The vastness of this world when compared to the narrow space in the mother’s womb is like the vastness of the barzakh when compared to life in the world; the same goes for the vastness of the life hereafter when compared to the barzakh When a child is in the embryonic form he thinks his entire world is his mother’s womb. If the embryo were to be asked about the meaning of his exit from the womb, he might say that it would mean death. If the embryo consisted of twins and one was born before the other, the one who was born late might say] that his twin brother had died and been buried in an unknown world. He would weep if he had seen his twin’s placenta discarded and thrown away in just the same way a mother would grieve over her son’s dead body. A mother who has to keep her child clean and sees him being buried in the earth of his grave breaks down. What she doesn’t realise is that this is like the placenta: it is like a dirty shirt that needs to be ”thrown away. It is a garment whose life is over and is no longer needed. This is what death is, in fact it is a ‘new birth’. It is an exit into another dimension which is longer and wider in terms of time and space.
The world we live in is only a place of transit. Our life in it is similar to the life of a migrant going to the United States by ship. He pays for a pleasant cabin and makes provisions to ensure he has a comfortable trip. But do you think he would bother to spend all his money renovating the amenities in his cabin and arrive in the United States penniless as a consequence? Or would he say to himself: ‘’I’ will only be staying in this cabin for a week, so I might as well enjoy what’s provided for and save my money for my home in the States as ‘that is where I’ll be taking up permanent residence.” Here’s another example to compare this world with the .world to come. Some years ago the United States announced that it was going to carry out an atomic test on a small island in the Pacific Ocean. This island was inhabited by a few hundred fishermen who were asked to vacate the island and were offered residence in the country of their choice, with the same terms and conditions as those they had been used to. A final date was fixed, giving them time to submit their particulars and prepare for their departure. The inhabitants reacted in different ways. Some of them did as they were advised, some dilly-dallied and neglected the matter till the final date, whereas others said the whole issue was based on lies, that there was no such place as the United States and they were therefore not willing to leave the island. It did not occur to them that the whole island would be blow to pieces and left in ruins. This example illustrates the different attitudes that may have to life on earth.
The believer is aware of what is to come in the hereafter and therefore prepares for it by leading a life of repentance and obedience, and we can compare him to the first; group of fishermen who started to pack up and get ready to go and live in a different place. But the believer who does not obey God and ignores his obligations is like the second group of fishermen, who took no notice of the fact that danger was imminent. As for the non-believer, he is like the third group of fishermen: he rejects and doubts the truth of religion. He is convinced that there is no life after this worldly existence, and that death is a deep sleep, a permanent rest and that he will be extinct.
This does not mean that Islam calls upon every Muslim to give up this world completely and free him self of all responsibilities. Islam does not say that mosques provide the only place of interest for Muslims; nor does it say that they should live in caves and lead the life of hermits. On the contrary, Islam calls upon Muslims to set the best example of a civilized people and to strive to be among the richest in terms of material wealth as well as to take a lead among scientists. It urges every Muslim to lead a balanced and healthy life, taking care of his or her body by eating proper food and keeping fit Islam advises Muslims not to overwork and to enjoy life and relax, so long as this recreation does not break the boundaries of Islam.
It urges a Muslim to take care of his family and carry out certain duties in the society in which he lives. He should be just as aware of these obligations as of the principles of faith in the Oneness of God and the need to obey Him. In other words, a Muslim may accumulate wealth, provided it is accumulated lawfully. Equally, he may enjoy all the lawfully permitted good things in life and he should be very much of this world, provided that he remains true to his faith and does not let any form of polytheism, explicit or implicit, infiltrate into his faith. He must keep away from whatever is deemed to be unlawful and perform all his religious duties. Wealth is something which should be carefully possessed in a Muslim’s hands and not in his heart, because his dependence should be on God and not on material possessions. And his one and only purpose in life should be constantly to seek to do what is acceptable to God.