ANECDOTE ABOUT THREE FRIENDS
Once the Messenger of Allah, Hazrat Muhammad (saw) was sitting amidst his Sahaba (companions) in the mosque, when all of a sudden Hazrat Muhammad (saw) said "Today I shall narrate a story to you all which will reveal three riddles for all of you to solve". This hushed the crowd and they all listened to what Hazrat Muhammad (saw) had to say.
Hazrat Muhammad (saw) continued by saying that once a man got to know that the days in his life was numbered and very soon he would be confronted with death. With this knowledge he feared his loneliness in the grave and went searching for true friends who would help and accompany him.
He knocked on the door of his first friend and asked whether he would help. To this the friend said, "of course, what are we here for." But then the man went on to say that he had very few days to live after which he required help. As soon as he uttered this statement, the friend said "I am sorry but when death does us apart, there is nothing we can do for you but buy you a place in the graveyard and some cloth (Kafan) to cover your dead body." Grieved but looking forward to his next friend, the man moved on.
On the second door, when he came face to face with his friend, and after narrating the entire story of his death and asked for help, the same answer was his fate again. The second friend said "I have been there with you all your life and can help you here. But there's nothing I can do for you after you die except take your corpse to the graveyard and bury you."
Lost in agony and despair, he headed for the third friend, very sure that he would receive the same answer but there was a tinge of hope left. When he confronted the third friend, and told him that he required help, the friend eagerly volunteered to help. But the man continued to say that I need help after I die. To which the third friend replied, "Do not worry, my dear friend! I shall accompany you to the grave, be there with you in the grave, even when the angels arrive for questioning (Munkar Nakir), then assist you on the Pul-e-Sirat (bridge) and then lead you to heaven. "To this the man heaved a sigh of relief and then passed away in peace."
Hazrat Muhammad (saw) then turned and asked his companions if anybody could identify the three friends and the man. When the prevailing silence didn't dissolve, Hazrat Muhammad (saw) continued to say, "The man in the anecdote is any other human being." The first friend is "money/wealth", things that help us only in life and not after we die.
The second family/friend were the "children/sons and daughters", we strive for them all our life and all they give us is a shoulder to the grave.
And the third and most important friend is "Aamal (deeds)". Who accompany us all the way through.
Moral: Do not strive for materialistic values that will give you nothing and help you in no way in your eternal life. But work and pray and ask forgiveness from God for only the good deeds assist mankind where every other thing loses value in the life hereafter!