Whenever one thinks of his past life, he will say in his heart or with his tongue either “Ah!” or “Oh!”. That is he will either experience regret, or say “Thanks and praise be to Allah!”. Regret is inspired by the pains arising from the cessation of former pleasures and separation from them. For the cessation of pleasure is a pain in itself. Sometimes a momentary pleasure will cause everlasting pain. To think upon it will be like lancing a wound, causing regret to gush forth.
As for the lasting spiritual pleasure that comes from the cessation of momentary pains experienced in the past, it inspires man to exclaim, “Thanks and praise be to Allah!”. In addition to this innate tendency of man, if he thinks of the reward that results from misfortune and the requital that awaits him in the hereafter, if he realizes that his brief life will count as a long life because of misfortune, then instead of being merely patient he should be thankful. He should say, “Praise be to Allah for every state other than unbelief and misguidance.”
It is commonly said that misfortune is long-lasting. Indeed it is, but not because it is troublesome and distressing as people customarily imagine, but rather because it yields vital results just like a long life.