Darkness and Bewilderment

O you who is wandering in the darkness of his oppression, who is stumbling forward to his destruction, who is searching for the knife of his death, digging the hole of his own downfall and opening the chasm towards his own doom, how miserable is the path you have chosen to the one most beloved to your heart [i.e. yourself].

Woe to you! Seek the truth, because while you are in the shades of your wishful hope, you will only see what you love while turning a blind eye towards hardships. If your lifespan is receding and death is approaching, then it is not long before both of them converge; how can you main in the state you are while time constantly brings you closer to his end? How can this worldly life allure a person who does not, for an instant, feel safe from death, and hence never experiences happiness even for a day? How has the knock of exhortation been heard and yet none have listened to it; indeed this is meant “To warn whoever is alive” (Yasin 36:70) The rooster of awakening calls out during the last part of the night of morals but you did not wake up, so be alert when the raucous call of the crew of departure is enticed.

O you who prefers the ephemeral over the everlasting, this [preference] is indeed the suggestion of your base nature; better would it before your sake to consult your intellect, in order to hear the best advice! This is because whoever takes the owl to be his guide, surely his final destination will be  place of ruin.

Woe to you! The lust and desires of this worldly life are nothing but fleeting dreams seen during seen during the slumber of heedlessness, and the sight of the ignorant neither penetrates the wall of his desires nor pierces through the barrier of inadvertence; only he who sights what is beyond the barrier can be regarded as being sagacious. When desires appear before the eyes of the innate nature, only those, “Who believe in the unseen” (al-Baqarah 2:3) Turn their eyes away from it; most people have plummeted into the hole of deprivation while others were, “Those upon [right] guidance from their Lord” (al-Baqarah 2:5) The pious have already departed proceeding towards their final destination while others remain afflicted by a state of negligence because though they are conscious of the high status of the sought “the distance seemed too far for them” (al-Taubah 9:42)

What a pity! If they were to truly know whom they had detached themselves from, they would prefer to be torn apart instead. They wake up to fraternise with the rulers, and when they go to sleep it is on a bed of sins, and recklessly do they spend their merchandise of days [time] for indeed, “These are they who purchase error at the price of guidance.” (al-Baqarah 2:16) The wealth and gift of life has been bestowed upon them, yet they have spent it all in the land of idle neglect and “so their commerce doth not prosper.” (al-Baqarah 2:16) All the while, the examples of the ones before them proclaim loudly, “What expect they save the like of the days of those who passed away before them?” (Yunus 10:102)

But they have turned a deaf ear; woe to them! Have not they pondered over their baseless hope because “it may be that their own term draw nigh?” (Surah al-Araf 7:185) Indeed the one who lives in the present should benefit himself from the lessons of history, for no one can ever be certain of his future. Every moment passes never to come back, and the depth of nights are yet to be restored while time is marching along for those who are alive at the moment. Therefore buy the salvation of your soul while the market is open and its price is being offered, and pay no heed to the whispers that beguile you towards negligence and indifference, for indeed what may happen tomorrow can never be relied upon.

Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam Ibn Jawzi Pages 100-103

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