Pleasures Of This World Are Connected With Calamities and Darkness

Pleasures Of This World Are Connected With Calamities and Darkness

I envisaged myself looking at the pleasures of men in the world and forgetting how they were acquired them, together with the calamities that are associated with them.

The explanation of this reality is thus:

If you see a man of power and authority and if you ponder over his bounties, you will find they are linked to oppression. If he has not intended to carry out oppression, then it came about from his civil servants. Above that, he remains insecure and disturbed in all his affairs, cautious about his enemy poisoning him, worried about his superiors who may dismiss him, and about his counterpart who may plot against him. Thus most of his time is spent in serving those rulers who he is fearful of, accounting their wealth, executing their orders that are not devoid of disgusted things.

If he is dismissed, its anguish extends to all the pleasures one has attained. That pleasure is then covered with caution from all sides.

If you see a businessman, you will find that he has travelled extensively around the country. He did not acquire what he possesses except only after attaining an old age and after surpassing the age of pleasure.

It is narrated about a noble person for example, who during his youth was poor and then became rich after attaining old age. He owned wealth, bought Turkish slaves and young slave women from Rome. He said the following poem to explain his state:

“I never hoped to own it when I was twenty years old, 

But ended up owning it after becoming seventy years old,

The gazelles among the Turks roam around me,

As if, they are branches found on top of the dunes of Yabrin.

And the virgin girls of Rome are stunning due to their beauty, they resemble the wide-eyed damsels of Paradise,

They pinch me with their soft fingers, whose tips can be used to knot fine clothing.

They want to bring back to life a selfless soul who has no movement,

Then, how will they be able to enliven a dead person who is already buried,

They (friends) complained, ‘your groan keeps us awake at night,

So what is the complaint’, I replied eighty years of age.”

This is a common and widespread state people are found in. A person is incapable of accumulating everything he loves, but does so near the time of his departure from the world. If he hastens to acquire what he loves in his prime of youth, his immaturity prevents him from understanding the strategy or the method of attaining good pleasure. A man in his childhood fails to understand where he is, unless he reaches maturity. When he reaches maturity, his energy is spent in finding a bride by any cost necessary. When he marries, he has children who prevent him from acquiring further pleasure. He breaks down. He needs to earn for their upkeep. While he has gained experience during that age closer to thirties, his hair begins to whiten and he disowns himself knowing that women will estrange him, as Ibn al-Mu’tazzbillah states,

“I have tired myself in my old age, 

how can young effeminate ladies love me?”

Thus, one who seeks pleasure with beautiful women and finds them while he does not have wealth, he is unable to reach the goal.

If he indulges in accumulating wealth, the time to seek pleasure is lost. If the mission is accomplished, then ‘greying’ (of his hair) seems the most ugliest thing to happen.

Then, the wealthy person becomes fearful about wealth, assesses those who he deals with, is criticised if he is a spendthrift and stingy.

His children await his death, his female servant is not happy with his personality, is busy in protecting his close ones, his time is spent in woes and the pleasures are regular sneaks that contain no real pleasure.

Ultimately, on the Day of Judgment, the noble and businessman will be humiliated apart from those whom Allah will protect.

Astutely beware from looking at the outward structure of their bounties, as you might like it from a distance from you, however, if acquired, you may dislike it. It is coupled with the woes of the world and the Hereafter that cannot be described. Therefore adopt self-satisfaction as much as you can, for it contains the safety of this world and the Hereafter.

An ascetic who had a piece of dry bread with him was asked, ‘How do you like this?’ He replied, I leave it, until I like it.’

[Captured Thoughts by Ibn Al-Jawzi, p. 527-529]

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