To Establish Balance

At a time when some people lived in monasteries and others drowned in luxury, Prophet Muhammad came with the Qur'anic instruction: Seek, amidst that which God has given you, the Last Abode, and do not forget your portion of the present world (28:77).

All Prophets, peace be upon them all, came to establish balance between the material and spiritual life, reason and soul, this world and the next, and indulgence and abstinence. While we should declare all that God has bestowed on us to show our gratitude and due praise for Him (And as for your Lord's blessing and bounty, declare it [93:11]), we must not forget that we will have to account for every good we enjoy (Then you shall be questioned that day concerning every good you enjoy [102:8]).

The Prophet inculcated this principle so deeply in his Companions' hearts that it could be seen in every aspect of their lives. For example, once when breaking fast during Ramadan, Abu Bakr, the first caliph, was offered a glass of cold water. He had just taken a sip when he suddenly burst into tears and stopped drinking. When asked why, he replied: "Once I was with God's Messenger. He acted as if he were pushing something with his hand and saying to it: 'Keep away from me!' I asked him what he was doing, and he replied: 'The world appeared to me in an ideal form, with all its pomp and luxury. I pushed it away, saying: "Leave me. You can't seduce me." It withdrew and said: "I can't conquer you, but I swear by God I'll captivate those who come after you.'" After narrating this Tradition, Abu Bakr concluded: "Just now, I thought that the world tempted me with a glass of cold water, and I wept." [1]

Abu Bakr and most Companions lived a balanced life, despite the fact that they had every chance to live in comfort.

[1] Abu Nu'aym, Hilyat al-Awliya' wa Tabaqat al-Asfiya', 1:30-31.
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