When the lifestyle of one who is working solely for the material gains of this world is compared with that of a person who is striving for the everlasting rewards of the Hereafter, there is seemingly very little difference. In both cases, each person is seen to be striving to maintain a quality life. The Quran, however, states that the two parties are far from equal: Is then the one who believes equal to the man who is a transgressor and wicked? Not equal are they. [as-Sajda 32: 18.]
It is clear that the non-believer, limited to himself and feeding upon his own desires cannot, compare with the true Believer. The non-believer may find that all his worldly desires are fulfilled, but his accomplishments will only bring temporary satisfaction;
To him who desires only this fleeting life, We grant him only here and only as much as We please, only to whomever We will: but in the end We consign him to Hell. [al-Isra 17: 18.]
The true Believer on the other hand, may achieve worldly gains but he realises that true contentment will only come when the ultimate reward of Paradise and the pleasure of his Lord is achieved.
Verily, that which is with Allah is best for you, if you, but knew all that which is with you is bound to end, whereas all that which is with Allah is everlasting. [an-Nahl 16:95-96.]
This understanding of life and its true objective is the secret of the believer's strength and support. This makes him the most powerful and resourceful person to walk upon the earth, The Quran continues in Sura al-Isra:
But, as for those who desire the life to come, and strive for it as it ought to be striven for, and are true Believers- they are the ones whose strivings find acceptance and reward. [al-Isra 17: 19.]
Start, then, to prepare for the Akhira today! Why waste your time and energy on what will perish when you can use the same to earn the delights and pleasures of the life to come? Everything you have must be put forward as an investment for that life, but you must keep in mind that the investment is not the objective. All that Allah has bestowed on you -body, mind, faculties and property -are valuables for investment, but the real objective is to earn the pleasure of Allah and the rewards of Janna.
Remember that your personal destiny and, therefore, the end of all your life's pursuits, lie in the Akhira, but the road to that destiny lies in Dunya, in this world. Indeed the achievements made during the time of the Prophet were the results of full participation in this world - neither withdrawing nor retiring from it - for the sake of the Life to Come. The Prophet and his Companions planned for this world as though they were going to stay here forever but equally they sought the rewards of the Hereafter as though death was close at hand. It is this delicate balance that you must strive to achieve in your approach to life.
The Prophet Muhammad said:
This Din or way of life is easy. But if anyone overdoes it, it gets the better of him. So keep to the right course, approximate to perfection, rejoice, and ask for help in the mornings, the evenings, and some of the later part of the night. (Bukhari.)