true nature, it would have made me weep for a hundred years if I remained in the world that long, instead of intoxicating and amusing me for a few years. Just as one such peson said lamenting:
“If only one day my youth would return, I would tell it of the woes old age has brought me.”
Indeed, elderly people like the above who do not know the true nature of youth, think of their own youth, and weep with regret and longing. But when youth belongs to believers with sound minds and hearts, it is a most powerful, agreeable and pleasant means of securing good works and trade for the hereafter, so long as they spend it on worship, and that trade and those good works. For those who know their religious duties and do not misspend their youth, it is a precious and delightful divine bounty. But when it is not spent in moderation, uprightness, and fear of God, it contains many dangers; it damages eternal happiness and the life of this world. In return for the pleasures of one or two years’ youth, in old age it causes many years of grief and sorrow.
Since for most people youth is harmful, we elderly people should thank God that we have been saved from its dangers and harm. Like everything else, the pleasures of youth depart. If they have been spent on worship and good works, the fruits of such a youth remain perpetually in their place and are the means of gaining youth in eternal life.
Next, I considered the world, with which most people are infatuated and to which they are addicted. Through the light of the Qur’an, I saw that it has three faces, one within the other:
The First looks to the divine names; it is a mirror to them
Its Second Face looks to the hereafter, and is its tillage.
Its Third Face looks to the worldly; it is the playground of the heedless.
Moreover, everyone has his own vast world within this world. Simply, there are worlds one within the other to the number of human beings. The pillar of each person’s private world is his own life. If his body gives way, his world collapses on his head, it is doomsday for him. Since the heedless and neglectful do not realize that their world will be so quickly destroyed, they suppose it to be permanent like the general world and worship it. I thought to myself: “I too have a private world that will swiftly collapse and be demolished like the worlds of other people. What value is there in this private world, this brief life of mine?”
Then, through the light of the Qur’an, I saw that both for myself and everyone else, this world is a temporary place of trade, a guesthouse which is every day filled and emptied, a market set up on the road for the passers-