I want to share an old experience. Once, I asked some of my friends a few questions which were:
How many times have you desired for paradise as you desire for worldly things? Other than reciting a few crammed prayers, has the paradise, which is wider than this sky, ever created a thrill in your heart? Has the desire for the paradise ever established hope in your mind? Has the risk of losing it, ever posed a problem for you? Has the hope to achieve it made you happy? Have you ever imagined its palaces, gardens, rivers and water-falls? Enjoyment of its parties, its enthusiastic servants, its purified companions, beautiful sceneries have ever produced an excitement in your feelings? The paradise, which is a completely ignored area in our theology, has it ever became an active part of our routine life?
The answer was shocking! 100% people replied in negative. This was during my student life. I was surprised with these responses. I said with grief, “The person who deserves the paradise is the one who struggles for it at the level of a ‘sacrifice’. Alas! We are not doing anything for it at the level of a ‘demand’.”
Now I think that this world is so beautiful and its problems are harsh enough to draw the attention of a person. Now who has time to search for the hidden paradise? Who will bear the loss of a cash deal for a gain in a credit deal?
Tragedy of a Modern Person
Achieving the blessings of paradise has become so easy in the modern world, as it was not before. Due to a long struggle of Prophet Muhammad (صلی اللہ علیہ واٰلہ وسلم) and his companions, the time, when people had to bear the cruelties of persecution, is over. Today, everybody enjoys an absolute freedom in religious beliefs and rituals. Moreover, academic developments in modern world have made the religious theology understandable on purely scientific basis.
Islam, which was the ‘religion of nature’ from its beginning, is now the ‘religion of science’. For a knowledgeable modern person, believing in Islam is not a belief in mythology; it is a belief in scientific possibilities.
The concept of paradise is easy to imagine in modern world. Facilities available to ancient kings and lords are now available to a common man. Even the facilities available to everybody today were not achievable for the kings of ancient world. Consider a few examples.
A journey of months in medieval world can be completed in a few hours in the modern world. Similarly, air conditioning has made it easy to enjoy cooling during the summer. Development of media has made it possible to imagine the enjoyments of paradise as well as the punishment of hell.
The tragedy of a modern person is, that (s)he has not taken the advantage of religious freedom. (S)he has not considered these blessings of modern world as an introduction to the blessings of paradise. (S)he has made them his / her life mission. A person wants to achieve all these blessings in this world at any price, even at cost of the paradise.
Corruption, offence, bribery, dishonesty and all other similar behaviors of a person will result in loss of paradise. People adopt these behaviors because they want to achieve a paradise in this world.
In our opinion, in addition to various other factors, our religious scholars are also responsible for this situation. It is their responsibility to call people towards the paradise of God. Alas! They have engaged an ordinary person into petty religious issues, which, according to Quran, are non-issues.
The Call of Quran
Today, the major issue of our religious people is their ‘commitment to their group’. In addition to that, they believe that the religion is the name of certain rituals. They do adopt these rituals without thinking about the wisdom governing these rituals. Major religious fault of the modern world is that the people, who struggle in the name of Quran, are focusing their efforts on political dominance of religion. It is not the proper forum to describe details of this mistake, but as a consequence of this mentality, the real message of Quran i.e. be prepared to meet your Lord, is rapidly becoming a lower priority for religious people.
Just read the Quran with an empty mind. It will be a great surprise for you that the Quran is not interested at all in these issues, which are supposedly the major problems in the opinion of our religious leaders. Quran is specifically concerned with the basic human issue. The Quran wants to save all human beings from the agonies of hellfire. The Quran wants to make a person deserving the mercy of his / her Lord.
All Prophets of Allah came with the basic message of monotheism and the concept of life after death. They put all their efforts to convince people on these major issues. These prophets (علیہم الصلوۃ والسلام) educated the people who accepted their message. Their education was oriented towards purifying their personalities from physical, spiritual, ethical and intellectual filths. The result of their struggle was to enable their people to live in the pure, clean and wonderful paradise.
(This article is adopted from the works of Rehan Ahmed Yousfi, Translation: Mubashir Nazir, Review: Muhammed Umer Khan)
Think about it!
a. Identify three reasons for ignoring the real life of hereafter and considering this test life as the real life.
b. What is the basic condition described by the Quran to deserve the Paradise?
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