Short Answer: This obsession with dunya, or the pleasures of this world, is mainly due to poor tawakkul (full reliance on Allah) and discontentment, and fear of poverty. The solution is to take Allah and Prophet Muhammad’s advice and apply it to our lives: remember Allah in all we do, remember death is imminent, and be grateful to Allah for everything we have.
Salam Dear Reader,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
The Root: Discontentment With God’s Decree
The love of this world (dunya) is a widespread disease that all nations have been afflicted with including the Muslim Ummah.
As for Muslims, this is mainly due to poor tawakkul (full reliance on Allah) and discontentment.
Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying:
If you all depend on Allah with due reliance, He would certainly give you provision as He gives it to birds who go forth hungry in the morning and return with full belly at dusk. (At-Tirmidhi, Hasan)
Advice from Quran & Sunnah
To tackle this topic properly we need to define it from the Quran and the Sunnah.
Allah gave the greatest wisdom to us in this regard:
But seek, with that (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter, and forget not your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world. (Quran 28:77)
The sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, captured in hadiths—authenticated sayings and teaching of his—is full of wisdom concerning the love of this world:
The love of this world is the reason behind every sin. (Assakhawi, Hasan)
The one who loves this world will only get three things out of it: an everlasting misery, impoverishment for his keenness of seeking wealth regardless of its source, and false hope. This world demands and is demanded, so whoever is after this world, the hellfire will call for him until death overcomes him, and whoever seeks the hereafter, this world will call for him until he gets of it all his allotted provision. (Addimyati, Hasan)
The following is a hadith that well describes our current condition.
Thawban said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
‘Nations will soon summon one another to attack you as people when eating, invite others to share their dish.’
Someone asked: ‘Will that be because of our small number at that time?’
He replied: ‘No, you will be so numerous, but you will be as useless as the foam of the sea, and Allah will remove your enemies’ fear of you and place wahn (best translated as enervation) into your hearts.’
Someone asked: ‘What is wahn oh Messenger of Allah?’
He replied: ‘Love of the world and dislike of death.’ (Abu Dawud, Sahih)
So where did we go wrong?
We became discontent with Allah’s provision and our fear of not having enough for us and our next few generations drove us to seek more and more of this world.
We have become a generation that seeks after show-off and our surrounding is emphasizing its importance through hoping of becoming like superstars or wealthy individuals.
Regardless of how much wealth (both money and time) we have, we will find out that it is pouring into meaningless and useless things.
We waste our time watching useless TV programs and our money on shopping for things that we already have plenty of.
Simply speaking, the more we try to go after this world the less reward we receive in the hereafter.
Think of it as a bank account of deeds that one will get a huge dividend if his account is filled with good deeds.
The solution is to simply return to Allah and follow the way of His Prophet (peace be upon him).
In his last sermon, our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) concluded that we shall not go astray if we follow Allah’s book and his way of life (sunnah).
Practically speaking, begin your day with the Fajr prayer so Allah may put blessings in your day and be keen in performing the rest of your prayers on time.
Recite the duas of the morning and the evening and try to memorize those that are for different occasions such as leaving your house.
The most important part of the solution is to change our lifestyle to the better by removing those things that are standing in our way to accomplish what is best for us.
This requires strong will and the desire for doing those acts that lead us to paradise.
Provision Comes From Allah
Let us remember that our provision is allocated by Allah so we will not take of this world what is not in our fate.
This does not mean that we do not seek a better job or better living conditions.
It only means that if Allah happens to give us abundantly, we should not forget Him and if He gives us less that does not mean He does not love us.
Either way is a test from Him that requires patience and humility.
Always think that the material wealth given to us by Allah is just a mean to get by in this world and it is His gift.
Therefore, we must use it properly and carefully.
After all, no matter how wealthy we become, we can only live in a single dwelling and sleep on one bed at a time no matter how many dwellings and beds we own.
Be content will Allah’s provision and depend on the Creator in all your matters.
This should inshaAllah minimize your love for this world. The love for the hereafter will come as fast as the love of the world leaves our heart.
I hope this helps answer your question.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From AboutIslam’s archives)