وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ
whereas the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment [Ankabut: 20]
In many places of the Qur’an, Allāh combines between the life of dunya and deception.
This is because the life of this dunya and all of its pleasures are, in reality, a deception. The one, who longs for worldy pleasures and eternal life, is indeed deceived.
When Allāh talks about the kaafireen, the munafiqeen and those who were destroyed, he generally describes them as those who are wishful in thinking and those that hope for (and believe in) a long life.
Every pleasure in dunya is limited and restricted to three categories:
- Restricted to time – If one looks at his whole life, it is divided into five stages; each having its own pleasures that cannot be found in the other stages of his life. The stage of childhood, for example, has specific pleasures which
one cannot experience as a teenager; or the stage of married life has specific pleasures which cannot be experienced as a child or as a teenager. During the middle ages of life, one will experience specific pleasures such as getting his children married and having grandchildren, which is not possible to experience before this stage. Finally one comes the stage of old age, where he has the pleasures of being looked after by his children and grandchildren, he has the pleasures of looking at his offspring, his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, etc. These are all specific pleasures restricted to time.
- Restricted to other beings and things – Some of these beings and things will always be with a person, but if they leave, it is not because of time; rather it is because of the essence of the beings and things. Thus, if the essence leaves a person, the pleasure will also depart with it. Therefore, such pleasures are restricted to the essence of the being or thing. For example, before marriage, the beings that make a person happy are his family, friends, teachers etc. This is not restricted to time as these people can be with you all of your life. But if they depart, then this happiness goes away. So after marriage, if your family depart from you, you will feel sadness and sorrow because the essence of your family has gone.
- Restricted to the Qadr of Allāh Jalla-wa-’Ala – The pleasures emanating from the Qadr of Allāh is restricted to either increase or decrease. Take for example eemaan. Eemaan in Allāh is a means of happiness, as long as a person possesses the fundamentals of eemaan, he will be happy (but at a foundational level). Because eemaan is subject to fluctuate; it can decrease through disobedience and increase through obedience of Jalla-wa-’Ala.
ibn al-Qayyim said: “Verily the dunya is coming to an end, and the akhirah is coming to a beginning and they both have children. So be children of the akhirah and do not be children of the dunya. For verily today there is action with no account and tomorrow there is account with no action.” Related by Ibn al-Qayyim in ad-Da’ wad-Dawa Fasl 15
“How good is the life of this world for a believer, because he uses it to prepare his provisions for Paradise. And how evil is it for a disbeliever who uses it to prepare his provisions for Hell.” [Hasan al Basri]