Pearl of Wisdom

'Contemplate now O Mufaddal about the fact that man's lifespan has been kept concealed from his knowledge; for verily if he was to know the span of his life, and if it were short, he would never take pleasure in living, while being always in anticipation of death and the time that he knows. In fact, he would be like someone whose wealth has perished or is close to perishing, so he feels a sense of poverty and terror at the thought of losing his wealth and a fear of poverty. The feeling which the man who knows that he is going to lose his life is much more intense, for the one whose wealth is diminishing still continues to hope that some of it will be replaced enabling him to live off that, whereas he who is certain of the loss of his life, is taken over by despair. And if instead his lifespan was to be long, and he knew this , he would be certain of staying alive and would therefore become absorbed in vain pleasures and sins, and would act to gratify his desires intending to repent at the end of his life... And if you retort by saying that right now, even though his lifespan is concealed from him and he is anticipating death, he still yields to vile sins and commits forbidden acts, we would reply that the way this matter has been decreed is exactly how it is at the moment, and if man, in spite of that [i.e. his ignorance of his death] does not desist from and shun sins then that is because of his own heedless merriment and the hardness of his heart, and not because of a mistake in divine planning!'

Imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq [as]
Bihar al-Anwar, v. 3, p. 83

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