[That which Allah hates]

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “There is a great distance between the servant and Allah, that the servant is not worried about anything except his belly and salvation.”[395] Obviously, fondness for tasty foods, obtaining livelihood from lawful means and fulfilling sensual desires by legitimate channels is allowed and not blamable at all. Though the thing that comes within the ambit of sin is belly-worship and lust-worship. That is, an intense love for these two, and lack of interest in the Hereafter. That is, he is not worried if due to this his Hereafter is destroyed and he would fall into sins.

[Enmity of the world is the best deed]

Imam Sajjad (a.s.) was asked, “Which is the best deed in the view of Allah?” He replied, “After the recognition of Allah and the recognition of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.), the best deed is hatred for the world.” Then he said, “Pride is the first sin, with which Allah was disobeyed and it is the sin of Satan (Iblis). After this, is greed, which was the sin of Adam and Eve. After this is the position of jealousy, which was the sin of the son of Adam (Qabeel).” The root of all evils like, women-worship, status seeking, quest for comfort, hunger for praise, pride and wealth, is the love of the world.

This is the reason that the Prophets and the wise people have said that the love of the world is the root of all evil. The world can be used in two ways. One is to take benefit from it according to the needs of ones life and it should be considered a step stone to the Hereafter. Another way is to be lost in its deceptive magic and become negligent of Allah, thus deviating from the path of the Hereafter.

[Sayings of the elders about the different kinds of deeds] 

According to some scholars all the actions performed in this world belong to one of the four categories:

1. The apparent and the internal both are for Allah, like sincere obedience and charity.

2. The apparent and the internal both are for the world, like sins and other lawful deeds that are caused due to sensuality or negligence 

3. The apparent is for Allah and the internal is for the world, like deeds performed for show-off. 

4. The apparent is for the world and the internal is for Allah, like pursuit of livelihood necessary for well being of the body and enough strength for performing worship acts. It is obvious that this is for achieving the Hereafter and not for the world.

[More harmful than hungry wolves]

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “Like two hungry and ferocious wolves that attack a herd of goats which is without a shepherd. One of them attacks from the front and another from behind (That is, they surround the herd), but the loss caused by them is not more than what a Muslim stands to lose with regard to his religion due to the love of wealth and fame.”[396] Allamah Majlisi says, “Here love of fame denotes bigotry and lust for power, that have always been hurdles in the path of the mission of the prophets. The Holy Quran has mentioned them by the title of ‘great ones’. The Almighty Allah says in Surah Anam:

And thus have We made in every town the great ones to be its guilty ones, that they may plan therein; and they do not plan but against their own souls, and they do not perceive.[397]

[World-worshipping scholars are robbers on the path of Allah]

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “Whenever you see that a scholar is involved in the love of the world, you should know that he has done injustice with regard to his religion. Because he is always in the quest to achieve what he desires. The Almighty Allah revealed to Prophet Dawood (a.s.): Do not make a world-loving scholar a medium between Myself and you, because he would take you away from My path. These people are robbers on the path of those who love Me. The least that I would do to them is that I would remove from their hearts, the sweetness of supplications to Me.”[398]

In this tradition, love of the world indicates an intense and a permanent love. The sign of this is that when one achieves his desires like wealth and status he expresses great joy, and there is no fear for the loss to his Hereafter. If such a person is unable to fulfill his worldly desires, or he is deprived of them, he is extremely troubled even if a benefit of the Hereafter is concealed in this.

[Followers of the world-worshipping scholar also become like him]

The statement of the Imam that the world-worshipping scholar has neglected his religion means that his religiosity is not reliable. It is for someone who is involved in the love of the world and the axis of all his efforts is to seek worldly aims even if through unlawful means. Such a person sacrifices his religion on his world. His religiosity is only to the extent that there is no harm to his worldly life. In the past discussions we have tried to prove that as much is there love for the world, there is proportionate hatred and opposition to the Hereafter. The saying of the Infallible that do not let a world-loving scholar mediate between yourself and Allah means that one who refers to a worldly scholar for strengthening his religion and follows his path, after some time he would also become like that world-worshipping scholar. That getting distanced from Allah he destroys his abode of the Hereafter. This is the reason that according to some scholars, the necessary condition of emulating a jurisprudent (Taqlid) is that such a person must not be a world-lover and materialistic.

At the end of the tradition it is said that the least punishment for a scholar who loves the world is that the sweetness of supplication is taken away from him. It should be clear that in the view of the scholars of religion this is a severe spiritual chastisement. However for the lover of the world there is much more severe punishment, which is beyond description.

[Status-seekers are accursed]

Imam Baqir (a.s.) has said, “One who seeks knowledge so that he may boast to the scholars, or that he may argue with lowly people, or that he may attract people, then his abode would be filled with the fire of Hell. Certainly, leadership does not befit anyone except those deserving of it.”[399] Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “Accursed, accursed is the one who likes leadership (or status) for himself. Cursed is the one who intends for it. Cursed is the one who constantly mentions about it to himself.”[400]

It should be clear that quest for position may be for religious matters, like delivering sermons, leading congregational prayers, issuing edicts or judging cases. Or it may be for worldly matters, like governorship of a province etc. Both are disliked by the Almighty Allah. It is absolutely unlawful to seek status for the sake of increasing worldly wealth through it, if there is harm to the world. But if one is desirous of rulership and is also pious, that is, he loves the Hereafter intensely and keeping in view the aims of the everlasting life he fulfills the duty of guiding the people, or he establishes justice and equity or helps an oppressed person, then in all such circumstances, it is lawful. If one desires a position for the fulfillment of selfish desires, such an act is unlawful and traditions of Usul al-Kafi and other books mention this in a number of places. Here it would be appropriate to consider the following verse of Quran:

(As for) that future abode, We assign it to those who have no desire to exalt themselves in the earth nor to make mischief and the good end is for those who guard (against evil)[401]

The explanation of the verses speaks about the sin of pride as follows:

It is mentioned in the account of Mukhtar Ibne Ubaid Thaqafi that Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said:

“On the Day of Judgment, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) would pass by the Hell with Amirul Momineen (a.s.), Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (a.s.). Suddenly a person will call out from Hell thrice, ‘O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.)! Help me!’ The Prophet will not give any reply. Then he would call out thrice, ‘O Amirul Momineen (a.s.)!’ Ali would also not give any response. Then again he would call out thrice, ‘O Husain! Help me, as I have killed your enemies.’ The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) will say, ‘He has completed his argument on you.’ (That is, now you help him). Thus Imam Husain (a.s.) would pick him from Hell like a falcon swoops and takes away its prey.” When Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked the reason for Mukhtar being sent to Hell, he said, “Because Mukhtar used to love rulership and kingdom, and he liked the world and its entertainments, while the love of the world, itself is the root of all evil…”[402]

[Musa advises his scholar friend] 

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said, “Prophet Musa bin Imran had a scholar friend. When he sought permission to visit his relatives and friends Musa said, “The relatives have some rights that must be observed. But refrain from loving the world because the Lord of the universe has bestowed you with knowledge. You must never waste that wealth of knowledge, by loving the world and by loving others than God.” The friend replied that he would not do anything but good deeds. Then he left to see his relatives and friends. A long time passed after his departure. So when Musa inquired about him nobody could give any news. Then angel Jibraeel told him, “O prophet of God, that fellow is standing outside your house. He has turned into a monkey and there is a leash on his neck.” Musa became very aggrieved. He got up to pray and supplicated Allah, “O my Lord, that fellow is my friend please gives him relief from this chastisement.” God revealed, “O Musa, even if your neck is paralyzed praying like this I shall not answer your prayer because We granted him the wealth of knowledge but he destroyed himself by drowning himself in the love of the world.”[403] 

[Beasts in human forms]

We should know that if a man regards worldly life as a reality and thinks that the Hereafter is only a fable then there is no trace of humanity in that fellow. If he binds himself tightly in the love of the world and makes that love a part of his life then his character will lose every trace of humanity and he will adopt the character of beasts. He will know this truth in the Hereafter. Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says, “Then the face of that fellow is that of a man but his heart is that of an animal.”[404]

The habit of that animal enters the personality of a man whom he imitates. For example, if someone is in the habit of imitating others then in the world of existence (reality) he will be a monkey. Most of the people living in the Middle East and in eastern countries imitate the western people. They have a monkey-type character. If some indulge in over-eating womanizing and mindlessness then they have characteristics of cows, asses and pigs respectively. If they are arrogant and hotheaded, they resemble leopards and wolves. If they have a habit of finding excuses and harming others, they are Satans. A man who adopts the ways of various animals will rise in the form of animals in the other world. Strangely enough he or she will, at once be recognized in whatever form he or she is. This has been thoroughly explained in the first chapter of this book.

[Ali (a.s.) introduces the Animals]

Since most of the world-lovers are not lagging behind dogs in their stinginess, jealousy and harshness the Amirul Momineen (a.s.) addresses them as dogs when he says, “When you see world-lovers rushing towards things passionately, do not get deceived. Beware of them as they are barking dogs and hunting animals that are ever ready to harm others. The powerful among them eats up the weak and the majority devours the minority.” 

It should be noted that the narrations quoted here and so also the Quranic verses are but only a fraction of such overall verses and traditions condemning worldly love. What has been quoted about any sin is less than one-tenth of the texts. Yet whatever has been given here is sufficient enough to prove the graveness of the sin of worldly love and the importance of this prohibition.

[The Third Rank is Detestable]

A man who loves this world and its contents, yet this love is nothing compared to his love for Allah and the Hereafter, that is, if he gives priority to the Hereafter and wants to beautify it even at the risk of destruction of this worldly possessions, he will distance himself from every desire which is detrimental to the Hereafter.

A man whose love for the world is little and for the Hereafter intense, faces a worldly loss for which he will, to a certain extent, feel sorry. But if his Hereafter gets harmed, say by committing a sin or there is some danger of losing a good deed then his restlessness and fear will get multiplied manifold. He will not get peace of mind unless and until he is not assured of his repentance being accepted by God and unless the loss is not made up. Just as the world-lovers get restless and disturbed at their worldly loss and failures and are delighted at the fulfillment of desires, similarly he will be worried at the loss of the Hereafter and feel utmost pleasure at the mention of Allah and the Hereafter and by doing good deeds, which will give him happiness and peace of mind.

[That which stalls perfection of faith and human upliftment]

As this limit for love of the world is neither against Faith in God and Hereafter, nor it can cause corruption and sinfulness it is not prohibited. Verses and narrations quoted above do not apply to this degree of worldly love. They apply only to the second and third degree love. But this third degree of worldly love is against the completion of Faith and an obstruction in the path of human progress. It is so because the secret of human welfare for which he has been created is that he should attain nearness to God. This success cannot be attained without love and attachment. It is essential that this love also should be sincerely for the Beneficent Lord. One should not maintain a permanent love for any creation except Him. Rather one must love all as a result of love for the Lord. He should consider this passing world and all that is in it as signs of God’s might and mercy. So much so that man should consider himself, his near and dear family members and relatives as bounties granted by God and must love them only on this ground. Moreover he must carry out obedience and worship and any other task, which God likes. He must love and be affectionate to the Prophets, Infallible Imams and other believers who are the beloveds of God. He must develop love for them on the basis of their nearness to God. One having these virtues likes Paradise because it is the guesthouse of God and the house of His friends, not because it is an abode of ease and comfort. It is imperative for him to keep distance from everything that can cause neglect in love for God and present a means of permanent love for the world.

[Love for anyone or anything other than God takes one away from God]

Now that it is proved that human welfare and perfection is hidden in nearness to God and in love for Him, his love for his own self or for any other thing in the universe, even if it be very minute, the extent to which he is near to that thing he will be away from God and to that extent he will fail in attaining the lofty height of humanity. Thus we know that love for anything or anyone other than God, even if it is very tiny, though it is not prohibited and a sin attracting divine chastisement, is a hurdle in the path of human welfare and a cause of human deprivation. Therefore, anyone who wants welfare and success should, as demanded by intelligence; refrain from loving anyone or anything other than God.

[Divine injunction about such degree of attachment]

It should be noted that many verses of Holy Quran prohibit us from getting attached to worldly things and they include all the three types of worldly love. In some verses there is not only an explicit order to discard the first and second type emphatically but the defaulters are also warned of divine punishment.

In this way both the first and the second type of love for the world is prohibited and whoever indulges therein will be chastised whereas the third type is a detestable one and one who indulges in it will be deprived of welfare, prosperity and high ranks. Now, concluding the subject, we give here verses and narrations, which largely prohibit worldly love and command us to fill the heart with a pure love of God.

[Let not the wealth and children make you negligent of remembering God]

The Almighty Allah says:

O you who believe! let not your wealth, or your children, divert you from the remembrance of Allah; and whoever does that, these are the losers.[405]

Since such people have disconnected themselves from Allah, they could not gain any permanent benefit from their life. Meaning they could not acquire faith and a good character.

[Those who cannot be stopped from remembering God] Almighty Allah says in Surah Nur:

Men whom neither merchandise nor selling diverts from the remembrance of Allah and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of poor-rate; they fear a day in which the hearts and eyes shall turn about…[406] In this verse the remembrance of Allah means heartfelt love. It means man should think of God in every condition and at every time. His interest and activeness in his affairs should be because of God’s love and he should carry out every order and worship because of His love only.

[Worldly beauties are merely a test]

It is mentioned Surah Kahf:

Surely We have made whatever is on the earth an embellishment for it, so that We may try them (as to) which of them is best in works. And most surely We will make what is on it bare ground without herbage.[407]

The beauty of good deeds to which the Holy Quran repeatedly hints and which has been termed the means of permanent and ever-lasting well-being is every such deed which is done in obeying God’s command and which is because of His love. Apparently it may not look like worship, for example, one may eat good food and wear fine clothes, but not for satisfying desires and filling ones belly but for enjoying the Lord’s bounty, to display it and for obeying His orders.

Similarly bad deed is one, which may be done to satisfy passion, to fulfill a devilish desire and for getting only worldly benefit, even though, its appearance resembles worship. For example, the worship of a hypocrite and an egoist. The meaning of the Arabic word “zeenat” is embellishment, decoration and beautification so that a buyer can be attracted.

[The primary and secondary Aims of Creation]

By pondering over the above and other similar verses of the Holy Quran we understand that the Creator of the Universe created His various bounties and desires for them on this earthly planet and taking a drop of the Unfathomable Ocean of Existence of Beauty, spread it out in accordance with its ability for acceptance. The Lord of the universe says in Surah Hijr: 

And there is not a thing but with Us are the treasures of it, and We do not send it down but in a known measure.[408] Then He created man and displayed this treasure before him for two aims, one of which is primary and the other secondary. The secondary aim of presenting the worldly wealth is that man should get a desire for it and he may employ it thereby it may cause the world to be a habitat and mankind may spread and survive.

But the main aim of presenting the worldly wealth or benefit to the world is that this bounty may be the means of realizing the Creator; the lamp of His love may light up hearts and He may be thanked for His bounties and also for being Kind to His obedient creatures. Against this, it is not the aim of creation that the creation may become mad after worldly wealth and run after it relentlessly, may think that it (man) is needless of His nearness, may make the wealth his sole aim, may consider himself to be its absolute owner and real possessor and then cross the limits fixed by God. In short, that he may become mad after it, worshipping it and forget the Real Benefactor and become ungrateful to Him.

With a view to explain and elaborate the matter the following story is presented.

It is said that the main reason of King Mahmud Ghaznavi’s love for his slave Ayaz was that when the king had acquired huge quantities of jewels after the conquest of Somnath, and the lot was carried on camels to Ghazni, a box of jewels broke up and its contents spilled on the ground. The king declared that anything on which any body lays his hands would be his property. At once all officers and soldiers got busy in collecting the jewels. When the king looked around he could not find anyone near him except Ayaz. All had left him alone and were busy gathering the jewels. The Sultan asked Ayaz, “Why did you not join others in collecting the jewels?” Ayaz replied, “I felt ashamed at the thought of leaving the king to gather jewels. There are many enemies of the king and one of them might try to take a chance. That is why I did not move away from you. So that if someone attacks you I might sacrifice my life and save yours.” It was this selfless love of Ayaz that made the king to designate him as his legatee despite having a brother and a son. Many a times he used to make Ayaz sit beside him in the court.

The reader should understand that God loves His servant who remembers his Lord after gaining the worldly bounties and who keeps away from everything which can make him forget his Lord even if that bounty is worth taking pride in.

It is said that one of the rubies brought by Mahmud Ghazni from India was such that it shone in the darkness of the night. One day the king showed it to his ministers and asked about its value. Every one assessed its value very high. Then the king ordered that this stone should be broken. None of the courtiers was ready to do so. They said it was not wise to break it. In the meanwhile Ayaz entered. When he was asked about the value of that precious stone he replied that it was far more valuable than others had estimated. Then the Sultan asked him also to break it. Ayaz did so at once without any hesitation. The audience felt happy in their hearts imagining that now the king will frown on Ayaz. All taunted him asking why did he do so. They told him, “By so doing you have caused a loss to the king’s treasure, you are not a friend of the king but are his foe.” Ayaz told them, “As the command of the king was more valuable than the jewel in my view I did not hesitate in breaking it; but I refrained from breaking the command of the king. In your opinion the stone was costlier than the king’s word, so you refrained from breaking the stone.” This reply made it clear to all that the king’s order was meant to test the loyalties of his courtiers. This event boosted the value of Ayaz in the eyes of the king while others felt ashamed.

[How people are tested through worldly adornments]

It is incumbent on man to observe the beauties of the world and to ponder over their defects too; the chief being the transience of the world and its decadence. Then he must trust that there is one more world wherein every perfection will appear discarding all defects and faults. Its most important aspect is the eternal life. It is necessary for man to remember that he has been created for that another world of eternity. The reason is that if it is believed that life ends with the advent of death then the creation of the universe becomes aimless whereas each and every particle of the universe testifies to the wisdom of the Lord Creator. The aim is that God tests His slaves through worldly adornments. It is as a result of this test that a tyrant is born from the seed of a virtuous man, good from bad, good character from a bad character, courageous from the timid, humane from a beastly person and one worthy of Hell from one worthy of Paradise. Then two types of people will be there in the eternal world. The first kind will be called “the people of the right hand” who will live in a permanent Paradise according to the Holy Quran and they will enjoy all heavenly rewards and gifts.

At that time they will see the Grace of Almighty God manifested. Another type of people will be “the people of the left hand” who will remain on the stage, which they have earned for themselves. They will suffer punishment in Hell because of their misdeeds. It will be the time when God will employ His real justice. Everyone will get the reward or punishment of his or her deeds. At that time they will realize that absolute praise is only for Allah. The last verse of Surah Zumar hints at this matter:

And you shall see the angels going round about the throne glorifying the praise of their Lord; and judgment shall be given between them with justice, and it shall be said: All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.[409]

Likewise this matter is made clear in Surah Shura:

…and surely when We make man taste mercy from Us, he rejoices thereat; and if an evil afflicts them on account of what their hands have already done, then surely man is ungrateful.[410]

In conclusion, the Lord Creator of the universe has made this world with its beauty and brightness a matter of test for every person until the time of his or her death, so that a distinction can be made between the world-hungry fellows and those who love the Hereafter and love God. In this way, one who wants only the worldly life will be included among the losers. The Last Day has been described in Surah Luqman in these words: 

O people! guard against (the punishment of) your Lord and dread the day when a father shall not make any satisfaction for his son, nor shall the child be the maker of any satisfaction for his father; surely the promise of Allah is true, therefore let not this world's life deceive you, nor let the arch-deceiver deceive you in respect of Allah.[411]

The Almighty has, through a number of Quranic verses, warned man that he should not be deceived by worldly life. This matter has been repeatedly mentioned in verses 70 and 130 of Surah Anam, 51 of Surah Araaf, 33 of Luqman, 33 of Fatir, 35 of Jathiya and 14 of Hadid. Therefore it is a must for every Muslim to make effort from his heart so that he may not be counted among the deceived ones.

[Paradise is a better place for the pious]

The love of desires, of women and sons and hoarded treasures of gold and silver and well bred horses and cattle and tilth, is made to seem fair to men; this is the provision of the life of this world; and Allah is He with Whom is the good goal (of life). Say: Shall I tell you what is better than these? For those who guard (against evil) are gardens with their Lord, beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them, and pure mates and Allah's pleasure; and Allah sees the servants.[412]

The gist of this verse is that Allah created the beauties of the world and made them an adoration for man so that, through it, they may begin to love Allah and worry for the success of their Hereafter. But what happened is that Satan deceived them whereby they became mad after the worldly attractions instead of loving the Creator. Such people must know that this life, along with all its tastefulness is transitory and very short living. Obviously it is not wise to be attracted to a thing, which is to pass out soon. Hence what is proper is to stop being mad after this world and to love that world which is far better and also permanent. This holy verse proves that a permanent love for this world is condemnable even if it is very little.