I CONSIDER it is every individual’s right to practice the religion in which they believe but, I must admit that the actions of a few are causing me to place all Muslims in the same basket – that’s possibly illogical but it’s hard to think otherwise.
It is abhorrent to see kids who appear to be under five years old holding placards encouraging beheading.
These violent protesters can do nothing to promote the teachings of the Prophet, but they can cause immense damage to the way Islam is viewed in the mainstream society.
Ian Bruce, Burleigh Heads, Qld
ONE policy in urgent need of attention is a tightening of the checking of immigrants, particularly the 30 per cent of net arrivals coming from countries where the main religion is Islam. That is not to suggest a banning of Muslim immigrants but we surely need to reject immigrant applications from those judged as activists.
Additional action is needed to minimise the risk of home-grown terrorism by increasing existing programs designed to educate Muslim groups in the virtues of Western societies.
Des Moore, South Yarra, Vic
FREEDOM in Australia has the responsibility to act within the law and respect the safety of others around you as we go about our daily business. Freedom is also about freedom of speech and this is clearly not part of the Islamic protest movement in Sydney.
We allow people willingly into Australia we do not expect this in return. If Muslims do not like this I am sure they can return to the war torn countries they came from.
Steven Carter, Noranda, WA
IT’S interesting that the unspeakable outrage of female genital mutilation, (reported in The Australian last week to have recently occurred in Sydney, “Charges laid over cutting of genitals”, 14/9) provoke no discernible protest from the Muslim community, but a D-grade undergraduate film, shown only in part on YouTube, whips many of them into a frenzy.
Richard Sallie, Nedlands, WA
WHAT a pity that Muslims here take one step forward only for such disturbing events to shunt them two steps backward. Their too-silent majority, wishing only to live out peaceful, productive lives, are too often dudded by their own extremists.
Ron Sinclair, Bathurst, NSW
MUSLIM parents who involve their young children in street protests should be charged with child abuse. Think of the physical, mental, emotional and intellectual harm they are forcing on these little kids.
Sue Hunter, Port Melbourne, Vic
COMING on top of recent reports about police raids on suspected Islamic militants, this protest is all very unsettling. Muslim leaders in this country should be concerned that activities like those that took place over the weekend are divisive and harmful because they provide ammunition for extremists on both sides of the debate and will only harden public attitudes.
Anything that is likely to enhance feelings of xenophobia must be avoided because any form of violence, verbal or physical, that has its roots in racism or religious intolerance is counterproductive and dare I say unAustralian. We do not want any more Cronullas.
Robert Webb, Ormiston, Qld
OF 400,000 Muslims in Australia, we see not a finger lifted and not a word of condemnation from the imams or any others of them against these would-be murderers.
Plenty of them willingly protest against us, but where are those protesting for us?
Les Thompson, Kilmore, Vic
AS a Christian I am very upset at the mistreatment of Christians around the world, mainly by Muslims who have no problem with blaspheming my God without due public retribution.
TV programs daily misuse the names of the Christian God and of Jesus without Christians burning down the ABC. Does that mean we are happy about this infamy? Not at all, because in due course, God will take the appropriate judgment to deal with all offenders.
David Stevens, Park Ridge, Qld
THE Arab Spring is sure producing some interesting fruit – and it’s taking root right here in our backyard. Is the anti-Mohammed film to blame? Is it the fault of Guantanamo? Abu Ghraib? Is it still Bush’s fault? What about those Swedish cartoons?
Colonialism? The Crusades? Can we blame it all on Israel, again?
Take your pick, but don’t blame it on the practitioners of the religion of Peace. That would be a hate crime, intolerant and racist.
Mike Zaab, Sydney, NSW
UNTIL viewing the rioting Islamic community in Sydney, I believed that one’s religious beliefs were no impediment to living harmoniously in Australia. I was wrong. It is with regret that I now take a step to the Right.
Marney Meredith, Singleton, NSW
OUR misplaced tolerance is to the cost of all, including our broad Muslim population.
Islam in Australia is failed by a political discourse too timid to take a stand against the playing out of ancient hatreds in the streets of Australia.
The reality of Paradise is something which people will never be able to understand until they actually enter it, but God has shown us glimpses of it in the Quran. He has described it as a place essentially different to the life of this world, both in the very nature and purpose of life, as well as the types of delights which people will enjoy therein. The Quran tells people about Paradise, which God offers to them, describes its great blessings, and proclaims its beauties to everyone. It informs people that Paradise is one of two ways of life prepared for them in the afterworld, and that every good thing will be theirs in Paradise to a degree that surpasses our present ability to imagine. It also shows that Paradise is a place where all blessings have been created perfectly and where people will be offered everything their souls and hearts will desire, and that people will be far removed from want and need, anxiety or sadness, sorrow and regret. Every kind of beauty and blessing exists in Paradise and will be revealed with a perfection never seen or known before. God has prepared such blessings there as a gift, and these will be offered only to people with whom He is pleased.
But what is the nature of these delights in Paradise, and how will it be different from the delights of this world? We will try to highlight a few of these differences.
Pure delight without pain and suffering
While people in this world experience some delight, they also face much toil and suffering. If one was to scrutinize the life which they live, they will find that the amount of hardship they face is much more than the ease and comfort. As for the life of the Hereafter, there will be no hardship nor suffering in it, and people will live therein in pure joy and delight. All the causes of sorrow, pain and suffering which people experience in this life will be absent in the Hereafter. Let’s take a look at some of these causes.
When one thinks of success in this life, they usually conjure the image of big houses, fine jewelry and clothing, and expensive cars; financial stability is seen to be the key to a happy life. To most people, success is inseparably related to wealth, even though this is the furthest from the truth. How many times have we seen the wealthiest of people living such miserable lives, that it sometimes even leads them to commit suicide! Wealth is something which humans in their very nature desire at any cost, and this desire has been created for a great and wise purpose. When this desire is not satiated, it causes some extent of grief in a person. For this reason, God has promised the inhabitants of Paradise that they will have all that they imagined as far as wealth and belongings are concerned, both for those who were extremely poor, experiencing even hunger and thirst, to those well-to-do but who desired even more. God gives us a glimpse of this when he says:
“… there will be there all that the souls could desire, all that the eyes could delight in …” (Quran 43:71)
“Eat and drink at ease for that which you have sent forth (good deeds) in days past!” (Quran 69:24)
“… They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and they will wear green garments of fine silk and heavy brocade. They will recline therein on raised thrones. How good [is] the recompense! How beautiful a couch [is there] to recline on!” (Quran 18:31)
Disease and Death
Another cause of pain and suffering in this life is the death of a loved one or disease, which are both non-existent in Paradise. None will feel any sickness or pain in Paradise. The Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said about the people of Paradise:
“They will never fall ill, blow their noses or spit.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
None will die in Paradise. All shall live eternally enjoying the pleasures therein. The Prophet Muhammad said that a caller will call out in Paradise when people enter it:
“Indeed may you be healthy and never be sick again, may you live and never die again, may you be young and never grow feeble again, may you enjoy, and never feel sorrow and regret again.” (Saheeh Muslim)
As for the remorse felt due to a rift in personal relationships, people will never hear any evil or hurting comments or speech in Paradise. They will only hear good words and words of peace. God says:
“They will not hear therein ill speech or commission of sin. But only the saying of: Peace! Peace!” (Quran 56:25-26)
There will be no enmity between people nor ill-feelings:
“And We shall remove from their breasts any (mutual) hatred or sense of injury (which they had, if at all, in the life of this world)…” (Quran 7:43)
The Prophet said:
“There will be no hatred or resentment among them, their hearts will be as one, and they will glorify God, morning and evening.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
People will have the best of companions in the Hereafter, who were also the best people in the world:
“And whoever obeys God and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom God has bestowed favor – of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions!” (Quran 4:69)
The hearts of the people of Paradise will be pure, their speech will be good, their deeds righteous. There will be no hurtful, upsetting, offensive or provocative talk there, for Paradise is free of all worthless words and deeds. If we were to discuss all the causes for anguish in this life, we would surely find its absence or opposite to be true in Paradise.
The Pleasures of Paradise (part 2 of 2)
The Eternalness of the Hereafter
The Pleasures of this world are transient whilst the joys of the hereafter are lasting and eternal. In this life when a person enjoys something, it is only a short while before they get bored with it and proceed to search for something they feel is better, or they may not feel a need for it altogether. As for the delights of Paradise, a person will never feel bored with anything, but rather, its goodness will increase each time they indulge in it.
Also, the life of this world is very short. Humans only live on this earth for a short while, and very few people reach the age of seventy.
“…Say: Short is the enjoyment of this world. The Hereafter is (far) better for him who fears God…” (Quran 4:77)
As for Paradise, people will live forever. God says:
“…its provision is eternal and so is its shade…” (Quran 13:35)
“What is with you must vanish, and what is with God will endure …” (Quran 16:96)
“(It will be said to them): This is Our Provision, which will never finish” (Quran 38:54)
The delights of the people of Paradise, such as their clothing, food, drink, jewelry and palaces, will be far superior to their counterparts in this world. There is in fact no room for comparison, as even the smallest space in Paradise is better than this world and all that is in it. The Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:
“The space of the bow of any one of you in Paradise is better than all that the sun rises upon” (Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh 3/85, no. 5615)
Free from all Impurities
Paradise is free from all the impurities of this world. Eating and drinking in this life results in the need for excretion and its associated unpleasant odors. If a person drinks wine in this world, he loses his mind. Women in this world menstruate and give birth, which are sources of pain and hurt. Paradise is free from all of these discomforts: its people will not urinate, defecate, spit or suffer from catarrh. The wine of Paradise, as described by its Creator, is:
“Crystal-white, delicious to those who drink (thereof), free from intoxication, nor will they suffer intoxication therefrom” (Quran 37:46-47)
The water of Paradise does not become brackish, and its milk never changes in flavor:
“…rivers of water incorruptible; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes…” (Quran 47:15)
The women of Paradise are pure and free from menstruation, postnatal bleeding and all the other impurities suffered by women in this world, and all are free from stool and feces. God says:
“…and they shall have therein purified mates…” (Quran 2:25)
The prophet answered a person when they asked how the people of Paradise will relieve themselves:
“They relieve themselves by perspiring through their skins, and its fragrance will be that of musk, and all stomachs will have become lean.” (ibn Hibbaan)
What we have mentioned has been a mere comparison in order to understand the nature of Paradise, but as God said, its delights are truly hidden:
“No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do.” (Quran 32:17)
Paradise: There is Nothing Like It
The delights of Paradise surpass the imagination and defy description. They are like nothing known to the people of this world; no matter how advanced we may become, what we achieve is as nothing in comparison with the joys of the Hereafter. As is mentioned in several reports, there is nothing like Paradise:
“It is sparkling light, aromatic plants, a lofty palace, a flowing river, ripe fruit, a beautiful wife and abundant clothing, in an eternal abode of radiant joy, in beautiful soundly-constructed high houses”. (Ibn Maajah, Ibn Hibbaan)
The Sahabah asked the Prophet about the buildings of Paradise and he replied with a wonderful description:
“Bricks of gold and silver, and mortar of fragrant musk, pebbles of pearl and sapphire, and soil of saffron. Whoever enters it is filled with joy and will never feel miserable; he will live there forever and never die; their clothes will never wear out and their youth will never fade.” (Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, ad-Daarimee)
“And when you look there (in Paradise) you will see a delight (that cannot be imagined), and a great dominion.” (Quran 76:20)
What God has kept hidden from us the delights of Paradise is beyond our ability to comprehend. The Prophet said that God said:
“I have prepared for My slaves what no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no human heart can imagine.” Recite if you wish:
“No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.” (Quran 32:17)
In another report:
“Never mind what God has told you; what He has not told you is even greater.” (Saheeh Muslim)
In other articles, we will attempt to mention some of the specific details of Paradise and the delights therein described to us by God and His last Prophet.