A man once accompanied Nabi Isa Alaihis salaam, the son of Maryam Alaihas sallaam on one of his many travels that he undertook. The pair continued on the journey until they came to a river. Here they sat down and began to eat. They had three loaves of bread. They ate two of them and one remained which they kept for a later stage in the journey.

After having eaten, Nabi Isa Alaihis sallaam went to the river, drank some water and returned. Upon his return he did not find the third loaf, so he asked the man as to who had taken that loaf. The man pleaded ignorance by saying that he did not know.

They continued until they came to a doe followed by two fawns. Nabi Isa Alaihis salaam beckoned one of the fawns, killed it, roasted it and they ate it. He then addressed the fawn [that had been eaten,] saying, "Live!" It came to life and galloped into the clearing. Then Nabi Isa Alaihis Salaam said to the man, "By the God Who has shown you this miracle, who took that loaf of bread?" Still the man said that he did not know.

They continued until they reached a lake. Here Nabi Isa Alaihis Salaam took the hand of the man and led him miraculously over the water. When they reached the other side, Nabi Isa Alaihis Salaam once again turned to the man and asked him, "By the One Who has shown you this miracle, who took that loaf of bread?" And again like before the man said that he did not know.

They continued until they reached a desert. They sat down. Nabi Isa Alaihis salaam gathered some sand or dust and said, "By the permission of Allah Ta’ala, become Gold!" In an instant the sand was transformed to gold. Nabi Isa Alaihis salaam then divided the gold into three portions.

Turning to the man he said, "One third is for me, one third for you, and one third for whoever took that loaf of bread."

Instantly the man jumped up and said, "Alright, I took that loaf of bread."

On discovering the true deceitful and greedy nature of the man, Nabi Isa Alaihis salaam immediately took leave of the man leaving the gold bars behind for him.

The man was naturally elated at having gotten three bars of gold. He gathered these and went on his way. As he continued on his journey he encountered two other men in the desert. When they learnt that he had in his possession three bars of gold, they wanted to take his Gold and kill him. On seeing their intentions He said to them, "I have three bars of gold. Why don’t we each take a bar each and all will be happy". The two men agreed and now the trio continued on the journey. Soon they began to feel hungry. They seated themselves under a tree and decided to send one of them to the village to buy food.

The one who went to buy the food said to himself, "Why should I let them have portions of this wealth? I shall put some poison into the food, and kill them." So, he poisoned the food.

Meanwhile, the other two sitting under the tree plotted and said, "Why should we give a third of this wealth to him. When he comes back, let us kill him, and divide the rest of the wealth between us."

When the man returned with the food, they attacked him and killed him and took his bar of gold which they were to share between themselves. Then they ate the poisoned food and died. The wealth remained in the desert with the three dead men beside it.

Prophet Isa (Jesus, peace upon him) passed them and saw the situation. He said to his disciples, "This is the world, so beware of it!"

The world is treacherous, deceitful, conniving and traitorous. It is cursed by Allah Ta’ala and His beloved Messenger Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam for it lacks real goodness in every way. Totally insignificant it is in the sight of Allah Ta’ala. This insignificance and degraded position is clearly expressed in the hadeeth of our beloved messenger Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam where he is reported to have said that had this world be equal in value to the wing of a mosquito in the sight of Allah Ta’ala, then Allah Ta’ala would have not given even a drop of water to the non-believer. On the contrary everyone enjoys fair shares of worldly pleasures regardless of them being believers or non-believers. This proves beyond doubt that when Allah Ta’ala gives dunya to those who are His open enemies, then there is absolutely no value to it.

Those who run after it and hanker after its temporary adornments continue doing so without any end. It is a vicious and never-ending story. The more they run after it, the further it runs from them. At the end it leaves them in disgrace and humiliation. In this way entire lives are wasted in hot pursuit of the world’s fleeting possessions. This is the modus operandi of the world. It presents itself as attractive and irresistible but underneath these attractions lurk dangers beyond comprehension. Those who fall prey to these place themselves on the direct path of destruction, disgrace and humiliation. At the end, the world kicks them like a dog and forsakes them. They leave the world empty and reach the hereafter too empty.

This warning has been sounded in the Qur’aan and countless ahadeeth repeatedly. The world is your enemy so stay away from it. When at the end of each day we weigh our efforts in terms of those for the hereafter and those that would supposedly afford us a good life in this world and we find the latter outweighing the former then we too have become entrapped in the snares of this world and beguiled by its superficial beauty. Alas, if only the ummah understood the perils of hankering after worldly possessions and amassing worldly goods.

Like how one would keep his distance from an enemy, every believer should keep his distance from the world. The heart wherein is held love for the world cannot hold love for Allah Ta’ala and His beloved Messenger Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam. The co-existence of these two is impossible!

Those who desire Allah Ta’ala and His Messenger Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam in their lives will have to give up the world. This has been the order from times immemorial. Those kings who wished a connection with Allah Ta’ala had to give up their vast kingdoms! Only once the love of worldly possessions left their hearts, then love of Allah Ta’ala came rushing in.

Thus the challenge is whether we want to become slaves of the world or slaves of Allah Ta’ala. The decision and making the correct efforts are both up to us!!! There is no obligation but both the risks and rewards are immense. Compare the lives of the true servants of Allah Ta’ala and the lives of those who have become enslaved by the world! The results are crystal clear!

The Prophet Sallallaahu alaihi wasallam once told us that for every nation there is a test and trial and the test and trial of this ummah is wealth which equals ‘the world’. Are we passing the test or failing dismally? Only every individual can answer this question!

Our sprawling mansions with interiors rolling in luxurious furniture and fittings, Our more than one gleaming and pricey vehicles, our hefty and still growing bank balances cannot deny the fact that we are failing the test-not just failing but failing dismally and in a big way too!

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