The Pains of the False World - Harun Yahya


The life of this world is nothing but a game and a diversion. The abode of the Hereafter-that is truly life if they only knew.
(Qur'an, 29:64)


Those people who forget the Hereafter and imagine this world to be the be-all and end-all of existence have constructed for themselves a moral system far removed from that of the Qur'an. They may sometimes give the appearance of behaving in line with the attitudes ordained in the Qur'an but even while doing so, they still act with a worldly desire. For instance, people with such a view regard such virtues as truth, honesty, sincerity, helpfulness, humility, self-sacrifice and loyalty as means of looking good to those around them and assuming a specific place amongst them. They adopt certain modes of behavior with that end in mind. Yet that behavior is artificial and transitory since it is built on worldly interests. People who adopt a modest and altruistic approach towards their friends may turn into most proud, hypocritical and selfish individuals the moment they realize that this provides them with no advantages.

Moreover, people who live in such a way are constantly calculating their own interests. Before doing anything, they ask themselves, "What will people say if I do this, what will they think about me, what advantage can I attain from this behavior?" This is an indication that they are considering their own, their spouses', and their friends' wishes and desires, not the approval of Allah. Under such circumstances, virtues such as love, sincerity, goodness, friendship, compassion and patience cannot be permanent, and one sees only false versions of these, not the originals. All there is are temporary feelings that the society of the ignorant built on their false values, turning solely in the direction of the life of this world.


Allah installs the emotion love in the human heart as He does many other feelings. What a human being needs to do is to direct this emotion in the best possible way: in the light of the recommendations given by Allah in the Qur'an. Since believers take the Qur'an as their guide, they direct their love towards our Lord, the Creator of themselves and all the blessings they enjoy, and towards believers who seek to gain His approval.

However, those who are c aught up in the shenanigans of the life of this world are passionately devoted to the wrong things. For instance, they love "people as they should love Allah." Allah reveals this distorted love of unbelievers thus in the Qur'an:

Some people set up equals to Allah, loving them as they should love Allah. But those who believe have greater love for Allah. If only you could see those who do wrong at the time when they see the punishment, and that truly all strength belongs to Allah, and that Allah is severe in punishment. (Surat al-Baqara, 165)

For example, many unbelievers direct this distorted love to the most materialistic pursuits. Their love for property is passionately devoted to this transitory sphere and the very heart itself is thus infected by the shadows of meanness and selfishness. This attitude of unbelievers is revealed in these terms in the Qur'an:

Truly he is fierce in his love of wealth. (Surat al-'Adiyat, 8)

However, the fact is that Allah has revealed with the verses of the Qur'an that property is a subject of test belonging to the life of this world and has warned people against obsession with the material:

Know that your wealth and children are a trial and that there is an immense reward with Allah. (Surat al-Anfal, 28)

You who believe! Do not let your wealth or children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. Whoever does that is lost. (Surat al-Munafiqun, 9)

Aware of these facts, believers are not taken in by love of worldly goods. Since they know that it is our Lord Who endows them with the blessings they enjoy, this is a means whereby they give thanks to Allah. They use the material means given to them for good deeds which can gain Allah's approval, and seek more in order to use all that they have to please Allah. Prophet Sulayman (as), who was given an enormous treasury, expressed the purposes for which he wanted those blessings:

He [Sulayman] said: "Truly do I love the love of good, with a view to the glory of my Lord." (Surah Sad, 32)

There is no doubt that this virtuous behavior by Prophet Sulayman (as) shows the way in which believers should look at the riches of this world. People should always direct their love towards our Lord, Who protects them at all times and provides limitless blessings, according to His will.

One of the most noticeable signs of false love-love based on values other those of the Qur'an-is the choice of friends. The fundamental logic behind the friendship of those who fail to consider the existence of the Hereafter is generally built upon ensuring the greatest mutual benefit in this world. Both sides have specific characteristics sought by the other and they look for a friend who can offer them material and emotional benefits of various sorts. The aim is to attain respect and prestige in the eyes of wider society.

They attach considerable importance to the physical appearance, family situation, education and abilities of the person they select. Features of proper moral values such as love, respect and loyalty are generally of limited importance to the follower of godless love. In the absence of real love and respect in a friendship, there can of course be no true happiness. This also applies to the conception of marriage held by those who live far removed from the moral values of the Qur'an and, as with their friendships, relationships based on mutual advantage prevail.

However, the exact opposite applies to the believer. A person who believes in Allah loves and respects another to the extent of that individual's faith in and devotion to Him and proper moral values. That person hopes not for worldly interests or a temporary relationship with the other but for an eternal love compatible with the approval of Allah, Who has revealed that He will reward such people, together with their spouses, in the Hereafter:

The Companions of the Garden are busy enjoying themselves today, they and their wives reclining on couches in the shade. (Surah Ya Sin, 55-56)

"My servants, you will feel no fear today; you will know no sorrow." As for those who believed in Our signs and became Muslims: "Enter the Garden, you and your wives, delighting in your joy." Platters and cups of gold will be passed around among them and they will have there all that their hearts desire and their eyes find delight in. You will remain in it timelessly, for ever. That is the Garden you will inherit for what you did. (Surat az-Zukhruf, 68-72)


In societies which live far removed from the moral values of the Qur'an, everyone has his or her own different ideas about the concept of righteousness. Yet the true definition of righteousness has actually been revealed in the Qur'an:

It is not righteousness to turn your faces to the East or to the West. Rather, those with true righteousness are those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, the a ngels, the Book and the prophets, and who, despite their love for it, give away their wealth to their relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to travelers and beggars and to set slaves free, and who perform prayer and give the alms; those who honor their contracts when they make them, and are steadfast in poverty and illness and in battle. Those are the people who are true. They are the people who guard against evil. (Surat al-Baqara, 177)

… Rather righteousness is possessed by those who guard against evil… (Surat al-Baqara, 189)

The way that some people who live unaware of the moral values of the Qur'an seek to portray themselves as lovers of what is good or as "pure-hearted" is actually aimed at easing their own consciences and gaining the esteem of other people. Whenever any of these people are going to do something good, they generally consider what they will obtain in return. If the person in need of help is well equipped with material means, they act at once, bearing in mind the material gains that this person may be able to confer on them later. When it comes to helping someone of little status or who lacks great material means, the misguided individual will perform a virtual profit and loss calculation. Upon realizing there is little benefit in the relationship for them, they find it more difficult to offer help and do good under such circumstances. Their assistance therefore comes slowly and they behave unwillingly or uninterestedly. Indeed, they may give no help at all.

In addition to all this, some people may also do good in order to make greater demands. They act not with the aim of gaining Allah's approval but from a wish to profit from people or the benefits of the life of this world. People of faith, on the other hand, act in a godly manner, placing their hope in Allah alone. As in all their actions, the aim whenever they perform a good deed is to gain Allah's approval. Our Lord has revealed that the return for this godly behavior for believers is more and better of what they have done:

Those who produce a good action will receive ten like it. But those who produce a bad action will only be repaid with its equivalent and they will not be wronged. (Surat al-An'am, 160)

Say: "Servants of Mine who believe! Fear your Lord. For those who do good in this world there is good and Allah's Earth is spacious. The steadfast will be paid their wages in full without any reckoning." (Surat az-Zumar, 10)

Those who do good will have the best and more! Neither dust nor debasement will darken their faces. They are the Companions of the Garden, remaining in it timelessly, for ever. (Surah Yunus, 26)

Everything in the heavens and everything in the Earth belongs to Allah so that He can repay those who do evil for what they did and repay those who do good with the very best. (Surat an-Najm, 31)


The Qur'an states: "If someone shuts his eyes to the remembrance of the All-Merciful, We assign him a satan who becomes his bosom friend." (Surat az-Zukhruf, 36)

Allah reveals that those who turn their backs on religion become the friends of Satan. In another verse this fact is set out in these words: "Children of Adam! Do not let satan tempt you into trouble as He expelled your parents from the Garden, stripping them of their covering and disclosing to them their private parts. He and his tribe see you from where you do not see them. We have made the demons friends of those who do not believe." (Surat al-A'raf, 27) Satan brings those he makes friends with under his control and directs them in the ways of his own loathsome moral values.

People who win the friendship of satan instead of the approval of Allah are deprived of a great many blessings. One of these losses is the way that such people never have true friends. Friendship is a blessing given by our Lord to those who take Him as their friend. As revealed in the verse, "Your friend is only Allah and His Messenger and those who believe: those who perform prayer and give the alms, and bow." (Surat al-Ma'ida, 55), Allah grants these people the friendship of devout believers.

Satan's friendship, on the other hand, leaves a person permanently alone. That is because satan tells those he adopts as friends that lies, deviance, rebellion, denial and hatred are pleasant things. People under the influence of satan approach those around them with just that moral understanding. They will primarily act according to their own interests and agenda. Such a person's best friend is him or herself. It is therefore impossible for such people to build true and permanent friendships as alluded to in the Qur'an.

In a society which does not live by the moral values of the Qur'an, it is very hard to find a reliable and sincere friend from whom to seek help, to whom to entrust property or valuables or money or to confide in. Furthermore, this situation has become so widely accepted that many regard it as an immutable fact of life.

It is impossible for people to be at ease in such an insecure environment. That is because even when a friend seems to have been found, there always exists the danger that these "friends" may in fact be acting out of self-interest. This scenario is therefore far removed from true friendship. Some people look upon one another with envy in relation to jobs, cars or homes which they may covet. They may wish to achieve superiority over the other. They therefore take advantage of even the slightest opportunity to locate each others' weaknesses and rise above one another.

People who behave with such an understanding are aware that they are living in a most untrustworthy and insincere environment. They are perfectly aware that they have no friends in the true sense of the word. Yet since they fail to seek a solution by living by the moral values of the Qur'an, they are unable to escape their predicament. Neither will these people who fail to turn to the true path have any friends in the Hereafter. They will find the same uneasy, insincere, insecure environment they experienced in the world but multiplied many times over in the Hereafter. The position in the Hereafter of those who take satan as their friend in this world is revealed by our Lord:

Therefore here today he has no friend. (Surat al-Haqqa, 35)

They will be bundled into it head first, they and the misled, and every one of Iblis's regiments. Arguing in it with one another, they will say: "By Allah, we were plainly misguided when we equated you with the Lord of all the worlds. It was only the evildoers who misguided us and now we have no one to intercede for us; we do not have a single loyal friend." (Surat ash-Shu'ara', 94-101)

Believers' friendships with one another are very powerful and long-lasting. That is because it is their sincere faith in and fear of Allah which bring believers together and make friends out of them. As revealed by our Lord in the verse:

Hold fast to the rope of Allah all together, and do not separate. Remember Allah's blessing to you when you were enemies and He joined your hearts together so that you became brothers by His blessing. You were on the very brink of a pit of the Fire and He rescued you from it. In this way Allah makes His signs clear to you, so that hopefully you will be guided." (Surah Al 'Imran, 103)

Believers are brothers. For that reason, the friendship based on faith continues, by the will of Allah, both in this world and for ever in the life of the Hereafter.

Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger will be with those whom Allah has blessed: the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. What excellent company such people are! (Surat an-Nisa', 69)


Although the words "endurance" and "patience" are often tied together, they actually represent two different concepts. Endurance has specific bounds and these vary according to the individual. When those bounds are exceeded, a person may abandon his or her moderate and calm approach in favor of various behavioral defects. Patience on the other hand is a moral virtue stemming from fear of Allah, one which does not change with circumstances or events. It is only possible to be patient in the face of troubles or events by comprehending the infinite might of Allah and putting one's trust in Him by seeing the good in all that He creates. True patience is therefore a feature peculiar to believers and an element of good moral values which people who fail to live by the values of the Qur'an can never achieve. Believers are described as patient and submissive in the Qur'an:

[Believers are] those who are patient and put their trust in their Lord. (Surat an-Nahl, 42)

Those who patiently persevere in seeking the face of their Lord, and perform prayer and give from the provision We have given them, secretly and openly, and stave off evil with good, it is they who will have the Ultimate Abode. (Surat ar-Ra'd, 22)


Allah has revealed in the Qur'an that superiority among people rests solely upon godliness (Surat al-Hujurat, 13). In societies in which such elements as faith, fear of Allah and proper morality are ignored, the criteria by which superiority is measured are rather different. These people imagine that superiority lies with the most prominent members of society and can be acquired with the acquisition of goods and property, recognition or fame. Since this perspective is generally shared by most members of such a society, those without goods and property are generally thought of as "inferior" to those who are wealthy and enjoy wide circles of acquaintance.

The manner in which people treat those around them in such societies, the decisions they take, the way they evaluate events, and the conclusions they draw from them are all directly related to the perspective they hold. For that reason, it is impossible to speak of a true idea of justice among people who act in the light of that conception.

Such a thing is out of the question for those who have faith. Believers always act by taking the moral values revealed by Allah in the Qur'an as their yardstick. They therefore always attach the greatest weight to justice and truth. They do not judge people according to worldly values but according to whether they have the requisite fear of Allah and to their moral values. They favor not the powerful and those with material means but always what is right and those in the right. They make no concessions on justice, even if this works against them and those closest to them. They decide not according to earthly values but in the manner ordained by Allah, Who has revealed the yardstick regarding justice in the Qur'an thus:

You who believe! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for Allah alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, Allah is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth. If you twist or turn away, Allah is aware of what you do. (Surat an-Nisa', 135)


In relation to unbelievers, what has been explained in this chapter reflects only a small part of their self-defeating outlook on life. The basic logic in these peoples' lives operates by bearing only worldly interests in mind. They never wish to consider the existence of the Hereafter and what they will encounter there. When reminded of death and the Afterlife, they usually make all kinds of excuses not to think about them. They never seek to understand that the world in which they live is only a transitory place of testing, and that their spouses, children, families, houses, cars and everything else around them are all parts of that test. Accepting the truth of that would mean relegating their desires for the enjoyment of this world. Those who deny the Hereafter in order not to have to accept this fact are described thus in the Qur'an:

These people say: "There is nothing more than our first death. We will not be raised up a second time. Bring us our fathers if you are telling the truth." (Surat ad-Dukhan, 34-36)

These people will feel an intense and irrevocable sorrow when they find themselves face to face with the truths they denied in this world. This is how Allah reveals that sorrow in the Hereafter of those who rejected this truth:

They will say: "If only we had really listened and used our intellect, we would not have been Companions of the Blaze." (Surat al-Mulk, 10)

In order not to be subjected to the regret described in the verse, every human being must think about these facts before death and shape his or her life in a manner that will be pleasing to Allah. They must grasp the transitory nature of the world we live in and evaluate every moment of their lives accordingly.


Right through the course of history, there have been leaders who have misdirected those around them. They have been taken as role models by wider society and their alleged successes have been the subject of envy. These people, who rebel against Allah and reject His verses, have used their material means to turn others away from the path of Allah. Allah refers to these people as "leaders, summoning to the Fire" (Surat al- Qasas, 41) in the Qur'an.

Pharaoh and Qarun, reported to have lived in the past in the Qur'an, are examples of this. In the verses "They followed Pharaoh's command but Pharaoh's command was not rightly guided. He will go ahead of his people on the Day of Resurrection and lead them down into the Fire. What an evil watering-hole to be led to!" (Surat al-Hud, 97-98), Allah reveals how on the Judgement Day Pharaoh will lead his people to the flames.

The common characteristic between Pharaoh-a major deterrent lesson for all the peoples that have come after him-and Qarun is that they possessed great wealth but used it unwisely, treading not on Allah's path but on satan's. As a result, both were punished by Allah. That is because nothing people possess in the life of this world, neither their wealth nor their close friends nor their status in society, can save them from Allah's retribution in this world or the next. For that reason, all the effort people make to deny the truth merely rebounds against their own selves. In the Qur'an, Allah reveals that prominent affluent people who become spoiled in their well-being, such as Pharaoh and Qarun, actually only succeed in establishing an order which works against themselves:

And likewise in every city We set up its greatest wrongdoers to plot in it. They plot against themselves alone, but they are not aware of it. (Surat al- An'am, 123)

Qarun, who boasted of his wealth and property and grew proud against Allah, also suffered a terrible defeat. All that he owned availed him nothing. Qarun's position is revealed thus in the Qur'an:

He [Qarun] said: "I have only been given it because of knowledge I have." Did he not know that before him Allah had destroyed generations with far greater strength than his and far more possessions? The evildoers will not be questioned about their sins. (Surat al-Qasas, 78)

Similarly, Pharaoh's dominion also came to naught in the face of Allah's punishment; Allah destroyed Pharaoh, his palace, all his goods and his army:

… And We utterly destroyed what Pharaoh and his people made and the buildings they constructed. (Surat al- A'raf, 137)

Such was the case with Pharaoh's people and those before them. They denied their Lord's signs so We destroyed them for their wrong actions. We drowned Pharaoh's people. All of them were wrongdoers. (Surat al-Anfal, 54)

All these verses show that no matter how powerful a person may be in the life of this world, all human beings are completely helpless in the face of the might of Allah. Since some people are unable to see the true face of the world, they form an inflated impression of prominent members of society. They sometimes seek to adopt the mistaken behavior of people they admire. They often do this simply on account of the said individual's wealth. These people are often taken as role models and obsessed fans will attempt to imitate them. They may regard such peoples' faulty behavior as justified or even support it, even though it contravenes the general norms of that society. This disastrous mentality was the kind of perspective the people around Qarun possessed. It is revealed in the Qur'an that, impressed by Qarun's wealth, these people said the following:

He [Qarun] went out among his people in his finery. Those who desired the life of this world said: "Oh! If only we had the same as Qarun has been given! What immense good fortune he possesses." (Surat al-Qasas, 79)

As we have seen, leading figures among the unbelievers, who had a negative influence over the societies in which they lived, called on those around them to live by the ungodly system of satan and used all the means at their disposal to lead others to perdition with them. The fact is, however, that Allah has made every individual responsible for living in faith, calling those around him or her to the truth and ensuring that they avoid evil. The opposite will inflict grave responsibilities on that person in the sight of Allah and in the Hereafter. Allah has revealed that people who lead others to denial instead of setting a good example and calling them to the true path may be charged with those peoples' sins in addition to their own in the Hereafter:

So on the Day of Resurrection they will carry the full weight of their own burdens and some of the burdens of those they misguided without knowledge. What an evil load they bear! (Surat an-Nahl, 25)

Once the Judgment comes, the followers of the callers to the Fire will see in the Hereafter fate of those people they adopted as role models in the life of this world-simply on account of their wealth, standing or superior status in society-and will suffer a terrible regret. They will understand that these people whom they imagined to be powerful and superior are actually helpless and powerless.

They, the followers, will seek the help of the followed in the Hereafter just as they did in the life of this world. Both will wish for salvation from the eternal torment of Hell. But they will be powerless to do anything to save themselves. Allah has revealed this discourse amongst the unbelievers in the Qur'an:

When they are squabbling with one another in the Fire, the weak will say to those deemed great: "We were your followers, so why do you not relieve us of a portion of the Fire?" (Surah Ghafir, 47)

Those deemed great will say: "All of us are in it. Allah has clearly judged between His servants." (Surah Ghafir, 48)

All this information provided by Allah in the Qur'an shows how the "leaders summoning to the Fire" assume an enormous responsibility in the life of this world. It explains how they will be punished in the Hereafter. What the individual who becomes aware of these facts needs to do is to employ all the means at his or her disposal in the life of this world in order to attain Allah's approval and mercy. Paradise is Allah's promise. Allah has related the prayers of the believers on this subject:

[Believers are] those who say: "Our Lord, give us joy in our wives and children and make us a good example for those who guard against evil." (Surat al-Furqan, 74)

Allah has also given glad tidings: Those who set good examples to others will move to the forefront, and people who exhibit such moral qualities and draw close to our Lord will be rewarded in Paradise.

And the Forerunners, the Forerunners. Those are the Ones Brought Near in Gardens of Delight. (Surat al-Waqi'a, 10-12)