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Chapter 4. This World And The Hereafter

From what we have mentioned it will be clear that love of wealth and leadership and craving after them destroys a person's Religion (Deen) to the point that nothing except what Allah wills remains of it, just as the Prophet (pbuh) informed.

The root of love of wealth and status is love of this world, and the root of love of this world is following desires. Wahb ibn Munabbih said, "From following desires comes desire for this world, and from desire of this world comes love of wealth and status, and from love of wealth and status comes making lawful that which is forbidden." This is a fine saying, since love of wealth and status is caused by desire for this world, and desire for this world is brought about by following one's desires. This is because one's desires call to desire for this world and love of wealth and status in it. But taqwa prevents one from following desires and prevents love of this world. Allah, the Most High, said:

"Then, for such as had transgressed all bounds, and had preferred the life of this world, their abode will be Hell-Fire; but as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires, and lusts - verily, Paradise will be his abode." an-Naziat (79):37-41

Allah, the Most High, has also described the people of the Fire as being people who formerly possessed wealth and authority in a number of places in His Book. He, the Most High says:

"But as for him who will be given his record in his left hand, will say: 'I wish that I had not been given my record! And that I had not known how my account is? I wish, would that it had been my end (death)! My wealth has not availed me, my authority and argument (to defend myself) have gone from me.'" al-Haqqah (69):25-29

Know that the soul loves to attain rank and position above its like and this is what produces pride and envy. However the intelligent one strives, for everlasting and perpetual rank which is in Allah's pleasure, and in nearness to Him, and he turns away from fleeting and short-lived rank which is followed by Allah's Wrath and Anger and means the person's downfall, lowness and his distance from Allah and being banished away from Him. So this is the second kind of eminence which is blameworthy and it is wrongful haughtiness and eminence upon the earth. As for the first type of eminence and wishing for it - then that is praiseworthy, Allah, the Most High, says,

"And for this let (all) those strive who want to strive." al-Mutaffifeen (83):26

Al-Hasan [al-Basri] said, "If you see a man competing with you with regard to this world then compete with him concerning the Hereafter."

Wuhayb ibn al-Ward said, "If you are able to make sure that no one precedes you in hastening towards Allah then do so."

Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Asbahani, the worshipper, said, "If a person hears of another person or knows of another person who is more obedient to Allah than him, then that should grieve him."

Someone else said, "If a man hears or knows of another man who is more obedient to Allah than himself and this causes his heart to break - then this is not a case of vanity."

A man said to Malik ibn Dinar, "I saw in a dream a caller calling out, 'O People! The time for departing and the time for moving on has come.' But I did not see anyone departing except Muhammad ibn Wasi'. So Malik cried out and fainted.

So it is correct to vie for the levels of rank in the Hereafter and to seek and aspire to that by hastening in that which leads to it, and that a person should not be satisfied with aspiring for a lower rank when it is within his power to aspire for that which is higher.

But as for the second eminence which is cut off and followed by regret, grief, humiliation, shame and inferiority - then it is prescribed to avoid this and to turn away from it for many reasons. From these is that a servant should look to the evil results in the Hereafter of seeking status in this world through authority and leadership - for those who do not discharge its duties justly. Also from them is that the servant should consider the punishment awaiting the unjust and the proud and haughty and those who seek to compete with Allah's cloak of Pride.

It is reported in the Sunan that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "The haughty will be raised up on the Day of Resurrection like tiny ants in the shape of men, humiliation will cover them from every side. They will be led in to a place of confinement in Hell-Fire called Boolas. They will be covered by the Fire of Fires. They will be given to drink the festering pus flowing from the inhabitants of the Fire." In a different narration reported elsewhere there occurs in this hadith, "The people will tread upon them with their feet." In a further narration reported through a different chain there occurs, "Jinn, humans and animals will tread upon them with their feet until Allah carries out judgement between His servants."

A man asked permission of Umar, (ra), to address the people, so he said to him, 'I fear that if you address the people you will feel that you are better than them and so Allah will place you beneath their feet on the Day of Resurrection.'

Also from the reasons for this is that the servant should consider the reward in store for those who are humble for Allah's sake in this world, and that they will attain eminence in the Hereafter since whoever humbles himself for Allah then Allah will raise him in rank. Also from the reasons for this, and it is not something in the control of the servant, rather it is from the Bounty and Mercy of Allah and it is that those servants of His who know Him and who abstain for His sake from temporary wealth and status - in exchange for that in this world Allah gives them the honour of taqwa and the respect of the creation. They will also taste the sweetness of having knowledge of Him, and of Iman and obedience - and this is the good and pleasant life promised to those men and women who act righteously and are Believers. This good and pleasant life is not tasted by the kings of this world, nor by those who aspire to authority and status. Ibrahim ibn Adham, rahimahullah, said, "If the kings and their sons knew that which we delight in, they would contend with us for it by the use of the sword."

So whoever is granted that by Allah, is preoccupied by it from seeking fleeting status and temporary eminence, Allah, the Most High, says:

"The raiment of righteousness - that is the best." al-Araf (7):26

He, the Most High, says:

"Whoever desires honour, power and glory then to Allah belong all honour, power and glory." Fatir (35):10

There occurs in some narrations that Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, says, "I am the Mighty and whoever wishes for honour then let him be obedient to the Mighty, and whoever wishes for honour in this world and the Hereafter - then let him have taqwa."

Hajjaj ibn Artat used to say, "Love of status has killed me." So Sawwar said, "If you had taqwa of Allah then you would attain status."

Concerning this there is the poem:

"Indeed taqwa is honour and nobility Whereas your love of this world is humiliation and a sickness And a servant having taqwa will not suffer loss If he truly has taqwa…."

Salih al-Bajee said, "Obedience is authority and the one who obeys Allah is one in authority given authority over the rulers. Do you not see the awe they hold for him in their hearts. If he speaks they accept it and if he commands they obey." Then he said, "It is fitting that one who serves You well and then You bestow favour upon him - that through Your love the tyrants are humble before him and have awe of him due to the position he holds in their hearts, which is due to the awe that he has for You in his heart, and every good that is from You if with Your chosen servants."

One of the Salafus-Saliheen said, "Who can be more fortunate than one who is obedient (to Allah) since all good lies in obedience (to Him)? Indeed the one obedient to Allah is a sovereign this world and the Hereafter."

Dhun-Noon said, "Who is more noble and honourable than one who is cut off from everyone except the One who has sovereignty of everything in His Hand?"

Muhammad ibn Sulayman - the governor of Basra, entered upon Hammad ibn Salamah and sat before him asking him questions, and he said, "O Abu Salamah! How is it that every time I look at you I tremble due to fear of you?" He said, "Since if the scholar intends by his knowledge the Face of Allah everything fears him, but if he wishes by it to increase in treasures then he himself fears everything."

Likewise someone said, "In accordance with your fear of Allah the creation will fear you, and in accordance with your love of Him the creation will love you, and in accordance with your preoccupation with Allah the creation will be occupied in carrying out that which you are preoccupied from."

It happened one day that Umar ibn al-Khattab, (ra), was walking and behind him were some of the older muhajirs, so he turned round to them and saw that they fell upon their knees out of awe of him. So Umar, (ra), wept and said, "O Allah You know that I have more fear of You than them, so forgive me."

Al-Umaree the zahid (one who avoids the allurements of this world) once went out to Kufah towards ar-Rasheed in order to admonish and forbid him, and fear spread through ar-Rasheed's army when they heard of his arrival such that if an enemy army of a hundred thousand had approached it would have caused them greater fear.

It was also the case that no one was able to question al-Hasan due to their awe of him, and his closest students would gather together and ask each other to ask him questions. But then when they attended his gathering they could not bring themselves to ask him - to the point that it would sometimes continue for a year, due to their awe of him. Likewise the people used to fear to ask Anas ibn Malik questions and about this someone said,

"The answer is left and not mentioned again due to awe, And the questioners sit with their chins lowered - The light of dignity and honour, the sovereign of taqwa. So he is the one who inspires awe and he is not a sovereign."

Badeel al - Uqailee used to say, "Whoever intends by his knowledge the Face of Allah, the Most High, then Allah turns with His Face to him, and turns the hearts of the servants to him, and whoever acts for other than Allah, then Allah turns His Face away from him and turns the hearts of the servants away from him."

Muhammad ibn Wasi said, "If a servant turns to Allah with his heart then Allah turns to him with the hearts of the Believers."

Abu Yazeed al-Bustamee, rahimahullah, said, "I have divorced this world finally and irrevocably three times and have turned to my Lord alone, and called upon Him for help, "O my Lord I supplicate to You with the supplication of one who has nobody left but You.' He knew the truth of my supplication from my heart and my despairing of myself, then the first part of the answer to this supplication was that He caused me to forget my own self totally and He placed the creation in front of me despite my turning away from them." He used to be visited from the various lands, and when he saw the people crowding to him he said,

"Woe to me I have become something - Without preparing for that at all I have become a master to them all - because I am a slave to You. And in the heart are matters - which cannot be counted. However concealing my condition - is more fitting for me and more correct."

Wahb ibn Munabbih wrote to Makhool, "To proceed. By what is apparent from your knowledge you have attained status and position with the people. But what is hidden from your knowledge seek position with Allah and nearness to Him, and know that one of the two positions prevents from the other.

The meaning of this is that the apparent knowledge - i.e. learning the duties, laws, rulings, religious verdicts, narrations and admonitions and so on - which is apparent to the people will cause a person to gain status and position with them. But the hidden knowledge which is stored in the heart - i.e. knowledge of Allah, fear and love of Him, being wary of Him, being satisfied with Him, and longing to meet Him, placing reliance upon Him, being pleased with what he has decreed, turning away from worldly matters which will pass away and turning to the Hereafter which will remain. All of this causes a person to have position and nearness to Allah. Each of these two positions prevents the other. So he who remains and stops at the position of worldly status he gains with the people and preoccupies himself with what he has attained with them due to his apparent knowledge. So his only concern is to preserve this station with the people and to remain in it and to cultivate it, and having fear that it will pass away. Then this will be all that he receives from Allah the Most High, and he is therefore cut off from him. So he is just like the one about whom someone said, "Woe to the one who receives this world as his portion from Allah."

As-Sariyy as-Saqatee used to be pleased by what he saw of knowledge of al-Junayd, and his fine speech and speed in answering, so he said to him one day after having asked him a question and receiving a good answer, "I fear that your share of the world has been given to you in your tongue." So al-Junayd used to weep thereafter because of that.

But he who occupies himself with improving his position with Allah, the Most High, through what we have mentioned of hidden knowledge, then he will reach Allah - and he will be preoccupied with Him from all else. This will prevent him from seeking for position amongst the people, yet despite this Allah will indeed give him position and status in the hearts of the people - even if he does not want that, does not settle for it and flees from it and runs away from it for fear that the creation will cut him off from Allah, the Majestic. Allah, the Most High, says,

"Verily, those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, the Most Beneficient (Allah) will bestow love for them." Maryam (19):96

Meaning Allah will put love for them in the hearts of His servants.

There also occurs in the hadith, "When Allah loves a servant He calls out, 'O Jibreel! Indeed I love so and so, so love him.' So Jibreel loves him [so Jibreel calls out to the inhabitants of the heavens, 'Allah loves so and so, so love him]' so the inhabitants of the heavens love him and then he is granted acceptance upon the earth." The hadith is well-known and reported in the Sahih.

So in any case seeking after eminence in the Hereafter brings along with it honour in this world, even if the person does not want it and does not seek it. But seeking status in this world will not come together and be combined with honour in the Hereafter. So the fortunate one is he who prefers that which is everlasting to that which passes away, just as occurs in the hadith of Abu Moosa, (ra), from the Prophet (pbuh) that he said, "He who loves this world - then it will harm his Hereafter and he who loves the Hereafter then it will harm his worldly life. So prefer that which will remain to that which will pass away." It is reported by Imam Ahmad and others.

Abul-Fath al-Bustiyy indeed spoke well when he said:

"Two matters will be separate, you will not see them both - Desiring one another's company and meeting together, Seeking the good of the Hereafter along with leadership and eminence - So abandon that which will pass away in favour of that which will remain."

Here is the speech of al-Hafidh Zainuddin Ibn Rajab in explanation of the hadith, "Two hungry wolves let loose…" is completed, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah, and may Allah send praises and blessings upon our Prophet Muhammad, and his family and true followers, and his Companions, and those who act upon his Shariah to the Day of Judgement.