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Khalifa Ali bin Abu Talib - Ali on the Life of the World

Transitory character of the World

In most of his sermon, Ali has brought out the transitory characters of the world in the following words: "All praise is for God. Do not despair of His mercy. His bounties are unlimited. There is no shame in His worship. He is God Whose mercy is ever lasting, and Whose bounties would never exhaust. Remember that the world is transitory in character, and your life is a mere sojourn. The world is doomed to destruction. It is outwardly pleasant and attractive, but inwardly hollow. See that when you depart from this world you do so with good grace, and carry with you assets which will stand you in good stead in the Hereafter. For this journey do not overload yourself with unnecessary paraphernalia. Do not covet anything beyond what is necessary. Keep in mind that the world is a tavern where no one can stay for long. Do not be enamoured of the world. Its attractions are a trap. Those who are lured by its charms get involved into an ordeal. You should keep in mind that you will have to be called to account for what you do in the world. For the wise, the world is a shadow, which may appear at one moment, and soon disappear. Fear God, and face death with a stock of good deeds. Purchase everlasting things for things which are perishable. An arduous journey awaits you. Prepare yourself for it. Be ever ready to face death, for it may come any moment. Be receptive to words of advice. God Almighty has not created you in vain, nor has He left you free to run amuck. Death separates you from this world, and Paradise or Hell in the Hereafter. Remember that your life is diminishing every moment. You should hasten cheerfully to your real destination. While alone, purchase such assets which would be a source of profit to you in the Hereafter. You should overpower your lusts. Know that desires are deceptive and death lies in ambush. Satan is after you. It is the game of Satan that death should catch you unaware, when you have not amassed the assets necessary for the journey to eternity. Against the maneuvers of Satan, seek the protection of God.

Dwelling on the same theme, in the course of other sermons, Ali said: "The world is a tavern where no one can stay for long. Such is the lure of the world that none can escape from being involved therein. The world is an ordeal and a trial. Whatever you get out of the world will be of no avail to you. It is only that which helps you for the Hereafter that can be a source of profit for you. For the wise, the world is merely a shadow which may disappear any moment, thus manifesting its unreality.

O people, what should I say about the world, which begins in grief and ends in destruction. Those who are rich and wealthy are involved in mischief, and those who are poor and needy are grieved and distressed. The world eludes him who seeks it. It runs after him, who runs away from it. He who sees it as a place of trial is enlightened; he who is lured by its charm is blinded."

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