حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ وَبَلَغَ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً قَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي فِي ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ إِنِّي تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَإِنِّي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ ﴿١٥﴾
[He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.”
summarized from Shaykh Magraoui’s “Curing the Hearts”
The age of forty is mentioned in the Quran:
In Surah Ahqaaf 46:15
When he or she reaches the age of forty: this is regarding a Muslim who affirms the oneness of Allah SWT and his or her faith in the Rasool, pbuh for him it is time to acknowledge that forty is a turning point of change in his life, ……….
He says…please make me, drive me to be thankful for the grace that you have bestowed upon me and my parents and that I do righteousness that pleases You and please rectify for me my offspring, for verily I have come back to you (repent) and I am of those who surrender their hearts to you.
It is said of the salaf that when they reached 40, they would say : it is now time for “zuhud’ or for being ascetic only. An intense focus of mind, body and hearts on Akhirah would exclude all other distractions, They actively anticipate and look for the encounter with Allah Subhanawataala in the Akhirah.
They are conscious of Akhirah every second, in what ever they think, do and act till Allah takes them. Imam Nawawi who taught “the concept of forty ” died at the age of 45 -46) . Allah blessed every second of his life for he produced in his forty plus years what would take 90 years. It was from the barakah of Allah.
Turning forty is a time of reckoning:
The sages say: When one turns forty it is time to measure ones good deeds versus bad deeds and if one finds that ones evil deeds outweigh the good ones then ayaz obillah such a person should prepare for a seat in the Hell Fire.
SUMMARY: At forty, one’s focus needs to be locked into Akhirah with mind body and heart without wavering, and without succumbing to any distractions.