How Does Belief in Afterlife Influence Worldly Life Perspective?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul Sami‘ al-Yaqti


What is the impact of belief in the afterlife on a person’s view of this worldly life and the world?


All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds, and blessings and peace be upon the Master of the Messengers, his family, and all his companions.

One of the most important effects and fruits of believing in the Hereafter is that it enlightens a person about the reality of this world, its relationship with the Hereafter, the truth of their existence in it, their fate after death, and contemplation about the state of this universe; how it originated and who originated it? Will it continue indefinitely, or will it cease to exist, and how will it end? This leads to action and not becoming complacent or deceived by worldly life, as supported by many verses and hadiths, and Allah knows best.

Detailed Answer

In a previous answer regarding the importance of believing in the Hereafter, several matters related to the answer, such as the definition of the Hereafter, the ruling of believing in it, and its fruits, were discussed. One can refer back to that answer for complete benefit.

Indeed, one of the most important fruits of believing in the Hereafter is enlightening a person about the reality of this world, its relationship with the Hereafter, the truth of their existence in it, and what their fate will be after death. What will be the fate of this worldly life? How long will it continue, and how will it end? Contemplation about the state of this universe, how it originated, and who originated it. Will it continue indefinitely, or will it cease to exist, and how will it end? And other important questions that trouble the minds of non-believers, around which many predictions, myths, and theories abound. We find a sufficient explanation for these answers in the many Quranic verses and prophetic hadiths.

Wordlylife and Afterlife

In explaining the reality of worldly life and the reality of the afterlife, Allah (Most High) says:

“And what is the worldly life except amusement and diversion? And indeed, the home of the Hereafter – that is the (eternal) life, if only they knew” [Quran, 29:64]

In his interpretation, Tabari says, “And this worldly life in which these polytheists indulge is nothing but amusement and diversion. It means the soul’s preoccupation with what it enjoys, then it is quickly gone, with no permanence or continuity. “And indeed, the home of the Hereafter – that is the (eternal) life,” He says: “And in the Hereafter is the everlasting life, which has no end, no interruption, and no death associated with it. Narrated by Sa‘id, from Qatada regarding His saying, “And indeed, the home of the Hereafter – that is the (eternal) life if only they knew”: A life with no death in it…” [Tabari, Tafsir al-Tabari]

The afterlife is the true life, while the worldly life is like a dream. As Sayyidna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) said: “People are asleep; when they die, they wake up.” [Iraqi, al-Mugni ‘an Haml al-Asfar]

Or it is mere moments compared to the Hereafter, as Allah (Most High) says:

“On the Day He will gather them, it will be as if they had not stayed (in the world) except for an hour of a day, (as though they were only) getting to know one another. Lost indeed will be those who denied the meeting with Allah and were not (rightly) guided!” [Quran, 10:45]

He also says:

“And on the Day the Hour will arrive, the wicked will swear that they did not stay (in this world) more than an hour. In this way, they were always deluded (in the world). But those gifted with knowledge and faith will say (to them), ‘You did actually stay—as destined by Allah—until the Day of Resurrection. So here is the Day of Resurrection (which you denied)! But you did not know (it was true).’” [Quran, 30:55-56]

“They ask you (O Prophet) regarding the Hour, ‘When will it be?’ But it is not for you to tell its time. That knowledge rests with your Lord (alone). Your duty is only to warn whoever is in awe of it. On the Day they see it, it will be as if they had stayed (in the world) no more than one evening or its morning.” [Quran, 79:42-46]

And Allah (Most High) says in Surat al-Ahqaf, clarifying the reality of creation, resurrection, and accountability:

“Do they not realize that Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth and did not tire in creating them, is able to give life to the dead? Yes (indeed)! He is certainly Most Capable of everything. And on the Day the disbelievers will be exposed to the Fire, (they will be asked,) ‘Is this (Hereafter) not the truth?’ They will cry, ‘Absolutely, by our Lord!’ It will be said, ‘Then taste the punishment for your disbelief.’ So endure patiently, as did the Messengers of Firm Resolve. And do not (seek to) hasten (the torment) for the deniers. On the Day they see what they have been threatened with, it will be as if they had only stayed (in this world) for an hour of a day. (This is) a (sufficient) warning! Then, will anyone be destroyed except the rebellious people?” [Quran, 46:33-35]

In Surat al-Anbiya also, He says:

“On that Day, We will roll up the heavens like a scroll of writings. Just as We produced the first creation, (so) shall We reproduce it. That is a promise binding on Us. We truly uphold (Our promises)!” [Quran, 21:104]

Universe and its Fate

He (Most High) explains the state of the universe and its fate on that day:

“(Watch for) the Day (when) the earth will be changed into a different earth and the heavens as well, and all will appear before Allah—the One, the Supreme.” [Quran, 14:48]

There are many verses on this topic, such as Surat al-Takwir, al-Infitar, and others.

Therefore, it is not befitting for a believer to become attached to the worldly life, find comfort in it, and get distracted from the Hereafter, for it is nothing but a place of trial and transience. Instead, it should be a place of work and planting seeds for the Hereafter. Allah (Most High) says:

“Then, as for those who transgressed and preferred the (fleeting) life of this world, the Hellfire will certainly be (their) home. And as for those who were in awe of standing before their Lord and restrained themselves from ˹evil˺ desires, Paradise will certainly be (their) home.” [Quran, 79:37-41]


Finally, we will focus on this magnificent verse from Surat al-Hadid, in which Allah Almighty summarized the reality of worldly life and the Hereafter, then mentioned the recompense of each group, whether those who believed and did good deeds or those who denied, acted wickedly, were arrogant, and disbelieved. He says:

“Know that this worldly life is no more than play, amusement, luxury, mutual boasting, and competition in wealth and children. This is like rain that causes plants to grow, to the delight of the planters. But later, the plants dry up, and you see them wither, and then they are reduced to chaff. And in the Hereafter, there will be either severe punishment or forgiveness and pleasure of Allah, whereas the life of this world is no more than the delusion of enjoyment.” [Quran, 57:20]

Thus, belief in the Hereafter enlightens a person about their reality and the reality of this world, making them aware of their destiny and that of the world, which reflects on how they view it and how they deal with it, directing all their attention and care towards the Hereafter. This is what the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) advised Abdullah bin Umar bin al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with them) where he said: The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) took hold of my shoulders and said:

“Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a traveler.” And Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them) used to say: “If you survive till the evening, do not expect to be alive in the morning; and if you survive till the morning, do not expect to be alive in the evening; and take from your health for your sickness, and from your life for your death.” [Bukhari]


Imam Nawawi commented on the previous hadith: “It has been said in the explanation of this hadith: Its meaning is not to become attached to the worldly life, nor to consider it as a permanent home, nor to delude oneself with the prospect of a long stay in it, nor to concern oneself with it excessively. One should only be involved with worldly life as much as a stranger would in a land that is not their home and should not be occupied with matters that a stranger, intending to return to their family, would not be involved with. And success is by Allah” [Nawawi, Riyad al-Salihin]

[Shaykh] Abdul Sami‘ al-Yaqti

Shaykh Abdul Sami‘ al-Yaqti is a Syrian scholar born in Aleppo in 1977. He obtained his degree in Shari‘a from the Shari‘a Faculty of Damascus University, a Diploma in Educational Qualification from the Faculty of Education at Aleppo University, and a Diploma in Shari‘a and a Master’s in Shari‘a from the Faculty of Sharia, and Law at Omdurman University in Sudan. He is currently writing his doctoral thesis.

He studied under esteemed scholars such as Shaykh Abdul Rahman al-Shaghouri, Shaykh Mustafa al-Turkmani, and Shaykh Dr. Nur al-Din Itr, among others. Shaykh al-Yakti has worked in teaching and cultural guidance in orphanages and high schools in Aleppo. He served as an Imam, Khatib, and reciter at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and as a certified trainer for Khatibs in Abu Dhabi’s Khatib Qualification Program.

He is involved in developing and teaching a youth education program at Seekers Arabic for Islamic Sciences.

Among Shaykh al-Yaqti’s significant works are “Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni: Bayna Ilm al-Kalam Wa Usul al-Fiqh” and the program “The Messenger of Allah Among Us (Allah bless him and give him peace).”