Classical work of Imaam An Nawawi rahimahullaah.
The explanation is based upon that of Shaykh Ibn Al-‘Uthaymeen rahimahullah
An-Nawawi 40 Hadith – Hadith No. 19
Source: Hadeeth – An Nawawi 40 Hadeeth
On the authority of Abu Abbas Abdullah bin Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:
One day I was behind the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) [riding on the same mount] and he said, “O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]:
Be mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you.
Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you.
If you ask, then ask Allah [alone]; and if you seek help, then seek help from Allah [alone].
And know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what Allah had already prescribed for you. And if they were to gather together to harm you with anything, they would not harm you except with what Allah had already prescribed against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.”
It was related by at-Tirmidhi, who said it was a good and sound hadeeth.
Another narration, other than that of Tirmidhi, reads:
Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you.
Recognize and acknowledge Allah in times of ease and prosperity, and He will remember you in times of adversity.
And know that what has passed you by [and you have failed to attain] was not going to befall you, and what has befallen you was not going to pass you by.
And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and hardship with ease.