The World and its Allurements
This is the second external factor, which bears effect on a person’s eemaan by decreasing it.
Hence, one of the causes of the decrease and weakness of eemaan is to be engrossed with the transient things of this temporary worldly life; to occupy one’s time with it; be devoted to seeking it and to race after its pleasures, temptations and seductions.
Whenever the servants longing for this world intensifies and his heart becomes attached to it, his obedience will weaken and his eemaan will decrease accordingly. Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, says: “The extent of the servants desire for the world and of his pleasure with it determines his slackness towards obedience of Allaah and seeking the Hereafter.” [al-Fawaa’id, pg. 180]
Accordingly, Allaah, the Wise, the All-Aware, censured the world in His Book and made clear its vileness and wretchedness in many aayaat in the Noble Qur’aan, Allaah says:
اعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَزِينَةٌ وَتَفَاخُرٌ بَيْنَكُمْ وَتَكَاثُرٌ فِي الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَادِ ۖ كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعْجَبَ الْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَاهُ مُصْفَرًّا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ حُطَامًا ۖ وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٌ ۚ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ
“Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children, just like the vegetation after rain, which pleases the tillers; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter there is a severe torment (for the disbelievers, evil-doers), and there is forgiveness from Allaah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers, good-doers), whereas the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.”[Soorah al-Hadeed (57):20]
Allaah also says:
وَاضْرِبْ لَهُم مَّثَلَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا كَمَاءٍ أَنزَلْنَاهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فَاخْتَلَطَ بِهِ نَبَاتُ الْأَرْضِ فَأَصْبَحَ هَشِيمًا تَذْرُوهُ الرِّيَاحُ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُّقْتَدِرًا الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا
“And put forward to them the example of the life of this world, it is like the water (rain),which We send down from the sky. The vegetation of the earth mingles with it, and becomes fresh and green. But (later) it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds then scatter. And Allaah is Able to do everything. Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world. But the everlasting righteous deeds are better with your Lord, for rewards and better in respect of hope”[Soorah al-Kahf (18):45-46]
وَفَرِحُوا بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا مَتَاعٌ …
“… and they rejoice in the life of the world, whereas the life of this world as compared with the Hereafter is but a brief passing enjoyment” [Soorah ar-Ra’d (13):26]
Allaah also says:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ لِقَاءَنَا وَرَضُوا بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَاطْمَأَنُّوا بِهَا وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنْ آيَاتِنَا غَافِلُونَ أُولَٰئِكَ مَأْوَاهُمُ النَّارُ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ
“Verily, those who hope not for their meeting with Us, but are pleased and satisfied with the life of the present world, and those who are heedless of Our Aayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.). Those, their abode will be the Fire, because of what they used to earn.” [Soorah Yoonus (10):7-8]
This contains the greatest warning to one who is pleased with the life of this world, is comforted by it, is heedless of the aayaat of Allaah and who does not hope to meet Him.
Furthermore, Allaah says in censuring those of the believers who are pleased with this world:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَا لَكُمْ إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمُ انفِرُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ اثَّاقَلْتُمْ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ ۚ أَرَضِيتُم بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا مِنَ الْآخِرَةِ ۚ فَمَا مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ
“O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the Cause of Allaah (i.e., Jihaad) you cling heavily to the earth? Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared with the Hereafter.” [Soorah at-Tawbah (9):38]
The Prophet said:
“By Allaah, it is not poverty that I fear for you, but l fear that the world will be spread out for you just as it was spread out for those before you and then you will compete for it just as they competed for it and then you will be destroyed just as they were destroyed.”
The hadeeth is agreed upon [i.e., both al-Bukhaaree and Muslim relate it. [t]. Al-Bukhaaree, (6/258, 7/320 Fath) and Muslim, 4/2273 from the hadeeth of ‘Amr Ibn ‘Awf, may Allaah be pleased with him]. In another wording of theirs, “… you will be distracted just as they were distracted.”
There are other such texts, which are great in number. Thus, one who wants his eemaan to have growth, strength, safety from weakness and decrement must strive against his soul in distancing himself from this world, its temptations, seductions and distracting amusements, and what a multitude they are.
This can only be achieved and become true after considering two matters:
The first: to consider and look at the world, its rapid termination, passing away and disappearance; its deficiency and vileness; the pains of competing against one another for it and coveting it and what this contains of agony, embitterment and adversity.
The end of all that will be disappearance and discontinuance along with the regret and sorrow that follows on from it. Thus, its seeker can never be free of anxiety and worry before he attains it or even when he actually achieves it and he can never be free of grief and distress after it passes on.
The second: to consider and look at the Hereafter and its approach and arrival that is inevitable; its perpetuity and eternity; the glory of what it is within it of blessings and joy; the disparity between such things and what is in this world. It is as Allaah said:
وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ
“Although the Hereafter is better and more lasting” [Soorah al-A’laa (87):17]
They are blessings that are perfect and everlasting, whereas these (things of the world) are fantasies that are deficient, sporadic and transitory.
If one contemplates over these two matters and considers them and looks into them in a proper manner, this will direct him to prefer the Everlasting Hereafter to the transient world.
The greatest aid for him in fulfilling this is to take a look at the state of Messenger and his biography as well as his Companions. The fact that they renounced the world, turned their hearts away from it and discarded it. They never accustomed themselves with it and instead deserted it. They never inclined towards it and they regarded it to be a prison and not a heaven and thus, abstained from it in a true manner and if they had desired it they would have acquired every loved thing and arrived at every cherished matter from it. Indeed, the keys to the treasures of the world were offered to the Prophet but he rejected them. The world also poured out to the Companions but they did not opt for it and did not exchange their portion of the Hereafter for the world.
They knew that the world was a crossing point and passageway not a place of dwelling and settling, that it was a place of transit (‘uboor) and not a place of happiness (suroor) and that it was a summer cloud which will soon disperse and an apparition no sooner is it completed than is it on the brink of departure.
As Allaah has said:
أَفَرَأَيْتَ إِن مَّتَّعْنَاهُمْ سِنِينَ ثُمَّ جَاءَهُم مَّا كَانُوا يُوعَدُونَ مَا أَغْنَىٰ عَنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا يُمَتَّعُونَ
“Tell Me, if We do let them enjoy for a number of years, then afterwards comes to them that (punishment) which they had been promised; all that with which they used to enjoy shall not avail them” [Soorah ash-Shu’araa’ (26):205-207]
وَيَوْمَ يَحْشُرُهُمْ كَأَن لَّمْ يَلْبَثُوا إِلَّا سَاعَةً مِّنَ النَّهَارِ يَتَعَارَفُونَ بَيْنَهُمْ ۚ قَدْ خَسِرَ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِلِقَاءِ اللَّهِ وَمَا كَانُوا مُهْتَدِينَ
“And on the Day when He shall gather (resurrect) them together, (it will be as if) they had not stayed (in the life of this world and graves, etc.) but an hour of a day. They will recognize each other.” [Soorah Yoonus (10):45]
He also said:
وَيَوْمَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ يُقْسِمُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ مَا لَبِثُوا غَيْرَ سَاعَةٍ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ كَانُوا يُؤْفَكُونَ
“And on the Day that the Hour will be established, the Mujrimoon (criminals, disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, etc.) will swear that they stayed not but an hour…” [Soorah ar-Room (30):55]
Allaah is the one who is beseeched to aid us with eemaan and to protect us from trials and temptations, the apparent and hidden.
Posted from the Book: Causes Behind the Increase and Decrease of Eemaan, by Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaak al-‘Abbaad. Al-Hidaayah Publications