This world is dream-like. In the same way that the taste and feeling of satisfaction imparted by the apple one eats in a dream are nothing compared to those of the apple one eats when one is awake, so the pleasure one receives from this world's actions is a poor man's version of its equivalent in the Hereafter. In the Qur'an, Allah warns people against the deceptive nature of the life of this world:
... Allah's promise is true. So do not let the life of this world delude you and do not let the Deluder delude you concerning Allah. (Surah Luqman, 33)
Allah created man from clay and breathed His own soul into him; in other words, He created man from "nothing." Allah knows all of the characteristics of human beings and He is fully aware of their earthly desires. He knows of their weaknesses, wishes, the things they enjoy or need, their doubts and fears, in short everything, better than they do themselves. Allah reveals how close He is to us in another verse:
We created man and We know what his own self whispers to him. We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. (Surah Qaf, 16)
Human beings always feel a deep longing for perfection in their souls. As a requirement of the testing they undergo, Allah, Who knows all their desires and passions, has created the life of this world with flaws and imperfections alongside its countless blessings. People, if they wish to be spiritually successful, must strive to overcome these imperfections and rid themselves of flaws in order to pass the test erected in front of them by the Lord. However, one must always bear in mind the fact that it is still impossible for them to achieve the desired level of perfection. Allah has made this perfection unique to Paradise and to those of His servants deserving of bliss.
In the life of this world, a struggle with a great many more imperfections is necessary just in order to survive; human beings, without exception, need to eat every day, sleep, protect themselves from illness, wash and take care of themselves. In exactly the same way, they need to use their reason and conscience at all times in order to protect themselves from the evils of earthly desires and to exhibit proper moral values.
As revealed in the Qur'an, "He is Allah-the Creator, the Maker, the Giver of Form. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Everything in the heavens and Earth glorifies Him. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise." (Surat al-Hashr, 24), Allah's creation is flawless. Our Lord has the power to accomplish all and to create everything He so desires. Yet He encourages human beings to think by creating flaws and imperfections in the life of this world.
When considered in its components and compared to the perfection of the life of Paradise, the wisdom in the imperfections in the life of this world can be more easily comprehended. To give an example, no matter what, an individual can go no longer than two or three days-if that-without sleeping. There then follows a gradual loss of consciousness and that person loses all touch with reality. Similarly, a person who goes several days without washing becomes dirty and will feel an immense physical discomfort. A person also needs to feed and look after him or herself on a regular basis in order to survive. Falling ill is another serious imperfection. That is because human beings are so helpless that even a germ or virus, so small as to be invisible to the naked eye, can result in sickness and oblige the individual to do nothing but rest for weeks on end. In such an event, the person becomes weak and takes little pleasure from most things. The individual concerned will no doubt become highly dependant on the help and care of other people.
On account of His infinite compassion, our Lord has also created the means by which people can overcome the imperfections they encounter in the life of this world; foodstuffs which confer strength and power, materials which can be used for cleaning and bodily maintenance, and medicines capable of curing illness are all manifestations of Allah's compassion for and protection of His creatures.
Alongside such physical imperfections in the life of this world, there are also spiritual ones: the way a person's heart may be troubled, and feeling of doubt or fear are examples of this. Moreover, earthly passions are never satisfied for long; an activity embarked on with enormous enthusiasm soon becomes wearisome. These are all just some of the imperfections specially created by Allah in this world.
However, let us also note that although the spiritual difficulties in the life of this world turn into great suffering for those without faith, believers live far distant from them. Human beings are created with a great many negative features in their desires; yet faith and a fear of Allah will shelter them from these evils and the weaknesses of their own passions, their own worldliness. Binding oneself to Allah with sincere faith and submission prevents a person from suffering such spiritual troubles as fatigue, despair and sorrow. On the other hand, the above-mentioned spiritual difficulties result in horrible crises for non-believers.
With all these flaws and imperfections He has created, Allah reveals to us the false face of this world which He has created solely to test us in our faith. The individual thus longs for a life in which there is no imperfection, in which everything is flawless and complete-for Paradise. In Paradise, people will live forever with no troubles of any kind, never becoming weary and never become bored of that which they are given by Allah. As He reveals in the Qur'an:
They will say, "Praise be to Allah Who has removed all sadness from us. Truly our Lord is Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Thankful: He Who has lodged us, out of His favor, in the Abode of Permanence where no weariness or fatigue affects us." (Surat al-Fatir, 34-35)
In another verse, Allah has revealed that in Paradise believers will find everything their hearts desire:
The angels descend on those who say, "Our Lord is Allah," and then go straight: "Do not fear and do not grieve but rejoice in the Garden you have been promised. We are your protectors in the life of this world and the Hereafter. You will have there all that your selves could wish for. You will have there everything you demand." (Surah Fussilat, 30-31)
Since unbelievers do not believe in the existence of the Hereafter, they vainly try to fulfill this aspect of their desires from the life of this world. They wrongly think that the more blessings of this world they can acquire, the happier they will be. Therefore, as revealed in the verse, "Leave the person I created on his own to Me alone, him to whom I have given great wealth, and sons who stay with him, and whose way I have smoothed. Then he wants Me to add yet more!" (Surat al-Muddaththir, 11-15), they chase after the offerings of this world with great passion and cupidity.
However, the fact is that no number of material items will bring a person the happiness he or she seeks. That is because the emptiness in the hearts of unbelievers which they seek to fill with material values actually stem from the fact that they lead their lives far distant from Allah. Allah has created human beings in such a way that they can only find peace by remembering Him. Someone who fails to remember Allah wastes his or her life. Such people erroneously imagine that goods, property, rank or fame guarantee great happiness.Only in the Hereafter will they realize the ultimate hollowness of the efforts they expended in this world. In return for their rejection of Allah in this world, they will encounter bitter suffering in the next. This is such a horrendous torment that they will happily give up all that was dear to them in this world to be freed from it: their families, their friends, the goods they were so deeply attached to and which they sought to add to by working day and night. Allah has revealed the situation of the unbelievers in the Hereafter:
If every self that did wrong possessed everything on Earth, it would offer it as a ransom. They will show remorse when they see the punishment. Everything will be decided between them justly. They will not be wronged. (Surah Yunus, 54)
If those who did wrong owned everything on Earth, and the same again with it, they would offer it as a ransom to save themselves from the evil of the punishment on the Day of Resurrection. What confronts them from Allah will be something they did not reckon with. (Surat az-Zumar, 47)
... [T]hey can see each other. An evildoer will wish he could ransom himself from the punishment of that Day, by means of his sons, or his wife or his brother or his family who sheltered him or everyone else on Earth, if that only meant that he could save himself. But no! It is a Raging Blaze... (Surat Al-Ma'arij, 11-15)
It is those who have faith and who live for the good pleasure of Allah who will be saved both from the troubles of this world and the eternal suffering in the Afterlife. In the Qur'an, Allah gives those who demonstrate that morality the news of a pleasing life in both this world and the next:
Anyone who acts rightly, male or female, being a believer, We will give them a good life and We will recompense them according to the best of what they did. (Surat an-Nahl, 97)2009-06-01 14:50:04