In the time of materialism
We shall give him a good life
Statistics provided by the World Health Organization show that the highest rate of suicide in the world is in the former Soviet Union countries as well as some European rich countries such as France, Sweden, and Switzerland. So, what is the indication of this piece of information for those who meditate it?
First, it should be noted that a person does not commit suicide but after reaching a complex psychological stage and a great feeling of despair and frustration. The highest suicide rate in countries lift high the banner of atheism and irreligiousness (such as the former Soviet Union) as well as countries which are famous for richness, welfare, and luxury (like Sweden: the highest per capita income in the world) refers to indisputable fact which most people understand in reverse which is: The way to comfort and happiness is not in getting rid of religion (the Soviet peoples for instance) and not in reaching the material sufficiency in all its forms (the European peoples for instance). Experiments proved the truthfulness of this fact, however the people claimed otherwise. The One who knows what causes happiness to man and adds gladness to his heart is the One who created him in the first place and none can realize the condition of a person more than He. Therefore, there is no way for the person who searches for happiness and good living but to know his Creator (He may be Exalted). To which way Allah (may He be Exalted) guided us, while He is more knowledgeable than us, in order to achieve the calm and happy life?
It is a simple divine equation if it is done by a person, he shall have good life. This equation is His promise (may He be Glorified and Exalted) of providing good life for those who do righteous deeds while being believers. Allah (Glory be to Him) says:"Whoever works righteousness - whether male or female - while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islâmic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)." [Surat An-Nahl: 97]. The Ayah mentioned the two sides of the equation:
The first side is: the righteous deeds and belief "Whoever works righteousness - whether male or female - while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islâmic Monotheism)." [Surat An-Nahl: 97].
The second side is: A good worldly life in addition to a good life in the Hereafter "Verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)." [Surat An-Nahl: 97].
The first side is a condition for the fulfillment of the second side. Ibn Al Qayyim said in "Madarij As-Salikin:" Allah has made good life for those who know, love, and worship Him. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "Whoever works righteousness - whether male or female - while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islâmic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)." [Surat An-Nahl: 97]. A good life was interpreted by contentment, satisfaction, good provision, and others. The most correct meaning is: life, bliss, joy, and pleasure of the heart which shall be filled by faith, knowledge, love, resort, and trust in Allah because there is no life better than the current one and there is no more bliss than the current bliss except in Paradise."
Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir mentioned the views about the meaning of a good life; He said: "The meaning of good life includes all phases of comfort." Ibn `Abbas and a group of Muslims hold the view that they interpreted it by good and lawful sustenance. `Ali ibn Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) interpreted it with contentment likewise did Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, and Wahb ibn Munabbih. Ali ibn Abu Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that the meaning is happiness. Al Hasan, Mujahid, and Qatadah said: None shall have a good life but in Paradise. Ad-Dahhak said: It is lawful sustenance and worship in the worldly life. Ad-Dahhak also said: It is working to reach obedience then enjoying obedience. It is true that the meaning of good life includes all these meanings. Ash-Shanqity said in "Al Adwa'" in the context of his comment on the Ayah: "The Ayah contains a proof that the meaning of good life in the Ayah is the good worldly life. This proof is: if we estimated that the meaning of good life in Paradise in Allah's Saying: "We shall give a good life" is His Saying: "And We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)." is a repetition because that good life is the reward of their actions. Unlike if we understand that the good life shall be in the worldly life, the meaning then will be "We shall give him in the world a good life and we shall reward him in the Hereafter with the best of what he used to do, which is quite obvious."
The summary is: the good life which is promised in the Ayah is the good life of the world, which is an oasis to those who believe in Allah and do righteously. A good life is not as many people think by indulging in materialism. The author of "Azh-Zhilal" said: "There are a lot of things in life other than money which makes life good within the framework of sufficiency such as connecting with Allah, trusting Him, and feeling comfort for His Care and Satisfaction. The good life contains health, quietness, contentment, and blessing, in addition to tranquility of houses and intimacy of the hearts. It also contains joy with pious work, its effect in the conscience and in the world. Money is only one element which only little can be sufficient when the heart is connected with what is greater, purer, and everlasting at Allah. And good life in the world does not reduce the good reward in the Hereafter."
Sayings of those who tasted good life:
• v Ibrahim ibn Adham, the great ascetic Imam of the Followers:
One day he said to his friends: "If the kings and the kings' children knew the comfort we live in: [happiness and joy] they would fight us with swords." "Al Bidayah wa An-Nihayah of Ibn Kathir."
Ibn Al Jawzy said in "Sayd Al Khatir" commenting on the words of Ibn Adham: "A sultan fears to eat anything lest a poison would be in it and he fears to sleep lest to be assassinated, and he always behind closed doors and cannot leave a small hole open. If he goes out, he becomes annoyed by the closest people to him and the lust which an ordinary person wants is always dead to him, moreover he never enjoys food or marriage. Whenever he likes food, he eats a lot and that troubles his stomach. Whenever he likes slave girls, he buys them and that causes his health to wane away because he will not stay a long time without having sex, so he will not find a great pleasure in sex because pleasure and lust can be achieved by staying a long period without having sex exactly as the lust of food. The one who eats while he is full or having sex while having no desire will not find the complete desire that a poor will find if he starves or a bachelor when he marries. A poor throws himself in the road in the middle of the night to sleep, whereas the desire for security was taken from emirs, therefore, their desire is not complete and their account is excessive. By Allah, I never heard of a person who lived in high status and enjoyed more than others except the sincere scholars such as Al Hasan, Ahmad, Sufyan, the verifying worshippers such as Ma`ruf because the desire of knowledge exceeds all pleasures."
• v Imam Ibn Taymiyah:
Ibn Al Qayyim, his student, narrated some of his conditions saying:
I heard the Shaykh of Islam, Ibn Taymiyah, (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) saying: There is a garden in the world who did not enter will not enter the paradise of the Hereafter.
• v Once he said to me: What would my enemies do to me? My paradise and garden are in my chest and where I go, it will be with me. Indeed, my detention is a solitude, killing me is a martyrdom, and taking me out of my country is a tourism.
• v He used to say in his prison: If I were to pay as much gold as to fill this hall, it would not have been enough for thanking Allah for this blessing. Or he said: I could not have rewarded them for the good they did to me. He used to say in his prostration while he was detained: "O Allah! Assist me in remembering You, in thanking You, and in worshipping You in the best of manners."
• v Once he said to me: The detained is the one whose heart is detained from his Lord and the captured is the one who is captured by his whims.
• v When he entered the castle and became inside, he looked at its walls and said: "So, a wall will be put up between them, with a gate therein. Inside it will be mercy, and outside it will be torment." [Surat Al Hadid: 13].
• v Afterwards, Ibn Al Qayyim narrated about his conditions: "By the knowledge of Allah, there is no one lived better than him although the low living standard in which he used to live. However, detention, threat, and tiredness, he was one of the most luxurious, the most lenient, the bravest, and the gladdest person. He had a bright face whenever we felt fear, doubted everything, and the land became tight for us, we would go to him and once we see him or hear his words every trouble would be removed and everything turns to be joy, power, certainty, and tranquility. Glory be to the One who has shown some of His Servants His Paradise before meeting Him and opened for them its gates through the righteous deeds they do in the world. Thus, they gained of its spirit, breeze, and odor something that made themselves yearn for it. "Al Wabil As-Sayyib of Ibn Al Qayyim."
• v Some pious people said: Sometimes I feel something in the heart and I say: If the people of Paradise feel as I am feeling now, they will be in a good life. Some people who loved Allah in the world said: how poor is the people of the world! They got out of the world without tasting the best thing in it? Some people asked: What is the best in it? They said: loving Allah, accompanying Him, and turning away from anything. [Madarij As-Salikin] of Ibn Al Qayim."
After these narrations, people will feel hard to get to this status of good deed under the pretext of those people were great scholars, Imams, and pious people. This is a wrong understanding because Allah (Glory be to Him) never made a promise to the people in individuals who are few in number.
So, every one that can achieve the condition mentioned in the Surah shall have a good life.
So, the equation of good life as shown by the Glorious Qur'an is "Whoever works righteousness - whether male or female - while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islâmic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)." [Surat An-Nahl: 97]. We ask Allah the Glorious of His Bounty and peace be upon Muhammad, his family, and his Companions.
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