Recently I attended a lecture on the concept of Hell and Paradise. It stirred me deeply and my mind went back to a story which happened many years ago…
In the winters of 2005, I was doing the last paras of Taleem-ul-Quran at home and in the evenings I used to write notes or did the revision. My washing-maid also came in the evenings and sometimes would get very late. So one day it was almost maghrib time and I was standing on the terrace and she was hanging the washed clothes on the line. I just remarked to her how cold and windy it was and she said to me in a very hesitant tone… “Baji can I ask you something?” I said why not, tell me what is it? She looked at the far corner of the terrace where stood in the corner tall rolls of canvas curtains with canes sewn on one side… Really thick blinds which are used in summers to hang outside windows to ward off the intolerable heat of the sun. She told me that she had a small, two room house with one tiny veranda, which she used as a kitchen. She said, “It is so cold to cook chapattis at night or even early morning because it is open. If you could please give me these “chiks” then I can cover it up and will be saved from the cold.”
I hesitated to answer her right away thinking that they were absolutely new and specially bought for these tall windows but then I thought that if I can save her from cold then Allah will save me from heat in the summers. So I said ok you can have these and her eyes shone with delight…
When the heat wave started a few months later we suddenly got the chance for a 2 month vacation to the northern city of skardu. And when I landed on the airport and felt the first cool breeze on my face I remembered that incident and was so excited to realize that Allah had listened to my dua. I had the best time of life in Skardu… wonderfully cool weather and beautiful views of gigantic mountains surrounding the city on all sides. Luxurious fruit trees of apricots, apples and almonds… it was almost a paradise on earth.
But now listening to the lecture about the horrors of the Hell and the pleasures of the Paradise, I realized what kind of faith we have in the hereafter? I mean even if we are trying to please Allah through our actions, still our hearts are fixed on the results in this world. We do good deeds for barakah, for pleasure and blessings of Allah. Which is fine… but our real goal should be the Akhirah.
For example, if my vision had been right, I would have given her the canvas sheets, with the dua that Allah might save me from the fire of Hell.
If my eyes are focused on Jannah then I should make life easy for people with the hope that Allah might make the day of Judgement easy on me.
If I make others happy and comfortable, I should pray that Allah might make my grave comfortable and give me happiness with the company of Quran, and light up its darkness with the light of my good deeds… that should be my main concern and not the duniya.
If I am a fearful person then my fears should be of the punishment of grave and hellfire. And if I am ambitious then my ambition should be for the Paradise.
I think that if we are able to guide our focus in this direction, only then we will get the true taste of faith… inshaAllah