If you see the way people follow their desires, you will find that basically they can be divided into two groups:
The first group is of those who have made the attainment of pleasures as their goal of life. Hence all their thoughts, their concerns and their efforts revolve around the pursuit of their desires regardless of whether they attain them lawfully or not. This never ending cycle of going from one entertainment to the next, makes them oblivious to the purpose for which they were created. And thus their so called pleasures will end in the pain of loss and regret because they never did what they were supposed to do…
The second type of people also enjoy the pleasures of life but they recognize their true purpose. They realize that Allah put these desires in us so as to test us whether we give preference to Allah’s obedience or do we neglect Him because of being so busy in obeying our own nafs? Therefore these intelligent people are very alert not to become trapped in pleasures, rather they use these desires to win the pleasure of Allah instead of getting away from Him. They enjoy good things too, but not just for the sake of enjoyment… rather they take benefit from these pleasures just so they can be refreshed and energized for doing the good deeds which Allah loves. Thus their desires act as a bridge which leads them to the greater enjoyment of the hereafter.
On the outside you can see both kinds of people enjoying the same things… but their results will be different due to the difference in their intention.
The most interesting aspect of worldly pleasures is that if we make the intention of pleasing Allah then our fulfillment of desires will be rewarded!! Just imagine the power of good intentions… they transform enjoyable acts into rewards! Like eating delicious food, wearing fine clothes, enjoying a loving relationship with your spouse, listening to the beautiful sound of Quran, enjoying the beautiful sights of Allah’s creation. The more you appreciate and give thanks to Allah for these pleasures, the more happiness and satisfaction you will experience. So even a little thing like watching a butterfly fluttering its wings… or the smile on your child’s face… or a warm cup of tea on a cold morning… will cause your heart to be filled with the most extraordinary sweetness… this is just the reward of this temporary world… imagine how much Allah will reward such a person in the hereafter!!
Actually the real secret of happiness is that a person recognizes Allah to be the Most Beloved… and the climax of pleasure is to attain closeness to your most beloved… and the constant struggle of such a believer is to keep doing such things which will cause Allah to love him… therefore the more a person toils for the sake of Allah the greater pleasure he feels.
On the other hand, if a person has the whole world but doesn’t find his beloved… then this emptiness will not just be a cause of distress in this life, rather it will be the greatest source of regret in the next life. There, people will realize the true value of this bond, which they never developed because of their preoccupation with other things.
So the thing to do, is to keep a constant check on your heart… does it feel the sweetness of Allah’s love? Does it enjoy meeting with Allah in salah? Does it yearn to hear Allah’s words? Do you enjoy being alone and spend time with Allah’s book? do you remember Allah when you are among your friends? These feelings will develop just like growing plants… the more you water them on time… the more you take care of their light and shade… the more you keep them free of weeds and harmful insects… the better they will grow… with time and constant care you can nurture your bond with Allah too… it’s worth all the effort and it’s never too late!