“They will say: ‘Praise be to God, who has truly fulfilled His promise to us, and has given us (this) land in heritage: We can dwell in the Gardens as we will: how excellent a reward for those who work (righteousness)!” Zumar (39):74
Recap: The angels of Paradise convince the people who do not distort their human qualities that they are doing right. As a result, the reply is enumerated in the above verse.
What does praise be to God mean?
It means recognizing that all the necessary equipment is provided by my Creator, when I use them without spoiling them, I will be rightly guided and this guidance is not from me but from my Creator.
Paradise is a concept to make me understand how I am feeling right now. That is, if I act according to my nature, then I do not feel any contradiction within myself. This feeling of ease is a message conveyed by the angels that I am doing right. That is, I will feel the reply in the way creation brings meaning to me i.e. I am feeling at peace with myself which is being in Paradise.
In this class, I study the result of the right action in the positive way within my own existence which is the sign of Paradise for me in this universe. Doing the opposite will put me in Hell and I will suffer from it. When one does not distort the way they are made, they feel at peace within their existence devoid of anxieties and fears.
When we start practicing this, we say “praise be to God”. Apply this right now in your practical life. Can you do it? When we do something right and act according to the way we are created (without spoiling our nature which is appropriate to our reality), then we feel life of Paradise on Earth. It means feeling secure that “I belong to the One who is Absolute and It is the Source of my existence. It will take care of my existence and I will not block the way how It treats me.” I may choose the wrong way which happens when I change my human character (or go against my nature). As a result of which, I feel alienated from my existence and my existence becomes meaningless (I lose all my hopes for my future existence). If we do not attribute our existence to its Absolute Infinite Source, we feel ourselves in prisons. Think for yourself, your past is gone, all meaningless. “I was happy yesterday but it is gone”. Let’s say you enjoyed your life in the best possible way until now, what do you have with you right now? Nothing. Our human desires expect to be eternally experiencing this with no beginning and no end. My desire does not want to lose the previous experiences and my human capacity does not want to have worries about tomorrow. (We have got to speak in black and white terms). If I do not attribute myself to the Creator, what do I feel in my existence? I do not know what happened to my past and I do not know what will happen to me tomorrow onwards. I just happen to be “right now” which is also passing. How do you feel? It is really Hell and a prison. Not only is the universe a prison for you but time-wise you are in a very narrow transient moment and you cannot say that I existed yesterday (I am very happy) but your human qualities question the next moment (how about tomorrow?) Can you guarantee anything? The meaning that is left with you from yesterday is gone. Again, this is what happens when we do NOT attribute existence to its Source. However, when we do attribute our existence to its Source, then the reverse process takes place. “I belong to the Absolute One and It has no beginning and no end. I am just experiencing my consciousness right now and my human qualities want to keep the past and have a promise/hope for the future. Since He gave me these senses, He must do it. Why did He give it to me otherwise?” When you experience this psychological experience, creation becomes so meaningful to you saying: “You have done perfect now. Peace be upon you” It means your human side will be satisfied now.
What is my attitude towards this conclusion?
- I am a successful person, I have done well.
- I did not distort my innate disposition.
#2 fits better with the line of reasoning. If we were to correct #1, we would say that I am enabled to do well, that is how I am made.
Change your attitude towards Quranic teaching. Do not send it to somewhere which is not beyond your perception now. It must be practical now. When the Quran says, “you will be ever happy”, you say that I am already happy. But the Source of my happiness comes from the Absoluteness of my Creator. The message from the universe comes from experiencing this universe. The message says that your attitude is right appropriate to your nature. That is what you are created for to interpret your existence in the right way i.e. the way it’s got to be interpreted.
The Quran mostly uses descriptive language, analogies, metaphors and samples because it is difficult for human beings to understand the abstract notions. The abstract notions do not remain in human memory. Therefore, the Quran presents them in a concrete form that we are experiencing here. Example: “the doors of Paradise are open”, which means to go in the right way is within us. The Quran presents the case according to the capacity of human mind i.e. how the human mind reasons. That is how we comprehend the subject in concrete form. We understand what this means.
People who are acting without distorting their human nature will experience the happiness. Example: visiting the park was very enjoyable but today is gone. If you have the right attitude, this universe is the place where you are entertained by your Creator and you are given the assurance that the One who created you is really taking care of your needs as you are a guest. When you reflect on it, accordingly you say alhamdolillah (Praise be to God who has fulfilled His promise).
Do you feel comfortable when you refer your being to an Eternal Being? Yes. I am feeling happy now. How do you respond back?
I respond back by praising. Praise is to be used for something which has value and whoever the value belongs to is what you praise.
There is a famous saying of Imam Ali that goes along as follows: “Worship is of three kinds.
- You worship something out of fear and thus you are a slave.
- You worship something for being given things and thus you are a business man.
- You worship something because it deserves to be worshiped and thus you are a free man.”
When I say alhamdolillah, I am acknowledging that this creation or event is His and does not belong to me. I am NOT acknowledging what It has given me. The happiness in finding out that I belong to an Absolute Source that is Its reality and I have no claim over it. Even if I am put in Hell, as long as I am aware that my existence reflects that You are with me, then I am worshipping like a freeman.
- I have no claim over the acknowledgments.
- I just respond back to my reality as I am created.
The happiness and the acknowledgment of the happiness that I am given the ability not to distort my human qualities is also from the One that gives existence. Belief is acknowledgment and worship is putting that acknowledgment into practice.
- Question every feeling, even the sense of feeling satisfaction. Have I created my feelings of security?
- Then interpret it in the right way: “I acknowledge this state of mind belongs to you and not me, I just did not spoil it.”
“I am created to entertain the feelings of happiness within my own being.” When you use this feeling in the right way, you belong to the Creator. The existence of the sense is enough. Negative feelings are a call to check yourself and to look for a way out of it. That is, look for a point of security to free yourself from anxieties. This sense of getting out of anxieties is given to you by the One who created the whole universe, hence look for this One. Also, look for the Source of the sense of the desire of wanting Eternal Happiness. You know that the whole universe cannot respond to such desires but the desire is there. If I appropriate this sense to myself, I get disappointment rather than when I acknowledge the Source, I experience that It is truly fulfilling Its promise. That is, when I get acquainted with the Source of my existence and there is a consistency in my existence, I feel happy because I found the Source of my existence within me and there is no contradiction in my existence. You Creator is speaking to you through this desire and knows exactly what you are. If my desire for Eternal Happiness is not going to be fulfilled, why do I have it? Since it is within me, it is in existence. Since it is in existence, it must have a Source of existence.
- Whoever knows himself/herself knows God because you can only know God through your own qualities.
Fitra (innate human disposition): deliberately done by an agent. I did not do it on my own. If I act according to my fitra, I will be really happy.
Evil desires are from within yourself due to your distorting your nature by misusing your free will. You might have acquired it from external influences. These desires, in and of themselves have no reality.
“Land of heritage” is a state of mind. Everything is happening between me and the source of my Existence. In that regards, your state of mind is “sacred”. Paradise must be a physical existence as well.
Comment: Annihilation cannot be real because you cannot be conscious of a non-conscious state of mind. Impossible!
In conclusion, we have to act as we are. Quran is just telling me what I am. That is, when you hear a guide, you check what you hear and see if you can confirm it.
Tags: At-Takwir, Quran and Universe, Takwir Series