Striving for Paradise and Avoiding the Hellfire

28 06 2010

All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of all the worlds. Peace and blessings be upon the Messenger, his household and companions.

Fellow Muslims! Allaah created the creation so that His commandments and rules may be implemented.

“And He is the Irresistible, (Supreme) above His slaves, and He is the All-Wise, Well-Acquainted with all things.” (Al-An‘aam 6:18)

He created the universe so that He might be obeyed therein and that it might be inhabited with righteousness. He gave His legally obligated servants a freewill by which they can carry out the obligations; though this freewill is subject to Allaah’s Will and Might. If one performs things that agree with the Will of Allaah, acts in accordance with the truth for which this universe was created and obeys his Lord, Allaah will reward him with the best reward in this world and the Hereafter. Allaah says,

“Whoever works righteousness – whether male or female – while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islâmic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter).” (An-Nahl 16:97)

But if one goes against what Allaah wills for him, contradicts the law of Islaam and disobeys his Lord, Allaah will punish him in this world and the Hereafter. Allaah says,

“Whoever follows My Guidance he shall neither go astray, nor shall be distressed. But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur’ân nor acts on its teachings.) verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.” (Taa Haa 22:123-124)

Men’s actions, be they great or small, are accurately recorded against them. And they shall be recompensed for those deeds. Allaah says,

“And to Allâh belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, that He may requite those who do evil with that which they have done (i.e. punish them in Hell), and reward those who do good, with what is best (i.e. Paradise).” (An-Najm 53:31)

The real and permanent recompense is in the Hereafter. As for this world, if there is any recompense there for good or evil deed, that recompense is very little and finite. On the Day of Resurrection, even the sinners will see the life of this world as just like an hour of the day. Allaah says,

“And on the Day that the Hour will be established, the Mujrimûn (criminals, disbelievers, polytheists, sinners) will swear that they stayed not but an hour- thus were they ever deluded (away from the truth (i.e. they used to tell lies and take false oaths, and turn away from the truth) in this life of the world)).” (Ar-Room 30:55)

And He says,

“And on the Day when He shall gather (resurrect) them together, (it will be) as if they had not stayed (in the life of this world and graves) but an hour of a day. They will recognize each other.” (Yoonus 10:45)

But the eternal and infinite recompense is that of the Hereafter. It might be the abode of bliss or the abode of hell. The reward of Paradise is for good deeds and the punishment of Hell is for evil deeds; a suitable recompense. Since righteous deeds are of various kinds in terms of their realities and benefits, the bliss of Paradise is also different in terms of its realities and benefits. Since the dwellers of Paradise had worshipped their Lord in this world, though they did not see Him, Allaah will, as a appropriate reward, honour them by showing His Gracious Face to them and letting them hear His Glorious Word on the Day of Judgment.

Since Allaah saw it in them that they were resolute and decisive in their continuous worshipping of Him and obeying Him, He will then recompense them on that Day with a permanent bliss. Allaah says,

“Verily those who believe (in the Oneness of Allâh – Islâmic Monotheism) and do righteous deeds, shall have the Gardens of Al-Firdaus (the Paradise) for their entertainment. Wherein they shall dwell (forever). No desire will they have for removal therefrom.” (Al-Kahf 18:107-108)

Likewise, since evil deeds are different in terms of their bitter realities and hazards, it follows then that their recompense which is Hell-Fire should also be of different kinds in terms of its severity, pain and bitterness. And since the sinners blocked their own hearts from guidance and eemaan while they were in this world, Allaah will recompense them for that by screening Himself from them and disallowing them from seeing Him on the Day of Resurrection. Allaah says,

“Nay! Surely, they (evil-doers) will be veiled from seeing their Lord that Day.” (Al-Muttafiffeen 83:15)

Since Allaah knows that the dwellers of Hell were always resolute on being perpetual disbelievers and sinners, and that if they were returned to this world they would go back to their disbelief, He then imposes on them a perpetual, everlasting and painful punishment on the Day of Resurrection. Allaah says,

“If you could but see when they will be held over the (Hell) Fire! They will say: “Would that we were but sent back (to the world)! Then we would not deny the Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, revelations, etc.) of our Lord, and we would be of the believers!” Nay, it has become manifest to them what they had been concealing before. But if they were returned (to the world), they would certainly revert to that which they were forbidden. And indeed they are liars.” (Al-An‘aam 6:27-28)

Dear brethren! The purest and the best hour for the Muslim in which his degree can be elevated the most, is to make the craving for Paradise and fear of Hell prevalent in his heart. The righteous predecessors always had their hearts filled with fear of Hell and yearning for Paradise, so their deeds were righteous.

An example of this is ‘Abdullaah ibn Rawaahah who, while bidding farewell to his companions during the battle of Mu’tah, was seen crying. And when he was asked for the reason for his crying he said, “By Allaah! I am not crying because I’m going to miss you or because of this world. But what made me cry is the saying of Allaah,

‘There is not one of you but will pass over it (Hell): this is with your Lord; a Decree which must be accomplished.’ (Maryam 19:71)

How am I going to come out safely after passing over it?”

Another example is ‘Umayr ibn al-Humaam. When the Messenger of Allaah, announced, during the battle of Badr, “Rise unto a Paradise whose width is as expansive as the heavens and the earth.” ‘Umayr threw away few dates that he was holding and said,

“If I have to wait until I finished eating these dates, that will indeed be a long life.” He then rushed unto the battlefield and fought gallantly until he was martyred.”

As for Anas ibn an-Nadhr, he said during the battle of Uhud,

“Certainly, I perceive the aroma of Paradise beyond the mountain of Uhud.”

Fellow Muslims! We need to remember Paradise and Hell in our hearts and our assemblies and during our days and nights so that our conditions can become upright and our deeds can be righteous, especially in this time in which materialism and trials are prevalent, sincere advisers are few, eemaan has weakened and the life of this world is falsely adorned so much so that people burden themselves with it, make friends and foes upon it and maintain and sever relationships because of it. It then became the biggest impediment that obstructs people from the way of Allaah. Allaah says,

“Verily, those who hope not for their meeting with Us, but are pleased and satisfied with the life of the present world, and those who are heedless of Our Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.). Those, their abode will be the Fire, because of what they used to earn.” (Yoonus 10:7-8)

Yearning for Paradise leads to righteous deeds as fear of Hell deters from sins. Paradise is the greatest thing that a Muslim should assiduously seek for, for it contains what no eye had seen, what no ear had heard and what no human mind had conceived. Usaamah ibn Zayd narrated that the Messenger of Allaah said,

“Is there anyone who is ready to work diligently for the sake of Paradise? For, Paradise has no harm. By the Lord of the Ka’bah, it is full of shinning light, exuding fragrance, imposing palace, incessant river, ripe fruit, beautiful women and many gorgeous garments. It is a peaceful abode of eternity that is full of fruits and vegetables, silken shawls and bliss in a high and splendid palace.” The companions said, “Yes, we are ready to work for it.” He then told them, “Say: Insha Allaah!” And the people echoed, “Insha Allaah!” (Ibn Maajah and others)

The Messenger of Allaah also said,

“The Paradise is built of bricks of gold and bricks of silver. Its mortar is made of musk, its gravels are pearls and sapphire and its sand is saffron. Whoever enters it shall have bliss and never shall he suffer misery; he shall dwell therein forever and never shall he die. His garment shall not wear out and his youthfulness shall never end.”
And he said, “In Paradise, the believer shall have a tent made of a hollowed pearl whose height is as long as sixty miles. In Paradise, the believer shall have wives with whom he will cohabit, and [the tent will be so large that] none of these wives shall see the others.” (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)

As regards the drinks of the dwellers of Paradise, Allaah says,

“The deion of Paradise which the pious have been promised (is that) in it are rivers of water the taste and smell of which are not changed, rivers of milk of which the taste never changes, rivers of wine delicious to those who drink, and rivers of clarified honey (clear and pure).” (Muhammad 47:15)

Aboo Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allaah said about the wives of the dwellers of Paradise,

“One of the dwellers of Paradise will place his hand on the back of one of his wives and he will then see his hand through her garment, skin and flesh. He will also see the marrow of her shank as one of you looks at the string of the pipe tube of sapphire. His liver will be like a mirror to her and her liver will be like a mirror to him.” (Aboo Ya’laa and al-Bayhaqee)

Anas narrated that the Prophet said, “

The least in the rank of the dwellers of Paradise is the one who will be served by ten thousand servants. Each of these servants will bear two dishes; one made of gold and the other of silver. In each plate, there will be colours that are not in the other. He will eat from every angle of the plate and he will find the last morsels of the food more delicious and tastier than the first ones. And above all, the sweating and belching of the dwellers of Paradise shall be of musk. They will never urinate or defecate; neither will they give off mucus or have a cause to blow their noses.” (At-Tabaraanee)

The Almighty Allaah describes Paradise and its eternal bliss in His Book in a manner that was never described in other divine ures. His Messenger also described it in a manner that no Prophet before him had done. Therefore, we should strive and hasten to perform the deeds of the people of Paradise. Let us hasten to do righteous deeds and seek the Paradise of our Lord. Let us ask Him to admit us to Paradise. Nevertheless, greater than the bliss of Paradise are attainment of Allaah’s pleasure and the favour of seeing His Gracious Face. Allaah says,

“Allâh has promised to the believers – men and women, – Gardens under which rivers flow to dwell therein forever, and beautiful mansions in Gardens of ‘Adn (Eden Paradise). But the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of Allâh. That is the supreme success.” (At-Tawbah 9:72)

As for the Fire, and who will make you know what the Fire is? It is the abode of evil creatures, the place of filth, disgrace and ignominy. It is so deep that if a rock is thrown into it from its brink it will not be able to reach its bottom in seventy years. Its heat is very scorching. The Prophet said,

“The fire of this world is a seventieth part of the fire of Hell.” (Al-Bukhaaree)

The food of its dwellers shall be of Zaqqoom. It is made of a plant that grows from the Hell and irrigated by the Hell. They shall also eat of a poisonous and thorny plant that gives no nourishment nor satiates against hunger. Its taste is repulsive and bitter. It sticks to the throat and it is washed down into the bowel only with an extremely hot liquid. If it reaches the bowel, it shreds the intestines into pieces.

Their drink shall be of a mixture of blood and puss. Their garments shall be of liquid pitch and iron. And they will also be dressed with fire. May Allaah protect us! Allaah says,

“As for those who disbelieved, garments of fire will be cut out for them, boiling water will be poured down over their heads. With it will melt (or vanish away) what is within their bellies, as well as (their) skins. And for them are hooked rods of iron (to punish them). Every time they seek to get away therefrom, from anguish, they will be driven back therein, and (it will be) said to them: “Taste the torment of burning!’ (Al-Hajj 22:19-22)

‘Abdullaah ibn Haarith ibn Jaz’ said,

“There are, in the Hell-Fire, snakes that are like the camel necks. If they bite someone, they will feel the hotness and pain of its venom for seventy years.” (Ahmad)

Allaah says,

“And say (O Muhammad (peace be upon him)) “Do deeds! Allâh will see your deeds, and (so will) His Messenger and the believers. And you will be brought back to the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen. Then He will inform you of what you used to do.” (At-Tawbah 9:105)

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allaah in private and in public. No one can succeed except by fearing his Lord; and no one can lose except by following his desires and neglecting acts of worship.

Brethren in faith! Your Lord calls you unto the Gardens of Bliss through performing righteous deeds and shunning of evil ones. He says,

“And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious. Those who spend (in Allâh’s Cause) in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allâh loves Al-Muhsinûn (the good-doers).” (Aal ‘Imraan 3:133-134)

In the hadeeth, the Messenger of Allaah said,

“All of you shall enter Paradise except those who refuse to.” The companions said, “Who will refuse to, O Messenger of Allaah?” He answered, “He who obeys me shall enter Paradise and he who disobeys me has refused [to enter Paradise].”

Let no one incline to the enjoyment of this world, for it is only a mixture of false dreams, a shadow of a tree and a deceiving enjoyment. The Messenger of Allaah said,

“On the Day of Resurrection, a man among the dwellers of Paradise who was one of the most miserable ones in the life of this world will be given a dip in the Paradise and he will then be asked: Son of Adam, have you ever had faced any misery [in your life]? And he will say: No, by Allaah, I have never faced any misery [in my life]. Then a man among the dwellers of Hell who was one of the most affluent ones in the life of this world will be given a dip in the Hell and he will then be asked: Son of Adam, have you ever had any enjoyment [in your life]? He will answer: No, by Allaah, I have never had any enjoyment [in my life].”

This means that that dip in Paradise shall make the former forget every misery he had suffered as that dip in the Hell shall make the latter forget every enjoyment he had had. Allaah says,

“Tell Me, (even) if We do let them enjoy for years, and afterwards comes to them that (punishment) which they had been promised, all that with which they used to enjoy shall not avail them.” (Ash-Shu‘araa 26:205-207)

Therefore, Paradise is only sought through what pleases Allaah and through worshipping Him according what His Messenger had ordained.

[Medinah Khutbah 17, Jumaadal-Ulaa 1426 (24 June, 2005) . Taken from http://www.alharamainonline.org

By Imâm al-Madîna al-Munawarrah ‘Alî Abd-ur-Rahmân al-Hudhaifî

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