"What is the life of this world but play and amusement?" "Not for (idle) sport did We create the heavens and the earth..." How should we understand the verses above?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

“What is the life of this world but play and amusement?”(al-Anam, 6/32)

“Not for (idle) sport did We create the heavens and the earth and all that is between.” (al-Anbiya, 21/16)

The world has three different faces:

The first one is like a book written with Allah’s pen of power. People who are tested must read this book, recognize Allah and worship Him. For, every work has a master, every art has an artist and every book has an author; similarly, this book of the universe has an author, these wonderful art paintings have an artist, and that magnificent work has an owner, who is the Supreme Creator.

The second face is like a field in which crops are planted for the Hereafter, a book in which the deeds are written, and a hall where the test is taken.

The message given by the verse from the chapter of al-Anbiya aims to draw attention to these two aspects of the world.

From this point of view, it is necessary to understand the message of the verse as follows: “This world is a serious school, a university... Do not be lazy and do not fail the test. The examination is very serious; there is no additional make-up exam...”  

The third face of the world is its being an ephemeral, temporary inn.

The verse in the chapter of al-Anam draws attention to this position of the world and wants people not to be deceived by it. For, this aspect of the world seems like a playground and entertainment place addressing the soul and man’s desires. It is like an entertainment center that blocks the paths leading to Allah and the hereafter and is hence the toy of non-serious people.

Indeed, in this aspect, this world life consists of a momentary taste. It is so brutal that if it gives man some trivial pleasure, it makes him suffer a great amount of paint. If it gives man a single grape to eat, it slaps him one hundred times.  

If everyone views his/her life from this viewpoint, he/she will see that the life that he/she has spent up to now is a sleep, a dream that has ended; the remaining life will fly away like a wind.

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