Translation Simplified Hazrat Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessings be upon Him) said, “The world is as if it were a prison for the believer and heaven for the unbeliever”. [Shahih Al-Muslim]

Translation Simplified Hazrat Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessings be upon Him) said, “The world is as if it were a prison for the believer and heaven for the unbeliever”. [Shahih Al-Muslim]

Translation Simplified
Hazrat Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessings be upon Him) said, “The world is as if it were a prison for the believer and heaven for the unbeliever”. [Shahih Al-Muslim]

About the Narrator
Hazrat Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) was such personage as narrated maximum number of Hadiths. ‘Abu Hurairah’ was his title and his original name was ‘Abdus Shams’ or ‘Abd-e Umar’ before accepting Islam which Prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessings be upon Him) replaced with ‘Abdur Rahman’. He was fortunate to be in closeness with Prophet (PBUH) for only three years and a half after accepting Islam. He always used to stay at ‘Masjid-e Nobobi’ (Mosque of the Prophet) and was a member of ‘Ashab-e Suffa’. Many looked at him with suspicious eyes as he narrated highest number of Hadiths. This is why he said, “You may think I narrate surplus Hadiths but the fact is that I was impoverished and stayed all the time in closeness with the Messenger (PBUH) tying stone at my belly (from severe hunger); the Muhazirs (migrants from Mecca) kept busy with their businesses and the Ansars (locals of Medina) remained busy looking after their wealth”. Hazrat Abu Hurairah (R.) was the fount of all knowledge. The greatest Prophet (PBUH) Himself said, “Abu Hurairah is but a knowledgeable man” [Bukhari]. This sparkling star of Hadith died in 59 Hizri at the age of 78. The number of Hadiths he narrated is 5374.

Importance of the Hadith
Man is Allah’s vicegerent in this world. This world is his workplace and he is supposed to lead his life here as per Allah’s commandments. Those who will live their lives in accordance with Allah’s commandments shall be upgraded to the status of the believers and those who will live their lives as per their own sweet will shall be termed as Kafirs. This Hadith hints at this very ‘philosophy of living’. In fact, the cited Hadith unfolded the underlying essence of life-living of a believer and disbeliever.

Exposition
No inmate can enjoy complete freedom in a prison. Every moment of the inmate is regulated by the laws of the authority and the inmate even has no right to violate these laws. He is to abide by the orders whenever made. The prisoner cannot say, “I obey this order and disobey that one”. The life of a believer in this world is like that of a prisoner in the prison as a believer is not all independent here and he cannot do all that he wishes. Driven by any worldly attraction, a believer cannot do anything that contradicts Allah’s order. On the contrary, it is the feature of the Heaven that the actions of the Heaven-dwellers will not be barred by any regulatory measures. In the Heaven, a person will be allowed to live his life his own way and each of his desires will be satisfied without fail. Only bliss and bliss will remain everywhere. The Heaven-dwellers will never want to go out of the Heavenly comfort they availed themselves of. No Heaven-dweller will feel weary even after passing crores of millennia. Though the world is not something to be compared to the Heaven, the world is dubbed as the ‘Heaven of the disbelievers’ in this Hadith to connote the fact that the disbelievers count this world as their Heaven. The disbelievers try their utmost to enjoy the worldly life going beyond all the bounds determined by Allah and they adopt all the possible means and policies to enjoy this temporal life. They live their lives as per their sweet wills. They only live for the sake of bettering this worldly life to more and more extent as they disbelieve in the hereafter. But, one day, they have to depart this life leaving the beautiful world behind with empty hands like wayfarers. The believers don’t treat this world as an abode of eternity as the prisoners don’t consider the prisons their permanent dwellings and eagerly long to be back to their own homes. Therefor, sensuality and luxury don’t appeal to them in this temporal life, rather they strongly long for the Heaven of ever-eternal ecstasy. To get this (Heaven), they engage in hard toil and smile on all the trials and tribulations. Allah says, “Verily We have created man into toil and struggle”. [Surah Balad: 4]
So, for man, this world is not a place of enjoyment and luxury, rather a place of toil and struggle. All types of sensuality, luxury and happiness of this world are very minimal compared to those of the hereafter. The Dignified Messenger (PBUH) said, “By Allah! The similitude of this world compared to the hereafter is the quantum of water that someone’s finger holds when he lifts the finger up after dipping it into the sea”. [Muslim]
According to another Hadith, unto Allah, this world does not hold even the value of a wing of the bee. So, those who run after this trifling thing (world) are undoubtedly living in a fool’s paradise. But, he who longs for imperishable joy and evergreen as well as ever-youthful Heaven has to prefer the path of toil and hardship to all the rest and there is no alternative to this very path.

Lessons
Worldly glee is not real and everlasting.
For man, the world is not an eternal abode, rather only an ephemeral exam hall.
Two streams of human activities are created on the basis of belief and disbelief in the hereafter; one is righteous and the other is corrupt.
The final point of the righteous way is Heaven and that of the corrupt one is Hell.

Reference
Shahih Al-Muslim.
Mishkatul Masabeeh.
Ma’areful Quran, by Mufti Muhammad Shafi.