But you prefer the worldly life,
Indeed, this is in the former scriptures,
The Scriptures of Ibrahim (Abraham) and Musa (Moses).
Chapter 87 Al-A΄lā : Verses 16-19
This World is Worthless in Comparison to the Hereafter
Then Allah says,
(Rather you prefer the life of this world.) meaning, `you give it precedence over the matter of the Hereafter, and you prefer it because of what it contains of usefulness and benefit for you in livelihood, and your returns (i.e., income, profitable gain).’
(Although the Hereafter is better and more lasting.) meaning, the reward of the final abode is better than the worldly life, and it is more lasting. For indeed, this worldly life is lowly and temporal,
whereas the Hereafter is noble and eternal. Thus, how can an intelligent person prefer that which is short-lived over that which is eternal. How can he give importance to that which will soon pass away from him, while ignoring the importance of the abode of eternity and infinity. Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Whoever loves his worldly life, will suffer in his Hereafter, and whoever loves his worldly life, will suffer in his Hereafter, and whoever loves his Hereafter, will suffer in his worldly life. Therefore, chose that which is everlasting over that which is temporal.) Ahmad was alone in recording this Hadith.
The Scriptures of Ibrahim and Musa
Allah then says,
(Verily, this is in the former Scriptures — the Scriptures of Ibrahim and Musa.) This Ayah is similar to Allah’s statement in Surat An-Najm,
(Or is he not informed with what is in the Scriptures of Musa. And of Ibrahim who fulfilled (or conveyed) all that (Allah ordered him to do or convey): that no burdened person (with sins) shall bear the burden (sins) of another. And that man can have nothing but what he does. And that his deeds will be seen. Then he will be recompensed with a full and the best recompense. And that to your Lord is the End (Return of everything).) (53:36-42) And so forth, until the end of these Ayat. Abu `Aliyah said, “The story of this Surah is in the earlier Scriptures.” Ibn Jarir preferred the view that the meaning of Allah’s statement,
(Verily, this) is referring to His previous statement,
(Indeed whosoever purifies himself shall achieve success. And remembers the Name of his Lord, and offers Salah. Rather you prefer the life of this world. Although the Hereafter is better and more lasting.) Then Allah says,
(Verily, this) meaning, the content of this discussion,
(in the former Scriptures, the Scriptures of Ibrahim and Musa.) This view that he (At-Tabari) has chosen is good and strong. Similar to it has been reported from Qatadah and Ibn Zayd. And Allah knows best.