إِنَّا أَخْلَصْنَاهُمْ بِخَالِصَةٍ ذِكْرَى الدَّارِ
Innā akhlasnāhum bi-khālisatin dhikrad-dār
Indeed We purified them with exclusive remembrance of the abode [of the Hereafter]
(Sūrat Sad, No.38, Āyat 46)
This verse is part of a passage describing outstanding qualities of some of the Prophets (Ibrahim, Ishāk and Ya‘qūb ‘alayhimus salām) as examples for others. Almighty Allah says they were made pure through an exclusive remembrance of the Hereafter. According to Allama Tabatabi in Tafsīr al-Mīzān this verse is an explanation of the previous verse which describes the Prophets as men of strength and insight. It is the remembrance of the Hereafter that gave them those unique qualities. It could also be a reason for the command to remember those Prophets given in the previous verse: And remember Our servants . . . We are told to recall their remembrance and learn from their qualities.
When a person remembers the Hereafter predominantly and understands the world and all in it as fleeting and transient he gains a unique perspective. It gives him the following mindsets:
• Matters of this world don’t matter too much. Both happiness and grief in the world are just passing winds and the breeze lasts only a little while. This understanding gives immense strength and immunity against many of the vulnerabilities of life. Imam Ali (a) says: Remembrance of the Hereafter is a remedy and a cure, while remembrance of worldly life is the worst disease (Ghurar al-Hikam, H. 5175)
• Everyday life takes on a different color when viewed with the lens of the Hereafter. There is meaning and motivation for action, a renewed energy to be the best self for the Hereafter. Every action builds the self that will go to the other world and life is a series of perfecting that self.
• There is hope and excitement for a life much more substantial than the present one. The anticipation makes the journey towards it very pleasant regardless of circumstances. Of course that can only happen when there is conviction of the above quality.
• It is as though nothing other than the Hereafter exists in reality. The world is but a step towards the actual life – that of the other world. The Quran says elsewhere: The life of this world is nothing but diversion and play, but the abode of the Hereafter is indeed Life (itself), had they known! (Q 29:64)
To be purified with remembrance of the Hereafter is to be made free of all qualities that contradict it. When the heart has materialism, ego, desires etc. there is no room for exclusive remembrance of the Hereafter. Thus the heart is always seeking, never content. It becomes susceptible to the vicissitudes of time and is constantly fluctuating. Unlike the heart that is focused on the Hereafter which is much more stable and calm.
Make it a daily goal in life to turn towards the Hereafter. Deflect negative and depressive thoughts with remembrance of the actual life to come and focus on it. A life close to God and in the company of His chosen ones, free of all the impurities of this world. The remembrance will strengthen you and inspire you to rise in the ladder towards perfection. This verse could be your daily reminder to achieve that goal.
Sources: ‘Allāmah Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān; Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (ed), Tafsīr-e Namūneh; http://www.alketab.org/; Muhammadi Rayshahrī, The Scale of Wisdom