Abū Bakr Aṣ-Ṣiddīq gave a speech once and started it with praising Allāh and thanking Him, then said:
Verily, Allāh does not accept deeds except those which were performed for the Sake of His Face only. Therefore, seek Allāh’s Face by your actions. Know that whatever action you do with sincerity to Allāh is an act of obedience that you performed, a good share that you earned, a duty that you fulfilled, and a reserve that you keep from perishable days to everlasting days. At that time you will be most in need and in anticipation” (for these good deeds).
O slaves of Allāh! Draw a lesson from those who died before you. Think about those who lived before you. Where were they yesterday? Where are they today? Where are the tyrants who were noted for the wars they waged and earned victories in battle? Time has eliminated them and they disintegrated to dust. The only things that remain from them are their evil statements, and verily, evil statements are for evil people and evil people are for evil statements. Where are the kings who ruled on the earth and inhabited it?
They have become a thing of the past and their memory has been forgotten. They have become nothing. Yet, Allāh the Exalted and Most Honoured has kept for them the evil burden of their deeds, but ended their streak of lusts. They perished, but the deeds they committed remained theirs even though the world has become for others. We were created after them, so if we draw lessons from their fate we will attain deliverance. Otherwise, if we were deceived by all of this, we will earn a fate similar to theirs.
Where are the bright faces of those who were deceived on account of their youth? They have turned into dust, but what they committed of shortcomings remained with them as cause for sorrow. Where are those who built cities, fortified them with walls and collected wonders? They left all this for those who came after them; there you see the remains of their cities, they have not been inhabited after them. Meanwhile, they are in the darkness of graves:
هَل تُحِسُّ مِنهُم مِّن أَحَدٍ أَو تَسمَعُ لَهُم رِكزَا
… Can you find a single one of them or hear even a whisper of them?. (Q 19:98)
Where are those whom you knew among your forefathers and brethren? Their lifetimes carne to an end and they joined their deeds and actions. They are residing after they died either in the dwelling of happiness or misery.
Verily, Allāh is one and has no partners in worship. There is no tie of kinship between Him and any of His creation that warrants granting goodness or fending off evil on account of that kinship. There is only the obedience of Allāh and abiding by His Commandments. Know that you are subservient slaves (of Allāh) and that what He has can only be earned through obeying Him. Is it not time for one of you that the Fire be taken away from him, while Paradise is not made far from his reach?