|The door is open so why do you stay in the cage?|
We are prisoners of the Dunya, right now it is our whole world, the only reality we can see. But like the bird stuck inside the cage, when the cage is opened the bird will flee and fly out without ever looking back.
It has finally escaped. Finally been released. Finally free.
When you are released from the cage and set free, will you miss the confines of your cage? Will you yearn for it?
قَالَ كَمْ لَبِثْتُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ عَدَدَ سِنِينَ
قَالُوا لَبِثْنَا يَوْمًا أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍ فَاسْأَلِ الْعَادِّينَ
And He will ask: 'How many years did you live on earth?'
They will reply: 'A day, or part of a day!" (23: 112-113)
We will never look back in yearning, but we may look back in regret.
We made the cage our whole world, we couldn't see beyond those metal bars, we allowed them to block our view. We allowed them to distract us from our aim, our goal, our destination, our home.
Jannah is our home. It's where our souls were meant to live. The gates of Jannah are calling to you. The mercy of Allah is calling to you. Why won't you walk towards it?
Our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم has said: "This world is the prison of the believer and the paradise of the unbeliever." (Narrated Sahih Muslim)
Why do we work so hard on perfecting our lives here in Dunya, we work hard, study hard, and do all these things which will benefit us here, but we forget to put just as much effort into achieving success in the Akhira. How much time do you spend chasing this Dunya? How many hours of sleep do you sacrifice to study or work? How much are you willing to sacrifice for your family whom you love? How often do those whom you love consume your thoughts?
Compare that to how much you sacrifice for your Lord. How much sleep do you sacrifice to pray to Him? How much time does He remain in your thoughts? How much time do you spend trying to please Him and become closer to Him?
Does anyone get so busy at the distractions and shops at the airport that they forget to board their plane? Forget to head to their destination and choose instead to remain in this place which is temporary and fleeting? Why would you choose an illusion over what is real and true and lasting?
Can we not imagine that something will ever be better, worth working harder for? Some place where our hearts will finally have peace?
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَيْبِ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ كَبِيرٌ
"As for those who fear their Lord although they cannot see Him for them is Forgiveness and a great Reward." (67:12)
If you have ever been moved by the words of Allah, if you have ever found serenity in sujood, peace in prayer, redemption through repentance, and eased your worries through worship: know that this is your soul calling out to you, telling you, "This is what I need, this is what nourishes me, this is what I was created to do."
The fact that the soul yearns for something that this world can never provide is proof Jannah must be our true home.
Stop searching. You will never find what you're looking for here.
Rumi says,"Maybe you are searching among the branches for what only appears in the roots."
Why do you expect so much from this life? Why do you expect it to bring you fulfillment, purpose, complete happiness and complete satisfaction? You will never have everything you want here, because if we had everything we wanted, this wouldn't be Dunya, it would be Jannah!
أَمْ لِلْإِنْسَانِ مَا تَمَنَّىٰ
"Or should man have whatever he wishes?" (53:24)
Do you expect from the Dunya, and from the creation, what can only be given by the Creator? What can only be given to us by Allah?
فَفِرُّوا إِلَى اللَّهِ ۖ إِنِّي لَكُمْ مِنْهُ نَذِيرٌ مُبِينٌ
..."So flee to Allah. Verily I am a plain warner to you from Him." (51:50)
Flee to Allah, for only the bird with broken wings chooses to stay locked in the cage.
Ibn Qayyim said,"This dunya is like a shadow. If you try to catch it, you will never be able to do so. If you turn your back towards it, it has no choice but to follow you."
We don't need to turn away completely from the life of the Dunya, we just need to remember that everything Allah has given us, He has given us in order to serve and worship HIM. The same tools He has given us to seek him can be used in abuse and disobedience to Him. The same eyes He has given us can be used to read His words, marvel at the wonders He has created, can also be used for evil. The same tongue we use to praise Him, remember Him, can be used for evil. And all of our limbs, which allow us to serve Him and strive in His path, can be used for the opposite.
وَيَوْمَ يُحْشَرُ أَعْدَاءُ اللَّهِ إِلَى النَّارِ فَهُمْ يُوزَعُونَ
حَتَّىٰ إِذَا مَا جَاءُوهَا شَهِدَ عَلَيْهِمْ سَمْعُهُمْ وَأَبْصَارُهُمْ وَجُلُودُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
Every blessing Allah bestows upon us is a tool He has given us to achieve Jannah. Use the tools to your benefit and not to your destruction. Use them to build your house in Jannah, because this world is deteriorating and soon will come a day when you will have no home in this life.
Ibn al-Qayyim [rahimahullah] said,
But when a person spends his entire day with no other concern but this world, Allah will make him bear its distress, anxiety and pain. He will leave him to sort himself out, and cause his heart to be distracted from the love of Allah towards the love of some created being. He will cause his tongue to speak only in remembering people instead of remembering Allah. He will cause him to use his talents and energy in obeying and serving the people. This person will strive hard, laboring like some work-animal, to serve something other than Allaah.