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Earthly Life and its worthless pleasures (I)

He came to the mechanic workshop accompanied by his driver. They came in the latest car in town. It was one of the new brands from Toyota. One of those cars that reminds you of where are, where you desire to be and where you may never get to be. As soon as the driver brought the car to a halt, he called on the Vulcanizer. “These tyres need your attention”, he shouted. Meanwhile the owner of the car sat where Nigerians refer to as “the owner’s corner”. He stared straight into the horizon. He was motionless. But as soon as the tyres were fixed, the driver whispered something to his ears and without hesitation, the old man dipped his hand into his wallet and brought some naira notes out and handed it over to the driver who in-turn passed it on to the artisan. Before the latter could utter any word, the driver of the car had zoomed off. Alas! It was pay-day for the Vulcanizer! He had been given ten times more than what he ought to have received. This is because money was no more the problem of the rich man. His main problem was how to obtain what money cannot buy: divine providence!

All around town, dear brethren, we encounter images of the rich and the extremely wealthy. We encounter compatriots who are probably richer and wealthier than their states and countries. But the question that we must ponder is this: exactly what extra-pleasures does life afford the wealthy that some of us down here cannot enjoy? Do you remember the wealthy man on your street? I mean that man with a big mansion. That man whose mansion reminds you of the paradise built by the people of Prophet Shuayb? Yes. He prides himself as the owner of the biggest mansion in town: a state-of-the-art architectural masterpiece featuring fifty rooms, a swimming pool, a promenade and a garden. Brethren, aside from the pleasure or is it the illusion that he suffers each time he contemplates what he possesses, what other pleasure does a man enjoy in having a mansion in this world? How many rooms can he occupy at a time? Sorry, how many beds can he put together at night in order to rest his body?

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But I guess to have the best beds at night does not actually matter in life. In other words, human experience has shown that the luxurious nature of the bed does not guarantee quality sleep. Thus while the wealthy is busy turning on his side, right and left, in search of sleep at night, the poor man in my village is already deep in sleep snoring away to Eldorado! While the wealthy is suddenly woken up from sleep by the awful dreams he had, the poor guy who sleeps on a mat would not wake up until sunrise the following day! 

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Brethren, let me ask again: where lies the pleasure of life? Perhaps the answer lies in having the means to procure the very best to eat and drink. Perhaps the answer lies in having the most beautiful woman as consort. This is true. Is it not? But the man I met in the university clinic the other day would probably have a different opinion. He came to the clinic to present the result of a laboratory test he carried out to his physician. Here was a man who had the means to buy everything he desires. He could afford to satiate his greed and fancies no matter the cost. But after having looked at the result, the medic told him: “Sir if you actually want to live longer, you would have to avoid all these “goody-goodies” of life. You would have to avoid red meat, egg, wine and all beverages”. And as if the latter are not bad enough a ‘news’ for the rich, he is equally told he needed to cut down on the pleasures of the loin. He needed to avoid the opposite sex if he wanted to avoid heart attack!

Exactly what is the essence of these earthly pleasures given the above reality? I refer to earthly pleasures as illusions. They are fleeting feelings of satisfaction, of enjoyment, of amusement, and of fulfillment. They are enjoyment we derive from food, drinks and sexual copulation. The enjoyment we derive from doing that which is good, from apprehending that which is beauty and beautiful. And the enjoyment in madness!

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