The Qur'anic Mindset of a Believer
Attitude towards family and friends
A person who lives according to the Qur'an will always strive to be aware that Allah created his parents and gave them His mercy and compassion and endowed them with love for their children. Allah created a bond of love between parents and the children whom they bring up from helpless infancy until they are self-sufficient adults. In this bond of love, parents never tire of the pleasure of nurturing their children and seeing them grow. Allah stresses the importance of family in human life:
We have instructed man concerning his parents. Bearing him caused his mother great debility and the period of his weaning was two years: "Give thanks to Me and to your parents. I am your final destination." (Surah Luqman, 14)
Our Lord says in the Qur'an that we ought to behave well towards our parents:
Say: "Come and I will recite to you what your Lord has made unlawful for you": that you do not associate anything with Him; that you are good to your parents... (Surat al-An'am, 151)
We have instructed man to be good to his parents … (Surat al-Ahqaf, 15)
So, according to these verses, a believer will show regard for his parents and treat them with respect, nurture deep love for them, treat them pleasantly and try to win over their hearts with kind and wise words. Again in the Qur'an, Allah shows us how we ought to be sensitive towards our parents:
Your Lord has decreed that you should worship none but Him, and that you should show kindness to your parents. Whether one or both of them reach old age with you, do not say "Ugh!" to them out of irritation and do not be harsh with them but speak to them with gentleness and generosity. (Surat al-Isra, 23)
In this verse, Allah gives us the measure of mercy to be shown to parents. With the words "do not say 'Ugh!' to them out of irritation and do not be harsh with them but speak to them with gentleness", Allah has forbidden believers from committing the least act of disrespect towards them or neglect of them. For this reason, believers always act attentively towards their parents and with great respect and tolerance.
They will do everything possible to make them comfortable and will try not to be wanting in respect and attention. They will keep in mind the difficulties and anxieties of old age and will make every effort to supply their every need even before they mention it with compassionate understanding. They will do everything in their power to make sure they are comfortable and not in want, either spiritually or materially. And, no matter what happens, they will not stop regarding them with deep respect.
There is another situation that believers may encounter in their relationships with their parents. A person of faith may have parents who have chosen the way of godlessness. In the case of such a difference in faith, a believer will invite them with the same polite and respectful attitude to follow the right path. Ibrahim (as)'s words to his idol-worshipping father show us the kind of approach we should use in such circumstances:
Father, knowledge which never reached you has come to me, so follow me and I will guide you to the right path. Father, do not worship Shaytan. Shaytan was disobedient to the All-Merciful. Father, I am afraid that a punishment from the All-Merciful will afflict you, and turn you into a comrade of Shaytan. (Surah Maryam, 43-45)
Again, when some individuals see their parents growing old and losing their strength, they turn their backs on them when they need help and attention. It is not hard to see that such an attitude is widespread these days. We frequently encounter old people, who are in a very bad situation materially and spiritually, left to live in their houses alone. If we think about this situation we will see that the reason for this problem lies in not living according to the teachings of the Qur'an.
Someone who accepts the Qur'an as his guide acts towards his parents, other family members and everyone around him with mercy and compassion. He will invite his relatives, friends and other acquaintances to live according to the teachings of the Qur'an, because Allah commands those with faith to start telling those close to them about Islam: Warn your near relatives. (Surat ash-Shu'ara, 214)
There is always happiness and joy in a family that lives according to the teachings of the Qur'an as manifest in the Sunnah of the Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The kind of shouting, arguments and disrespect we see in some disintegrating families today could never happen in a community of believers. In such a community, everyone takes great pleasure in being with his family. Children treat their parents with respect and love them with all their heart. Families regard children as trusts from Allah and look after them. When we say the word "family", warmth, love, security and mutual support come to mind. But it is useful to point out again that this excellent state can only be reached through living faithfully and completely in Islam and through having fear of and love for Allah.
Attitude towards blessings
Believers who put aside their habitual views and observe their environment will understand that everything they perceive is a blessing from Allah. They will understand that everything—eyes, ears, body, all the food they eat, the clean air they breathe, houses, goods and property, the things they own and even micro-organisms and stars—have been put at their service. And these blessings are too numerous to count. As our Lord says in the following verse, it is not even possible to classify and count all these blessings: If you tried to number Allah's blessings, you could never count them. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat an-Nahl, 18)
A believer can legitimately use all the blessings given to him in this world but he will never be deceived by them and so forget to live without thought for Allah, the afterlife or the teachings of the Qur'an. No matter how many possessions he has, prosperity, money, or power, etc., they will never cause him to become decadent or arrogant; in short, they will never lead him to abandon the teachings of the Qur'an. He is aware that all of these things are blessings from Allah and that if He wills, He can take them back again. He is always aware that the blessings of this world are transitory and limited, that they test him and that they are only reflections of the real blessings of the Garden.
For someone who lives according to the teachings of the Qur'an, the blessings of this world such as property, possessions and position are only means by which to draw near and give thanks to Allah. For this reason, it is never his aim to possess the blessings of this world, which he knows he will only enjoy for a limited time. For example, one of the most enduring blessings of which a person can make use in this life is a house, but it benefits a person for a couple of decades of his life at most. When his life in this world comes to an end, he will go away and leave the house he loved, valued and worked so hard to own throughout his life. There is no doubt that death marks the definite separation between an individual and his earthly blessings.
A believer knows that Allah is the real Owner of the blessings given him and that they come only from Him. He does everything he can to give thanks to our Lord Who created these blessings and to show his appreciation and gratitude. In return for His countless blessings, he will always make every effort to give thanks by what he says and what he does, to recall Allah's blessings and remember them and to speak of them to others. Here are a few relevant verses:
Your Lord will soon give to you and you will be satisfied. Did He not find you orphaned and shelter you? Did He not find you wandering and guide you? Did He not find you impoverished and enrich you? So as for orphans, do not oppress them, and as for beggars, do not berate them. And as for the blessing of your Lord, speak out! (Surat ad-Duha, 5-11)
Or are you astonished that a reminder should come to you from your Lord by way of a man among you in order to warn you? Remember when He appointed you successors to the people of Nuh, and increased you greatly in stature. Remember Allah's blessings, so that hopefully you will be successful. (Surat al-A'raf, 69)
Before some people give thanks, they wait for some special blessing or for some big problem to be solved. But if they thought for a moment, they would see that every moment of a person's life is filled with blessings. Continually, at every moment, countless blessings are given to us such as life, health, intelligence, consciousness, the five senses, and the air we breathe. And we should give thanks for every one of these blessings separately. People who are careless in their remembrance of Allah and recollection of the proofs of His creation do not realise the value of their blessings while they have them; they do not give thanks and they only understand the value of these blessings when they are taken from them.
But believers consider how helpless they are and how much they need these blessings, and so they always thank Allah for them. The believers don't only thank Allah for wealth, property and possessions; but knowing that Allah is the Owner of and Ruler over everything, they thank our Lord for their health, good looks, knowledge, intelligence, for their love of their faith and disgust for godlessness, for the fact that they are on the right path, for their association with pure believers, for their understanding, insight and perception, and for their spiritual and physical strength. They immediately give thanks to Allah when they see a beautiful view or when they manage their work well, when they receive something they wanted, hear a good word and witness acts of love and respect, and other such blessings that are too many to mention. They remember Him as the Compassionate and Merciful One.
If a believer shows in his acts of gratitude that the blessings he has received will not make him greedy, arrogant or haughty, Allah will give him even more blessings. This statement of Allah in the Qur'an speaks of this: And when your Lord announced: "If you are grateful, I will certainly give you increase, but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is severe." (Surah Ibrahim, 7)
At the same time, all blessings are a part of a human being's worldly testing. For this reason, people of faith, in addition to giving thanks, use the blessings given to them as much as possible in doing good works; they don't want to be stingy and hoard wealth. This is because collecting and hoarding wealth is a characteristic of the people of the Fire. Our Lord draws our attention to this in the Qur'an:
But no! It is a Raging Blaze stripping away the limbs and scalp, which calls for all who drew back and turned away, and amassed and hoarded up. Truly man was created headstrong, desperate when bad things happen, begrudging when good things come. (Surat al-Ma'arij, 15-21)
In response to the question as to what people should give away, Allah recommends that one give from "whatever is surplus to your needs." (Surat al-Baqara, 219) It is a requirement of the teachings of the Qur'an that believers use a portion of their earnings apart from their own needs for good works as Allah directs. The legal minimum of that is the obligatory zakat, which is collected by the ruler or community leader for distribution to the poor and needy and those others Allah mentions in the ayah about zakat. Giving beyond that is not obligatory but highly recommended.
Certainly believers' thanksgiving for their blessings will be to use the blessings Allah has given them to win His approval. A believer is responsible for using what he has been given in performing the good works that Allah has commanded. Along with the material means that Allah has given him, a believer uses his body to gain Allah's approval and to work in His way and thereby hopes to win Allah's pleasure and mercy and attain the never-ending blessings of the Garden:
Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their wealth in return for the Garden… (Surat at-Tawba, 111)
A community of individuals living according to the teachings of the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Best of Creation, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, will by their payment of zakat and their voluntary acts of giving remove the violence, strife, theft and other ugly criminal activities caused by poverty, hunger, destitution and other such problems. In this way and Allah willing, peace of mind and well-being will attain their highest level.
Attitude towards beauty
Everything—endlessly flowing rivers, places of great scenic beauty, gardens of dazzling colours, human beauty, aesthetic compositions and amazing works of art—are all blessings and a grace from Allah to humanity. In every one of these blessings in this earthly life there is a hint of the creation of Allah. A believer will regard all beauty in this world as the reflection of an original, and as a model and announcement of good news:
Give the good news to those who believe and do right actions that they will have Gardens with rivers flowing under them. When they are given fruit there as provision, they will say, "This is what we were given before." But they were only given a simulation of it. They will have there spouses of perfect purity and will remain there timelessly, for ever. (Surat al-Baqara, 25)
However much the blessings in the afterlife resemble those in the world, they are superior to earthly blessings in their reality and in being eternal. Allah has created a perfect Garden endowed with numerous blessings. A person with the values taught by the Qur'an will ponder the creation and excellence of the Garden in everything he sees. When he looks at the sky, he will think of "a Garden as wide as the heavens and the earth" (Surah Al 'Imran, 133); when he sees beautiful houses, he will think of "lofty chambers in the Garden, with rivers flowing under them" (Surat al-'Ankabut, 58); when he sees dazzling jewels, he will think of the adornments of Garden "gold bracelets and pearls" (Surah Fatir, 33); when he sees stylish and attractive clothing, he will think of the clothing of the Garden made of "the finest silk and rich brocade" (Surat al-Kahf, 31); when he tastes delicious food and drink, he will think of the "rivers of water which will never spoil and rivers of milk whose taste will never change and rivers of wine, delightful to all who drink it, and rivers of honey of undiluted purity" (Surah Muhammad, 15) in the Garden; when he sees attractive gardens, he will think of the Garden "of deep viridian green" (Surat ar-Rahman, 64); when he sees attractive furniture, he will think of the "sumptuous woven couches" (Surat al-Waqi'a, 15) in the Garden. The reason for this way of thinking is that all the beautiful things in the world are for a person of faith the source of great pleasure and occasion for gratitude, whether he possesses any of them of not. At the same time, they are an important source of pleasure that will increase his longing for the Garden and his efforts to attain it.
A believer who lives according to the teachings of the Qur'an will not be jealous or angry when he sees someone who is richer or more attractive than him. For instance, unlike many people he will not regret that he does not have a beautiful house because one of the basic aims in a believer's life is to attain not transient but eternal beauty; his real homeland is the Garden. Allah draws our attention to this in the Qur'an: "Their Lord gives them the good news of His mercy and good pleasure and Gardens where they will enjoy everlasting delight. " (Surat at-Tawba, 21)
Those who avoid the teachings of the Qur'an ignore the fact that their real homeland is the Garden and so they are passionately attached to the ephemeral pleasures of this world. Their basic goals are: to be well spoken of, to be respectable and important in their own right, to increase their material means and to live a good life. Throughout their lives they are constantly running after transient, unimportant and deceptive worldly values. To see good things they do not possess only increases their jealousy, greed and sadness. For example, they take no pleasure in being in a beautiful house that does not belong to them. Their minds are occupied with questions such as these: "Why am I not this rich?" and "Why don't I have a beautiful house like this?" For these people, the beautiful things in this world are usually a source of irritation because in order to take any pleasure from beautiful things, they think they have to own them.
However, those who live according to the teachings of the Qur'an know how to appreciate beautiful things whether they own them or not. For example, a person who has an awareness of his faith may, as a part of his test from Allah in this world, not be living in wealthy neighbourhoods, perhaps not even having seen one. But he realises that there is a definite reason for his situation. A believer knows that he does not have to go to such places to see the beauties of Allah's creation. With his special perception and understanding, a believer will notice the incomparable beauties of Allah's in every place and at every moment. The splendour of the stars at night and the incomparable beauty, colour and design of a rose are two examples that everyone can see and appreciate every day.
As we stated earlier, the longing that believers feel for the Garden causes them to change their surroundings into places that remind them of the Garden. Certainly, the Garden is a place that is a work of art greater than anyone can imagine, with perfect sights and beauties that no one on earth could conceive. But a Muslim who lives according to the teachings of the Qur'an will use all the means at his disposal to beautify his surroundings. We learn from the Qur'an that Sulayman's courtyard was paved with glass (Surat an-Naml, 44) and his house was decorated with high arches and statues, huge dishes like cisterns and great built-in cooking vats. (Surah Saba, 13) In the Qur'an, Allah also says that the family of Ibrahim (as) were given an immense kingdom (Surat an-Nisa, 54).
He said, 'I have put the love of good things above the remembrance of my Lord..." (Surah Sad, 32)
With the high position, and sometimes great possessions and power that they had been given, Allah's messengers used all their blessings as Allah directed and according to His will. For this reason, they are praised in the Qur'an. Believers take all prophets as examples and take care—as the Awliya (closer friends of Allah) also do—to use every blessing that comes to them to please Allah.
Reaction to apparently negative happenings
"Allah tests us in everything we do and think in this earthly life. This is a very important fact that we must never lose sight of. So, when we encounter difficulty in anything we do, or think that things are not going well, we must never forget that our Lord has put this difficulty in our path in order to test our reaction."
In the Qur'an, Allah says that every difficulty a person meets comes from Him:
Say: "Nothing can happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is Our Master. It is in Allah that the believers should put their trust." (Surat at-Tawba, 51)
Everything we encounter in our experience is decreed by Allah and is beneficial for the believer in this world and the world to come; this is clear to everyone who observes with faith (For details, see Harun Yahya; Seeing Good in All, Islamic Book Service, 2003). For example, there is much benefit when a believer loses some possessions he loved. Outwardly, this appears to be a misfortune but it can be the means whereby a believer may see his mistakes, increase his awareness and realise that he must take much more precaution in some areas. Another beneficial side of this kind of misfortune is that it reminds a person that he does not own anything; that the owner of all things is Allah.)
This is valid for every thing, great and small, that happens in the course of daily life. For example, as a result of a misunderstanding or someone's neglect, a payment may be wrongly made; a job on which someone has been struggling with a computer for hours may be lost in one moment as the result of a power failure; a young student may be sick and miss the university entrance examinations for which he spent so much time preparing; due to some bureaucratic transactions, a person may spend days waiting in line; documents may never be completed, thus causing a hitch; a person who has an urgent engagement somewhere may miss his bus or plane…These are the kinds of events that can happen in anyone's life and that appear to be difficult setbacks.
But there is much beauty in these occurrences from the point of view of someone with faith. Above all, a believer bears in mind that Allah tests his conduct and his steadfastness, that he will die and that it is a waste of time for him to dwell on these difficulties since he is going to give an account in the afterlife. He knows there is a silver lining to all things that happen. He never loses heart but prays that Allah will make his job easy and make everything turn out well. And when relief comes after difficulty, he thanks Allah that He has accepted and answered his prayer.
A person who begins his day with this in mind will rarely lose hope no matter what happens or become anxious, fearful or feel desperate, and if he is momentarily forgetful, he will again remember and turn to Allah. He knows that Allah created these things for a good and beneficial purpose. And he will not think this way only when something serious is about to happen to him, but, as we said before, in everything great or small that happens to him in daily life.
For example, think of a person who does not make the progress he wants in an important undertaking; at the last minute, just when he was about to complete it, he encounters a serious problem. This person bursts out in anger, becomes anxious and miserable and has other kinds of negative reaction. However, someone who believes that there is good in everything will try to find what Allah is showing him by this event. He may think that Allah drew his attention to this in order for him to take more precautions in this matter. He will take every necessary precaution and he will thank Allah that he has probably prevented even greater damage by this action.
If he misses the bus while on his way somewhere, he will think that by being late or not getting on that bus, he may have avoided an accident or other disaster. These are only a few examples. He will think that there may be other hidden reasons such as these. These examples can be multiplied many times in a person's daily life. But the important thing is this: a person's plans may not always turn out the way he wants. He may find himself in a totally different environment than he had planned, but that is beneficial for someone who puts himself in Allah's hands and so he tries to find a divine purpose for everything that happens to him. In the Qur'an, Allah reveals the following:
… It may be that you hate something when it is good for you and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know. (Surat al-Baqara, 216)
As Allah says, we do not know what is beneficial or harmful; but Allah knows. A person must make friends with and submit to Allah, the Most Merciful and the All-Compassionate.
In this earthly life, a person can lose everything he owns in a moment. He can lose his house in a fire, his investments in an economic crisis or valuable possessions because of an accident. Allah says in the Qur'an that people will undergo this kind of testing:
We will test you with a certain amount of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and life and crops. But give good news to the steadfast. (Surat al-Baqara, 155)
Allah tells people that they will undergo various kinds of tests and that they will receive a good reward for their steadfastness in difficult circumstances. For example, a person loses something he owns and cannot find it; the steadfastness that Allah describes in the Qur'an is when a person puts himself completely in Allah's hands and submits to His will from the moment he learns that his possessions, whether large or small, have been lost. He does not lose sight of the fact that Allah has made everything and does not let his attitude or behaviour become unbalanced.
A person may suffer even worse losses in the course of a day. For example if someone loses a source of income on which he spent the greater part of his day in order to meet his needs, that loss is serious for someone who believes that his future depended on it. Many of the people have been brought up from their childhoods with the idea of getting a good job. They spend every moment of their lives wanting a better job or advancement and promotion in the job they have. So, if they lose their job, their days are filled with depression and anxiety and their lives are, as they say, turned upside down.
On the other hand, a believer knows that it is Allah Who gives him his daily sustenance and that his sources of incomes are for this purpose only. In other words, for a believer, the blessings that Allah has given him are only a means. For this reason, if a person of faith loses his source of income, he will accept the fact with steadfastness and submission. In such circumstances, he will be steadfast and pray and put himself in Allah's hands. He never forgets that Allah gives his daily sustenance and that He can take it away anytime He wills.
A person who takes the Qur'an as a guide will immediately take control of his thoughts and actions if he loses a source of income, suffers harm, cannot study in the school of his choice or similar circumstances. He will consider whether of not his behaviour is pleasing to Allah and the following thoughts may go through his mind:
"Was I thankful enough for the goods, property and possessions I lost?"
A believer will give an honest and sincere answer to these questions. According to these answers, he will try to correct behaviour that is not pleasing to Allah and pray for Allah to help him do this. He will approach Allah in all sincerity. He will take refuge in Allah from all the wrong things he has done out of forgetfulness or misconduct. In the Qur'an, Allah describes the way those who believe pray:
... Our Lord, do not take us to task if we forget or make a mistake! Our Lord, do not place on us a load like the one You placed on those before us! Our Lord, do not place on us a load we have not the strength to bear! And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy on us. You are our Master… (Surat al-Baqara, 286)
In being tested, a person can suffer many losses one after the other. But a person with deep faith knows that there is a reason for what he suffers. One of the most important of these reasons is the spiritual training that comes with difficulty:
… Allah rewarded you with one distress in return for another so you would not feel grief for what escaped you or what assailed you. Allah is aware of what you do. (Surah Al 'Imran, 153)
Nothing occurs, either in the earth or in yourselves, without its being in a Book before We make it happen. That is something easy for Allah. That is so that you will not be grieved about the things that pass you by or exult about the things that come to you. Allah does not love any vain or boastful man. (Surat al-Hadid, 22-23)
For a believer, the difficult situations that happen one after another during the day are the means for him to remember that he is in a place of testing to become closer to Allah, to mature and to embrace the teachings of the Qur'an. He is aware that Allah is training him in this way and preparing him for the endless blessings of the life to come.
Attitude during sickness
For this reason, no matter how uncomfortable he is, he will be steadfast and continue to pray in sincerity to Allah. He knows that it is Allah Who created illness and thus it is Allah Who will give the cure. In the Qur'an, Allah praises the steadfastness of a believer during illness and lists it among the qualities of "true devoutness":
... Rather, those with true devoutness are those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, the Angels, the Book and the Prophets, and who, despite their love for it, give away their wealth to their relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to travellers and beggars and to set slaves free, and who establish prayer and pay zakat; those who honour their contracts when they make them, and are steadfast in poverty and illness and in battle. Those are the people who are true. They are the people who have taqwa. (Surat al-Baqara, 177)
While being steadfast, the believer will also take the treatment required to make him better. He will not be emotional or childish to attract the attention of those around him. He will consciously take the treatment and medicine recommended for his illness. This behaviour will actually be a prayer to Allah. At the same time and as a result of living according to the teachings of the Qur'an, he prays constantly that Allah will help and cure him. In the Qur'an, Allah gives Ayyub (as) as an example of this attitude of faith:
And Ayyub when he called out to his Lord, "Great harm has afflicted me and You are the Most Merciful of the merciful." (Surat al-Anbiya, 83)
It must be said that all medicines taken are means towards a cure. If Allah wills, He will make the treatment a means for healing. It is Allah Who creates the medical means used in treatment—micro-organisms, animal and plant materials—used in the composition of medicines. In short, it is only Allah Who creates the cure. In the Qur'an, Allah draws our attention to this by what Ibrahim (as) says: "And when I am ill, it is He Who heals me." (Surat ash-Shu'ara, 80)
However, members of a godless society immediately become rebellious when they fall ill. They behave in a way quite contrary to the reality of the decree when they say, "Why has such a thing happened to me?" A person who thinks in this way, could never possibly put himself in Allah's hands during an illness or regard it as a benefit.
However, believers think about the reason for their illness and regard it as a good opportunity to draw closer to Allah. Once more they come to understand what a great blessing health is and how helpless human beings are. Even an ordinary sickness like the flu can put a person in bed. In this situation, no matter how powerful, respected or wealthy one is, we are helpless and must rest and take our medicine. Under these circumstances, we recall how much we need Allah and our sickness is the means for us to remember Allah's name and draw close to Him. And for the believer, every illness is a warning that the world is transient and death and the next world are close at hand.
Attitude displayed in adverse and distressing situations
From time to time, a person may find himself in uncomfortable situations such as on a street corner piled with garbage, in a foul-smelling kitchen or in narrow, dark, dank places. For a believer, even dirty and distressing places have their purpose in creation. These kinds of places remind the believer of Hell and of the misery in that place whose filth surpasses any to be found in this world. In the Qur'an, Allah reveals that the Fire is a place of darkness, dirt and filth: "It is indeed an evil lodging and abode." (Surat al-Furqan, 66)
And the Companions of the Left: what of the Companions of the Left? Amid searing blasts and scalding water and the murk of thick black smoke, providing no coolness and no pleasure. (Surat al-Waqi'a, 41-44)
When they are flung into a narrow place in it, shackled together in chains, they will cry out there for destruction. "Do not cry out today for just one destruction, cry out for many destructions!" (Surat al-Furqan, 13-14)
A person who remembers these verses will immediately pray that the Lord will deliver him from the pains of the Fire and will ask forgiveness for the things he has done wrong.
According to Allah's description in the Qur'an, the Fire is a foul-smelling, constricted, noisy, dark, sooty, dank smoky place. There are even more dangerous areas within it and a scorching heat that penetrates the cells. The Fire has the most disgusting food and drink. Garments are made of fire and all its pains are uninterrupted. The Fire is a place where the skin is burnt, a place from which people beg to be released and where they even want to die to avoid the pain, although they have already died and cannot die again. In some respects, the Fire could be compared to the world as depicted in films after a nuclear war. However, the darkness described in these films cannot compare to the extreme filth and depressing environment of the Fire. This is only a comparison and the Fire is much worse and more terrible than the very worst place we could imagine in this world.
Places in this world that are constricted, dirty, dark and hot are very trying for the human spirit. In the Fire, this claustrophobic atmosphere is much worse. Those in this world who had developed methods of protection from the heat will be helpless in the Fire. It is hotter than the hottest desert, more depressing and dirty than the darkest dankest cell. As our Lord indicates in the Qur'an, the heat penetrates into a person's smallest cells. For the wrongdoers there is no protection or relief from the searing heat. Along with this, in the Fire, the senses are much stronger than they are in this world. In this world, most pains grow weaker after a while, wounds heal and even scars from a very serious and painful burn heal with time. A person feels the pangs of the Fire continually and very painfully and this pain never ends, unless Allah wills it to end.
In the following examples we can show another possible reflection on filthy uncared for places: a place may be dirty because of a person's forgetfulness or neglect. However, as soon as the believer sees this filth, he realises just how merciful Allah is towards him and how wrongly he has behaved in return; he recognises that Allah has given him an ideal place in which to live and that he is a guest in that place. Because of this, he realises that he must protect every blessing given to him meticulously and show his thanks to Allah in the work he does. Otherwise, he will be acting in a way that does not earn Allah's approval. A believer who is aware of this will immediately understand where he went wrong and so turn to Allah; he will do the cleaning that has to be done, make up for his mistakes and not fall into the same error again.