Freeing Oneself from Unawareness
Reading the Qur’an and Pondering its Verses
The most effective solution to ending one’s unawareness is to read the Qur’an, Allah’s divine light to guide His servants, and reflect upon its verses. Reading the Qur’an draws people closer to Allah and allows them to grasp something of His supreme knowledge and power. At the same time, it provides the clearest and truest knowledge about what was previously unknown and unconsidered, and also answers questions that had perplexed them in the past. For this reason, those who read the Qur’an sincerely understand it turn to Allah with their hearts satisfied.
Those who take its verses to heart become aware of the errors in their attitudes and ideas. Gradually, they come to understand the importance and seriousness of their past deeds and what drove them to engage in such activities. In short, they finally begin to understand Allah’s supreme knowledge and power, and thus feel their fear, respect, and love for Him start to grow:
This (Qur’an) is a communication to be transmitted to humanity so that people may be warned by it and will know that He is Allah, the One and Only; and so that people of intelligence will pay heed. (Surah Ibrahim: 52)
This Qur’an guides to the most upright Way and gives good news to the believers who do right actions that they will have a large reward. (Surat al-Isra’: 9)
Those who read the Qur’an and ponder its verses with sincerity eventually come to see it in the context of its manifestations of Allah. This allows them to remember Him at all times and avoid any type of unawareness. For example, they gradually notice that some of the people around them have characteristics that the Qur’an says belong to deniers. And, due to their awareness of the punishment awaiting such people, these examples become important lessons for them. This way, by Allah’s will, they avoid unawareness and learn how to protect themselves from it. In addition, they realize that the verses in the Qur’an reveal the punishment of Hell and that, apart from Allah’s will, there is no salvation. In the same way, they ponder the eternal beauty and blessings of life in the Garden and strive to win His mercy so that they may enter the Garden. Those who read the Qur’an know that they will be called to account for what they have done and, based on this record, will enter the Garden or Hell. Therefore, aware of this truth, they avoid any type of unawareness and are careful to act in ways that win His approval.
Taking Advantage of the Opportunities Sent by Allah
Allah has created circumstances that enable human beings to recognize His existence and turn to Him. Among these are times of anxiety and difficulty: Do they not see that they are tried once or twice in every year? But still they do not turn back. They do not pay heed (Surat at-Tawba:126). These difficult periods are very useful in causing people to realize their unawareness, for, in such moments, the lower self, which is in a constant state of rebelliousness against Allah, realizes its helplessness. During these times, people bring their consciences to the fore, see their errors, and find ways to avoid them. This important opportunity, provided people act upon it properly, helps them curtail their lower selves by recognizing their own weakness and repenting of their sins. As a result, they feel closer to Allah. They realize that Allah’s power is all-sufficient, that He is the source of all things, and that only He can end this period of testing.
It is He Who conveys you on both land and sea, so that when some of you are on a boat, running before a fair wind, rejoicing at it, and then a violent squall comes upon them and the waves come at them from every side and they realize there is no way of escape, they call upon Allah, making their religion sincerely His: “If You rescue us from this, we will truly be among the thankful.” But then, when He rescues them, they become rebellious in the land without any right to do so. O humanity, your rebelliousness is only against yourselves. There is the enjoyment of the life of this world, and then you will return to Us and We will inform you about what you did. (Surah Yunus: 22-23)
Unaware people can realize that there is no power to help them except Allah only when they feel completely helpless. But when their difficulties end, they forget Him and carry on as before:
When harm touches humanity, he calls upon Us, lying on his side, sitting down, or standing up. Then when We remove the harm from him, he carries on as if he had never called upon Us when the harm first touched him. In that way, We make what they have done appear good to the profligate. (Surah Yunus: 12)
For example, in times of natural disaster, people recognize how powerless they really are, that His knowledge and might are infinite, and that Allah is omnipresent and omniscient. At these times, they are reminded that they should fear and respect Him because He is all-powerful and that they may suffer His wrath at any moment. But earlier, these same people had ignored His commands and prohibitions, putting off their obedience until later. When fear consumes them, their consciences become clear and they recognize the truth. By causing people to see the truth, natural disasters are excellent reminders that, if understood in the proper light, will save them in the Hereafter. But once their discomfort fades, those who do not learn from such warnings allow their traditional unawareness to reassert itself, embrace this transitory world again, and resume their defiance of His commands and prohibitions. In order to escape from this vicious circle, individuals should take advantage of these opportunities by frequently recalling their difficulties and how Allah comforted them.
They must understand that these events are warnings, and thus great blessings, for such displays of Allah’s infinite power open the way for people to cast off their usual unawareness. However, it is wrong to wait for such events to happen in order to escape from unawareness, because Allah gives such warnings all the time: difficult times experienced by relatives and neighbors, natural disasters, wars, and so on. Those individuals who heed these warnings realize that the same thing could happen to them. Using such events to remind themselves just how powerless they really are when confronted with Allah’s supreme might, they try to root out their own unawareness and turn to Him. What happened to the people of ‘Ad could happen to any people:
(The people of) ‘Ad were destroyed by a savage howling wind. Allah subjected them to it for seven nights and eight days without a break. You could see the people flattened in their homes, just like the hollow stumps of uprooted palms. (Surat al-Haqqah: 6-7)
By giving such examples in the Qur’an, Allah expects people to learn from what has happened to others and to think about His infinite power and knowledge. Daily life contains many examples that lead people to remember Allah’s power. But people merely feel sorry and pity when they see powerless individuals; they do not realize that what they see is also a warning to them. All of these examples are warnings and new opportunities for people to pierce the veil of unawareness.
Knowing that Allah is Omnipotent and Omnipresent
With the verse “Does humanity reckon that he will be left to go on unchecked?” (Surat al-Qiyama: 36), Allah tells human beings that they are always under His control. But unaware people are far from thinking and grasping this fact. However, only a moment of sincere contemplation will suffice to think what life would be if man had to accomplish and control everything by himself.
For example, right now we are unaware of all the things happening in our bodies and feel no need to take an interest in them. And yet our organs continue to function in constant harmony with each other. As far as we are concerned, our first priority is having a constant supply of oxygen to sustain our lives. Of course, we have other priorities as well, such as controlling our heart’s beating, maintaining our blood circulation, keeping the acidity in our stomach balanced, digestion, and countless other functions.
Imagine the impossible, that we controlled all of our bodily functions. For example, who controls these functions when we are asleep, for they never stop. If our heart slipped out of control for just a few minutes, it would stop beating and we would die. But it is also true that we need to sleep. And this is not all we would have to do if left on our own. For example, we would have to ensure the external conditions needed to sustain our lives.
Clearly, since we cannot control our own bodies, it requires a great deal of imagination to think that we could possibly have any influence on the countless delicately adjusted and balanced systems underlying the world and the universe. When we consider this and see that we cannot control anything, we realize that Allah controls all things with His supreme knowledge and power. We understand that He has created and controls all that exists, both animate and inanimate. But to reach this level of knowledge, we must defeat our lack of awareness by always being aware that Allah sees us and act accordingly. He is always observing us, creating our actions and us. In fact, there is no moment when He does not encompasses us: “Surely your Lord encompasses the people with His knowledge” (Surat al-Isra’: 60). Believers who know that Allah encompasses them know that He is aware of all that they do, say, and think, both openly and in secret, for He is omnipresent and omniscient:
Do you not see that Allah knows what is in the heavens and on the ground? Three men cannot confer together secretly without Him being the fourth, or five without Him being the sixth, or fewer or more than that without Him being with them wherever they are. Then He will inform them on the Day of Resurrection of what they did. Allah has knowledge of all things. (Surat al-Mujadala: 7)
An honest consideration of this clear truth is enough to root out one’s unawareness, for it enables them to perceive the truth and live a good life in both worlds. Knowing that they are always under His sovereign power, they will fear and respect Him and avoid doing anything that would earn His wrath. In addition, they will know that Allah sees all of their good and fine actions and they will be joyful for the day when He rewards them. Understanding that everything happens in accordance with the trials He has predestined for them for their own good, they remain patient. As a result, they will attain the Garden He has promised to all believers.
Having Intimate Knowledge of the Things Allah has created
Knowledge is one of the most effective ways to escape heedlessness. Examining, seeing and grasping the evidences of creation that pervade the universe undermines unawareness and keeps it at bay. Allah’s superior might and knowledge can only justly be appreciated through such a serious endeavor and contemplation. Allah informs us that the universe and everything in it are created for a special purpose:
We did not create heaven and Earth and everything in between them as a game. (Surat al-Anbiya’: 16)
Indeed, all created things are evidences of Allah’s existence. Obtaining detailed knowledge about them allows people to see the manifestations of a supreme intelligence in every detail. Even a cursory observation of these details reveals that all that exists is composed of wonderful systems. Confronted with these details, people may clearly perceive Allah’s existence and become aware of His superior power. By sincere thought and reflection, they manage to pierce the veil of unawareness that had blinded them and rendered their consciences mute.
For example, people can see Allah’s supreme artistry and knowledge just by studying their own bodies and creation. Indeed, the creation of human itself is made of a chain of events that disperse unawareness. By multiplying a genetic code within a single cell, an embryo comes into being equipped with perfectly functioning systems. This is a major proof in itself of His existence, power, and superior intelligence. Eggs and sperm, produced in separate individuals, come together during conception; one type of cell multiplies and differentiates to form bones, muscles, organs, eyes, hands, and feet with all their complex functions. Later on, this organism separates from the mother’s womb and, after birth, sees, talks, walks, laughs, cries, and feels.
Thanks to modern investigative techniques, we can see into the far expanses of the universe and the depths of the oceans. To obtain detailed information on these remote places’ inhabitants and events is becoming easier all the time. So, everyone who thinks and has detailed knowledge about the miracles of creation in these creatures and occurrences can sincerely say, “…O Lord, you have not crated this for nothing. Glory be to you. So safeguard us from the punishment of fire” (Surah Al ‘Imran: 191), will be rescued from unawareness.
In the face of these evident evidences, those who are saved from heedlessness attain the kind of faith based on certainty, come to know His supreme attributes, draw nearer to Him and seek to win His favor in all his actions.
Knowing That This World’s Life is Short and Temporary
This life will one day end and people will enter the Hereafter, where they will live forever. However, people who do not realize that this life is transitory and short are passionately bound to it and live only for this world. From childhood on, they continually make plans for the future and try to fulfill their desires. In the midst of this distraction, they suddenly die, never having understood the true nature of life or this world. What they see as permanent will come to an end like a fleeting dream; but in the Hereafter, they will understand that this life lasts as long as a dream and that they were sadly mistaken. Allah reveals the conversations of those in the Hereafter:
He (Allah) will ask: “How many years did you tarry on Earth?” They will say: “We tarried there for a day or part of a day. Ask those able to count.” He will reply: “You only tarried there for a little while, if you did but know!” (Surat al-Mu’minun: 112-14)
The expression “a day or a part of a day” shows how short a person’s life, which seems so long, really is. This is a truth known in the Sight of Allah, so human beings must carefully consider why they choose a certain path. Will they be satisfied with the endless Garden or the life of this world, which is very short? The core issue here is that the benefits of this life are very short, in exact proportion to its brief span.
Therefore, people should think of this world as a waiting room for the real world in the Hereafter. Of course, people do not pay much attention to the furnishings or events that occur in a waiting room, for they do not intend to stay there very long. Nor do they consider such things when making their plans, for whatever goes on in there is of no use to them. In the same way, nothing done for the sake of the world is of any use in the Hereafter. In other words, all such deeds will eventually disappear, just like a mirage:
But the actions of those who do not believe are like a mirage in the desert. A thirsty man thinks it is water. But when he reaches it, he finds it to be nothing at all; rather, he finds Allah there. He will pay him his account in full. Allah is swift at reckoning. (Surat an-Nur: 39)
As the above verse makes clear, everything done for the sake of this world will one day disappear, and individuals will give an account in His presence only of what they did to gain His favor. At that moment when they are confronted with His punishment, they will realize their errors and have a sense of endless sorrow and helplessness. When their unawareness finally ends and they realize the whole truth, they will want to return to this earthly life and live in accordance with His commands and prohibitions. But it will be too late:
They will shout out in it: “Our Lord, take us out! We will act rightly, differently from the way we used to act!” Did We not let you live long enough for anyone who was going to pay heed to do so? And did not the warner come to you? So taste it! There is no helper for the wrongdoers. (Surah Fatir: 37)
If only you could see the evildoers hanging their heads in shame before their Lord: “Our Lord, we have seen and heard, so send us back again and we will act rightly. Truly we now have certainty.” (Surat al-Sajda: 12)
Before each person is brought alone into His presence, he or she should understand and consider just how short and transitory this present life is. This awareness will cause them to avoid useless efforts, free themselves from their current level of unawareness, and make the best possible use of their time here.
Thinking about Death
Each person has been allotted a specific amount of time in this world, after which he or she will die:
Say: “Death, from which you are fleeing, will certainly catch up with you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible, and He will inform you about what you did.” (Surat al-Jumu‘ah: 8)
Death comes to all people, even to those who fear it and avoid thinking about it. But the moment of death will be different for those who have ignored Allah’s decrees and those who have not. Deniers will come face to face with death when they least expect it, and thus will be overcome with fear and horror. Moreover, their lives will be taken amidst great suffering:
How will it be when the angels take them in death, beating their faces and their backs? (Surah Muhammad: 27)
At that moment, they will see the meaninglessness of their worldly ambitions and the things they put above Allah’s commands and prohibitions. Everything they valued—families, relatives, jobs, cars, and all their other possessions—will become as nothing. Completely helpless and alone, their fear of what is to come will grow. Only now realizing that their lives have been for nothing, they will be sorry that that they did nothing to earn His favor. In their fear and sorrow, they will try to escape the coming punishment, even to the point of sacrificing everything they love:
(On the Day of Judgment) no good friend will ask about his friend, even though they can see each other. An evildoer will wish he could ransom himself from the punishment of that Day by means of his sons, his wife, his brother, his family who sheltered him, or by everyone else on Earth, if that only meant he could save himself. But no! It is a Raging Blaze. (Surat al-Ma‘arij: 10-15)
These verses clearly state that people will give up their own lives, as well as those of everyone else who ever meant anything to them, and all the worldly possessions to which they had been so passionately attached in a vain attempt to avoid Hell. But nobody and nothing will be of any use; they will not be able to save themselves from joining the people of Hell.
While the lives of unbelievers are taken in suffering, the lives of believers are taken with ease. At the moment of death, the angels take the soul of such a person in a beautiful manner and carry it to the Garden:
(Those who guard against evil are) those the angels take in a virtuous state. They say: “Peace be upon you! Enter the Garden for what you did.” (Surat an-Nahl: 32)
At that moment, believers want to tell those still in the world about the blessings Allah has bestowed upon themselves:
He (a believer) was told: “Enter the Garden.” He said: “If my people only knew how my Lord has forgiven me and placed me among the honored ones.” (Surah Ya Sin: 26-27)
Those who wish to attain this goal should consider what will happen to them if death finds them during a moment of unawareness. Knowing that the eternal punishment waiting for them will be many times more intense than any pain they have ever known or can imagine, they should sincerely turn to Allah and do their best to remove any potential unawareness.
Knowing That One’s True Abode is The Hereafter
Unaware people who do not realize that their true abode is the Hereafter are always searching for places and possessions that they believe will make them happier. For example, low-income people who pay rent dream of owning a house. To achieve this goal, they live in anxiety and spend most of their lives paying for a house and other needs by installments. Another person wants to move from an apartment into a detached house, and another one wants to own a farm with lots of land. Either because such people do not believe Allah’s promise of property in the Hereafter or because the promise seems quite remote, they do not make the slightest effort to obtain it.
However, believers work hard to attain Paradise and its blessings. Allah warns those who compete with others to obtain worldly blessings in a heedless manner:
Race each other to forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden as wide as the heavens and Earth, prepared for the people who guard against evil. (Surah Al ‘Imran: 133)
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. His favor is indeed immense. (Surat al-Hadid: 21)
One common characteristic of those who cannot conceive of the Hereafter and those who are unaware is that their worldly position and possessions can never satisfy them. They have a passion for these things, even though all of these supposedly valuable things do not bring happiness or save them from pain and sorrow. Every worldly possession grows old, decays, and is eventually destroyed, even one’s own body. For this reason, they always worry that what they value will be damaged or stolen. Allah warns them that such things will last only for a very short time and will not benefit them:
(The believer said:) “O my people, the life of this world is only fleeting enjoyment. The Hereafter is the abode of permanence.” (Surah Ghafir: 39)
To men, the love of worldly appetites is painted in glowing colors: women and children, heaped-up mounds of gold and silver, horses with fine markings, and livestock and fertile farmland. All that is merely the enjoyment of the life of this world. The best homecoming is in the presence of Allah. (Surah Al ‘Imran: 14)
Awareness of this world’s fleeting nature may rescue people from their unawareness by ending their passion for its temporary blessings and directing them toward Paradise’s endless blessings and seeking His favor:
The truly good will be in perfect Bliss on couches gazing in wonder. You will recognize in their faces the radiance of delight. They are given the choicest sealed wine to drink, whose seal is musk. Let people with aspiration aspire to that! (Surat al-Mutaffifin: 22-26)
Knowing That There is no Return from the Hereafter
Unaware people deceive themselves by thinking that they will have another opportunity through reincarnation. They think that no matter what errors they have made, they will be reborn so that they can take care of them:
If only you could see the evildoers hanging their heads in shame before their Lord: “Our Lord, we have seen and heard, so send us back again and we will act rightly. Truly we now have certainty.” (Surat as-Sajda: 12)
One reason why we are told in the Qur’an about this is so that people will know beforehand that there is no return from that day; and that they should not become caught up in baseless apprehensions, but seek Allah’s favor. Allah warns people who do not think about the punishment waiting for them or who doubt its reality, and those whose faith is not based on sure knowledge, that they will eventually encounter these truths in His presence. For those who remain profoundly unaware due to their stubborn refusal to understand this, imagining that they will be given another opportunity is nothing more than self-deception.
People who deserve to be punished will give vent to their sorrow and regret on the Day of Judgment:
When he sees the punishment, (he says): “If only I could have another chance so that I could be a good-doer!” (Surat az-Zumar: 58)
In order to avoid unawareness and having to express such sorrows, people should think carefully and fear His wrath. The greatest error of those who deserve punishment is that they compare the Hereafter with this earthly life; and His interrogation, Paradise, and Hell with their experiences in this world. They deceive themselves by thinking that they can make up for every error in the Hereafter, just as they did in this world. For example, if they fail a course at school or are expelled, there is the possibility that they can redeem themselves in the future. Prisoners think that their sentences will eventually be served, after which they will be released. Indeed, this world’s troubles do not last for ever; they eventually end one day. Believing that they will also have such opportunities in the Hereafter, heedless people transgress the limits He has established for humanity. But they fail to realize the falsity of this comparison, for such opportunities to make restitution only exist in this world. The Hereafter is the place where rewards, both positive and negative, are given. In order to avoid the unawareness that will bring eternal punishment in its wake, people must realize that they will not return from the Hereafter and that they can repent and reform themselves only in this world.
Knowing that Hell’s Punishment will Last Forever
In just the same way as they regard death, unaware people also regard Paradise and Hell as remote. However, both Paradise and Hell are as certain as death. In those two locations, things have more clarity and truth than they have here. Moreover, everyone will end up in one of them and remain there forever.
When people ponder the truth that Hell is certain, their fear of and respect for Allah and longing for Paradise grows. Allah describes Hell as a place full of punishment:
That Day you will see the evildoers yoked together in chains, wearing shirts of tar, their faces enveloped in the Fire. (Surah Ibrahim: 49-50)
… We have prepared for the wrongdoers a Fire whose billowing walls of smoke will hem them in. If they call out for help, they will be helped with water like seething molten brass, frying their faces. What a noxious drink! What an evil repose! (Surat al-Kahf: 29)
… Those who do not believe will have garments of fire cut out for them and boiling water poured over their heads, which will melt the contents of their bellies as well as their skin. They will be beaten with cudgels made of iron. Every time they want to come out of it because of their suffering, they will be driven back into it: “Taste the punishment of the Burning!” (Surat al-Hajj: 19-22)
The Fire will sear their faces, making them grimace horribly in it, their lips drawn back from their teeth. (Surat al-Mu’minun: 104)
When it (the Blaze) sees them coming from a long way off, they will hear it seething and rasping. 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, (but) cry out for many destructions!” Say: “Is that better, or the Garden of Eternal Life that was promised to those who guard against evil? That is their recompense and destination.” (Surat al-Furqan: 12-15)
Some people cannot endure the slightest pain in this world; but if they honestly think about what awaits them in Hell, they will see that that particular punishment cannot be compared with any pain in this world. In Hell, moreover, there is no death to end the endless punishment:
They will want to get out of the Fire, but they will not be able to. They will have an everlasting punishment. (Surat al-Ma’ida: 37)
No indeed! Those who accumulate bad actions and are surrounded by their mistakes, such people are the Companions of the Fire, remaining in it timelessly, forever. (Surat al-Baqara: 81)
It is a fact that this punishment is truly enormous and without end. There is no escape from its eternal agony, and no one becomes immune to or accustomed to it. If people honestly consider this, their fear of and respect for Allah, as well as their level of awareness, will increase. In this way, they will be able to defeat their unawareness and seek His favor.
Some people are lazy when it comes to thinking about eternity. They do not try to understand it as an endless expanse of time that can never end, but only as a period of many years or centuries.
However, eternity is something quite different. It is not equivalent to the life of a person or a generation; nor is it a period of a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand, a million, or even a trillion years. It is completely beyond these; it is time that never ends.
Those who accept this fact never risk the danger of spending eternity in Hell, where they would have to endure an eternal punishment that they could not bear for even one moment in this world. Therefore, thinking about eternity rouses people from their unawareness, brings them to their senses, and causes them to behave in ways pleasing to Allah. Believers who fear eternal life in Hell also realize that they have the possibility of living among the eternal blessings of the Garden. As a result, they never choose this world’s transitory life over the endless life in the Hereafter.
Knowing the Beauties of Paradise
Paradise is the reward for doing good works in this world, fearing and respecting Allah, and seeking His favor. In the Qur’an, Allah promises:
But as for those who believe and do right actions, We will admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, forever and ever. Allah’s promise is true. Whose speech could be truer than His? (Surat an-Nisa’: 122)
It is wrong to think of Paradise only as a place with beautiful gardens. Above all, it is a place where human beings are newly and beautifully re-created and live among endless blessings, where all of one’s senses are sharper, and where everything gives greater pleasure. This world’s transient pleasures are eternal in Paradise. Allah created these blessings as shadows of what is to come. Even though there are similarities between both sets of blessings, the blessings of Paradise are far superior and unending. In addition, there are no physical imperfections in Paradise. Everyone will have a beautiful form and will not sweat, smell bad, have the need to use the toilet, or become sick. They will eat only for pleasure, not because they are hungry or their body needs food, and will not have to work for these blessings. Paradise contains things that are beyond all desire or imagination, as well as every kind of entertainment, splendid architecture, and amazing technology. Naturally, all of this is displayed in a flawlessly perfect order.
Every desirable activity that is deficient in the world, especially people’s observance of Qur’anic morality, will be complete in Paradise. There will be no backbiting, false accusations, malicious criticism, cursing, lying, hypocrisy, envy, arrogance, disloyalty, or resentment; rather, there will be only peace, well-being, and Allah’s favor:
They will enter Gardens of Eden, where they will be adorned with gold bracelets and pearls, and where their clothing will be of silk. (Surah Fatir: 33)
The Companions of the Garden are busy enjoying themselves today. They and their wives are reclining on couches in the shade. They will have fruits there and whatever they request. “Peace!” A word from a Merciful Lord. (Surah Ya Sin: 55-58)
In Gardens of Delight on couches face to face, (believers will have) a cup from a flowing spring passing round among them, as white as pure snow, delicious to those who drink, which has no headache in it and does not leave them stupefied. There will be dark-eyed maidens with them, with eyes reserved for them alone, just like closely guarded pearls. (Surat as-Saffat: 43-49)
Platters and cups of gold will be passed around among them, and they will have all that their hearts desire and in which their eyes take delight. You will remain in it timelessly, forever. (Surat az-Zukhruf: 71)
As we see from these verses, Paradise is the eternal land of peace where everything is of such an exalted level of beauty that it surpasses human imagination and desire. However, it is clearly stated in the Qur’an that Paradise has been prepared only for those who believe and do good works:
But as for those who believe and do right actions, We will admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, forever and ever. In them they will have spouses of perfect purity, and We will admit them into cool, refreshing shade. (Surat an-Nisa’: 57)
As for those who believe and do right actions and humble themselves before their Lord, they are the Companions of the Garden, remaining in it timelessly, forever. (Surah Hud: 23)
Pondering these descriptions is a very effective way of dispelling unawareness and destroying worldly ambition. An honest and serious consideration is enough for people to understand that nothing on Earth can compare with the excellence of Paradise. If they understand this, they will desire and long for Paradise and work to be worthy of it by adhering to Allah’s commands and prohibitions.