11:15 Whoso desires the life of this world and its adornment, We shall pay them in full for their deeds therein, and therein they shall not be defrauded.
“When someone is satisfied with this world without Me, despite the lowliness of its attributes, I will not hold him back from the enjoyment of some days. But the sweetness of its perfection will be followed by the bitterness of its disappearance. The flavor of its honey will be succeeded by the poison of its colocynth.
“When someone wants this world from Me, this world will not be held back from him, but he will be helpless in the next world, and this world also will not stay with him.”
It is mentioned in the traditions that whoever turns his face towards this world has turned his back on God. Turning one’s back on God is to sleep always with thoughts of this world and to wake with thoughts of this world while one’s moments are drowned in them. A poor wretch like this does not know that this world is the enjoyment of delusion [3:185]. It is the carpet of playing and jesting, the toy of the ignorant and the cause of their deception. He who keeps to this world is like a traveler sitting in a ship, this world his traveling supplies. If he takes more supplies than he needs, the ship will sink and cause his destruction.
It is said that Dhu’l-Qarnayn went to the land of the west, and the kingdom of that region was held by a woman. Dhu’l-Qarnayn said, “Surrender this kingdom to me.”
She said, “No! And there is no honor in it.”
He wanted to take the kingdom by severity, but he was ashamed to fight against a woman.
The woman said, “I invite you to be my guest. After the invitation is completed, I will surrender the kingdom to you.”
When he came to the table, he saw a table laden with gold. All the cups were gold, and in place of food, there were pearls and gems. Dhu’l-Qarnayn said, “What will I eat? I need food. None of this is fit for eating.”
The woman said, “Since your portion of this world is no more than bread, where will you take the kingdom of the earth? It is fitting that you have no kingdom, for your portion is no more than two loaves of bread. Everything else is bane and torment.”
Abū Bakr Warrāq said, “The life of this world is one thing, the adornment of this world something else. The adornment of this world is what was said in the verse, ‘Adorned for the people is the love of appetites’ and so on [3:14]. The life of this world is the abhorrence of death. Whoever loves this world will have no awareness of God and will never wish for death. He will consider life to be just the life of this world—the perfection of appetite and heedlessness without end. He will have no awareness of the goodly life [16:97] with which the friends are busy.” The Splendorous Qur’an and exalted Speech of the Lord God make this allusion: 11:17 And what of him who is upon a clear sign from his Lord?
The life of the heedless and the life of the recognizers will never be equal. The life of the heedless is what He says: “Whoso desires the life of this world and its adornment” [11:15]. The life of the recognizers is And what of him who is upon a clear sign from his Lord? He is saying: The recognizers have the brightness of familiarity based on the light of the religion and the spirit of certainty. They have gone on the road to success and arrived at the goal of realization. Their hearts are filled with disengagement and solitariness.
In the tongue of the folk of allusion, the clear sign is the seed of the pain of passion that He scattered on the first day, at the beginningless covenant, in the hearts of His friends. Thus, it has come in the report, “Then He sprinkled them with some of His light.” Their makeup was a sweet clay which, in the era of the creation of Adam, had come from the goodly sort, receptive to the seed of passion’s pain. Then the sun of And the earth will shine with the light of its Lord [39:69] shone forth on it and it received a complete nurturing. When the jasmine of the covenant came up, the flower of closeness bloomed. The breezes of felicity blew over it and it became the place of the gaze of the Divinity, 360 times in a day and night. The servant was asleep all night, and this gaze was flowing over his heart. He slept, and the gaze of God was his protector. If he inclined even once from the avenue of the Haqiqah or took flight in the air of mortal nature, the call came from the World of the Unseen: “Be penitent toward your Lord” [39:54].