“…the example of this world and myself is that of a rider who seeks shade under a tree, then he moves on and leaves it behind.” (Hadith)
We read in a hadith:
Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, laid down upon a reed mat and it left marks on his side. When he woke up, I started wiping his side and I said, “O Messenger of Allah, why do you not let us spread something on top of this mat for you?” The Prophet said, “What is the world to me? What am I to the world? Verily, the example of this world and myself is that of a rider who seeks shade under a tree, then he moves on and leaves it behind.” (Musnad Ahmad)
There are so many reflections we can take from this hadith. It makes us think about the fact that the happiness we experience in this world is temporary and it will never stand stationary. We may feel joy about many different things in this Dunya, such as being offered our dream job or going on holiday to a place we have always wanted to travel to. Reading this hadith makes us see that of course there are experiences and aspects of this world that may bring us happiness, but a feature of this Dunya is that nothing here is eternal, including the happiness. This helps us not to become attached to the Dunya and focus on our ultimate purpose.
In the same way that the happiness here is temporary, so is sadness, sorrow and worry. Each hardship we endure and time of difficulty we face will not last forever. This helps us to bear patience and have hope, as we know that this Dunya is not our eternal home.
The hadith also makes us reflect on the different aspects of the Dunya and our relationships that we may sometimes place so much importance on, as if they will be everlasting. For example, the people in our life may influence the way we behave, as well as affect our emotions. The hadith helps us to remember that we should avoid placing so much importance on worldly things in a way that will cause us to neglect our practice of the Deen as well as forget our ultimate purpose. This is a reminder to us that we should use the time we have to build on our good deeds and rely completely on Allah, remembering Him often.
May Allah enable us to make the best use of the time He has written for us to be in this Dunya. Aameen.