ONE HADITH STATES that a person once asked the Prophet, peace be upon him, who the best people were; he said: ‘Those who live long and whose deeds are good.’ He was then asked who the worst people were, to which he responded: ‘Those who live long but whose deeds are bad.’1
The longevity of life that science and modern medicine accords us seems, unquestionably, a good thing. But as with so many of modernity’s offerings, believers must examine such things with the discerning eye of faith.
What is the use, for example, of an increase in life expectancy if the additional years don’t lead to an increasing awareness of Allah’s presence?
Of what worth would longevity of years be if we utilize them to drown ourselves in a life of sin and disobedience to the divine will, or divine purpose for us?
Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong about wanting to live a long life, provided it promotes piety and not diminish it. There’s nothing unIslamic with seeking to extend the days of our life, provided the extra time leads us to the gates of Paradise and not encourage us to stray from it. This, then, above all else, must be the main consideration with the days of our life.
1. Al-Tirmidhi, no.2330, where he declared: ‘This hadith is hasan sahih.’
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