Working for the Hereafter

O my brothers and sisters, turn down this worldly life (dunya), for it has rejected those who were more enamoured by it than you. Take heed from the lessons of those who were before you, before you become a lesson for those who will come after you. This life is intoxicating and enrapturing, and the indwelling chants of mankind’s nature inherently support it, therefore they wake up from their unconsciousness only to prepare for punishment; the feelings of sorrow overwhelming them, though just the reality of all the good they have missed of the Hereafter is a sufficient lash upon them, a fact that they grasp only after death.

Woe to you; death is like clouds, and grey hair is its raindrops. Whoever reaches the age of seventy would complain of pain even without reason, and so the sensible person is he who wakes up in fear, because he realises the nearness of death. O you, this life is behind you, and ahead of you is the hereafter; and to seek what is behind is a retreat and a defeat, whereas victory lies in advancing forward with strong will. the flood of death has arrived so embark for safety onto the ships of righteousness and do not accompany the ‘Kanan’ [son on Nuh] of hope. Woe to you, pay heed and start benefitting yourself from your lifespan, for how long is an earthly creature to live in confusion?

Illnesses distress the bodies necessarily causing emaciation, and you appear as if you are in your grave, lying on the bed of regret while it is, by Allah, coarser than a rock. That said, plant (good deeds) during the spring of your life before the onset of sterility afflicts the field that is your body, and amass good deeds in your period of capability, setting them aside before the time of weakness and incapability arrives. Prepare your supplies before travelling so you do not suffer poverty during the journey where there is no food to consume. Beware, beware of being in a state where you will be among those whom Allah said they will say on the Day of Judgement, “Lest a soul should say, “Oh [how great is] my regret over what I neglected in regard to Allah” (Al-Zumar 39:56)

The wise and determined is he who acquires his provision [of good deeds] before the time of his return [to his Lord] comes. The root of the tree of strong will and fitness is wise and has perceptive thinking, its branches are seeking the advice of available opportunities, and the loss of opportunity in itself is sufficient cause of regret.

I wonder at the one who wastes his lifetime in lazy indifference, until the day the collector of souls (i.e. Angel of death) arrives, whence he says, “Indeed, I have repented now” (al-Nisa 4:18) “But how for them will be the taking [of faith] from a place far away?” (Saba 34:52)

Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam Ibn Jawzi Pages 68-70