The Almighty has made this world a place for trials and tests. Here each person has been given the chance to prove his mettle and become worthy of an eternal reward in the Hereafter. If he is unable to do so, he shall have to face the ignominy of Hell. The Qur’an we read every day and the prayer we offer five times a day actually serve to remind us of this reality, which we tend to forget so very easily.
However, this does not mean that one should not get involved in worldly affairs. In fact, a person should use whatever talents he has been blessed with for the betterment of the society he lives in. He should try to correctly assess himself and choose a life which best suits his talents and abilities. A person who contributes towards building a society is actually fulfilling his duty not only towards His Creator, but also towards his fellow human beings. The only thing he must remain mindful of in his struggles in the affairs of this world is that whenever, he has to make a decision in life and there exists a clash between interests of this world and those of the Hereafter, then he should always give priority to the Hereafter. Islam is not a religion of hermits and recluses, nor does it condone leading a life that is cut off from the rest of the world. It wants a person to live in the mainstream of events and face the harsh realities of life. It wants people to become tough and get going when the going gets tough. Escapism and Indulgence are two extremes which a person must avoid.
In other words, the key word is poise and giving each thing its proper due. Neither should a person get so involved in life that he forgets the Hereafter, nor should he forsake the life of this world, lest he lose the chance to achieve high honours in the Hereafter.
The poise we are required to maintain in life is our real test. The circumstances each one of us is put through may vary, but the trial each of one us is put through is the same. Once a person realizes this fact, he must try to adjust his life and his attitude towards life according to this barometer. This of course requires a lot of inner conviction and discipline from him. A tall order it may be, but once a person sets out in this direction, he is sure to experience that his solitary soul is not solitary after all. He would then live close to His Creator and experience the joys of the world to come in this very world.
(Dr Shehzad Saleem)