Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported: “The Messenger of Allaah, may Allaah bless him and raise his rank, said, “Hasten to do good deeds before you are overtaken by one of the seven afflictions.” Then (giving a warning) he said, “Are you waiting for poverty which will make you unmindful of devotion, or prosperity which will make you corrupt, or a disease which will disable you, or senility which will make you mentally unstable, or sudden death which will take you all of a sudden, or Ad-Dajjal who is the worst expected, or the Hour; and the Hour will be most grievous and most bitter.” [Collected by At-Tirmidhi who said: “This hadeeth has a good chain”]
Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-’Uthaymeen, may Allaah have mercy upon, explains this hadeeth by saying:
“Hasten to do good deeds before you are overtaken by one of the seven afflictions.”
Meaning work and rush before one of these seven things afflict you that the Messenger, may Allaah bless him and grant him peace, mentioned in this hadeeth.
“are you waiting for poverty which will make you unmindful of devotion”
Whereby a person is afflicted with poverty that causes him to forget about the remembrance of his Lord. Because poverty, may Allaah protect us all from it, is an evil cloak that envelopes the slave. If he is poor he becomes in need of food, drink, clothing, shelter, a spouse, etc. and he finds none of that. Until the point the earth (seems to) close in on him and he goes searching to find those affairs and forgets about the remembrance of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic. Nor is he able to perform obedience in its’ desired manner.
Likewise many acts of obedience pass him by that require wealth like zakaat, charity, emancipation, hajj, spending in the way of Allaah and the likes.
“prosperity which will make you corrupt”
Whereas Allaah enriches a person and opens up the dunya for him thus he becomes oppressive and deems himself free of need from his Lord. So he does not uphold what Allaah obligated upon him nor does he cease from what Allaah prohibited him from. Allaah, the Most High, says:
“Nay! Indeed man transgresses. Because he sees himself self-sufficient.”[96:6,7]
“or a disease which will disable you”
A sickness that ruins a persons life. Because as long as a person is healthy then he is energetic, delightful and the dunya is open in front of him but if he becomes sick his body weakens, and his soul becomes sluggish and restricted and he turns into one who is constantly sad and depressed and so his life becomes ruined.
“senility which will make you mentally unstable”
Meaning old-age that destroys the capability of a person. As Allaah says:
“Allaah is the one who created you from weakness, then made after weakness strength, then made after strength weakness and white hair. He creates what He wills, and He is the Knowing, the Competent.”[30:54]
So as long as a person is active and youthful he performs obedience with a zeal, perfomrs abulution with energy, prays with enthusiasm, goes out to seek knowledge with determination however when he becomes old as Allaah said about Zakariyyah:
“My Lord, indeed my bones have weakened, and my head has filled with white.”[19:4]
Meaning the bones have become weakened and he loses his strength and he isn’t able of doing what he used to when he was young as the poet said:
“Oh I wish that youthfulness would return one day, so that I can inform it about what this old-age has done.”
“or sudden death which will take you all of a sudden”
When a person dies his actions are cut off and he is no longer able to perform deeds. How many people have died (at a time) when they thought they weren’t going to die?! How many people have died and he was in his prime, healthy in a fiery accident or the flipping of a car or the collapsing of a wall on him or heart failure, many things that a person can die from even though he may be young.
Therefore, hasten to do good deeds because you do not know, you might die while speaking to your family or you might die and you are on your bed or you might die while you’re getting ready to eat lunch, you leave out the house and say to your family “get lunch ready” but you never return to eat it or you might die while you’re in your car or on a trip, therefore hasten!
From those matters also;
“or Ad-Dajjaal who is the worst expected”
Meaning or are you waiting for the Dajjaal who is a wicked liar that will be sent at the end of time inviting the people to worship him and decieving them. Many of the creation will be put to trial by him except those whom Allaah wills not.
Due to this, we have been commanded to seek refuge with Allaah from him in every prayer. The Messenger, may Allaah bless him and grant him peace, said: “When one of you says the last tashahhud let him say: “Oh Allaah I seek refuge with You from the punishment of Hell, the punishment of the grave, the trials of life and death and the trial of the Anti-Christ Ad-Dajjaal.”
The Dajjaal is a (human) man however he is one-eyed, evil, a disbeliever and rebellious. The word kaafir, i.e. disbeliever, has been written between his eyes and every believer will read it and not the evil-doer. The disbeliever will not read it even if he may be literate and the believer will read it even if he may be illiterate and this is from the signs of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic.
This is the Dajjaal who will invite the people to worship him saying: “I am your lord” so if they obey him, he will enter them into paradise and if they disobey him, he will enter them into hell. But what is his paradise and hell? His paradise is actually hell and his hell is actually paradise. However he will decieve the people into thinking that this person who obeyed him has entered paradise but it is really hell and if anyone disobeys him he enters them into hell which is really paradise, sweet tasting water, pleasant, bliss. The Messenger, may Allaah bless him and grant him peace, said: “Indeed he is going to come with the likeness of paradise and hell, so that which he says is paradise is hell.”
But he will deceive the people into thinking that the person who obeys him enters paradise and the one who disobeys him enters hell but it is contrary to that. He will also come to people in the desert and it will be barren and the udders of their livestock will have no milk. So he will call them saying: “I am your lord”, and they will answer him and then he will command the sky to rain and it will do so and he will command the earth to produce vegetation and it will do so and they will come in the morning and the land will be fertile and their livestock will return to them with their udders full with milk, the camels humps will be very lengthy from fullness and plumpness and as a result of this they will continue to worship him however they profited in the dunya only and wasted their Hereafter and Allaah’s refuge is sought. they took him as a lord besides Allaah.
The Messenger, may Allaah bless him and grant him peace, said about the Dajjaal that he is ”the worst expected” may Allaah protect us from his trial.
Then he said:
“or the Hour”
Which is the seventh affliction, meaning or are you waiting for the establishment of the Hour,
“for the Hour will be most grievous and most bitter”
Meaning a severe catastrophe and a bitter tasting thing. Allaah, the Most High, says:
“But the Hour is their appointment [for due punishment], and the Hour is more disastrous and more bitter.” [54:46]
So briefly, a person will not be free from one of these seven afflictions and all of them prevent one from actions therefore he must hasten now while he is healthy, energetic, still young, free, in safety and all praise is for Allaah. Let him hasten to do righteous actions before it passes him by and he becomes remorseful when remorse will be to no avail. I ask Allaah to make me and you from those who hasten and race towards the good.