So Give Glad Tidings to the Strangers . . .
An Awe-Inspiring page for the Ghuraaba
Be in this life as if you were a stranger or a traveller on a path
By al-Hâfidh Ibn Rajab
Taken from Jâmi al-Ulûm wal-Hikam
Ibn Umar (Radhiallahu Anhum) said: Allâhs Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) took me by my shoulder and said:
"Be in this life as if you were a stranger or a traveller on a path."
Ibn Umar used to say,
"If you reach the evening then do not expect to reach the morning, and if you reach the morning then do not expect to reach the evening. Take from your health before your sickness, and from your life before your death." - [Reported by al-Bukhârî]
This hadîth is the foundation for limiting one s hope in this life. So a believer must not take this life as a homeland or permanent residence, his heart being tranquil and resting assured within it. Rather, he must be in it as if he were on a journey, preparing himself to depart. The advice of the Prophets and their followers confirmed this.
Allâh said, narrating upon a believer at the time of Firawn that he said:
"O my people! Truly, this life of the world is nothing but a (quick passing) enjoyment, and verily, the hereafter that is the home that will remain forever." [Ghafir : 39]
Alî ibn Abi Tâlib used to say,
"Certainly this life has begun travelling away, and the hereafter has begun travelling forward, and each has its children. So be from the children of the hereafter, and dont be from the children of this life. For indeed today there is action with no account, and tomorrow there will be account with no action."
Umar ibn Abdul Azîz said in his khutbah,
"This life is not your permanent abode. Allâh has prescribed for it to come to an end and He has prescribed for its people to depart from it. How often has a thriving population been ruined for something insignificant, and how often has a joyful resident been made to depart for something insignificant. So prepare well, may Allâh have mercy on you, for the journey with the best of what you have of preparations, and take provisions, for the best of provisions is Taqwâ."
So if this life is not a permanent residence nor homeland for the believer, then the situation of the believer in it must be either one of two conditions: Either as if he were a stranger residing in a strange land with his main concern being to take provisions for his return to his real homeland; or as if he were a traveller, in no way residing in it, rather his every night and day is spent going to his land of residence.
For this, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) advised Ibn Umar to be in this life in one of these two conditions:
The first condition: That the believer abandons himself as if he were a stranger in this life, appearing to be a resident, yet really in a strange land. So his heart is not attached to this strange land. Rather, his heart is attached to his homeland that he is returning to. He is only staying in this life to fulfill his objective - preparing for the return to his homeland.
Al-Fudhayl ibn Iyyâdh said,
"A believer in this life is worried and sad. His worry is the objective of preparing himself. So whoevers condition in this life is such, then he has no concern other than taking provisions from what will benefit him during the return to his homeland. So he does not compete with the people of the land, among whom he is merely a stranger, in what they consider honorable. And he does not become worried if he seems insignificant among them."
Al-Hasan (al-Basrî ) said,
"The believer is like a stranger. He does not become worried due to being insignificant in it (this life), and he does not compete for honor in it. His condition is one and the people are in another condition. Whenever Allâh created ?dam (Alayhis Salâm), He made him and his wife reside in Paradise. Then he was put out of it, yet was promised to return to it, he and the righteous ones among his offspring. So the believer is always longing for his first homeland..."
The second condition: That the believer lowers himself in this life as if he were a traveller, in no way residing in it. He is only moving along in one of the points of his journey until he finishes his journey to its end, which is death. Whoever s condition in this life is such, then his main concern is obtaining the provision for the journey. He is not concerned with an Abû ndance of the enjoyment of this life. For this reason, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) advised a group of his Companions for their main concern in this life to be like the provision of a traveller.
One of the Salaf wrote to one of his brothers:
"Oh my brother, it appears to you as if you are a resident. However, you are really only persistently travelling, and you are moving rapidly. Death is heading towards you, and this life is passing behind you. What has passed of your life will not return to you (to rectify it) on the Day of Taghâbun (The Day of Resurrection)."
Al-Fudhayl ibn Iyyâdh said to a man, "How many (years) have come upon you?"He replied, "Sixty years." He said, "Therefore, for sixty years you have been going to your Lord and you are about to reach (Him)."So the man said, "To Allâh we belong and to Him we are returning!" So al-Fudhayl asked, " Do you know the meaning of that (statement)? You are saying, I belong to Allâh as a servant and I am going to return to Him. So whoever knows that he belongs to Allâh as a servant and that he will return to him, then he should know that he will be stopped. And whoever knows that he will be stopped, then he should know that he will be questioned. And whoever knows that he will be questioned, then let him prepare an answer for the question."