Allah has promised believers great bounties in both this life and the Hereafter, and people may hope to obtain them according to the degree of their faith in and closeness to Allah, as well as their submission and sincerity. They see these bounties as a means to get closer to Allah, to be thankful to Him, and to witness the manifestation of His eternal attributes and beauties. And so for this reason, they hope for great bounty from Allah. Since He gives beauty to those who act beautifully, believers constantly hope that Allah will increase their favors, thereby enabling them to become closer to Him.
The conscience of those who have certain belief in Him and do what He asks is clear. They cherish great hope, for our Lord has promised to reward them with Paradise for their attachment to Him while living in this world. This hope manifests itself at all times, for such people are as happy, joyful, and excited as if they had already entered Paradise. They have befriended our Lord by struggling and trying to please Him, purifying their egos of all evil, and always pursuing good. And in the end, they will return to Him. Believers who carry this excitement are hopeful that, having pleased Him, they will meet our Lord in the hereafter.
Allah gives glad tidings of His support and Paradise to believers, and has proclaimed that He will reward all Muslims who serve in His path. Those Muslims who know that they will recompensed for each good deed, kindness, and good behavior that they do, and for their decision to adhere to the Qur'an, will experience the beauty of submission, trust, patience, and faith.
Therefore, believers who know these facts will constantly be in a positive state about our Lord, hoping for the most beautiful and the best blessings in both this world and the hereafter. In many verses, Allah promises believers a good reward, grace, favor, and mercy:
As for those who believe and do right actions, We will erase their bad actions and recompense them for the best of what they did. (Surat al-Ankabut, 7)
He responds to those who believe and do right actions, and gives them increase from His favor. But the unbelievers will have a harsh punishment. (Surat ash-Shura, 26)
The tests placed upon Muslims may sometimes involve hardship and trouble, such as various types of oppression and plots, or being detained or imprisoned. Throughout history, many Muslims have been killed. However, Muslims who are subjected to oppression in order to frighten, dishearten, or make them swerve from Islam never despair when confronted with such difficulties. In fact, their zeal and enthusiasm never abate, contrary to the unbelievers' expectations. Recalling the verses that remind them that unbelievers will try to oppress believers, they feel a great excitement when experiencing the same, and thus feel grateful to Allah. While unbelievers assume that they frighten them, believers feel the joy of their faith and ponder upon Allah's promises.
In the Qur'an, Allah promises believers an absolute victory over unbelievers, as well as security and peace, provided that they do not ascribe partners to Him:
Allah has promised those of you who believe and do right actions that He will make them successors in the land, as He made those before them successors, and will firmly establish for them their religion with which He is pleased and give them, in place of their fear, security, [for] they worship Me, not associating anything with Me. Any who disbelieve after that, such people are deviators. (Surat an-Nur: 55)
When encountered with the unbelievers' oppression and plots, believers who have an unshakable faith in Allah and the Qur'an remember this promise and show patience with hope and joy. This attitude is indeed a great source of grief for unbelievers, for the believers' trust in Allah makes the unbelievers feel His wrath and the torment awaiting them in both this world and the next. They are seized by an indefinable fear and anxiety.
In the Qur'an, we see that Muslims are in a constant state of hopefulness. Sincere believers appreciate our Lord, as described in the Qur'an, and thus recognize His mercy and bounties upon them. Those who abide by the Qur'an's commands know that Allah is the believers' Friend and Helper, that He has infinite mercy and compassion for them, that He gives His sincere servants the good news of great rewards in both this world and the hereafter, and that His promise is certain. They further see that Allah always wills what is good for them, opens the gates of mercy and guidance to them, and gives them countless opportunities to earn His good pleasure.
The Muslims' zealous and hopeful attitude to our Lord, Who always gives the good news of bliss, is described as follows:
Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Those who are with him are fierce to the unbelievers, merciful to one another. You see them bowing and prostrating, seeking Allah's good favor and His pleasure. (Surat al-Fath, 29)
As the verse maintains, in return for Allah's promises the Muslims try to display throughout their lives those attitudes that please Allah: obeying the commands conveyed through His Messengers and books, and striving to display the morality that most pleases Him. Aware that He is pleased with servants who are compassionate, tolerant, just, patient, hopeful, modest, helpful, and self-sacrificing, they compete with one another to display moral excellence. They do so because Allah commands His servants to compete with each other in the hope of obtaining Paradise:
Race each other to forgiveness from your Lord, and a Garden [i.e., Paradise] as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the people who guard against evil: those who give in times of both ease and hardship, who control their rage and pardon other people - Allah loves the good-doers - those who, when they act indecently or wrong themselves, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their bad actions - and who can forgive bad actions except Allah? - and do not knowingly persist in what they were doing. Their recompense is forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, forever. How excellent is the reward of those who act [righteously]! (Surah Al Imran, 133-136)
Race each other to forgiveness from your Lord and to a Garden, whose breadth is like that of heaven and earth combined, made ready for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. That is Allah's favor, which He gives to those whom He wills. Allah's Favor is indeed immense. (Surat al- Hadid, 21)
Allah promises His sincere servants a beautiful life in this world, as well as superiority, victory, and an infinite life replete with beauties in the hereafter. Allah commands thus in the Qur'an:
Gardens of Eden that the All-Merciful has promised to His servants in the Unseen. His promise is always kept. (Surah Maryam, 61)
Allah has promised the men and women of the believers Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, forever, and fine dwellings in the Gardens of Eden. And Allah's good pleasure is even greater. That is the great victory. (Surat at-Tawba, 72)
Allah has told believers to give glad tidings to each other with these verses, and has made Paradise a means of joy and hope for them while still in this world. Paradise is a place beyond our wildest imagination, beyond our desires. It is above and beyond all bounties we could ever hope to have, a place that contains all of this and much more as a mercy from Allah, a most beautiful place that words cannot describe.
There, the Muslims will be able to do whatever their hearts desire. They will live with their loved ones, together in happiness, for eternity. Paradise, which contains no flaws, is distant from material and spiritual deficiency. The Qur'an describes it as a place where "rivers flow by underneath", "where, wherever one looks one sees delight and a great kingdom" and where bounties are never "failing, nor unrestricted." In addition, the Qur'an reports that "they [believers] will have there all that their hearts desire and in which their eyes find delight" (Surat az-Zukhruf, 71). Paradise is also a place full of spiritual bounty. Allah informs us that no vain talk will be heard there, that there will be no anger or revenge, but only a happy and joyous endeavor at every instant. Most important of all, there will be Allah's greeting of "Peace" to those who believe. The Qur'an addresses those believers who will enter Paradise in the following manner:
O self at rest and at peace, return to your Lord, well-pleasing and well-pleased! Enter among My servants! Enter My Paradise! (Surat al-Fajr, 27-30)
In other verses, the joy and happiness of the believers who enter Paradise, as well as their gratitude to Allah, is described as follows:
They will say: "Praise be to Allah, Who has fulfilled His promise to us and made us the inheritors of this land, letting us settle in Paradise wherever we want. How excellent is the wage of [righteous] workers!" You will see the angels circling round the Throne, glorifying their Lord with praise. It will be decided between them with truth. And it will be said: "Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds." (Surat az-Zumar, 74-75)
To be given the glad tidings of Paradise is the greatest gift one can receive. And so believers pray that this reality will not be removed from their consciousness, and that they will be reminded of it constantly. "The joy of Paradise" is a great favor bestowed upon Muslims in this world. Just as those who hear that they have inherited a large fortune feel great pleasure, those believers who receive tidings of inheriting an eternal Paradise experience an even greater joy. They are aware of how quickly life passes by, and that the time when they will gain Paradise, which has been promised to the sincere ones, is close at hand.
If we consider that a believer's life span is approximately 60 years, a 30-year-old will have 30 years left and a 40-year-old will have 20 years left. In actual fact, even if one lives to be 100 years old, death is inevitable; however, with Allah's permission, he or she will reach Paradise, which is eternal. They will spend eternity with their loved ones, witnessing Allah's manifestations and living a joyous and happy life in untold purity and bounties, the likes of which have never been seen in this world.
Moreover, these eternal bounties can be obtained very easily. The only thing one needs to do is to follow Allah's commands, put one's worship into practice, and live by the Qur'anic morals with the hopeful joy of the possibility of attaining these bounties. Such a lifestyle will result in the most pleasure that a person can experience in this world. What Allah asks from His servants is described in the following verses:
...Truly man is in loss - except for those who believe, do right actions, urge each other to the truth, and urge each other to steadfastness. (Surat al-Asr, 1-3)
As these verses show, people must do good deeds and advise other people to follow Allah's commands in order for humanity, as a whole, to be servants worthy of Paradise. In addition to promising His righteous servants Paradise as a reward, Allah has promised bounties in this world by making it clear that He will bless sincere Muslims with a good life. Some related verses are as follows:
Those who do good will have the best and more! Neither dust nor debasement will darken their faces. They are the Companions of Paradise, remaining in it timelessly, forever. (Surah Yunus, 26)
When those who heed Allah are asked: "What has your Lord sent down?" Their reply is: "Good!" There is good in this world for those who do good, and the abode of the hereafter is even better. How wonderful is the abode of those who guard against evil. (Surat an-Nahl, 30)
These are Allah's promises to believers, both for this world and the hereafter. And many verses clarify that His promise is definite and real: "Allah's promise is true" (Surah Fatir, 5; Surah Luqman, 9; Surah Yunus, 55; Surat ar-Rum, 60).
These most beautiful promises are the most important factor for believers to ensure that they always maintain a positive outlook and never despair or suffer anxiety. Those who have hope in Allah's promises and Paradise will live their religion with the utmost enthusiasm, excitement, and diligence.2009-02-12 15:52:47