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Notes on Overview of Life in few verses

A Lecture given by

Nouman Ali Khan

This is a rough transcript of the lecture mentioned above
The lecture can be found at the following links
Part 1:
Part 2:

Created by

Islam Class (for guys)

This is a reminder for me first and others, here we will be discussing about some verses from Sura
Hadid [57] where Allah (swt) draws a snapshot of our entire life within a few verses. Infact Allah
(swt) has drawn a comprehensive image/illustration of our entire life in (Quran, 57:20).
.ls !.. :,>l !,..l '-l > ., >!. >., ".l>. _ _. ..l
_:. ,s >s !>l ..!,. . _, . `.`. . `>, !..L`> _ :>
',.s .,.: :-. _. < . !. :,>l !,. | _... `-l _
Know that the life of This world is Only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among
you, and rivalry In respect of wealth and children, as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the
growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and You see it turning yellow; Then it becomes
straw. but In the Hereafter (there is) a Severe torment (for the disbelievers, evil-doers), and (there is)
Forgiveness from Allh and (His) good pleasure (for the believers, good-doers), whereas the life of
this world is Only a deceiving enjoyment. (Quran, 57:20).

The word

here means that allah is commanding/warning us that you better come to know
or you better realize

worldly life amounts to nothing more than then he

goes on what he is going to say.
So whatever he is going to say thats all worldly life is worth and the first thing he says is

meaning playing. This is curious because we know that the most important thing for a child is to play
other than eating and sleeping. Their world revolves around playing/giggling/drawing attention of
others towards them.

Then as our children grow older they dont just want to play anymore they want us to tell them
stories, they want to sing along with you, watch cartoons, they want to be entertained. So they
develop an urge in them to be entertained so Allah (swt) is saying after



And then we passed that stage too when we are in the middle of the confusion between adulthood
and childhood, these years when we are in between when we are just discovering that we are
turning into adults. At that stage a man and a woman is very much obsessed with their looks,
appearances and the beautification of things around them. They spent checking out their
appearances in the mirror time after time. Are they wearing the right brand of clothes, do they
belong in the right groups, do their clothes match properly, etc. before they walking into their
friends. Basically there is an obsession with their impression, appearance, beautification etc.
At this stage Allah (swt) mentions

meaning beautification and this is a stage of life which
people also get it over very soon too, they move on by getting themselves into college/university.

At this stage people focus on getting a decent job and to prove themselves and they do it in various
means such as hanging their certificates on the wall, they show their work ids to their friends, show
their certificates for achievements/accomplishments to their friends and families. Basically at this
stage there is an urge inside us, which make us to show our achievements to other people
surrounding us. And Allah (swt) says about this stage is

basically meaning an urge to

compete and to show off essentially. This is an urge which we have inside us to prove ourselves all
the time, we feel like we have nothing if we have not accomplished certain tasks in the worldly
sense. Otherwise what are we worth, if we dont have certain respectable jobs or a good degree
from a reputed university?

Even this stage also passes by and we move on to the next phase of our lives where we are no longer
obsessed with the urge to show off our accomplishments to others by getting married, having
children, other family responsibilities etc. At this stage people are constantly obsessed with two
things and those are money and kids; i.e. how much money we have spent on the bills this month,
how much we have spent on this and that, how much left in the bank balance, which
school/college/university my kids will go into when they grow older, how we will be able to take care
of their needs, how are we suppose to marry them off, how much wealth we should acquire for our
kids to have a bright future, etc.? So Allah (swt) adds for the final stage of our lives by saying

this mutually shared sentiment that we all have to gain plenty, to

have stability in two things and that is in terms of money, assets and in terms of children. We dont
know whether we will live the next day, the next hour but we want to have the stability in our assets
which will last for the next 20-50 years. And this kind of thinking takes over our minds, which is
basically from one stage to another. Where a child runs after games and plays and then wants to be
entertained, after that obsessed with his looks, then to prove him/showing off his achievements to
others and finally wants to have stability in assets and his own kids.
Those who are young might think that I will not be bothered about wealth/assets or my own kids, if
that is so then wait till you get to thirty.

In another place in Sura Hajj [22] at the end of a profound verse, verse 73; Allah (swt) gives us an
axiom, a principle for life by saying

the rough translation of this

passage would be the seeker and the sought are inherently weak, after simplification the verse
comes out as essentially in this world everybody is seeking something, everybody is running after
something, everybody is obsessed with something, they want something really bad and those who
are running after stuff, they are weak and whatever they running after are also weak, are also

Just practical experience when a child sees an ad on tv such as some new movie/video games/video
gaming console etc. comes up and they start bothering the parents and urging their parents to buy
those for them. They are constantly bothering the parents every now and then by making promise to
have good grades in exams, will be in their best behaviour as well, etc. After much botheration when
the parents finally decided to buy them their games or the new gaming console the child becomes
happy, very happy indeed but the question is how long do their obsession lasts for their new
games/shoes/toys etc.? They move on to the next new thing in the market within couple of weeks.
Same goes for the adults as well, may be a person is saving up to buy a new house/car and he checks
out the offers available to him every single day and when he finally buys the dream house/car within
months he come across another better offer and now he becomes obsessed with that again.

Subhanallah, this is how we move on to the next, then to the next, then to the next and thus going
through our lives by living on being obsessed with the new things in the market. As a result people
moves on to the next thing disappointed always. Because they are obsessed with the new arrivals
and are disappointed with what they have and this is the state of humanity, this should not be the
state of the believers because they are above all of these things.

That is why Allah (swt) didnt start the verse by saying

rather he started by

this is a problem for human being. But the believers are step above as the
verse continues. And in the very next verse interestingly enough Allah (swt) says
!. '. < _> .:. | < _1l ,s __
They have not estimated Allh his rightful Estimate; Verily, Allh is All-Strong, All-Mighty.
(Quran, 22:74)

In the previous verse, weaknesses are mentioned but whose weaknesses; the human beings and in
the next verse strength is mentioned but whose strength and might; Allah (swt). Its a direct lesson;
they didnt appreciate Allah (swt) the way He deserves to be appreciated and that is why Allah (swt)
made them weak.

Because if we run after the pleasure of Allah (swt), if that is the thing we are running after then
wallahi we will become strong, because we are running after the one who is the source of all
strength. We run after anything else in life then you are as weak as that thing is.

Some practical examples to consider true story about a PhD student of NYU who after finishing his
PhD thesis he dropped the original and the only copy to the office of his department and somehow
the office staff lost it which made him losing his mind and his senses. Now he is already a mental
patient running around the NYU campus even decades after this incident. This is indeed a big
accident for that person but since he was running after that degree this accident made him to lose
his mind and made him a mental patient.

On the other hand there was a person in New Orleans who was in the car business, he used to sell
cars and since riba is haraam he bought all of his cars with cash and when Katrina the storm attacked
all of his cars were washed away except the one lexus in which he escaped. Even after all of this, yet
he has a smile on his face delivering pizza by driving his cars. He says to Nouman Ali Khan that he is
grateful to Allah (swt) because previously he used to go to sleep thinking about the sales numbers
and now he goes to sleep by doing dhikr of Allah. This shows the strength this person has and that is
because he was running after the pleasure of Allah from the very beginning. This is a beliver, we can
see the difference in the energy level.

Now returning to the original verse we have started our discussion, the last portion of the verse
.ls !.. :,>l !,..l '-l > ., >!. >., ".l>. _ _. ..l
Allah (swt) takes all of that and then he gives an analogy, he wants us to understand the worldly life
by this following beautiful example. Allah (swt) is saying
_:. ,s >s !>l ..!,.
Meaning, its like you know the farmer planting the seeds and at the time the farmer planting the
seeds one at a time going all over the field under the burning sun. Does he see the fruit of his labour
at that time? No. But he is hopeful that its going to rain and finally at the end of the year he is going
to see the results of his labour and when he sees the crops coming out from the land after heavy
rain he is very much excited because he is now seeing the result of his hard labour.

Then Allah (swt) mentions

meaning that then the crop matures. From farming 101 we

know that when the crop matures what we do? Harvest, we cut it right, to take advantage of it. But
Allah (swt) mentions something strange here at this point of the verse, he says

farmer who was happy to see that his crop is getting matured, the next thing Allah (swt) says that
the crop turns yellow!

meaning then it will turn into crust/dust!

The farmer had all of his expectations on his farm and yet Allah (swt) allowed the farm to turn into
crust/dust, nothing left. The thing he had craved for is gone, the thing he had a great
expectation/desire has been turn into dust. Then in the end, Allah (swt) says there are only two
things left, what are they?

meaning severe punishment

meaning forgiveness from Allah and great contentment. Then He concludes by saying
!. :,>l !,. | _... `-l _
Meaning what is worldly life except means of deception by which people are deceived. The life of
this world is ONLY a deceiving enjoyment. I am not saying that we should not have a nice house, nice
job, nice cars, etc. But if the dunya is the only priority of our lives then we have a serious problem
because there is more to that what the dunya has to offer us.

I leave you with the warning which Allah (swt) has planned for the hypocrites, may Allah (swt)
protects us from hypocrisy. One of the punishments for the hypocrites is mentioned in Sura Tawbah
[9] verse 55, deals with this subject.

,,>-. `l. >..l
Meaning: Dont let their wealth or their children or their childrens accomplishment deceive you,
dont be impressed with it.
!..| .,`, < ,.-`,l !,
Meaning: Allah only intents to punish them with it. Allah only intents to punish them by means of
their wealth, by means of their childrens accomplishment, Subhanallah this is a shocking statement.
There are many parents who have got rebellious adult children and these kids do not listen to their
parents anymore.

When these parents are asked what you were doing while your kids were growing older they reply
that they were working overtime, they were very busy with their business so that they can save up
money so that their children can go to good college and universities; I did everything for them. And
there lies the problem; the intention is already messed up in the very beginning. And what happens,
those very children for whom you [parents] gave up your life, your sleepless night becomes an
embarrassment to the family in the society and means of torture. Those very children and that same
money becomes means of embarrassment and shame for the family, why because we didnt run for
the pleasure of Allah (swt).

May Allah (swt) make us realize specially those who are responsible for other people like the parents
that we have to make sure that those who are under us that they should understand that there is a
bigger purpose in life, there is much more than what this dunya has to offer. We should be inspired
by something which is much higher.
The love in the heart should be for the world that awaits us.