03 Nov Sūratu’l-Qasas [The Narrative]:(28:77).Part1
وَابْتَغِ فِيمَا آتَاكَ اللَّهُ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ ۖ وَلَا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا
But seek, by means of what God has granted you, the abode of the Hereafter (by spending in alms and other good causes), without forgetting your share (which God has appointed) in this world. (Al-Qasas 28:77)
Some have interpreted this verse as calling people to seek the world or a happy worldly life. However, as those who have some knowledge of Arabic will admit, the verse orders to seek the afterlife. The verb “ibtaghi,” which is translated as “seek,” means to pursue an aim with all one’s being and capacity as well as with all one’s faculties, such as the mind, heart, feelings, consciousness, comprehension, health, wealth, and offspring. The second part of the verse— “without forgetting (or do not forget) your share (which God has appointed) in this world”—balances this “seeking.” That is, we must pursue “the abode of the Hereafter” with all our capacity and faculties; gaining eternal happiness must be our goal in this life, but we should attend to this life as well. We should not beg from others, nor should we live dependent on others. By working and earning in lawful ways, we must meet our essential needs, as well as the needs of those for whose livelihood we are responsible. If we neglect the main order in the verse and understand it as calling us to work only for our worldly life and calling others to worldliness, this will be a great error. Such an understanding also contradicts with the verse,
“God has bought from the believers their selves and wealth because Paradise is for them” (At-Tawbah 9:111), and reduces the Qur’ān to a book that contains contradictions.
The verse gives us this criterion: Seek the world in proportion to its value, and seek the Hereafter proportionately to its value. The world is like the “Plain of ‘Arafat” (where the pilgrims stay for some time on the Eve of the Festive Day of Sacrifice) for the people whose souls are content and at rest with the Divine Religion. And the life-span spent in this fleeting world is but like the Eve of the Festive Day spent on the Plain of ‘Arafat. We will, therefore, reach the Festive Day beyond this world. Thus, our criterion must be sound, and we must live this short life-span in this world without wasting even a single minute.
If a pilgrim misses the time of staying on the Plain ‘Arafat on the Eve of the Festive Day, he or she will miss the pilgrimage that year but can compensate for it the next year. But if we waste our worldly life on trivialities or miss living our worldly ‘Arafat—that is, miss the opportunity of living our worldly life in a profitable way—we will not be given a second chance or second life in the world as a means of compensation.
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said,
“What business can I have with the world! I am but a traveler who takes a rest under the shadow of a tree and then goes on his way leaving it.”
This hadīth does not mean renouncing the world totally, but it teaches us our position in the world. In another hadīth our Prophet said,
“If the world had had as much value in God’s sight as the gnat of a fly, He would not have given an unbeliever even a sip of water from it.”
While it is God Who has created the world with whatever is in it, those who deny God should have no right in benefiting from the world. But purely out of His infinite Mercy, God Almighty allows unbelievers to live in the world and provides for them. However, since there is an eternal realm beyond this world where unbelievers will find no happiness, God does not disturb their enjoyment in this world out of His Mercy.