A Wonderful narration regarding worldly love

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, “The Lord Almighty told me on the night of Ascension, ‘O Ahmad, if any of My slaves may offer prayers and fasts equal to that done by all in the sky and the earth, may refrain from food like angels, may wear the dress of constant worshippers and then I see that in his heart was even an iota of love or desire for worldly fame, position, material desire etc. I will not admit him to Paradise. I will remove My love from his heart. I will make his heart dark, so that he may forget Me and I will not allow him to taste the sweetness of My love.’” Likewise Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “By Allah! One who loves the world cannot love Allah.”[413] Explaining the verse:

The day on which property will not avail, nor sons. Except him who comes to Allah with a heart free (from evil).[414] The Infallible Imam says that this heart (Qalbe Saleem) is the heart, which is safe from worldly love.[415] The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, “One who loves this world, makes his heart empty of the fear of Hereafter. Therefore the love for this world increases in the heart of one who Allah does not give knowledge. Then Allah’s anger grows against him and that fellow gets away from Allah.”[416]

Mentioning the virtues of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says, “The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) used to eat sitting on the ground, his manner of sitting on the ground was like that of slaves. He was mending his shoes with his own hands. He was grafting his clothes himself. He was sitting on the bare back of an ass, making someone else also ride with him. There was a curtain in his house with a picture on it. He asked one of his wives: Remove that curtain from my eyes. By looking at it I begin admiring the world and its beauties. So, remove the attention towards worldly possessions from your heart. Make your soul empty of material wants. He liked that the worldly adoration should remain away from his eyes so that he may not select beautified garments from worldly possessions. This was not a place of rest and comfort for him. He did not have any desire to remain in this world. So he had freed his soul from the worldly love and his heart from material attraction. He used to turn away his eyes from material glamour. The fact is that one who is inimical towards a thing also does not like to look at it and he also does not think of it.”

He says that it is incumbent on a Muslim to follow the Prophet. It is a must to emulate him to avoid destruction.

[Love for the world is universal]

From the viewpoint of understanding the truth about oneself, people can be divided into two kinds: Materialists and Theists. Materialists are those who think that the existence of man is material and that he is no different from an animal. He is created from dust and will be lost in dust, to be annihilated forever. This group is firm in that the life of man is limited only to this world and therefore it is necessary to take maximum benefit from this life before one dies. Their hearts incline towards the world and they are slaves of their passions and desires. In its march towards its aim this group always tries to break any rule or regulation (morality) to gratify the desires and to acquire full comfort and adornments in this brief life. This group undergoes all sorts of troubles and hardships in order to multiply wealth and worldly possessions. Almighty Allah hints at such people saying:

And they say: There is nothing but our life in this world; we live and die and nothing destroys us but time, and they have no knowledge of that; they only conjecture.[417]

[Three Groups of Theists]

Those having community: This group is comprised of Jews, Christians and Muslims who love the prophets. It puts faith in the Revelations of the Lord of the worlds and in His messengers (prophets). That is, they believe in the words of prophets and their commands. They also believe that there is an everlasting life after this worldly life, and that Paradise is waiting for those who did good deeds and Hell is for those who indulged in bad ones. But this category is again divided into three sub-groups. One of them professes the above things but, in actual practice, it is no different from the materialists. In other words, they talk about Allah and the Hereafter but their hearts are entangled in the world. Their inclination is only towards wealth and property, and tastes and passions of this world. The aim of each and every effort made by them is to achieve the material worldly goals by any means.

In Surah Aale Imran Allah says:

They say with their mouths what is not in their hearts, and Allah best knows what they conceal.[418]

[Unmindful Worshippers]

Another group is not fully in love with the world but their inclination is more towards this world and less towards the Hereafter. They have intense affection for this world and the worldly things. That is why they strive more for achieving the worldly material things. On one hand though they are not totally disconnected with the Hereafter, they make only a little effort for gaining its benefits. Their good deeds also are not quite worthy of mention. They spend a major part of their wealth and life for satisfying their passions and worldly desires. But when there is the question of the other world (Hereafter) they spend only a little from their lives and properties and there is no selflessness therein. The rank of such people has been vividly mentioned in the last verses of Surah Maun:

So woe to the praying ones, Who are unmindful of their prayers, Who do (good) to be seen, And withhold the necessaries of life.[419] Had the hearts of these people been connected with their Lord and the Hereafter they would have never remained unmindful of Allah and His remembrance. Their deeds would not have been based on show. In short, the rank of this group is the same as of the world lovers. The third sub-group of the theists is quite different from the second one. They love God and Hereafter intensely from their hearts while a little love of the world too exists in their hearts.

[All are equal in this matter] 

If we ponder on the condition of the theists of the world we come to know that, except for a few, almost all of them will be included in the first or the second group. In other words, the two groups (Jews and Muslims) in both of the said categories, be they belong to the east or the west, are all agreeable with the materialists both in thought and deed in the matter of worldly love despite their linguistic and religious differences. 

Nadwi has, in his book ‘World in the Danger of Collapsing’, dealt very nicely on these subjects saying that today’s man has adopted materialism, worldly love and passions which has spread in other countries from the developed nations, in place of God-worship, love for Hereafter, truthfulness and spiritualism. Here are some extracts from that book:

Religious awareness: What will be the end of the world? In which direction is the world going? Is there any other life after this worldly life? And if so how is it? Is there any guidance regarding the Hereafter in this worldly life? What is the true path that can lead man on the road to Hereafter by living a satisfying and a peaceful life? What is the starting point of that path? What is the way of obtaining the everlasting bounties of the Hereafter? How can we adopt it? 

These and similar thoughts have engaged the minds of man, especially the man of the east. Whenever they were getting a positive reply to these questions they were trying to follow it. The source of all these questions is the sixth sense of man, which is beyond the five senses. It is called the religious sense. The Holy Quran calls it human nature (conscience). But today’s man has totally forgotten this sense and such questions do not come to his mind.

The author adds: The biggest problem of the twentieth century or of the materialist age is as was the issue before the past prophets, that is to struggle against people who have forgotten the religious sense or feeling or who are totally devoid of it. Undoubtedly the people whose minds are stagnant and listless, who are totally devoid of it and who have decided never to think about the problems of the Hereafter, have forever remained a very big problem for the divine guides. The more the messenger of Allah tried to guide them towards the truth the more they used to insist that ‘Life is only this life of the world, we will live and die here but there is nothing like the Day of Judgment.’ (Surah Anam) The prophets got only this reply: Our hearts and ears cannot grasp your talks. There is a curtain between you and us.

You may busy yourselves in your works and we will remain engaged in ours. (Surah Fussilat, Verse: 5). The man of our age has also forgotten the religious feeling or sense. Now such questions do not arise in his mind and heart and none thinks about them. Even if any lone person pays attention to them, it is only for satisfying some self-interest. It will have to be agreed that today’s only material problems are in focus instead of spiritual ones. Our twentieth century progeny has devoted its thoughts and abilities to the solution of only material problems. They have no concern whatsoever that there is any other world also after this life. The way of thinking of today’s man is that if ready money is available do not go for the promised one. What is needed is that all such discussions should be kept only for the experts of spiritualism or philosophy so that they may think over them and write books. Verily today’s man has employed his entire life only for working in workshops, for moving and running machines, for deriving monetary benefits from them and for obtaining means of worldly comfort, ease and luxury. He knows nothing about the other world. Perhaps he might not have thought about it even in his imagination. Briefly speaking, neither he has ever paid any attention to the events after death nor has he ever worried about them.

In this era religious and divine thoughts do not find room in man’s mind and heart. The materialistic life has closed all doors of thought and wisdom. No venue is left open for contemplation and meditation. Minds, hearts, eyes and ears are unable to comprehend the words of prophets and religious scholars. The parallel of the difficulties suffered by men of God in trying to guide such people is not to be found in even the worst societies. It is so because this is a group and which knows not, rather neglects that there is another world beyond this worldly life. He is not interested in this matter at all. The Lord of the Universe talks about these people in His address to the Prophet:

Surely you do not make the dead to hear, and you do not make the deaf to hear the call when they go back retreating.[420] The author writes at another place: Our age is a purely materialistic age. Here people pay attention only to the worldly life and have no faith in the next world. That is why they do not make any provision for the journey to Hereafter. Is it ever possible that those who have no faith in that world will make any provision for that world? Excepting a few, all civilized people believe that in order to fulfill their worldly needs they should obtain wealth and property from wherever possible.

In the world we live, the criterion of greatness and nobility is only money, wealth, dress and means. Since the standards of such nobility continue to change, man is obliged to spend a lot of money to mould himself in the mentality of the society. As a very big amount of money is needed to do so, one tries to acquire wealth by any means legal or illegal, with labor or without effort. Since everybody does not possess enough ability to acquire wealth he constantly remains gloomy and regretful because of his relative poverty; whereas his greatest aim is only to become wealthy.

Consequently material worries become the destiny of the fashion worshipping people and they have no way to get rid of it. Yet another misfortune is that the styles of fashion continue to change endlessly. For example, new models of cars, radio, shoes, dresses and other luxury items. Factories bring out new things in the market daily though none of them is the basic necessity of life. But our society considers it a part of human personality and a must for civilization. So much so that one who does not utilize these things is not considered among the living ones!

These are the causes that gave so much importance to wealth and riches and which is unprecedented in human history. These days wealth and only wealth is the original soul of man and which has made him to run after it endlessly and continuously. Wealth is the chief aim of the wealth-creators, industrialists and politicians. Only this is driving people to become members of legislatures, writers to author books and warriors to start wars.

The author also throws light on the materialistic inclination in countries of the world under a chapter: ‘The world moves towards ignorance’ but it will make this book voluminous to quote more on this.

All of them are mad after worldly passions, desires and embellishments. Earning wealth is their only aim. They do not hesitate to indulge in any kind of dishonesty, crime and even bloodshed to achieve this aim. These are the people who want everything except the pleasure of God. They long for every worldly comfort excepting the ease of the other world (Hereafter). They express sorrow over every incident except sin. They feel no sorrow over their poverty in the next world but are always worrying about their worldly poverty. They make efforts for the success of the unreliable worldly future but have no worry about the definite and certain life of the Hereafter. On the one hand they leave no stone unturned for increasing their capital and cry and lament if they suffer any monetary loss but, on the other hand, stay listless and stagnant like a corpse to gain the main wealth of their Hereafter and which manifests man’s faith, spirit and morality.

Interestingly every group of the theists, who resemble the materialists, considers itself above divine chastisement and thinks that their success is sure. It has become uncontrollable like the Satan and yet thinks that it would definitely get success and salvation!

[Self-Glorification of Jews and Christians]

The Jews say that since we are Bani Israel (progeny of Prophet Yaqub (a.s.)) we are the noblest of the entire humanity and that only we have the right to rule the earth. The Holy Quran speaks in their language thus: And they say: the fire will not touch us except for a few days (that is only those forty days when they had indulged in cow-worship).[421] According to specific command of the Quran all men are equal and no one is nobler than another except in piety. As the Holy Quran states: …surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty)…[422] 

Jews and Christians also say that only we are sons of God, friends of God and beloveds of God and that Paradise is only for us. Of course they claim thus only verbally, whereas in reality they are devoted to the world, not to Allah and the Hereafter. The Holy Quran describes them: And you will most certainly find them the greediest of men for life (greedier) than even those who are polytheists…[423] In fact they are the friends of the devils, not friends of the Beneficent. They are slaves of worldly passions and desires and not at all interested in Allah and the Hereafter.

[Why are you afraid of death?] 

They say that Paradise and salvation in the Hereafter is destined only for them. If they really believe like this then why are they afraid of death and the loss of material things and why are they constantly praying for extension of worldly life and for enjoying constant benefit of the worldly passions and desires? Challenging such people the Lord of the universe says: Say: If the future abode with Allah is specially for you to the exclusion of the people, then invoke death if you are truthful.[424]

It is mentioned in Tafsir Majmaul Bayan that one who is sure about getting Paradise must give preference to death, which is the only way to reach Paradise in comparison to worldly life, which is full of hardships. One who is sure that death is the means of getting excellence and success will certainly love it more than life as Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says: “By Allah, the son of Abu Talib is so much attached to death as a suckling baby is to its mother’s breast.” Therefore when the Imam was strolling fearlessly between ranks in the battle of Siffin, his son Hasan Mujtaba (a.s.) said, “O father, your moving like this in the midst of battle lines is not desirable because it is likely to enable the enemy to harm you.” He replied, “Your father does not worry whether he falls on death or death falls on him.”

Likewise, when in the said battle, Ammar Yasir decided to join he was extremely happy and being sure of his martyrdom said joyfully, “I am proceeding to my friends, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and his companions.”

It is narrated that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) once said, “One of you should long for death because of being caught in worldly hardships and troubles. He should pray, ‘O Lord! Keep me alive until life is good for me and give me death when death is good for me.’”[425] Another tradition says that longing for death is condemnable because it shows a dislike for the will of God (whereas here what is hinted at is patience and submission to divine will). But where a wish for death has been prohibited it is for the expression of a longing of the believer that death should not come to him so that during that time he may try to compensate for his sins and make provision for his journey to the Hereafter. 

If this aim is in one’s heart then the desire for the world is not different from a wish for death. Its example is like a king who calls someone to him but does not fix a time for it, whereas that man takes only that much time for presenting himself to the king which is absolutely necessary for its preparation. His only desire is that king’s men should come to take him only after he has made preparation for it. As detailed in the preceding pages, the only aim of this preparation should be to present oneself to Allah. That is why a temporary love for the world is an essential demand of Faith in Allah and the Hereafter.

But so far as the Jews are concerned, they are mad after this world only for enjoying its pleasures. That is why they long for a long life and wish to live for a thousand years. This desire of theirs makes them fearful of death and proves that they are lying when they claim that they are the lovers of God and worthy of Paradise.

On the other hand, all groups of Muslims think themselves to be followers of Quran and lovers of Prophet and his progeny. Every one of them claims that he will attain salvation and that others will be destroyed, whereas, barring a few, almost all of them are full of love for the world. Instead of being ardent lovers of God and His Prophet they are dazzled by the glamour of this world. Instead of obeying the commands of Quran they obey their desires and satanic suggestions. The center of their activities is only the worldly success. They are ever ready to acquire every knowledge or science, which can guarantee worldly benefits for them. But they never try to understand divine knowledge and religious commands. They answer every devilish call and attend every meeting or gathering, which takes them away from God and Hereafter. They always avoid meetings, which draw their attention towards God, His Prophet and the Hereafter.

[Evil of running away from Religious Scholars]

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said, “A time will come for the people when they will run away from scholars as goats flee upon seeing wolves. (At that time) Allah would entangle them in three calamities: (1) He will take away blissful abundance (barakat) from their wealth, (2) He will impose a cruel ruler on them and (3) They will be called up from the world without Faith.”[426]

In another tradition, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said, “People will see days when they will make their bellies their gods, their women their Qibla (center of constant attention), worldly wealth their religion and property, their criterion of excellence or ability. (It will be a time when) nothing from Faith except the name, nothing from Islam except rituals, and nothing from Quran, except lessons will remain. Their mosques will stand only like buildings of stones whereas their hearts will have nothing like guidance. The scholars of that era will be the worst men on the surface of earth. (That is, the majority of them will be world-worshippers).”

[O Master of the Age! Hasten your arrival!]

Let it be know that the ever-increasing dishonesty and faithlessness, the destructive corruption, the overflowing shamelessness and obscenity in which today’s man is imprisoned because of his intense love for material world cannot be stalled by any power. This current is going to spread endlessly, to such an extent that people will find it extremely difficult to live and they will anxiously wait for a reformer who may relieve them from misfortune. That will be the time when Almighty God will make the twelfth Imam (Mahdi) appear in the world. The Imam will, by the divine authority grant enlightenment to hearts and wisdom to minds until truth will appear dazzlingly open. The intense love for this world, which is the root cause of every trouble and corruption, will be wiped out from the hearts. The human hearts will overflow with the love of Allah, the Prophet and the Hereafter, and people will incline towards the other world and give up love for temporary material things. When this will happen people will realize the real truth about man’s pure life and they will enjoy real happiness. To believe that the 12th Imam (a.s.) will appear and fill the world with justice and equity is one of the essentials of faith. In this connection, not only there are widely narrated traditions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) but God of the universe also has given good tidings to all prophets that in the last era, man will become God-fearing and virtuous and the earth will become totally tranquil and peaceful.

It is mentioned is Surah Anbiya:

And certainly We wrote in the Book after the reminder that (as for) the land, My righteous servants shall inherit it.[427] What will be the overall condition of people in that time? To have further knowledge about it, please refer to volume 13 of Biharul Anwar. Here we quote only one relevant tradition: