لايَشْغَلَنَّكَ عَنِ العَمَلِ لِلآخِرَةِ شُغلٌ فإنَّ المُدَّةَ قَصيرَةٌ۔
Never let anything occupy you from working for the Hereafter for indeed the time is short.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: The Hereafter)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure Ahl al-Bayt, and his noble companions.
The provided Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) reminds us of the importance of prioritizing our actions and focusing on the Hereafter. Let us delve into the deeper meaning of this amazing Hadith.
The key word in this Hadith is (shughlun) "شُغلٌ", which means "occupation" or "preoccupation." It refers to anything that distracts or diverts our attention from working for the Hereafter. Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advises us not to let anything occupy us to the extent that it hinders our commitment to performing righteous deeds and preparing for the eternal life.
To understand the significance of this advice, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. In Surah Al-Munafiqun, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says, (Quran 63:9)
O you who have believed, let not your wealth and your children divert you from remembrance of Allah. And whoever does that - then those are the losers.
This verse emphasizes the danger of being preoccupied with worldly possessions and familial responsibilities to the extent that we neglect our spiritual duties. Such preoccupations can lead us astray and cause us to lose sight of our ultimate purpose.
Another verse that complements the message of the Hadith is found in Surah Al-Kahf, where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says, (Quran 18:45)
And present to them the example of the life of this world, [its being] like rain which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it and [then] it becomes dry remnants, scattered by the winds. And Allah is ever, over all things, Perfect in Ability.
This verse highlights the transient nature of worldly pursuits and possessions. Just as rainwater nourishes the earth and causes vegetation to flourish temporarily, the pleasures and distractions of this world are fleeting and will eventually wither away. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize the everlasting rewards of the Hereafter over the temporary allurements of this life.
Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) advice serves as a reminder that our time in this world is limited. The phrase (al-muddah qasirah) "المُدَّةَ قَصيرَةٌ" translates to
the time is short.
This concise statement encapsulates the brevity of our existence and the urgency to utilize our time wisely. We must not allow ourselves to be engrossed in trivial matters or worldly pursuits that divert us from our ultimate goal of attaining success in the Hereafter.
Reflecting on this Hadith, we can see its profound implications for our lives as Muslims. It urges us to constantly evaluate our priorities and ensure that we are not allowing anything to distract us from our spiritual journey. It encourages us to invest our time and energy in actions that will bring us closer to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) and secure our place in the eternal abode.
Let us take heed of Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) wise counsel and strive to strike a balance between our worldly responsibilities and our commitment to the Hereafter. By doing so, we can lead fulfilling lives in this world while securing our eternal happiness in the next. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom and strength to prioritize our actions and make the most of the limited time we have in this world.
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