In the movie The Truman Show, they show the story of a boy who’s raised in a massive TV set. He grows up to become a man that’s been watched on the big screen his whole life but didn’t know it. He’s living in a virtual bubble, which is obviously tiny compared to the “outside world,” but to him, it’s everything. And there are hardships in his life, and happy moments like when he hangs out with his best friend or when he gets married, and there are times when he does something wrong and tries to hide it from others, and this whole time, he doesn’t realize that he’s being watched… by everybody. So imagine his horror when he finds out that everything around him is basically fake, and that his world was minuscule compared to the rest of the earth, and that every “private” moment he experienced behind closed doors, wasn’t private at all.
Let’s not think this life is all we have, when it’s not.
We’re all living like that clueless man. We think the tiny world we’re in now is everything, because we don’t know what else is out there, or we don’t yet realize the Truth in it; and we make a big deal out of little things because we forget about that; and we think that if we sin in private, we somehow “got away with it” because we’re safe from people’s eyes, but we forget that Allah (swt) has been watching us the whole time- or maybe we know, but we just don’t want to remember.
This shouldn’t actually surprise us, though, like it surprised the man in the movie. Allah didn’t leave us to ourselves, mercilessly, like the producers of the Truman Show- what they did was almost a sick joke. But out of His mercy, He already warned us that this Truman Show-like deception can happen and that we shouldn’t fall for it. He (swt) tells us in the Qur’an: “People: No doubt, the promise of Allah is true. Then don’t let the worldly life deceive you. And don’t allow Shaytan to deceive you about Allah” (35:5).
We think that if we sin in private, we somehow “got away with it” because we’re safe from people’s eyes, but we forget that Allah (swt) has been watching us the whole time.
Every time we fall for the trap of thinking this world is more than it is, that it’s everything, Shaytan wins. He’s put this mirage in front of us, of Ultimate worldly happiness, and laughs as we chase after nothing. And what happens when someone’s in a desert and they keep running toward a mirage, when the real water is in the opposite direction? Eventually, they die. They run after a trick of light, after nothing, and all their effort goes to waste- such a pathetic way to die. Let’s not let ourselves be fooled that way. Let’s not think we have time, when we don’t. Let’s not think this life is all we have, when it’s not. Remember, we have a purpose; it’s to reach Jannah. That’s our real Home. That’s where the real happiness is. Don’t let yourself drown in the ultimate loss, which is to get distracted by the drops and forget about the ocean*.
May Allah (swt) always help us remember that this worldly life is just a test, and that the Real world is yet to come. Ameen.
* See “The Final Flashback.”