O vicious world! Do not try to snare me, you cannot entrap me, I am beyond your temptations and pitfalls.... Where are those people whom you had tempted with pleasures and enjoyments? They are imprisoned in their graves pressed down by tons of earth upon them…. Woe be to the man who with misplaced confidence, steps on the slippery ground presented by you as a firm foothold, he will certainly slip; woe be to the man who thinks of riding the waves of false hopes and expectations raised by you, he will surely sink(from Nahjul Balagha, Imam Ali a.s. letter 45)
In his letter of advice to his son, Imam Ali a.s. presents some powerful ideas for success in life’s journey. Seven of these are listed below ( using Imam's own eloquent words in letter 31 in Nahjul Balagha)
1. Know the difference between here and hereafter. Realise that this world is fickle, fleeting, short-lived, very quickly it changes its moods and favours. And that in the Hereafter is everlasting peace, comfort and happiness for dwellers of Paradise.
2. Pass your days knowing you are travellers in this world, who have to leave a place which is famine-stricken, unhealthy and uncongenial, and proceed towards lands which are fertile, congenial, and where there is abundant provision of all comforts and pleasures.
3. Eagerly embark upon this journey, happy in the hope of future blessings and peace. Willingly accept the sufferings, troubles and hazards of the way, parting of friends, scarcity of food and comfort. Let every step which you put forward towards your goal be a happy event of your life, however tiring and exhausting it may be.
4. Learn lessons from the sad plight of those solely engrossed in this world and sadly engulfed in its short-lived, quickly fading and vicious pleasures. They are like travellers who are staying in fertile and happy regions and who have to undertake a journey, knowing fully well that the journey is going to end in a rough, arid and infertile land (eternal damnation). Can anything be more loathsome and abhorring than a journey that ends in a place which is so dismaying, dreadful and horrifying!
5. Equip yourself. It is an arduous journey. Very long, exhausting and onerous. And the route is mostly through dismal, dreary and deserted regions where you will be in need of refreshing, renovating and enlivening aids and help to keep you going till the end - the Day of Judgement.
6. Travel light. If you are over-loaded your journey will be very tiresome. Pass your load to poor, needy and destitute who are willing to carry it for you as far as the Day of Judgement. (spend your wealth on helping the needy).Thus relieve yourself from the heavy burden of submitting an account on that Day of how you made use of His Bounties of health, wealth, power and position. Have as many weight carriers as you can so that you may not miss them when you very badly need them (when your sins will be balanced against your good deeds you must have enough good deeds to turn the scale in your favour).
7. Arrange in advance for the place of your stay before you reach there. The passage lies through an appallingly dreadful valley. The only way out of it is either in Paradise or in Hell. Realise that all you give out in charities and good deeds today are like loans which will be paid back to you. Therefore, when you are wealthy and powerful, make use of your wealth and power in such a way that you get all that back on the Day of Judgement, when you will be poor and helpless. It is wise to send your good deeds there beforehand so that they reach there before you, because after death there is no repentance and no possibility of coming back to this world to undo the wrong done by you.
Dear momineen, let us build our lives on the solid foundation of a worldview taught by the Holy Quran and Ahlulbayt.
Has the time not come to join hands and, together, join the journey to Paradise?
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