Nahjul BalaghaSermons

Sermon 227

Certainly, fear of Allah is the key to guidance, provision for the next world, freedom from every slavery and deliverance from all ruin. With its help the seeker succeeds and he who makes for safety escapes and achieves his aims.

Perform (good) acts while such acts are being raised (in value), repentance can be of benefit, prayer can be heard, conditions are peaceful and the pens (of two angels) are in motion (to record actions). Hasten towards (good) actions before the change of age, lingering illness or snatching death. Certainly, death will end your enjoyments, mar your pleasures and remove your objectives. It is an unwanted visitor, invincible adversary and unaccounting killer. Its ropes have entrapped you, evils surrounded you, arrowheads aimed at you, its sway over you is great, its oppression on you is continuous and the chance of its missing you is remote.

Soon you will be overwhelmed with gloom of its shades, severity of its illness, darkness of its distresses, nonsense utterances of its pangs, grief of its destruction, darkness of its encompassment and unwholesomeness of its taste. It will seem as if it has come to you all of a sudden, silenced those whispering to you, separated your group, destroyed your doings, devastated your houses and altered your successors to distribute your estate among chief relatives, who did not give you any benefit, or grieved near ones who could not protect, or those rejoicers who did not lament.

It is upon you to strive, make effort, equip yourself, get ready and provide yourself from place of provision. Let not life of this world deceive you as it deceived those before you among past people and bygone periods – those who extracted its milk, benefited from its neglectfulness, passed long time and turned its new things into old. Their abodes turned into graves and wealth into inheritable estate. They do not know who came to them; do not pay heed to those who weep over them, and do not respond to those who call them. Therefore, beware of this world as it is treacherous, deceitful and cheating, it gives and takes back, covers with clothes and uncovers. Its pleasure does not last, its hardship does not end and its calamity do not stop.

A part of the same sermon: They are from among people of this world but are not its people, because they remain in it as though they do not belong to it. They act herein on what they observe and hasten here (to avoid) what they fear. Their bodies move among people of the next world. They see that people of this world attach importance to the death of their bodies but they themselves attach more importance to the death of the hearts of those who are living.

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