The tenth of the illnesses of the heart is worldly ambitions (tûl-i amal). A person with this illness in his heart wants and desires a long life so that he may derive all the pleasures, joys and enjoyments. Desiring a long life for the purpose of performing worships is not considered as a worldly ambition. Those who have worldly ambitions will not perform their worships within their prescribed times. They will not make tawba. Their hearts are impenetrable. They don’t remember death. Preaching and advice will not have any effect on them. The following hadîth-i-sherîfs communicate: “Remember often the things that will put an end to pleasures,” and “If animals knew what you know about the happenings of life after death, you wouldn’t find any well fed animal,” and “Anyone who remembers death constantly day and night will accompany martyrs on the Day of Gathering ‘Qiyâmat’.” A person who has worldly ambitions (tûl-i amal) always thinks of how to obtain worldly possessions and ranks and wastes his life to obtain them. He forgets about the next world and preoccupies himself with pleasures and enjoyments. Striving to earn enough money to obtain food stuffs which are necessary to support one’s family members for a duration of one year is not considered as “tûl-i amal”. This one year’s food is called “hawâyij-i ’asliyya” and is considered among the things that are necessary to support life. Therefore, it is not included in the calculation of “nisâb” for obligatory almsgiving. Anyone having only this much money is not considered rich. A bachelor who does not have this much money may store 40 days’ food stuff. Storing more than this amount causes him to lose his trust (tawakkul) in Allâhu ta’âlâ. The following hadîth-i-sherîfs communicate: “The best among the human beings is the one who lives a long life and performs good deeds,” and “The worst among the human beings is the one who lives a long life and performs evil deeds,” and “Do not wish or ask to die. Punishments in the grave are very severe. Leading a long life spent in obedience to Islam’s injunctions is a great fortune.” and “The hair of a human being, which becomes white while the owner of that hair ages in the way of Islam, will be nûr (light) on the Day of Gathering ‘Qiyâmat’.”
Causes of worldly ambitions are love and attachment to worldly pleasures and abandonment of the thought of death and a short-sighted trust in youth and health. One should eliminate these causes to get rid of worldly ambitions. Death might come any moment and health or youth cannot stop the forthcoming death. According to statistics the number of deaths among young people is greater than that among older ones. It is a frequent event that many ailing people recover while many a healthy person dies all of a sudden with no apparent reason. One should learn about the disastrous effects of having worldly ambitions and benefits of remembrance of death. Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “Remember death often! Remembrance of death holds you back from sinning and also holds you back from doing those actions which would be harmful for the life after death.” One of the Sahâba, Bara’ bin Âzib ‘radiy-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’anh’ said, “We carried a dead person’s body to the cemetery. Rasûlullah‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ sat down by the grave and started to weep and tears started to drop on the soil. Then he said, ‘Oh my brothers! All of you should get ready for this.’ ” Umar bin Abdulazîz ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’, upon seeing a scholar, asked for advice. The scholar said, “You are Caliph now. Therefore, you can order others but, soon you will die!” Caliph Abdulazîz asked him for more advice. The scholar then said, “All of your ancestors, since the first man and prophet, Adam ‘alaihis-salâm’, tasted death. Now it is your turn.” Caliph wept for a long time. The following hadîth-i-sherîfs communicate, “As a preacher for mankind, death, alone, would be sufficient. And for a person who aspires to wealth, belief in qadâ and qadar would be sufficient;” and “The smartest among the human beings is the one who remembers death frequently. A person who remembers death often will be honorable in this world and have ranks in the next life;” and “One should be ashamed of Allâhu ta’âlâ. One should not waste one’s time hoarding things that will be left to others. One should not strive to obtain things that are not possible for one to obtain. One should not waste one’s life constructing extra buildings beyond one’s needs,” and “One should not build one’s house with construction materials which are obtained by ways that are harâm (forbidden by Islam). To do so means to destroy your faith as well as your worldly life.” When Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ heard that his beloved companion Usâma bin Zayd ‘radiy-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’anhumâ’ bought a slave for a hundred gold and will pay for it thirty days later, he said,
“Doesn’t that surprise you? Usâma has become a man of ‘tûl-i amal’.” It is permissible to purchase one’s life necessities by credit. In another hadîth-i-sherîf Rasûlullah‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ said, “Anyone who wants to enter Paradise should not have worldly ambitions. His busying himself with worldly occupations and businesses should not make him forget about death. (The presence of) Allâhu ta’âlâ should shame him out of committing harâms (acts which Islam prohibits).” It is forbidden for one to desire a long life with the intention of experiencing forbidden pleasures. Even though it is not forbidden to have worldly ambitions “tûl-i amal” in order to enjoy the permissible pleasures of life, still, it is not a good aspiration. One should not desire to live a long life but instead should desire a healthy and happy life.