On the road of life, remembering these words from Prophet Mohammed (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) grounds me and gives me solace: “Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveler.”
A traveler is continuously on the move, in a place where it is not his home, stopping merely to get basic needs, only to continue his journey toward his destination. A stranger wanders about in a foreign place, observing his surroundings; the land, the scenery, the people, the actions. This is exactly what we are. Travelers in this temporary world, subject to beautiful scenery, entertainment, amusement, fulfillment of our desires, and the many hardships of traveling. At times we may get distracted from our destination. But as we reflect on these beautiful words, these distractions become less trivial as our focus is shifted and we are reminded of our goal. We remember that we are just passing by, longing to reach our destination, back home to the eternal life in Paradise.
On the authority of Ibn ‘Umar, radiyallahu ‘anhuma, who said: The Messenger of Allah, sallAlahu alayhi wasallam, took me by the shoulder and said:
“Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a traveler/wayfarer.”
Ibn ‘Umar used to say:
“When evening comes, do not expect (to live till) morning, and when morning comes, do not expect (to live till) evening. Take from your health (a preparation) for your illness, and from your life for your death.”