Jannah (Part 6

The People of Paradise:

The Way to Paradise is Very Hard

Paradise is very high, and ascending lofty places takes a great deal of effort. The way to Paradise is filled with things that go against human wishes and inclinations. This needs strong determination and willpower. In a hadith narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (Radiallaahu Anhu) the Messenger of Allah (Salallaahu Alaihi Wasalaam) said,

” Hell has been veiled with desires, and Paradise has been veiled with [surrounded by] hardships.”

an-Nasaa’ee, at-Tirmidhi, and Abu Dawud report from Abu Hurayrah (Radiallaahu Anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (Salallaahu Alaihi Wasalaam) said, ” When Allah created Paradise, He told Jibreel, “Go look at it”. So he went and looked at it, then he came back and said, “By Your Glory, no-one will hear of it but he will enter it”. So He surrounded it with hardships and said, “Go and look at it”. So he went and looked at it, then came back and said, “By Your Glory, I fear that no-one will enter it””. [Jaami al-Usool, 10/520, 8068]

an-Nawawi commented on the first hadith:

This is an example of the beautiful, eloquent and concise speech which the Prophet (Salallaahu Alaihi Wasalaam) was capable, in which he gives a beautiful analogy. It means that nothing will help you to reach Paradise except going through hardships, and nothing will lead you to Hell, but whims and desires. Both are veiled as described, and whoever tears down the veil will reach what was hidden behind it. The veil of Paradise is torn down by going through hardships and the veil of Hell is torn down by giving in to whims and desires. Hardship including striving consistently and patiently in worship, restraining one’s anger, forgiving, being patient, giving in charity, being kind to those who mistreat you, resisting physical desires, etc” [Sharh an-Nawawi ‘ala Muslim, 17/165]

The Delights of the People of Paradise: The Superiority of Paradise Over the Pleasures of This World 

The pleasures of this world are tangible and present, whilst the delights of Paradise are as-yet unseen promises. People are readily influenced by what they can see and know instantly; it is hard enough for them to forgo something that is in front of them for the sake of something else that is in the future, so how much harder it is if the promise will not be attained until after death! So Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) drew a comparison between the pleasures of this world and the joys of Paradise, and explained that the delights of Paradise are far superior to this world’s pleasures. The Qur’an speaks at length denouncing this world of instant, fleeting pleasures and stating that the rewards with Allah as far better, to encourage man to strive hard for success in the next world:

” And strain not your eyes in longing for the things We have given them for enjoyment to various groups of them [mushrikeen and kuffaar] the splendour of this life that We may test them thereby. But the provision [good reward in the Hereafter] of your Rabb is better and more lasting ” [20:131]

And “ Beautified for men is the love of things they covet: women, children, much of gold and silver [wealth], branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life but Allah has the excellent return with Him. Say: “Shall I inform you of things far better than those? For al-Muttaqoon there are Gardens with their Rabb, under which rivers flow. Therein [is their] eternal [home] and Azwaajun mutahharatun [purified mates or wives], and Allah will be pleased with them. And Allah is All-Seer of [His] Slaves” [3:14-15]

There are many reasons why the delights of Paradise are superior to the pleasures of this dunyaa; Amongst them:

(i) The Pleasures of this Dunyaa are Fleeting:

Say: Short is the enjoyment of this world. The Hereafter is [far] better for him who fears Allah. .” [4:77]

The Prophet (Salallaahu Alaihi Wasalaam) illustrated the inferiority of this dunyaa by comparing it to what Allah has prepared in Paradise, ” By Allah, this world in comparison with the Hereafter is nothing more than as if one of you put his finger” – and he gestured with his forefinger – “in the sea; let him see how much water he would retrieve”[Saheeh Muslim, 4/2193, no. 2858]. A finger dipped in the ocean would not even pick up one drop; this is how little this world is worth when compared with the Aakhirah.

Because these pleasures are so insignificant, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) has rebuked those who prefer the pleasures of this world to the joys of the Aakhirah:

O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to go forth in the Cause of Allah [Jihaad] you cling heavily to this earth? Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter “ [9:38]

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