Abu Hurairah [ra] reported: Messenger of Allah [saws] said, “Truly! The world is cursed and what it contains is cursed, except the remembrance of Allah and those who associate themselves with Allah, and a learned man, and a learning person.” [At-Tirmidhi]
Days and months trickle down the window which resembles the human soul. The window must shine, so that truths are reve aled and treasures unfold. In reality, the soul is like a clear mirror; the body is but dust on it. This dust is a temporary addition - an outer layer, which continues to fall as the days pass. Very few have dug deep inside themselves and even fewer are those who have consciously perceived the beauty of a soul that longs to become free. Rather, many try to beautify this dust, trying to keep it on for as long as possible. Oh if only they knew!
Very soon a strong wind is to blow and the dust will scatter into the darkness and depths of the earth, only to be resurrected in front of its Lord; a Lord Most Kind - yet also swift in taking to account.
For those whose windows are clean, they can still see the true nature of this world; they can still shine and become lights for others to follow. Their every action reminds people that, “This world is only a deceiving enjoyment.” [Suratul Hadeed 57: 20]
Remember the words of Imam Ibn Taymiyyah as he stood in his prison cell, “…so a wall will be put up between them, with a gate therein; inside it will be Mercy, and outside it will be torment." [Suratul Hadeed 57: 13]. The following is a picture of Imaam ibn Taymiyyah's prison site in Syria:
As he sat in his prison cell, time witnessed a man who saw mercy in being imprisoned within the confinement of four walls. For him his cell was a blessing since he had a chance to be alone in the remembrance of the One Who created his heart. A heart, whose happiness is only in gushing forth in unison with the remembrance of its Creator. This is because he saw this world as the Prophet [sallAllahu a’lyhi wa sallam] described, “Verily! The world is cursed and what it contains is cursed…” May Allah bless Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, raise his ranks and make spacious his grave. For surely, this was a man whose window was shining, hence he saw the world for what it truly was. That is why he said:
What can my enemies possibly do to me? My paradise is in my heart; wherever I go it goes with me - inseparable from me. For me, prison is a place of retreat; execution is my opportunity for martyrdom; and exile from my town is but a chance to travel.
Imam Ad-Dhahabi [rah] said about him,
If I had to swear, standing between the corner of the ka’bah and the spot of Ibraheem [as], I would swear that I have not laid my two eyes on anyone like him, nor has he seen anyone as knowledgeable as himself.
It is evident then, that if this window is not clean then the true nature of the world will be disguised and one will make this world their abode - only to be stabbed by it when the angel of death visits. How many have left this world only to be forgotten shortly after? As the storms of trials and sadness engulf this life and the desires of the self push one down, a truth reveals itself as every second continues to pass. The words of the Prophet [saws] echo within each deception of this life, “Verily! The world is cursed and what it contains is cursed…”
Life continues to pass and very few know how to play its game. Sometimes it will throw the ball of happiness your way, but even more so, the ball of hardship, tribulation and pain. Continue to play, bounce that ball and know you must win a game in which time is short, its deceptions many and its end near. Remember O Muslim as you play this game: don’t get caught up in it; it will finish at any moment. Play the game, but remember only His Name, this is because the Prophet [saws] said, “…except the remembrance of Allah…”
So what did Imam Ibn Taymiyyah do in his cell, day in day out? The answer lies in his words to his Lord:
"O Allah! Help me to move my tongue incessantly in Your Praise, to express my gratitude, and to serve You in perfect worship.”
Let’s follow the steps of this Imam who understood the words of our Prophet [saws]. Let’s search for our Creator - the Beloved; move your lips in unison with your heart beat as you remember His Name. Allow your every emotion and sensation to be in unison with His Will. The heart is ever in need of His remembrance; a container which needs to be cleansed with the love of the Almighty.
Search out from the midst of the people friends to help you on your way, so that if the time comes that you fall, they help you aright and if you forget the straight way, they lead you back on its path. As Muhammad al Mustafa [saws] said “…and those who associate themselves with Allah…”; they are amongst us yet their hearts are attached to their Friend [Allah swt]; truly such friendships are like stars, guiding through the darknesses of this life. O friend! Let’s stay strong! If Allah Wills, our destination is the Garden of Paradise full of happiness, peace and serenity.
Although such friends will help you, you are still in need of knowledge on how to tread this path of thorns and difficulties. Search for one who possesses knowledge, the one who has inherited from the Prophet [saws]. This is because the Prophet [saws] said “…and a learned…” Ask the people of knowledge about the happiness and peace they receive from being lost in the books of the scholars and attending lessons taught by the righteous. Ask students of knowledge how it feels to have learnt the language of the Qur’aan and to immerse oneself into the great sciences of Islaam – in the pursuit of getting close to their Lord by the turning of each page, and by way of each step. By Allah! There is no comparison.
Just maybe, if we ourselves try to become students of knowledge, inshAllah we will become a part of the Prophet‘s [saws] hadeeth, in which he described the last category who are not included in the curse of this world “…and a learning person.”
There is no time now to waste, the mirror must shine, so that when the time comes for you to fly out of that window, the destination will be clear and very near.
“Race one with another in hastening towards Forgiveness from Your Lord (Allâh), and towards Paradise, the width whereof is as the width of heaven and earth, prepared for those who believe in Allâh and His Messengers. That is the Grace of Allâh which He bestows on whom He pleases. And Allâh is the Owner of Great Bounty.” [Qur’aan: Suratul Hadeed 57: 21]
 For all quotations on Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, please refer to the book, ‘The Lofty Virtues of Ibn Taymiyyah’ by Abu Hafs Umar bin Ali al-Bazzar [easily accessible on the internet].