This Worldly Life is Unsuitable for Settlement

My brothers and sisters, this life is like a farewell assembly, so be patient over its pleasures, for one day it will cease to exist, and beware of it evil, for it even succeeded in casting a spell upon the magicians of Babylon. Indeed, the things that people are averse to doing in this life are actually to be found in the branches of the beloved [i.e. the things you dislike often draw you nearer to Allah]. Everyone who felt secure from its evil, ended up up in a state of fear regarding its outcome.

You have spent all your life seeking the pleasures of this life, and yet you have not gained from it anymore than what the head of Qais could gain from Laylaa.

When you are in the assembly, at which sermons and religious reminds are given you awake from the intoxication of this worldly life briefly, but it is not long before you start to crave again for the heat of its wine. Indeed, there is no joy in sighting the flashes of lightening, if you are walking through the darkness. You rein yourself back in with awakening, but by the time you leave the assembly your nature becomes unleashed again. Your nature prevents you from changing yourself because although your are present in body, your heart is completely absent; though you desire attaining the reward of the Hereafter, your endeavours are only focused on obtaining this worldly life.

This worldly life is a land unsuitable for settling down; it is only when the harvest has been reaped that is taken to its place of final settlement.

I wonder at a person standing at the foot of a bridge for so long that he forgets the name across it, which he was meaning to get to. Woe to you, though the pleasures of this worldly life are sweet and tempting, know that the questioning over it will be strict and severe. The time at which a woman conceives one of playfulness, but the actual hardship that awaits her is at the time of her delivery. This life is like a promiscuous woman who does not settle for one man; those who sought after it are shamed and condemned.

The worldly life is a bridge leading over an ocean of doom, so you had better be serious about learning to swim before passing over it, because you can never be certain that you will not slip off it, or encounter a storm that blows you off the bridge into the water. Thus, be wary of it despite how safe you feel in it, and expect its sorrow in spite of your contentment with it.

This life is a house of trials and calamities, similar to the palace in Egypt wherein Yusuf, peace be upon him, fled to the door with his forbearance whereas Zalikhah rushed to the door enflames by her desires. The garments of deeds shall be presented for intercession; therefore those whose garments were torn from the front will express their woefulness, whereas those whose garments were torn from behind, their intercession shall be saved for their time of need.

O you who desire cast him into the well of love for this worldly life, you should know that the caravan of fate brings you a message every night saying: “Is there anyone requesting anything so that I may fulfil it for him?”

So, ensure your attentiveness when this message tosses down to you the rope of salvation, and stand up all night on the feet of those “Their sides part [i.e. they arise] from their beds.” (al-Sajdah 32:16) stretch out the fingers of “they supplicate their Lord in fear and aspiration” (al-Sajdah 32:16) “Throw that which is in thy right hand!” (Taha 20:69)

So that you may climb out of your well of desires as quickly as possible and do not grasp at the walls of the well of desires, because it is built of loose dirt that will collapse over you. After you have rescued yourself, by your determination to returning to Allah, beware of the beasts on the road; so walk in the light of the lamp of certainty and conviction, and leave behind you the signposts veering you off the right course towards the way of desire, because only after arriving at your destination in the morn shall you be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam ibn Jawzi Pages 124-127