The Prophets Established the Balance between this World and the Next
The Prophets were sent to establish a balance between this world and the Hereafter.
At a time when some led an isolated life in monasteries and others drowned in luxury, the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, came with the Qur’anic instruction:
Seek, amidst that which God has given you, the Last Abode, and forget not your portion of the present world. (al-Qasas, 28.77)
All of the Prophets, peace be upon them all, came to establish this balance – the balance between material and spiritual life, between reason and soul, between this world and the next and between indulgence and abstinence. While we should, on the one hand, declare all that God has bestowed on us in order to indicate our gratitude and due praise for Him, as commanded in the Qur’an, And as for your Lord’s blessing and bounty, declare it (al-Duha, 93.11), we should not forget, on the other hand, that we will be asked to account for every good we enjoy, as announced, again, in the Qur’an, Then you shall be questioned that day concerning every good you enjoy (al-Takathur, 102.8).
This principle, like the others, was so deeply inculcated by the Prophet in the hearts of his Companions that it could be seen in every aspect of their lives. To cite an example: it was the time of breaking fast on a day of Ramadan when Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, was offered a glass of cold water. He had just taken a sip when he suddenly burst into tears and stopped drinking. When asked why, he replied:
I was once with God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. He did something as if he was pushing something with his hand and saying to it, Keep aloof from me! I said to him: ‘O God’s Messenger! You are pushing something away, but I cannot see anything.’ He answered: ‘The world appeared to me in an ideal form and presented itself to me with all its pomp and luxury. I pushed it, saying, Leave me; you will not be able to seduce me into accepting you. It withdrew itself and said: ‘I am not able to conquer you, but I swear by God that I will captivate those who come after you.’
After narrating the Tradition, Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, may God be pleased with him, concluded: ‘At this time of breaking fast, I thought that the world allured me with a glass of cold water, and I wept.’1
Abu Bakr and most of the other Companions lived a balanced life despite the fact that they had every possibility to live in comfort.
1. Abu Nu‘aym, Hilyat al-Awliya’ wa Tabaqat al-Asfiya’, 1.30-31.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.