The Dunya Delusion

The Dunya Delusion

Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said,

Whoever recites Surat al-Kahf on Friday will have a light between this Friday and the next. (Al-Bayhaqi and Al-Hakim)

An ayah which we recite every Friday from Surah Kahf describes the world around us:

And present to them the example of the life of this world, [its being] like rain which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it and [then] it becomes dry remnants, scattered by the winds. And Allah is ever, over all things, Perfect in Ability. (18:45)


The example of water here is a metaphor for life. Refreshing and vital for our survival, it falls on soil and produces fruit and vegetation which we also need for our sustenance. It is a vibrant image and we are charmed by the beauty of life. Yet, life is transient Afterwards it is nothing but chaff scattered by the wind. This is exactly why Allah Almighty says in the next ayah:

Wealth and children are but adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for one’s hope. (18:46)

The dunya delusion

The dunya deludes us. It is immediate and present (as dunya derives from dana, which means to come close), whereas akhirah, as suggested by its name, is far and distant, and not uppermost in our minds, if at all in our minds.

The reality is that we put our hopes in dunya which will be scattered.

What is permanent

Unlike the fleeting fragrance and superficial attraction of the dunya, which you enjoy at the time before it vanishes like a mirage, what lasts is good deeds, al baqiyatu salihatu khayrun. Although we are mentally and physically occupied by our work and family, Allah is saying that we must remember to focus on good deeds. Don’t pin your hopes on the dunya. At the same time, we live in the dunya and Islam is not against, hard work or excelling at work or against wealth and beauty, but warning us not to be seduced by the dunya and not to let shaytan distract us from our purpose.

O people, the promise of Allah is true do not be seduced by dunya, and don’t let the shaytan delude you. (35:5)

Scholars commented on this ayah and observed that the main thing that prevented Quraysh from imaan was their preoccupation with their worldly concerns and possessions. Allah Almighty is saying don’t let the dunya control you.

The dunya has been taken from us

While we are self isolating, the dunya has been taken out of our hands for the time being. What will last is our good deeds. Even leaders, kings, prime ministers and governors are ill and in bed. Where is their power? Some will even pass away.

What gives us hope?

Good deeds give us hope. Even after we depart from dunya, if someone was good, when he passes away people will say he was a good man. If someone was bad, people will be pleased when he departs and say the world is a better place without him. Omar may Allah be pleased with him said that the Prophet (peace be on him) said:

‘If four persons testify the righteousness of a Muslim, Allah will grant him Jannah.’ We asked: ‘If three persons testify his righteousness?’ He (peace be on him) replied, ‘Even three’. Then we asked: ‘If two?’ He (peace be on him) replied, ‘Even two.’ We did not ask him (regarding the testimony) of one. (Bukhari)

Abu Qatadah bi Rib’i reported Allah’s Messenger (peace be on him) said:

Whenever a bier passed before him, he said: He is mustarih and mustarah from him: the one to find relief and the one with (the departure of him) other will find relief. They said: Apostle of Allah, who is al-Mustarih and al-Mustarah? Upon this he said: The believing servant finds relief from the troubles of the world, and in the death of a wicked person, the people, towns, trees and animals find relief. (Bukhari and Muslim)

The message around us

The image of the rain is familiar to us, as are the plants and fruits. We can learn a deep lesson from them. We have to draw our attention to everything around us. There is a message from Allah coming to us from the clouds, the bees, the water, the flowers and everything around us.

Dunya – Deal with it, benefit from it, but don’t cling to it, for what will last is al baqiyaat asalihaat. These are good deeds. Some scholars say albaqiyaat are reciting subhanallah walhamdulilah wa la ilaha illallah wallahu akbar wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah.

Glory be to Allah, praise to Allah and there is no God but Allah, Allah is the greatest. There is no power greater than Him.

Invest in the dunya for the akhirah

The dunya is your bridge to the akhirah. Imam Qushayri said whoever is comfortable and engulfed by the dunya is deceived, for it conceals bitterness in its drink and poison in its honey. It is a mirage.

When you think you have it, you have nothing. What we can cash in the akhirah are our good deeds. We cannot escape akhirah. It is coming and no one can stop it.

What we can do to accumulate good deeds

  1. Focus on improving your relationship with Allah and your relationship with your family, your parents, spouse, children and your friends colleague and neighbours (though you cannot visit them right now).
  2. See the flaws in your character and control your anger and emotional responses.
  3. Pause the dunya, and reflect on yourself. And rectify any wrongs you have done.

May Allah make us better worshippers and better people. Enable us not to be tempted by the dunya, but to see beyond its charms and temptations, to utilise what we have at our disposal – our skills, our wealth, our status and our influence to do good.

We ask Him to keep us safe and give us all al ‘afwa wal’afiyah (forgiveness and well-being). Ameen.

The Friday Reminder – 3rd April 2020

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Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.