The Desire For The Hereafter
The desire for the Hereafter is not complete without renouncing this world, and renouncement from this world is not achieved except after:
a) Looking at this world, and how quickly it passes away and reaches its end, its deficiencies, decline, vileness; the distress of competing for it, and the way it spoils and causes misery. Also, its ephemerality and discontinuation comes with misery and regrets.
The one who seeks this world benefits only by having sadness before acquiring it, worries when he is enjoying it, and grief after its passing away.
b) Knowing with surety that the Hereafter is going to come and its arrival is certain. The eternality, endlessness and nobility of the good and pleasing things in it, and the difference between what is there and what is here.
After completely understanding these two aspects the individual is required to make its preference and renounce what it should.
So anyone who is naturally disposed to leave the enjoyment of this world and the present worldly gains for the pleasures that are hidden and yet to come in the Hereafter will not do so unless the excellence of the next life over this one is clear to him, and has a strong desire to achieve the superior instead of the inferior.
When he prefers the transient and the inadequate it is either because he does not understand what is better for him or because he does not have the desire to achieve the best.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his Companions put this world behind their backs, turned their hearts away from it, and abandoned it. They did not befriend it they renounced it. They did not incline towards it.
They considered it to be a prison, not Paradise! They renounced it as it ought to have been renounced. Had they wished, they could have had anything they liked and obtained anything they desired because the key of its treasures were presented to them, but they refused to accept them.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said in authentic narrations:
“What am I in this world except for like a person who is traveling and stops under the shade of the tree to rest for a few moments and then continues with his traveling.”
And “What is this world compared to the Hereafter except like when one of you puts his finger in the sea, so he sees what he takes out (of the sea with his wet finger).”
Our Lord, the Creator of this world, draws a parable from our own lives to illustrate the Real value of this world: “Verily, the likeness of (this) worldly life is as the water (rain) which We send down from the sky; so by it arises the intermingled produce of the earth of which men and cattle eat: until when the earth is clad in its adornments and is beautified, and its people think that they have all the powers of disposal over it, Our Command reaches it by night or by day, and We make it like a clean-mown harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday. (10: 24)