Surah Al-Ala and Al-Ghasiya are a favorite of Prophet SAW; he would recite them on most Fridays. A theme of the first is a change in attitude. The consequences of this are in the next Surah. Surah Ala reaches its climax with:
بَلْ تُؤْثِرُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ
But you prefer the worldly life. While the Hereafter is better and more lasting . [87:16-17]
- Athara is to engage in a comparison and decide one thing is more valuable than the other. Accordingly, preference should be given to it.
- Dunya is the feminine of adnaa, which means closer and inferior. It is closer since we get things right away.
- We engaged in a comparsion and now Allah gives a comparison.
- The akhira, in every respect, is far better than the dunya. This is why the dunay is inferior.
- Everything in the akhira is permanent whereas everything in the dunya is transient.
Ali RA said regarding the dunay, “its permissible lead to accountability and its forbidden lead to the fire.”