What Are You Striving for: Dunya or Akhirah?
Many of us seem to spend an incredible amount of time and energy chasing the “dream” job (neglecting our akhira, in the process). After all, a bigger paycheck often translates into a better car, a bigger house and a higher worldly social status. Right?
But we are warned about this in The Qur’an:
“Rivalry in worldly increase distracts you (from the remembrance of Allah), till you come to the graves” 1
“Your wealth and your children are but a trial, and Allah has with Him a great reward.” 2
Ever think of the results of your worldly efforts?
“It will be, on the Day they see it, as though they had not remained [in the world] except for an afternoon or a morning thereof.” 3
Lavish homes and fancy vacations are temporary worldly fixes whereas, dedicating time and effort into something that lasts an eternity make more sense, doesn’t it? Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong in treating ourselves to worldly enjoyment, provided it’s done in moderation and within the halal limits, but not at the cost of neglecting our primary duties of ibadah or forgetting our akhira.
Have you ever stopped for a minute and considered building a house for yourself in Jannah?
“Allah will build house in Jannah for whoever is diligent in observing 12 Sunnah rakat(as follows: 2 before Fajr, 4 rakat before and 2 after Dhur, 2 after the Maghrib, and 2 after Ishaa).” 4
Yet, worries and anxieties are dominating our lives so much so that many of us have missed our sunnah rakats or sometimes even a few obligatory prayers for some worldly reason, (like, having an “important” meeting with your boss). Have we forgotten our meeting with Allah ? Our appointment with the Angel of Death?
We have the opportunity for high stations of Jannah – to meet the Prophet , to meet the blessed companions , and most of all to see Allah, The Most High! It sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Yet, many of us choose to not strive for Jannah. We have sadly become distracted and absorbed by this dunya, and lost sight of our purpose – worshiping Allah ; and our main goal – the pleasure of Allah and subsequently Jannah.
“No, you prefer the life of this world, while the hereafter is better and that which remains” 5
Indeed, the akhirah is better for us; we need to use our time in this dunya to work for it.
So why do we prioritize dunya over Jannah?
1. The Cool Factor
Imagine being denied an eternal life of bliss because…
- You neglect your prayers fearing you may not look “cool” among peers
- You choose not to live according to what the Quran says fearing ridicule or poverty, or because, “What will the people say?”
- You do not wear the hijab and jilbab because it is ‘out of fashion’. Or in some societies, solely wear it *for* fashion.
- You spend hours listening to music or staring at magazines filled with haram pictures
When we sit down and logically think about it, what are we doing? Our souls are precious, and can only be equal to the price of Paradise. Therefore, sell them only at that price.
2. The ‘No Time’ Factor.
Our Prophet and the Sahaba were much busier than us, yet they never fell short in their duties to worship and remember Allah. The truth is that we are not busier, but rather we have forgotten our goals and messed up our priorities. The pleasures of this world are nothing compared to those of the Hereafter so why then have we neglected, or even abandoned, our primary duties?
If you find yourself constantly prioritizing dunya over akhirah, it is time to strike a balance:
So you have decided you want to be productive for the Hereafter? Alhamdulillah, making that intention is the first step! If you are still breathing, the doors of repentance are still open and it is not too late to make it to Jannah.
Top 5 Tips:
- List your priorities and arrange them accordingly
- Use an agenda/time planner to organize your days (rather than waking up each day and not knowing what to do during that 24 hour period). I’ve always managed to get an incredible amount of work done, have ample time to invest in my religious duties and still have lots of free time to rewind and refresh whenever I plan my day. This technique never fails!
- Schedule your day around your prayers: Do this as much as you can; make your prayers a priority! So, instead of saying, “After finishing my assignment, I will pray Asr”, say, “I’ll pray Asr and then finish my assignment in the next half an hour”.
- Schedule a realistic and practical time
Like for example: I will read Qur’an between 4.30 PM- 5.00 PM everyday (you can increase this amount as you progress) rather than vaguely telling yourself “I’ll read Quran today”. Setting up practical time slots will help you assess where you’re wasting time, in turn, helping you be more productive insha’Allah.
- Use the night hours: The blessed tahajjud is magical in ways you can never imagine!“Indeed, the hours of the night are more effective for concurrence [of heart and tongue] and more suitable for words. Indeed, for you by day is prolonged occupation. And remember the name of your Lord and devote yourself to Him with [complete] devotion” 6
Try to ensure that you give everything its right – your deen, your health and body, your sleep, your family, your work, so on and so forth.
So What are you Waiting for?
If you’re still breathing, then alhamdulillah it’s not too late! Begin now – review how to correctly pray and establish your daily prayers, make a daily habit of reading The Qur’an and then acting upon it, learn sunnah actions and lessons from the life of the Prophet . Have eman and work righteous actions, and take small consistent steps to improve – you will enjoy super productivity in this world and joy in the next insha’Allah!
Remember Jannah isn’t for 1 week or 100 years, it’s for eternity and comes with unlimited pleasure. Strive now!
“Other faces that day will be happy; pleased on account of the effort they had put in earlier (in the dunya)”. 7
- At Takathur: 102: 1-2
- At- Tagahbun 64:15
- An Naziat 79:46
- Al- A’la 87: 16-17
- Al Muzzammil 73: 6-8
- Al Ghashiyah 88: 8-9
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