More often than not, people tend to function in extremes when it comes to their deen and dunya- some completely invest themselves in this worldly life, forgetting the impending akhirah, whereas others seclude themselves from society as a means to focus on their spiritual and religious duties, all the while neglecting their families and worldly duties. What they tend to forget is that Islam is not a religion of extremes but is, in fact, a religion of balance and ease. The key to being a good Muslim in the eyes of Allah (SWT) does not lie in hating the dunya or running away from it, it lies in finding a balance between your religious duties and your worldly duties- for they both go hand in hand.
“Do not exult. Indeed, Allah does not like the exultant. But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.” (Quran 28:77)
In reality, Islam actually forbids you to cut yourself off from the world and your worldly responsibilities and in turn, actually encourages individuals to engage and interact with society and reap what it has to offer, but within a set of boundaries created by Allah (SWT). Islam simplifies our tasks for us rather than making it more troublesome- a fact we tend to forget. According to the Quran:
“Allah intends for you ease, and does not want to make things difficult for you” (Quran 2:185)
Religion essentially poses as a guideline for the way we live in this world. Deen and dunya are more intertwined than we know; you can only attain excellence in your deen through achieving excellence in this dunya. The key is to nurture and protect your bond with Allah (SWT) because the quality of our relationship with Allah (SWT) defines the quality of life we live in not only this world, but in the Hereafter as well. A good and healthy relation with Him will automatically push us towards leading a righteous and content life. However, a weak or non-existent relation with Allah (SWT) will only lead us astray, towards a meaningless and empty life. If we make an effort to improve our private life to please Allah (SWT), Allah (SWT) will ensure a better public life for us.
Another core ingredient in achieving this balance is to always weigh our actions against the Quranic teachings and the Sunnah. Be conscious of your acts and whether they are in line with what Allah (SWT) has decreed for us; it keeps one vigilant and in line when it comes to engaging in worldly activities.
Allah (SWT) loves those who honor his commandments and live by His teachings. True contentment and happiness lies in the remembrance of Allah (SWT) and His worship- that is just how we, humans, have been wired. So make it a habit to remember Allah (SWT) in your daily activities and be grateful for what He has endowed you with in this life. Moreover, be sure to never neglect your religious duties at the cost of your worldly pleasures- make Allah (SWT) your priority and live by it. Allah (SWT) really does go above and beyond to help His servants who submit to Him and who live their lives in accordance to His will, in not only in this life but in the next one too.
“[The people of understanding are those] Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.” (Quran 3:191)
A life lived in accordance to Allah’s commandments is ‘Ibadah’ in itself. This dunya is a platform through which we can earn Allah’s (SWT) pleasure and rewards, which essentially lays down the foundation of the life we are to live in the Hereafter. Even our everyday activities– no matter how big or small – can account for the biggest rewards from Allah (SWT). For example, cooking for your family, cleaning the house, giving your children a good upbringing, helping your neighbors, visiting someone who is ill or even smiling at a stranger, is considered an act of kindness, or sadaqah, and is written down in our list of good deeds. The need to uphold a balance between the deen and dunya is further illustrated in the following hadith:
“A man once asked the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), “Do you think that if I only perform the obligatory prayers, fast the whole month of Ramadan, treat as lawful that which is lawful and treat as forbidden that which is forbidden, and do nothing further, shall I enter paradise? He (peace be upon him) replied, “Yes!” (Muslim)
In fact, our prophet (peace be upon him) resisted any tendency towards religious excessiveness. He once said to his close companion Abdullah ibn ‘Amr:
“Have I heard right that you fast every day and stand in prayer all night?” Abdullah replied: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah”. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Do not do that. Fast, as well as, eat and drink. Stand in prayer, as well as, sleep. This is because your body has a right upon you, your eyes have a right upon you, your wife has a right upon you, and your guest has a right upon you.” (Sahih Bukhari 127)
Allah (SWT) wants His creation to enjoy the fruits of this world and the next, both. In the Quran, He asks us to pray for goodness in this world and the next:
“Our Lord, give us what is good in this world and also what is good in the Hereafter” (Quran 2:201)
Islam endorses moderation in all spheres of life. Hence, as Muslims, we should adhere to a certain level of moderation in our deen and in our dunya in order to attain true success in this life and the Hereafter.