“And present to them the example of the life of this world, its being like rain which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it and then it becomes dry remnants, scattered by the winds. And Allah is ever, over all things, Perfect in Ability.”
The word “Dunyaa” in Arabic morphology is derived from the root word “danaa” which literally means to be near or to be low. This word which has passed to several Asian, European and African languages is often used in Quran to call this “worldly life” that opposes to the Hereafter (Aakhirah). It is called “Dunya” because it has much lower class than Aakhirah as it is also considered nearer to us than the Hereafter life.
Allah mentioned over here the parable of this worldly life. How it is like the water which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it. It mingles with the seeds that are in the earth, so they grow and become good, producing bright, fresh flowers, then after that it becomes dry and broken pieces, withered up, which the winds scatter tossing them about right and left. This is the real face of “Dunya” which will eventually cease and come to a halt.
Al-Qurtubi (d. 1273 CE) explained in his Tafsir how compatible this parable is. He said that Allah compared Dunya to water for the following secrets.
Firstly, water does not settle and remain in one place. Equivalently, Dunya does not remain the same upon one state of affairs. Someone may be rich right now, but next month he may lost his wealth, or vice versa.
Secondly, water goes away and does not remain likewise Dunya will eventually come to an end. Some women can be proud of her adorableness when she was young, but three decades later that beauty is absolutely going to fade.
Thirdly, nobody is able to enter water without getting wet. Similarly for Dunya, no one is perfectly safe from its trials and calamities even he tries his best in swimming. We all know what will happen later to those who deeply dive or even sink into Dunya forgetting Aakhirah.
Fourthly, if you have the right amount of water it is a useful nursery, but if it goes beyond the limit it is a harmful destroyer like flood or tsunami. Analogously to Dunya, its subsistence is beneficial while its excess is harmful. Dunya is not forbidden, instead it is important in life. But it will become disaster when somebody takes it more than its proper quantity. Of course, everyone should recognize their own measures. May Allah help us to be proportional in this worldly life and keep it in our hands not inside our hearts.
Written by Nur Fajri Romadhon