Welcome to the alThaqalayn web site. Our goal is to propagate the precious words, and the rich culture, of the Noble Wilāyah for entire human race in the world.                                                                  One Lord (Allāh), One Dīn (Divinity), and One Wilāyah (World-Law).                                                                  Verily, I leave among you two invaluable things (ath-Thaqalyn): The Book of Allāh, and my household, my Ahl al-Bayt.

Imām al-Riḍā ▧:

May Allāh ◣ shower mercy upon an obedient who has revived our cause.  The Imām was asked “how could one revive your cause”?  He replied: by learning about our knowledge, and making it known to [other] people.  People would indeed follow us if they knew about the virtue of our words.

 Book No. 25, v.1, p.180

Imām al-Ḥusayn ▧:

Verily, the love of us, Ahl al- Bayt, sheds sins off an individual, just as a strong wind sheds leaves off the tree.

Book No. 3, v. 27, p. 77, h. 9, c. 4.

Imām al-Bāqir ▧:

A believer can escalate to highest degree of belief with prudent study of our narration.

Book No. 3, v. 1, p. 106, h. 2, c. 3.

Ḥaḍrat Fāṭimah Zahrā ▨:

We, Ahl al-Bayt, are the intermediaries in His Creation, we are His favourites, and the descending point of divinities, and we are His final Proof of His unseen world, and we are inheritors of His prophets.

The Fatimiyyeh Sahifah, p.174

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Section16

الدنيا و الاخرة

دنیا و آخرت

THIS WORLD AND THE WORLDS TO COME

Part1,Introduction

We, human creatures, are made up of body and spirit.  The virtue of humankind is the spirit, not the body.  Our body is the vehicle to move the spirit around; it is our donkey, the horse, the means and power of locomotion of the spirit in this world.  According to Islamic understanding of creation, we have come a long way before reaching this world.  We have used different vehicles in different worlds, and have entered this world with the current sophisticated body to be at service of the spirit.  

 

In his “ Hijāb and Women Rights [i] ” professor Mahdi Tayyeb writes:


 

“We were first in the world of Anwār (the plural form of Nūr , meaning light).  In the world of Anwār , we were given a vehicle (body) in the nature of light to move around.  We were riding it until the end of our life in that world.  We took off that body and it was left in that world.  The spirit, however, moved on to the next world, the world of Ashbāḥ (the plural form of Shabaḥ , meaning shade, ghost).

 

  In the world of Ashbāḥ, our spirit was given a vehicle (body) in the nature of Shabaḥ to move around.  We were riding it until the end of our life in that world.  We took off that vehicle and it was left in that world.  The spirit, however, moved on to the next world, the world of Dharr (meaning particle, molecule, or atom).

 

“In the world of Dharr ( ذرّ ), our spirit was given a vehicle in form of particle to move it around.  We were riding it until the end of our life in that world.  We took off that vehicle and it was left in that world.  The spirit, however, moved on to the next world, the world of soil, which we live in it today ( ad-Dunyā ).”

 

In this world too, the spirit is given a vehicle in form of this body [ii] to move it around.  The spirit is riding it until the end of our life in this world.  We shall finally take off this vehicle.  It will go back to its origin when buried in the grave, while the spirit moves on to other worlds, Barzakh [iii] , and Qiyāmah [iv] .


 

It is important to realise that our human part of being is the essence or spirit of our being, not the vehicle that we were given to ride on in each world.  Most of us mistake the body for the spirit, and pay all of our attention to the former.  In this world, we normally spend a lifetime pampering the temporary vehicle to all its desires, but ignore the merit of our eternal being completely.  We will be awakened in the worlds of Barzakh and Qiyāmah , and will be punished severely for our basic mistake during a full lifetime in this world.  The Glorious Qur’ān is full of reminders for entire human beings not to stay ignorant, and not to make this mistake.  It reminds us repeatedly that we are not created to stay in this world permanently.  It teaches us that we are given the power of locomotion in this world to foster the virtue and humanity of our spirit in order in order to avoid a miserable life in the permanent abode.

 

Majority of people are only concerned with this world that they can see ( ad-Dunyā الدّنيا ).  They are either completely unaware of the worlds to come ( al- Ākhirah الإخرة ) [v] , or choose not to believe in them.  The Noble Qur ān repeatedly clarifies this point.  For an example consider this āyah :

 

يَعْلَمُونَ ظهِراً مِّنَ الحَْيَوةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَ هُمْ عَنِِ ٱلاَخِرَةِ هُمْ غَفِلُونَ(7)

[Most people] know only about the superficial part of worldly life, and are unaware (and heedless) about the end of things ( Hereafter).

Sūrah ar-Rūm (30), āyah 7


 

The Glorious Qur ān also reveals the following important fact, which most of us are deceived or naive about:

 

اعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا ٱلحَْيَوةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَ لهَْوٌ وَ زِينَةٌ وَ تَفَاخُرُ بَيْنَكُمْ وَ تَكاثُرٌ فى الأَمْوَلِ وَ الأَوْلَدِ .   كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعجَبَ الْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُ ثمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَاتُ مُصفَرًّا .   ثمَّ يَكُونُ حُطَماً  وَ فى ٱلاَخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ شدِيدٌ وَ مَغْفِرَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَ رِضوَنٌ.  وَ مَا ٱلحَْيَوةُ ٱلدُّنْيَا إِلاَّ مَتَعُ ٱلْغُرُور .

Be aware that life in this world (ad-Dunyā) is but play and amusement, a [great] pomp, [a place for] vying with one another in pride and boasting among yourselves, and for being overwhelmed by wealth and progeny.  It can be compared to vegetation which, upon receiving the rain, springs up and delights the farmer.  But soon it withers, turns yellow, becomes dry, and finally crumbles away.  In the next worlds (al- Ākhirah ), there is severe suffering, forgiveness of Allāh, and [finally] satisfaction.  So, what is the life of this world except the means of deception? 

Sūrah al-Ḥadīd (57), āyah 20. 

Because of the importance of the issue, and the general tendency of people to fancy the cunning vanity of this world, the glorious Qur’ān is full of reminders about this world ( ad-Dunyā ) and the hereafter (al- Ākhirah ).  As another similar example you may also wish to refer to Sūrah Muḥammad (47), āyah 36.

 

Be as certain that we are not created for this world, as you are sure that we were not created for the world of embryo.  Allāh (J.J.) has created 18,000 worlds.  Most of these worlds are the worlds of transit, not the permanent abode.  We would be deceived and mislead if we were to take this world as the purpose of our creation, as revealed above. 

 

  Imām ʿAli (a.s.) says that “indeed, today is the day of action, not of reckoning, but tomorrow is the day of reckoning, not of action.”  This world is only a testing passage with the clear aim of establishing the glorification and love of Allāh , and His “Friends (the Āl ul-lāh [vi] )”.  This can be only achieved when one has first extinguished the admiration and love of his own self [vii] and the love of the impious.


 

If we are successful in the test of the Dunyā , then we have earned ourselves a good Ākhirah (the permanent abode):

 

  And the life of this world is nothing but play and amusement.  And certainly, the abode of the Hereafter is better for the virtuous.  Do you not then use your intellect?

Āyah 32, sūrah al-Anʿām (6)

Do you not then use your intellect?  As will be seen in part 2 of this section, the love of this world spoils the intellect, and deafens the heart from hearing the words of wisdom.  It is ironic that lovers of this world, having defined intellect in their own worldly terms, try to repress, bully, dominate and rule over the communities of rich Qur’ānic culture, who believe that the gaudiness, glitter and flamboyance of this world is not worth much, and try to live here for their ākhirah.  This ugly attitude of oppression, practised throughout the history, stems from ignorance and the love of this world, its land, its wealth, its fame, its lust, and its pomp.  The best examples are the Nimrods, the Pharaohs, and the pharahonics of the so-called civilised communities of today. 

 

The more our nafs enjoys the flamboyance of this world, the more our spirit suffers in the Next Worlds.  Obviously, the real fortunate is he who is fortunate in the “permanent abode” not in this transitory world.  Whoever is in love with this world and is strongly attached to it, shall sustain big agony in the Next worlds.  The love of this world is the root of every sin, and the key to all evil thoughts and acts.  Prophet Muḥammad (ph&hp) says that this world is a prison for the pious, and a paradise for the wicked. 

 

If it seems to us that the lovers of this world are successful, this is because we can only see this world, just to the present time.  They are given leave by the Merciful Allāh in case if they repent.  The Final Testament of Allāh (J.J.) is full of benevolent advice for our guidance.  Here is another revelation:

 

مَّن كانَ يُرِيدُ ٱلْعَاجِلَةَ عَجَّلْنَا لَهُ فِيهَا مَا نَشاءُ لِمَن نُّرِيدُ ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَا لَهُ جَهَنَّمَ يَصلهَا مَ ذ مُوماً مَّدْحُوراً (18)  وَ مَنْ أَرَادَ ٱلاَخِرَةَ وَ سعَى لَهَا سعْيَهَا وَ هُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَأُولَئِكَ كَانَ سَعْيُهُم مَّشكُوراً (19) ُكلاًّ نُّمِدُّ هَؤُلآءِ وَ هَؤُلآءِ مِنْ عَطآءِ رَبِّكَ وَ مَا كَانَ عَطآءُ رَبِّكَ مَحْظوراً (20).

 

Whoever chooses the transitory things [of this world], We grant him right away, in this world, whatever We will to whoever We will.  In the end , We have provided hell for him.  He shall enter it despised and rejected ۝ .  And whoever chooses the [permanent] hereafter, and strive for it his best strive, and believes [in the Qiyāmah deep in his heart], then, such people are the ones whose efforts shall be appreciated ۝ .  Out of the bounty of your Lord [viii] We help them all, these people, as well as those.  And the bounty of your Lord is unapproachable [by others.  Only He has access to it ۝ .

Sūrah al-Isrā (17), āyāt 18-20    


Our Creator (J.J.) advises us not to be deceived by the Dunyā , which we like better, and informs us that it is the Ākhirah which is good and stable.

 

بَل تُوثِرُونَ ٱلحَيَوةَ ٱلدُّنيَا (16) وَٱلآخِرَةُ خَيرٌ وَ يَبقَی (17).

 

Behold!  You prefer the life of this world ۝ , but the Hereafter is better and more enduring ۝ .

Sūrah Al-’Aʿlā (87), āyāt 16-17

The following hadith is related to Imām Ṣādiq (a.s.) and is very interesting:

 

الدُّنْيَا بِمَنْزِلَةِ صُورَةٍ رَأْسُهَا الْكِبْرُ وَ عَيْنُهَا الْحِرْصُ وَ أُذُنُهَا الطَّمَعُ وَ لِسَانُهَا الرِّئَاءُ وَ يَدُهَا الشَّهْوَةُ وَ رِجْلُهَا الْعُجْبُ وَ قَلْبُهَا الْغَفْلَةُ وَ لَوْنُهَا الْفَنَآءُ وَ حَاصِلُهَا الزَّوَالُ.  فَمَنْ أَحَبَّهَا أَوْرَثَتْهُ الْكِبْرَ وَ مَنِ اسْتَحْسَنَهَا أَوْرَثَتْهُ الْحِرْصَ وَ مَنْ طَلَبَهَا أَوْرَثَتْهُ آلطَّمَعَ وَ مَنْ مَدَحَهَا أَلَبَسَتْهُ الرِّئَاءُ وَ مَنْ أَرَادَهَا مَكَّنَتْهُ مِنَ الْعُجْبِ وَ مَنِ اطْمَأَنَّ إِلَيْهَا اركَبَتْهُ آلْغَفْلَةَ وَ مَنْ أَعْجَبَهُ مَتَاعُهَا فَتَنَتْهُ و لا تَبْقَى لهُ وَ مَنْ جَمَعَهَا وَ بَخِلَ بِهَا اورَدَتْهُ إِلى مُسْتَقَرِّهَا وَ هِيَ آ لنَّارُ.

 

This world (ad-Dunyā) is like a human body whose head is arrogance, and whose eyes are avarice, and whose ears are greed, and whose tongue is insincere hypocrisy, and whose hand is passion, and whose feet is self-admiration, and whose heart is negligence, and whose colour is mortality, and whose outcome is decline ) fading away ( .  Therefore, one who loves this world, he is the inheritor of its arrogance; and one who admires it, is the inheritor of its avarice; and one who seeks the world, is the inheritor of its greed; and one who praises the world, it dresses him in hypocrisy; and one who desires it, it gives dominance to his self-admiration; and one who relies on the dunyā, he will leave this world in total negligence; and  one who is amazed by the commodities of this world, it will entice him toward things that do not last for him; and one who collects the things of this dunyā and is stingy about them he will be taken toward entering his place of abode, and that is the Fire [hell]. 

Imām Ṣādiq (a.s.), Book No. 31, p. 221.

It is also interesting to see the following hadith from Imām ʿAli (a.s.):

فَإِنَّمَا مَثَلُ الدُّنْيَا مَثَلُ الْحَيَّةِ لَيِّنٌ مَسُّهَا شَدِيدٌ نَهْشُهَا فَأَعْرِضْ عَمَّا يُعْجِبُكَ مِنْهَا لِقِلَّةِ مَا يَصْحَبُكَ مِنْهَا وَ كُنْ أَسَرَّ مَا تَكُونُ فِيهَا أَحْذَرَ مَا تَكُونُ لَهَا فَإِنَّ صَاحِبَهَا كُلَّمَا اطْمَأَنَّ مِنْهَا إِلَى سُرُورٍ أَسْخَطَهُ مِنْهَا إِلَى مَكْرُوهٍ

 

Verily, the story of the dunyā is like the story of a snake.  It is silky when touched [while] his poison is ruthless.  Therefore, keep away from what you are fascinated about in this world because only little of the commodities of this world stay with you.  And be happy with what is not in it and stay away from what is for it.  Verily, when people of the dunyā trust upon it with enjoyment, and are happy [with worldly pleasures], it will annoy them with detestable [consequences].

  Imām ʿAli (a.s.):  Book No. 32, vol. 1, p. 233.

And finally, let us see how the great Iranian poet of ʿirfān , Mawlānā Jalāluddīn Balkhī (also known as Rūmi ) defines the Dunyā:

 

چيست دنيا؟ از خدا غافل شدن

نی قماش و نقره و فرزند و زن

 

English translation:

 

Dunyā means the state of being neglectful of the remembrance of Allāh (J.J.), not that of depriving yourself from [good] clothes, silver [ix] , wife, and children.


 

 

He indicates that you are not supposed to deprive yourself from all good things of this world to be the winner of the ākhirah .  You must understand this dunyā , and play its rules correctly.  As we saw in the above āyah of the glorious Qur ān ( sūrah al-Ḥadīd (57), āyah 20), “this world is nothing but play and amusement, a [great] pomp, [a place for] vying with one another in pride and boasting among yourselves, and for being overwhelmed by wealth and progeny.”  We must not be deceived by the luxury of this world.  We must not become neglectful of the remembrance of Allāh (J.J.) and His dīn , and His Prophet, and His Qur’ān , and His Wilāyah .  As soon as we are with Him, we are in the ākhirah , the state of realism, and thus we feel virtuous.  As soon as we neglect Him, we are in the dunyā , the state of idealism, and thus we feel bad (unless we are under the satanic influence of illusion).   

 

Those who have reached high degrees of ʿIrfān , and have their inner eye opened can see both the dunyā and the ākhirah .  They can switch from one world to another similar to our switching from one TV channel to another.  They see that whatever we have in the dunyā is the replica of its original in the ākhirah .  Naturally, the genuine pleasures of the ākhirah are much superior to the replica pleasures of the dunyā .  By the same token the agony of punishments in the ākhirah is much more severe than the sufferings in this world. 

 

Those who have well understood the teachings of Islam are quite willing to stay away from the flamboyance of this world, and suffer the minor difficulties of abstinence, in order to avoid the severe retribution of the ākhirah .  As we see in part 2, Imām ʿAli (a.s.) says: This world is a shadow, vanishing soon.  Therefore whatever we are fascinated about, or afraid of, in this world is only a shadow of its reality in the ākhirah .

 

From all the above information presented in this introduction, we can deduce that the dunyā (this world) is not necessarily bad, if we are careful.  Allāh (J.J.) has not created anything useless.  We have to well understand the character of the dunyā , and that of the ākhirah , and the purpose of our being here, to be able to play the game right and prepare ourselves for the permanent abode during our lifetime in this world. 

 

Majority of people are unaware of the fact that we are not made for this world.  Therefore they spend a lifetime being amused with the deceiving worldly matters.  At the moment of departure from this world they will become aware of the realities of the next world which is too late then.  They will realise that their hands are empty and that they have no provisions collected for their ākhirah .

 

As you will see in the next section, ʼImām Sajjād (a.s.) says “ You can have two kinds of dunyā , the achieving one, or the cursed one .”  We have learned from the Islamic teachings that our fundamental aim of life in this world is to acquire knowledge about Allāh (J.J.).  The more we get to know Him, the more we love Him.  The more we love Him, the more we wish to satisfy Him during our lifetime in this dunyā .  When we love Allāh (J.J.), then we love His Prophets, His Qur ān , and His chosen Wilāyah, and will do our best to live a life which is in accord with the way His Prophets, His Qur ān , and His chosen Wilāyah have shown us.  This is a healthy life in the “achieving dunyā .”  It fulfills the intended purpose of our being in this world and achieves a thriving ʼākhirah.  

 

But if we ignore all these and live according to our own likings without any regard to the “Straight Path” that Allāh (J.J.) has shown, then we live in the “cursed dunyā .”  Prophet Muḥammad (ph&hp) says “ This world is a farmland for the ākhirah (eventually you will reap what you have sown in this farm) .   What can we expect when we plant in this farmland the love of our selfish desires, the love illegitimate sexual behaviour, the love of luxuries of this world, the love of social rank, prestige and primacy, the love of comfort, the love of self praising, the love of wealth, the love of dominance, the love of committing sinful acts, the love of disobedience, the love of ignoring the divine news, the love of arrogance, but do not sow the seeds of the love of the Source of love, the Compassionate Allāh (J.J.) Who creates, loves, and nourishes all His created beings, including us. 

 

With this introduction, we may better understand the true meaning of the noble words of wisdom in the next section.

 

Please continue to Part 2, the related Aḥā dith .



[i]   - Ḥijāb and Women Rights in the balance of Intellect and belief ( حجاب و حقوق زن در ترازوی اندیشه و ایمان )published by Safinah publication in Farsi, 1387 H.S., 180 pp, Tehran.  ISBN: 978-600-5001-00-6.

[ii]   - According to the Glorious Qur’ān, our body is originally made out of soil.  Today science also proves that whatever chemical elements that are found in our body (such as potassium, calcium, etc.) are also found in the soil.  There is no mineral in our body that does not exist in soil.

[iii]   - The immediate world after the dunyā.  It is a transition world between the dunyā and Qiyāmah, bad and good, unawareness and awareness, asleep and rude awakening.

[iv] - The Reckoning Day.

[v]   - Called the Hereafter.

[vi] - People (friends) of Allāh (J.J.), please refer to the glossary.

[vii] - Please refer to the Glossary under self (nafs).  The nafs is our most dangerous internal satan.

[viii] - Please refer to the glossary.

 

[ix] - Symbol of wealth.

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