woman is in her seventies. Have you ever wondered how somebody her
age would assess her life?
If she recalls anything about her life, it is surely
that it was a "fleeting life".
She would simply remark that her life has not been a
"long" one as she dreamed in her teens it would be. It probably
never crossed her mind that one day she would grow so old. Yet now,
she is overwhelmed by the fact that she has put seventy years behind
her. Earlier in life, she probably never thought that her youth
and its desires would pass so quickly.
If she were asked late in life to tell her story, her
reminiscences would only make a five or six-hour talk. That is all
that remains from what she says was "a long life of seventy years".
The mind of a person, worn out with age, is occupied with many questions.
These are actually important questions to consider and answering
them truthfully is essential to understanding all aspects of life:
"What is the purpose of this life that passes so quickly? Why should
I remain positive with all the age-related problems I have? What
will the future bring?"
The possible answers to these questions fall into two
major categories: those given by people who trust Allah and those
given by disbelievers who do not trust Him.
Someone who does not trust Allah would say, "I spent
my life chasing vain pursuits. I have put seventy years behind me,
but to tell the truth, I still have not been able to grasp what
I lived for. When I was a child, my parents were the centres of
my life. I found all happiness and joy in their love. Later in life,
as a young woman, I devoted myself to my husband and children. During
that time, I set many goals for myself. Yet by the time they were
achieved, each of them proved to have been a passing whim. When
I rejoiced in my success, I headed towards other goals and they
occupied me so that I did not think about the real meaning of life.
Now at seventy, in the tranquillity of old age, I try to find out
what was the purpose of my past days. Is it that I lived for people
of whom I have only dim memories now? For my parents? For my husband
whom I lost years ago? Or my children whom I see rarely now that
they have their own families? I am confused. The only truth is that
I feel close to death. Soon I will die and I will become a faint
memory in people's minds. What will happen afterwards? I really
have no idea. Even the thought of it is frightening!"
There is surely a reason for why she falls into such
hopelessness. That is simply because she cannot comprehend that
the universe, all living things and human beings have predetermined
purposes to fulfil in life. These purposes owe their existence to
the fact that everything has been created. An intelligent person
notices that plan, design and wisdom exist in every detail of the
infinitely varied world. This draws him to recognition of the Creator.
He further concludes that since all living things are not the consequences
of a random or mindless process they all serve important purposes.
In the Qur'an, the last surviving authentic revealed guide to the
true path for humanity, Allah repeatedly reminds us of the purpose
of our life, which we tend to forget, and thereby summons us to
clarity of mind and consciousness.
He it is Who created the heavens
and the earth in six days – and His Throne was over the waters –
that He might try you, which of you is best in conduct. (Surah Hud:
This verse provides a full understanding of the
purpose of life for believers. They know that this life is a place
where they are tried and tested by their Creator. Therefore, they
hope to succeed in this test and attain the Paradise and hence the
good pleasure of Allah.
However, for the sake of clarity, there is an important
point to consider: those who believe in the 'existence' of Allah
do not necessarily have true faith; they do not put their trust
in Allah. Today, many people accept that the universe is the creation
of Allah; yet, they little comprehend the impact of this fact upon
their lives. Therefore, they do not lead their lives as they should.
What these people generally regard as the truth is that Allah initially
created the universe but then, they believe, He left it on its own.
Allah, in the Qur'an, addresses this misapprehension
in the following verse:
If you ask them, who it is that
created the heavens and the earth, they will certainly say, "Allah".
Say: "Praise be to Allah!" But most of them understand not. (Surah
If you ask them, who created them, they will certainly
say, "Allah." How then are they deluded away (from the truth)? (Surat
Due to this misapprehension, people cannot relate
their daily lives to the fact that they have a Creator. That is the
basic reason why each individual develops his or her personal principles
and moral values, shaped within a particular culture, community and
family. These principles actually serve as "life-guides" until death
comes. People who adhere to their own values always find comfort in
the wishful thinking that any wrong actions will be punished temporarily
in Hell. The same rationale suggests that eternal life in paradise
will follow this period of torment. Such a mentality unwittingly eases
fears of the grievous penalty at the end of life. Some, on the other
hand, do not even contemplate this issue. They merely remain heedless
of the next world and "make the most of their lives".
However, the above is false and the truth is contrary
to what they think. Those who pretend not to be aware of the existence
of Allah will fall into deep desperation. In the Qur'an, those people
are characterised as follows:
They know but the outer (things)
in the life of this world: but of the end of things they are heedless.
(Surat ar-Rum: 7)
Surely, little do these people grasp the real face
and purpose of this world, and they never think that life in this
world is not perpetual.
There are some phrases commonly used by people regarding
the shortness of this life: "Make the most of your life while it
lasts", "life is short", "one does not live forever" are phrases
always referred to in definition of the nature of this world. Yet,
these phrases contain an implicit attachment to this life rather
than the next. They reflect the general attitude of people to life
and death. Having such a strong affection for life, conversations
about death are always interrupted with jokes or by raising other
subjects thus attempting to alleviate the seriousness of the matter.
These interruptions are always on purpose, a deliberate effort to
reduce such an important subject to insignificance.
Mortality is surely a grave topic to ponder. Until this
moment in his life, it may well be that the person is unaware of
the significance of this reality. Yet, now that he has the chance
to grasp its importance, he must reconsider his life and his expectations.
It is never too late to repent to Allah, and to reorient all one's
deeds and the conduct of one's life in submission to the will of
Allah. Life is short; the human soul is eternal. During this short
period, one should not allow temporary passions to control one.
A person should resist temptation and keep himself away from everything
that will strengthen his bonds to this world. It is surely unwise
to neglect the next world just for the sake of the temporary joys
of this one.
Nevertheless, disbelievers who cannot comprehend this
fact spend their lives in vain being forgetful of Allah. Moreover,
they know that it is impossible to attain these desires. Such people
always feel a deep dissatisfaction and want even more of what they
currently possess. They have endless wishes and desires. Yet, the
world is not an appropriate arena in which to satisfy these desires.
Nothing in this world is perpetual. Time works against
both what is good and what is new. No sooner does a brand-new car
go out of fashion than another model is designed, manufactured and
marketed. Similarly, someone may crave others' stately mansions
or opulent houses with more rooms than occupants and with gold-plated
fixtures, which once he has seen, he loses interest in his own house
and cannot avoid regarding them with envy.
An endless search for the new and better, attaching no
value to something once it has been achieved, deprecation of the
old and placing all hopes in something new: these are the vicious
circles that people have everywhere experienced throughout history.
Yet an intelligent person should stop and ask himself for a moment:
why is he chasing after temporary ambitions and has he ever gained
any benefit from such pursuit? Finally, he should draw the conclusion
that "there is a radical problem with this viewpoint." Yet people,
lacking this kind of reasoning, continue to chase after dreams they
are unlikely to achieve.
Nobody, however, knows what will happen even in the next
few hours: at any time one may have an accident, be severely injured,
or become disabled. Furthermore, time flies in the countdown to
one's own death. Every day brings that predestined day closer. Death
surely eradicates all ambitions, greed and desires for this world.
Under the soil, neither possessions nor status prevail. Every possession
with which we are being stingy, including the body, will also vanish
and decay in the earth. Whether one is poor or wealthy, beautiful
or ugly, one will be wrapped in a simple shroud one day.
We believe that The Truth of The Life of This World
offers an explanation regarding the real nature of human life. It
is a short and deceptive life in which worldly desires seem fascinating
and full of promise, but the truth is otherwise. This book will
enable you to perceive your life and all of its realities, and help
you reconsider your goals in life, if you want to.
Allah enjoins on believers to warn others about these
facts, and calls upon them to live only to fulfil His will, as He
says in the following verse:
Verily, the promise of Allah is
true: let not then this present life deceive you…. (Surah Luqman: