How should we understand the hadith, “If this world were worth a wing of a mosquito in the eye of Allah, He would not give the disbeliever a drink of water thereof”?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Hadith scholars like Imam Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Imam Tabarani included this hadith in their books. (1)

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi attracts attention to the fact that “the world’s not being worth a wing of a mosquito in the eye of God Almighty” is “compared to the eternal and everlasting realm of the hereafter”. This worldly life has a mortal, temporary and ephemeral nature. However, a light that is as little as a mosquito wing in the life of the hereafter is bigger than a temporary light that will fill the earth in terms of being eternal and infinite.

Another point that is taken into consideration in the explanation of the hadith is as follows: The world mentioned in the hadith is not the huge world we know, but the personal and special world of each person. In other words, man’s own world, many blessings he uses and enjoys do not correspond to even a blessing as little as a mosquito wing of the everlasting realm; those blessings are superior and valuable because they are eternal.

The world and things have three faces, that is, three meanings and natures. The first and most important of them is that the world is a mirror for the names of God Almighty. Everything that exists in the world is the work and art of the Creator. This world, which is a work of art of God Almighty, has become a mirror for the names of its Creator such as “Muqtadir (Powerful), Badi (Incomparable), Kabir (Great), Alim (Knower of All), Semi (Hearer of All), Basir (All Seeing)”. It acts as a mirror for people to read and see those names.

The second face of the world looks at the hereafter; it is the field of the hereafter. That is, man sows spiritual seeds such as charity, good deeds, worship and belief in this world and reaps the crops in the hereafter.

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi describes this face of the world in “the Eighth Hope” in his book Lem’alar:

“I saw that both for myself and everyone else, this world is a temporary place of trade, a guesthouse 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 Maker’s 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.”(2)

The world cannot be insulted, defamed, or regarded as worthless in terms of those two faces. Those two sides of the world are not despised in the hadith.

The side of the world that is worthless compared to the everlasting realm is the third side, which is the world of the people who indulge in illegitimate pleasures and entertainment. This face of the world and this worldly life of those who love the world as if they will not die is not worth a particle or a mosquito wing compared to the eternal blessings given to believers in the hereafter. (3)


1) Ibn Majah, Zuhd 3; Tirmidhi Zuhd: 13
2) Lemalar, p. 220.
3) Sözler, p. 320.

Questions on Islam

Was this answer helpful?
In order to make a comment, please login or register