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Love of the World

The best definition of this vice and the "world" condemned therein is to be found in the following verse of the Holy Quran:

Decked out fair to mankind is the love of lusts-women, children, stored-up heaps of gold and silver, horses of mark, cattle and tillage. That is the enjoyment of the life of the world; but God-with Him is the fairest resort. (3:14)

It must be kept in mind that all the things mentioned in this Quranic verse, being Divine blessings, may not be condemned. Moreover, proper use of Divine blessings is also not an unworthy thing to do. However, what is undesirable is becoming attached to these things, and giving them a fundamental significance in one's life-an emphasis which may exceed even that given to God. But if these things do not take the place of God and were to be used as means of attaining self-development and acquiring nearness to God, not only this is not objectionable but highly desirable. Therefore, the condemnation and praise of the world that we come across in the Quran or hadith relate to the kind of use the world and its things are put to. If someone makes the world his idol, and is engulfed in worldly hopes to such an extent that he forgets God and the Hereafter, or sells the Hereafter for the world (2:86)-to use a Quranic expression-then we can say that such a man has fallen victim to the disease of the "love of the world." One Prophetic hadith delineates the features of the lovers of the world in these words:

One who wakes up with his whole attention directed towards the world is cut off from God, and God shall make four qualities to accompany him: endless sorrow, never ending occupation, a neediness which is never relieved, and a hope which is never achieved.

In order to cure this disease one must meditate on the fact that the good things of the world are transitory, and what remains for man are spiritual attainments, nearness to God, and the efforts made in preparation for the Hereafter.

Adapted from: "Jami' al-Sa'adat" by: "Muhammad Mahdi al-Naraqi"

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