Pearl of Wisdom

'A group of the people of the past said to their prophet, 'Pray to your Lord to take death away from us. He did so and Allah took death away from them. They became so many that their houses became crowded and their offspring became too many. A man had to feed his father, mother and grandfather, and his great grandfather, and they had to satisfy them and take care of them. They became too occupied to seek a livelihood, so they said, 'Ask your Lord to return us to our previous state. So, their Prophet asked his Lord and He returned them to their original state.'

Imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq [as]
al-Tawhid, p. 401, no. 4

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Library » Nahj ul Balagha » Sermons » Transience of the world and the helplessness of those in graves
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Sermon 224 Transience of the world and the helplessness of those in graves

This is a house surrounded by calamities and well-known for deceitfulness. Its conditions do not last and those who inhabit it do not remain safe. Its conditions are variable and its ways changing. Life in it is blameworthy and safety in it is non-existent. Yet its people are targets; it strikes them with its arrows and destroys them through death.

Know, O' creatures of Allah, that, certainly, you and all the things of this world that you have are (treading) on the lines of those (who were) before you. They were of longer ages, had more populated houses and were of more lasting traces. Their voices have become silent, their movements have become stationary, their bodies have become rotten, their houses have become empty and their traces have been obliterated. Their magnificent places and spread-out carpets were changed to stones, laid-in-blocks and cave-like dug out graves whose very foundation is based on ruins and whose construction has been made with soil. Their positions are contiguous, but those settled in them are like far flung strangers. They are among the people of their area but feel lonely, and they are free from work but still engaged (in activity). They feel no attachment with homelands nor do they keep contact among themselves like neighbours despite nearness of neighbourhood and priority of abodes. And how can they meet each other when decay has ground them with its chest, and stones and earth have eaten them.

It is as though you too have gone where they have gone, the same sleeping place has caught you and the same place has detained you. What will then be your position when your affairs reach their end and graves are turned upside down (to throw out the dead)?


    There shall every soul realise what it hath sent before, and they shall be brought back to Allah, their true Lord, and what they did fabricate (the false deities) will vanish (away) from them. (Qur'an, 10:30)
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