To the promised land

INsights 039, Friday 21st April 2023

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Assalamu-alaikum. Peace be upon you.

One day, when our bountiful and generous Lord enters us into paradise, all ill feeling removed from our hearts, streams flowing at our feet, here’s what we will say:

Praise be to God who guided us to this: had God not guided us, we would never have found the way. The messengers of our Lord brought the truth.

Chapter 7, The Heights, al-A’raf, Verse 43

Praise be to God who has kept His promise to us and given us this land as our own. Now we may live wherever we please in the Garden.

Chapter 39, The Throngs, az-Zumar, Verse 74

God has been gracious to us and saved us from the torment of intense heat. We used to call upon Him; He is the Good, the Merciful.

Chapter 52, The Mountain, at-Tur, Verses 27-8

It will be gratitude, relief and joy. We will barely remember the hardships we endured. We will not regret any moment of devotion that we showed. It will be a wonderful day indeed. 

Aren’t these some of the exact emotions of the day of ‘Eid?

Yes of course. That’s because the day of ‘Eid is a microcosm of the day believers will enter into eternal bliss. 

We are graduating from the school of Ramadan. We realise that we can do more good deeds than we normally think to be possible. We can do without lots of distractions or even bad deeds that we normally think to be necessary or inevitable. 

The past month has been a rigorous period of sacrifice and self-discipline. 

But at the end of it all, there is closure and celebration. 

For this reason, by way of analogy, I find it helpful to think of the whole of life as the month of fasting and to think of entry into paradise as the day of ‘Eid.

The patience and perseverance that we have shown in Ramadan are the precise qualities that we need to carry us through the rest of our time in this world.

Our heightened awareness of the divine presence and the extra level of care that we take to avoid displeasing God – both key aspects of taqwa – are the exact provisions that we need to keep travelling well on the straight path. 

Just like it’s the case during Ramadan, having the courage in life to stay on track, even when it’s hard, is made a lot easier by knowing what there is to look forward to at the end of the road. 

Ramadan can be tough, but ‘Eid awaits.

Life can be tough, but paradise awaits. 

Now this analogy is helpful, but it’s just an analogy. 

Unlike the day we enter the promised land, the day of ‘Eid isn’t eternal.

Each of the three verses quoted above is accompanied with phrases that indicate a simple condition for happiness in the next life: hard work!

This is the Garden you have been given as your own because of what you have done.

Chapter 7, The Heights, al-A’raf, Verse 43

Peace be upon you. You have been good. Come in: you are here to stay forever […] How excellent is the reward of those who work hard!

Chapter 39, The Throngs, az-Zumar, Verses 73-4

Eat and drink with healthy enjoyment as a reward for what you have done.

Chapter 52, The Mountain, at-Tur, Verse 19 

So, my friends, I wish you a wonderful day of happiness and festivity. 

But after it’s over, it’s time to get back to work, to the kind of work that is your offering, your service, your labour of love for your Lord.  

None of us can afford a post-Ramadan decline.

Rather we need a post-Ramadan rise, reaching greater heights in this life so we can be taken to new heights in the afterlife. 

God will never break His promise to us. 

We just need to do our absolute best to keep our promise to Him.

Our Lord, we have heard someone calling us to faith, “Believe in your Lord,” and we have believed. Our Lord, forgive our sins, wipe out our bad deeds and grant that we join the righteous when we die. Our Lord, bestow upon us all that You have promised us through Your messengers. Do not humiliate us on the Day of Resurrection. You never break Your promise.

Chapter 3, The Family of ‘Imran, Aali Imran, Verses 193-4


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Have a blessed fortnight. I'll see you in two Fridays, God willing.

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