How should we understand the hadith, "If the world was equal to the wing of a fly in the sight of God, He would not have given a sip of water to the disbeliever?"
Hadith relaters such as Imam Tirmidhi, Ibn Maje, and Imam Tabarani were recorded this hadith in their books.
Bediuzzaman explains the hadith by referring the phrase God to the eternal world; that is, by virtue of being everlasting, a light from the eternal world to the extent of a flys wing is greater than the amount of transient light, which fills the earth.
What is mentioned in the hadith is not the whole world itself, but everyones private world, which is limited with their short lives and this cannot be equal to an everlasting divine favor to the extent of a flys wing from the eternal world.
The world has three facets.
One is that the world consists in the mirrors where Almighty Gods Names are reflected. Everything, which exists in the world, is the work of art of a Creator. This world reflects such names, Al-Muqtadir, Al-Badi, Kabir, Alim, Semi, Basir of its Creator. It serves as a mirror to humans for them to read those names.
The other facet is concerned with the other world; that is, the world is the arable field sown with the seeds of the other world. That is to say, humans will receive a reward in the Hereafter in return for their good deeds, benefactions, prayers, and faiths in the world.
Bediuzzaman, in his work Flashes, describes the second facet of the world as below:
Then, through the light of the Quran, I saw that both for myself and everyone else, this world is a temporary place of trade, a guest-house which is every day filled and emptied, a market set up on the road for the passers-by to shop in, an ever-renewed notebook of the Pre-Eternal Inscriber which is constantly written and erased, and every spring is a gilded letter, and every summer a well-composed ode; that it is formed of mirrors reflecting and renewing the manifestations of the All-Glorious Makers Names; is a seed-bed of the Hereafter, a flower-bed of Divine Mercy, and a special, temporary workshop for producing signboards which will be displayed in the World of Eternity. (The Flashes, Twenty-sixth Flash, Eight Hope, trans. Sukran Vahide)
These two facets of the world cannot be despised and cannot be valued less. Furthermore, these are not regarded as inferior in the hadith.
The third facet, which looks to transience and non-existence of the world comparing to that of World of Eternity; It is the world of the misguided people who indulge themselves with illegal pleasures of which God does not approve. The world life which is seem like everlasting by those who is misguided cannot be equal to an everlasting life in the Hereafter which is bestowed upon believers to the extent of a flys wing. (The Words, Tenth Word)
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