Unmindfulness of the Hereafter

O you, the love of this worldly life is more lethal than poison, and the evils of this world are more numerous in number than ants. But despite that, the eye of your assiduousness in obtaining it is sharper than the eyes of the hoopoe, the belly of your hope is thirstier to this worldly life than sand is for water, the mouth of your gluttony when it comes to life is more rapacious than that of camels. Whenever you engage in discourse about it, you are more eloquent than Sahban [an eloquent speaker]; whenever you scrutinise coins for counterfeit, you are more proficient than Daghfal [a lineage expert]. The strategies you deploy to fulfil your desires are finer than hair, you are more organised than the honey bees when it comes to managing it, and you go through it for its most precious possessions, just like how ants collect the smallest particles.

O you whose idiocy matches that of the silkworm, truly I wonder at you! Have you not benefitted at all from the blessings of intellect and reasoning?! Your diligence for this worldly life after growing old is hotter than an ember! Is there any more time to live, O you who are colder in your insensate numbness than ice! Despite all this, the worldly life is dearer to your heart than your own soul is, even though after you die you shall become more insignificant than even the ground below your feet.

When you are involved in evil you are faster than a speedy stallion but when it is concerning good and charitable deeds, you are slower than a cripple. Your sins are more inglorious than the sun, while your repentance is more concealed than al-Saha [a small dim star]. Paying alms if heavier on you than the mountain of Uhud, and praying is as heavy as a boulder laid on your chest. The road to the masjid in the scale of your laziness is as the two farsakh distance of Dair Kab  [i.e. a difficult journey]. And although when talking about world affairs your chest is more expansive than the sea, when the time of worship comes, it becomes tighter than the knot of ninety [Arabs used to make symbols using fingers of the hand to refer to numbers. The number ninety was given the shape resulting from the circle made by having the index touching the bottom of the thumb.]

O you whose sleep is heavier than that of a leopard when it comes to your deliverance (from punishment), you have wasted time more precious than jewels. If you catch sight of a sin you leap upon it like a tiger, but if you catch a glimpse of a good deed you dodge and evade it like a fox. When you interact with people you are as treacherous as a wolf. While committing injustice your body steps forward like a lion, and you seize a trust, just like a buzzard snatches its prey.

O you whose oppression is greater than al-Jalandi [the king mentioned in Surah al-Khaf who used to size every good ship], even the deer of al-Haram would never trust you. O you who is obsessive in his love for the worldly life, an exegetic of Kufah, when it comes to achieving it, and an ascetic of Basrah when it comes to seeking there Hereafter. I wonder at the heart that is weaker than a fly yet more rigid than a rock. It is a heart that finds the poetry of Qais unimpressive, the exhortations of al-Hasan [ascetic scholar of the Tabien] unmoving and the poems of coquetry of Jarir [famous poet] unprovoking. Were it that a person with such a heart would at least have his dream of hope [to live long] interpreted by Ibn Sirin, to wake him up to live reality; for indeed the lock of such a heart is of Roman manufacture and thus too difficult to break.

Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam Ibn Jawzi Pages 77-80

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