Al-Hasan Al-Basree’s Letter to ‘Umar bn AbdilAzeez about Dunya

Culled from Ibn Qayyim’s Uddah-Saabireen, pp.214-215, Daar Ibn Al-Jawzee 2006 Edition

To proceed:

Indeed this world is a home of departure, never a home of permanence. Prophet Adam was made to get there as a punishment. Be wary of it, O Leader of the Believers. The needs therein is to forsake it. The opulence therein is its poverty. Each of the situations (that is, opulence and poverty) has its victims. The world belittles whoever exalts it; impoverishes whoever gathers it. Its similitude is like a poison devoured by someone who does not know his death is there. So be like a physician of its wounds who takes little of it because of the fear of what causes everlasting pain; being patient on the severity of the herbs because of the longevity of the pain.

Be wary of this delusive, deceptive and vain place; a place that has adorned itself with its fakery and ready to delude with its deception. It has cloaked itself with its false hopes and is ready to take its grooms. It is like a would-be bride gorgeously dressed, all eyes on her, all hearts move towards her, all souls covet her. Yet she is ready to kill all in-coming grooms. She will leave none untouched. But he that knows Allaah, will come to his sense when he is told about her. He that is desirous of her may accomplish his wish from her and become deluded, becoming obstinate thereafter and forgetting the Hereafter. He will busy all his sense with her until he tumbles and becomes heavily regretful. His loss will become colossal. All agonies of death will gather over him, so also the failures of the last moment. He will disappear from her in a twinkle and will never attain what he desires from her. Yet his soul will not be freed from the agonies, so he will leave the world with nothing, and arrive there with nothing.

Be wary of it, O Leader of the Believers.

Hide all what it contains and be wary of all what comes from it. Every lover of the world will plunge into harm every time he becomes pleased with it. Every pleasing thing from it is a dangerous meal.

A person may attain tranquility in it after tribulation (from it), and made to live in it till death. All its pleasures are mixed with sadness. The moment ones gets steeped in them no turning back if it has started taking one along. One will never know what is coming lest he waits to see. All the world promises are lies, all its hopes are falsehood, its clarity is confusion, its splendor is ignominy. If its Creator had not said anything about it or cited a similitude for it, it would have on its own woken the sleeper and given sense to the unheedful. Beside that, a warning has come from Allaah about it; there is in it an admonition.

The world has no worth and measure with Allaah. Allaah the Mighty Lord has not looked at it since He created it. The world was brought to our Prophet - sallallaahu alahyi wa sallam – with all its keys and treasures – with a promise that if he took them his worth will not be affected in the Sight of Allaah on the least – he rejected it. He hated that he should love what Allaah - its Creator – hates; or that he should extol what its Owner has despised. So he turned it away from the righteous as a choice but spread it before his enemies as a delusion such that whoever has been given will think he has been honoured with it, and has forgotten what Allaah did to [Nabee] Muhammad when He made him to tie a stone to his belly.

Recorded by Abu Nuaym in Hilyah al-Auliyaa, 6/313 and Ibn Abee Dunya in Dhamm Dunya no.293.

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