Seven Ways that Other-Worldliness Helps Us to Enjoy This Life More
By Sheima Sumer
Know that the life of this world is play and a passing show, and adornment and boasting among you, and rivalry between you over piled up goods and children. It is like vegetation after a rain whose growth is pleasing to the farmers, but later it dries up and turns yellow and becomes straw stubble. And in the Final World there is a terrible chastisement and (also) forgiveness from God, and contentment. The present life is but the enjoyment of delusion. (Quran 57:20)
It may sound strange, but believing that the next life is more important than this one actually helps us to enjoy this life more!
Here are some examples:
1. We have a clear purpose for this life: nearness to God.
Focusing your goal on the next life gives you a purpose in this life. Having a purpose inspires us to action and gives us a reason to live. We aren’t spending this life searching for a purpose.
Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet: Women and sons; Heaped-up hoards of gold and silver; horses branded (for blood and excellence); and (wealth of) cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the possessions of this world’s life; but in nearness to Allah is the best of the goals. (Quran 3:14-15).
2. We are less anxious about getting everything in this life.
Can you imagine what it would feel like to believe that this is the only life? We would put every hope into this short life. This would cause anxiety because we would feel that this life is the only chance we have to get everything. We would feel great disappointment if we don’t get what we want. Alhamdulillah we believe that the next life is the true life of joy. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:
“A (small) place equal to an area occupied by a whip in Paradise is better than the (whole) world and whatever is in it” (Bukhari).
3. We don’t live with fear of death.
We know that in the next life God will reward us for our good deeds and treat us with generosity and fairness. We know that death is just the beginning of the true life. Many people live in constant fear of death because they think it’s the end of their existence.
Those who believe and perform good deeds, We shall indeed grant pardon to them for their misdeeds and reward them according to the best of their deeds”(Quran 29:7).
4. We appreciate our blessings more.
Because we know that this life is imperfect, we don’t have high expectations of this life. Because our expectations are less, we appreciate the small blessings more.
“How excellent the affairs of the believer: his affair, all of it, is good for him; and this is not the case with anyone except the believer; if prosperity comes to him, he is thankful (to God), and if adversity falls on him, he perseveres patiently: so it is all good (for him)” (Muslim).
5. We face loss with more peace.
Because we know that there is a next life, we hope to see our deceased loved ones in the hereafter. We accept the loss of anything with more peace because we know the temporary nature of this life.
Whatever you have will end, but whatever is with Allah is everlasting. And We will surely give those who were patient their reward according to the best of what they used to do. (Quran 16:96)
6. Married life is easier.
Money-related problems are the most common causes of divorce. Other-worldliness teaches us to live simply and to not base our happiness on material possessions. This view puts less financial stress on families and helps them to focus on what is important: worshipping God.
7. Our self-worth is not tied to this life’s possessions.
We don’t need to have a “perfect” life, marriage or financial state to feel worthy. Our self-worth comes from our relationship with God. As long as we are on the path of Islam, we are more than enough.
Every soul shall have a taste of death: And only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the object (of Life): For the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception ( Quran 3:185)
(This is a slightly modified version of the author’s original article that first appeared on www.quranacademy.io)