YOUR SEVENTH QUESTION
Is the following a Hadith, and what does it mean? “The best of youths are those who resemble men of mature age, while the worst men of middle age are those who resemble youths.”1
T h e A n s w e r : I have heard that it is a Hadith. Its meaning is this: “The best youth is the one who thinks about death like an elderly person, and working for the hereafter, avoids joining those who become captive to the passions of youth and drown in heedlessness. And the worst of your elderly people is the one who tries to resemble the young in heedlessness and passion, and follows the lusts of the soul like a child.”
The correct form of the second part you saw in the piece is as follows. I have hung it above my head for the wisdom it teaches. I look it at it every morning and evening and receive instruction:
If you want a friend, God is sufficient. Yes, if He is your friend, everything is friendly.
If you want companions, the Qur’an is sufficient. For in the imagination one meets with the prophets and angels in it, observes the events in which they were involved, and becomes familiar with them.
If you want possessions, contentment is sufficient. Yes, the person who is content is frugal; and the frugal person receives the blessing of plenty.
If you want an enemy, the soul is sufficient. Yes, the person who fancies himself is visited with calamities and meets with difficulties, whereas the one who is not fond of himself, finds happiness, and receives mercy.
If you want advice, death is sufficient. Yes, the person who thinks of death is saved from love of this world, and works in earnest for the hereafter.
I am adding an eighth to your seven matters. It is like this: a couple of days ago, a Qur’an reciter read part of Sura Yusuf as far as,
Take my soul [at death] as one submitting to Your will [as a Muslim], and unite me with the righteous.(12:101)
This point occurred to me in a flash: everything concerning the Qur’an and belief is valuable; however insignificant a point appears to be, it has great value. Nothing that helps to win eternal happiness is insignificant. In which case, it may not be said that this is only a small point and not worth explaining or being given importance. And certainly, the first student and
‘Ali Mawardi, Adab al-Dunya wa’l-Din, 27; Ghazali, Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din, i, 142; al-Manawi, al-Fayd al-Qadir, iii, 487.