The meaning of the world in Islam

The word ‘world’ literally means closer. This concept makes sense given the hereafter. Actually the word ‘world’ refers to the world that is closer to humans than the Hereafter. Man first understands this world and then moves to Hereafter.
The world is a farm for the Hereafter
In Islamic interpretations, the world has been both condemned and praised. The life that mankind has in this world, if it is taken as a means for gaining the hereafter and eternal life, then the life of this world is praised, in fact, there is no hereafter without this world. In this sense, the world is a farm for the Hereafter, the same way as it is not possible to obtain a product without a farm, cultivation, work and right effort. Hereafter and eternal bliss will not be achieved without the world and efforts made in it.



The world that is on the path to the hereafter is introduced in Qur’an this way:

« وابتغ فیما اتئک الله الدار الاخره و لا تنس نصیبک من الدنیا و احسن کما احسن الله الیک و لا تبغ الفساد فی الارض ان الله لایحب المفسدین » ( القصص آیه ۷۷)

But seek, with that (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter, and forget not your portion of legal enjoyment in this world, and do good as Allah has been good to you, and seek not mischief in the land. Verily, Allah likes not the Mufsidun (those who commit great crimes and sins, oppressors, tyrants, mischief-makers, corrupts). [al Qasas: 77]


Islam has not abandoned the world

In this perspective, the world has all the signs to Know Allah. It is recommended in Islam to pay attention on this world. Taking advantage from this world is emphasized in the Qur’an.

« یا ایها الذین امنو کلوا من طیبت ما رزقکم و اشکروا الله ان کنتم ایاه تعبدون » ( البقره آیه ۱۷۲)

O you who believe! Eat of the good things We have provided for you, and give thanks to God, if it is Him that you worship. [al-Baqarah:172]


Use the world in a right way

God says in the Qur’an that We have created everything on earth for humans. And this means it should be used rightly.

«هو الذی خلق لکم ما فی الارض جمیعا ….» ( البقره آیه ۲۹ )

It is He who created for you everything on earth, then turned to the heaven, and made them seven heavens. And He is aware of all things. [al-Baqarah:29]

«قل من حرم زینه الله التی اخرج لعباده و الطیبات من الرزق قل هی للذین امنوا فی الحیاه الدنیا خالصه یوم القیمه کذلک نفصل الایات لقوم یعلمون »( الاعراف آیه ۳۲

Say: “Who has forbidden the adoration with clothes given by Allah, which He has produced for his slaves, and At-Taiyibat [all kinds of Halal (lawful) things] of food?” Say: “They are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, (and) exclusively for them (believers) on the Day of Resurrection (the disbelievers will not share them).” Thus We explain the Ayat (Islamic laws) in detail for people who have knowledge. [al-Araf:32]

The world that is at the service of the life hereafter has been praised in the narrations as well.

Imam Ali (AS): Certainly, this world is a house of truth for those who look into it carefully, an abode of peace and rest for those who understand its ways and moods and it is the best working ground for those who want to procure rewards for life in the Hereafter. It is a place of acquiring knowledge and wisdom for those who want to acquire them, a place of worship for the friends of Allah and for Angels. It is the place where prophets received revelations of Allah. It is the place for virtuous people and saints to do good deeds and to be assigned with rewards for the same.


Nahjul Balagah Saying 131


The world to be feared

There is a world in which a man is lost leaving the eternal bliss of Hereafter aside, such world is condemned by Islam because it takes him away from virtue and leads him to hell.

«ما هذه الدنیا الا لهو و لعب و ان الدار الاخره لهی الحیوان» ( عنکبوت آیه ۶۴)

And this life of the world is only amusement and play! Verily, the home of the Hereafter, that is the life indeed eternal that will never end. [al-Ankabut:64]


Which world

Being engaged in this world and neglecting the hereafter is strongly forbidden in Qur’an.

« اولئک الذین اشتروا الحیوه الدنیا بالاخره فلا یخفف عنهم العذاب و لا هم ینصرون » ( البقره آیه ۸۶)

Those are the ones who have bought the life of this world [in exchange] for the Hereafter, so the punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be aided. [al-Baqarah: 86]

Similarly, there are countless narratives in this regard.


1.Holy Qur’an
2. Majallat Majmac al-Lugha, Ibn Faris
3. Nahj al Balagah, Seyyed Razi

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