Work for the world as if you would be alive forever, and work for the hereafter as if you would die tomorrow! 1
This tradition clarifies the attitude of Islam towards the matters concerned with material and spiritual life. A positive and responsible Muslim should observe discipline in the matters concerned with material life as if he would abide there forever. This clearly rejects the idea that one has to shun this world to be a true ascetic.
At the same time he should be extremely concerned about the state of his readiness for the life after death. So much so that he should be convinced that if he were to die tomorrow, he would not be found wanting or deficient in any aspect. In other words, he should keep himself ready for death at any moment by ensuring that he has purified himself with the water of real repentance for his misdeeds and has settled his dues and made arrangements such that he leaves the world without any loose ends in matters of his obligations and rights of others.[divider]
• 1. Sayings of the Imams volume 2, page 277. Men La Yahtharuhu AlFaqih, vol 3, page 156. Wasa’il Al-Shia, vol 17, page 76.