Better Than All Comforts

“(Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.Al-Qur’an 3:14) All these cherished desires  and all similar ones, are the comforts of this life. Perhaps we should add here that in the Arabic text, the term “this life”, or “dunyā”, connotes “the lower life”. Hence, they are not part of the sublime life or of the higher horizon. They are indeed the easy comforts of the life of this world. What is better than all this, because it is essentially nobler and it helps protect the human soul against being consumed by worldly desires, is that which remains with God. This is available to anyone who wants it, and it more than compensates for the pleasures of this world: “Say: Shall I tell you of better things than these? For the God-fearing there are, with their Lord, gardens through which running waters flow where they shall dwell forever, and wives of perfect chastity, and Gods good pleasure. God is mindful of His servants.” (Al-Qur’an chapter 3:Verse 15)

The Prophet is commanded to give the happy news of these comforts of the hereafter to those who are described as “the God- fearing”. We note that these comforts are, generally speaking, physical. There is, however, an essential difference between them and the comforts of this world. These are provided only to the Godfearing, who are always conscious of God. This consciousness has a definite moderating influence on both the spirit and the body. It prevents man from being totally consumed by his desires, striving like an animal to fulfil them in any way he can.

Hence, when the God-fearing look forward to these physical comforts which they are promised, they do so with a sublimity which remains free of the uncontrolled vigour of animal desire. Even in this life, long before they arrive in their promised abode, close to God, they are elevated by looking forward to these heavenly comforts. They find in them more than a mere compensation of the worldly desires and pleasures they miss in this world. If the pleasures of this life included fertile
plantations, they have in the hereafter gardens through which running waters flow.

Moreover, both they and their gardens live forever, unlike the plantations of this world which people enjoy only for a limited period of time. In contrast to the pleasures of women and children in this life, there are in the hereafter wives of perfect chastity. Their purity makes them far superior to what people desire of women in this life.

As for the horses of high mark and the cattle, and the heaped-up treasures of gold and silver, all these are viewed in this life as means to achieve more and greater comforts. In the hereafter, all comforts are freely available to everyone. No special means are required to achieve any ends. There remains what is far superior to all comforts, namely, “God’s good pleasure.” His pleasure is, to a believer, more precious than this life and the life to come combined. The Arabic term which is used to express this pleasure has endless connotations of love, tenderness, care and compassion. “God is mindful of His servants.” He knows their nature and the motivations and incentives which form part of it. He also knows what suits human nature in the way of directives and instructions. He knows how to deal with it in this life and the life to come.”

Taken from “In the Shade of The Qur’an” vol 2 pp 32-33


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