The world is a prison

عَنْ أَبِى هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم-  الدُّنْيَا سِجْنُ الْمُؤْمِنِ وَجَنَّةُ الْكَافِرِ

Hadrat Abu Hurairah Radiallahu Anhu reports that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam is reported to have said, “The world is a prison for a believer and Jannat for a Kaafir.”

If a believer was involved in calamities and hardships in this world then his life in the world is certainly a prison in comparison to the bounties of Jannat. Similarly, if a person enjoys the bounties of the world then too he is a prisoner, if we have to compare it to the bounties of Jannat which no eye has seen, no ear has heard of and the thought hasn’t crossed the mind of a person.

It is mentioned in the Hadith Sharif that Allah Ta’ala has prepared for the people of Jannat such bounties

اعددت لعبادى الصالحين ما لا عين رات ولا اذن سمعت ولا خطر علي قلب بشر

I have prepared for my pious servants which no eyes have seen, no ears have heard of and the thought hasn’t passed the mind of any person.

If a Kaafir lives a life of difficulty and hardship then too this world is Jannat for him in comparison to the torture and torments of Jahannam, and if he is in comfort in this world then also the world is a paradise for him prior to death.

In short, a Mumin desires to leave the world and travel towards the Aakhirat whereas a Kaafir desires to remain permanently in the world. In this regard the Dunya is a prison for a believer and a Jannat for a Kaafir. The purpose of this Hadith is to explain that for a believer the bounties of this world hold no value whatsoever in comparison to the bounties of the hereafter even though outwardly the worldly bounties seem to be so plentiful and valuable, therefore a believer spends his entire life for the hereafter. As for a Kaafir, he rejects the life of the hereafter and says that life is actually the life of the world

Reference: 

  • Dunya Kie Haqeeqat