How was the prophet muhammads approach to life in this world and the hereafter?
Abstaining from this world and everything else besides Allah (masiwa) and turning towards Him is called tabattul or wholeheartedness in the Qur’an. (al-Muzzammil 73; 8) When someone has to make a choice between this world and the Hereafter, he/she are commanded to choose the Hereafter; and those who do the opposite are strongly warned. (Ibrahim 14; 3; al-Naziat 79; 37-39) Because according to the description in the Qur’an, life in this world is nothing but deception. (Al-i Imran 3; 185) Little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. (al-Tawba 9; 38) The life of this world is also just simple play and amusement. (al-An’am 6; 32)
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh), our most excellent exemplar, was the most ascetic human being. Even though he gained countless amounts of wealth as a result of conquests, he mostly did not have a warm cooked meal at his home for several consecutive days. Whereas, Allah the Almighty Himself gave him the authority to dispose of one fifth of war booty as he wished (al-Anfal 8; 41). For instance, it is reported that the amount of the booty from the Battle of Hunain was forty thousand sheep, twenty four thousand camels, six hundred slaves, and four hundred uqiyyahs of silver. (Ibn Sa’d, II, 152) Moreover, the Prophet (pbuh) could have lived a very comfortable life if he had chosen to especially since he received gifts sent by the rulers of neighboring countries in addition to the war booties. However, such a life did not fit into his understanding of charity and ascetic lifestyle; for he stated in one of his sayings that he did not value this world:
“What I desire is that Uhud be gold with me and three nights should pass and there is left with me any dinar but one coin which I would keep to pay my debt.” (Bukhari, Tamanna, 2) By conforming to the statements of the Qur’an, the Prophet (pbuh) even warned his wives, who had been inclined to worldly possessions, and asked them to choose either the adornments of this world or Allah and His Messenger. He then stayed away from them for a month to give them time to think. Below are the verses revealed upon this incident, which is also called “’ila”:
“O Prophet! Say to your wives: If you desire this world’s life and its adornment, then come, I will give you a provision and allow you to depart a goodly departing, but if you desire Allah and His Messenger and the abode of the Hereafter, then lo! Allah has prepared for the good among you an immense reward.” (al-Ahzab 33; 28-29) In this respect, Aisha (r.a.) reported:
“When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was commanded to give the options to his wives, he started with me by saying:
“I am going to mention to you a matter which you should not decide in haste. You can answer after you have consulted your parents.” She said that he already knew that her parents would never allow her to seek separation from him. Then he said:
“Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: Prophet, say to your wives: If you desire this world’s life and its adornment, then come, I will give you a provision and allow you to depart a goodly departing; and if you desire Allah and His Messenger and the abode of the Hereafter, then Allah has prepared for the doers of good among you a great reward.” She is reported to have said:
“About what should I consult my parents, for I desire Allah and His Messenger and the abode of the Hereafter?” After that Aisha (r.a.) said: Then all the wives of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) did as I had done.” (Muslim, Talaq, 29)
Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) considered himself as a traveler in this world and he lived thinking that soon he was going to leave this place and go to his actual abode. For him this world is like a tree under whose shadow he was taking a rest during his journey. (Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 3) He was going to stay for a little under this tree and then continue on to his journey. Hence, he focused his heart on the real significant merits during his journey and taught these merits to humanity. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) lived all his life to achieve this goal. What would be the value of worldly possessions in the eyes of such a person? Of course, nothing; this is why Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) accepted the following line of poet Labid as the truest of words:
“Indeed! Everything except Allah, is false.” (Bukhari, Riqaq, 29) This is why even under the hardest circumstances of the Battle of the Trench, he expressed that his choice was the eternal life of the Hereafter saying: “O Allah! There is no life worth living except the life of the Hereafter…” (Bukhari, Riqaq, 1) Again, his ascetic life can also be seen in his choice to live as a servant prophet instead of living as a king prophet.
Abu Sa’id reported that at the end of his life, Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) sat on the pulpit and said: “Allah gave a choice to His servant that he may opt the beauties of the world or that which is with Him and the servant chose that which was with Him.” (Muslim, Fadail al-Sahabah, 2) Thus, he showed that he never valued possessions of this world, and chose the Hereafter under any circumstances.
Source: An Excellent Exemplar, Osman Nuri Topbaş, Erkam Publications