by Bisma Mukhtar
The wind blew in her face and the bicycle felt as if it were flying through the corridor of flowers on either side. Chirping sparrows invaded the grass; in front of her eyes, tight red buds began to flower on the trees lining the path. Yellow daffodils bobbed their heads in the breeze, and little ducklings followed their mother to the pond. A group of children whistled and clapped as they ran through the colourful flowers dotting the nearby fields. The air was filled with a lovely baked apple scent; fluffy little bunnies bounced throughout the gardens as if they were common frogs.She could feel the fragrance of spring spread. A rainbow coloured the sky and the sun’s golden glow shone from end to end. Splendid rivers of rich creamy milk flowed through the mountains. Her heart swelled with pleasure and contentment.
As she rode the little red bicycle along another path- this one much like a paved road, in fact- she came to a large riverside palace. It looked fit for a queen!
She approached it and went inside. The floors were lined with fine carpets that appeared to be from another world altogether. For the first time in her life, her eyes were bewildered by all the beauty and splendor around her, as if they had been previously blind. Lying along the sides of a great hall were cushions and the room was decorated with pretty little embellishments. There, she saw someone, with a face nothing but radiating light. She couldn’t resist but ask,
‘Whose house is this? What is this place?’
And the answer came, ‘Jannah’.
In an instant, the dream ended and she found herself lying on her own bed in a dark room. The stars were still apparent through her small rectangular bedroom window. She had had the most wonderful dream and felt determined to investigate its meaning further.
She had to find that place!
She started by typing the word ‘jannah’ into a search engine online, as she had no clue what it meant. The best definition of it she could find was ‘an unimaginable garden of bliss’ in the context of a verse of the Qura’n:
“Allah has promised to the believers-men and women-Gardens under which river flows to dwell therein [forever] and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss”
As she read the text, her dream rolled like a movie clip in front of her eyes. She pondered upon the verse for a few minutes but couldn’t figure out what was meant by the ‘believers’. She had to get to this Jannah somehow. Did she fit the criteria for a believer?
She called up a close Muslim friend and asked about the meaning.
Her dream was a guiding light for her. It was what set her on a path to peace, purity and salvation.
Reading the story above made me dwell on my past and a lot of questions popped up in my mind. Did I fit the criteria for a believer, I wondered? What purpose did my life serve in the world- would I be just another forgotten name, a forgotten face, once my life reached its inevitable end? How was I contributing to the society?? and the list continued…
I could feel the stirings of confusion- and shame over my own ignorance! My anxious thoughts started multiplying as doubts filled my mind. I could do nothing but pray to Allah SWT for hidayyah. On one hand there were mytemptation driven fantasies and desires for superficial things and on the other hand was a picture of Heaven and Hell. The story had carved a place deep in my mind. It was the driving force, all of a sudden. After twenty years of living in a state of ‘sleep’, I was very much awake.
The dream-story was perhaps Allah’s way of showing me the right path. He (SWT) had blessed me with the realization that I did not want to waste more of my precious life, without working for that eternal Hereafter
Slowly and gradually, the word ‘believer’ started to make sense. I knew this road was challenging, i knew it wasn’t going to be easy for me but i decided I didn’t want to make a fool out of myself by thinking that it wasn’t worth it and in the end, end up risking what is and always will be Eternal. It wasn’t late before i noticed that my efforts had started to pay off and my tasks became as if they were a piece of cake. I had never experienced such contentment and beauty in life. Suddenly, everything had a purpose- I had a purpose.
The Quran attempts to guide us all; through its beautiful message and its perspective on life.
The extent to which we push ourselves to become the ideal people of the Quran is what counts at the end. Through the ups and downs of life, our picture of paradise can either affect us (and motivate us to become stronger, better people), or it can become a long forgotten thought.
Being able to picture the Hereafter also helps us to remain consistent upon the worship of God. With a solid purpose in life, well-defined goals and plenty of prayers, a person can really make the most of life!
“….. Remember Allah as you remember your forefathers or with a far more remembrance. But of mankind there are some who say: “Our Lord! Give us (Your Bounties) in this world!” and for such there will be no portion in the Hereafter.
And of them there are some who say: “Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!” For them there will be alloted a share for what they have earned. And Allah is Swift at reckoning.”
(Excerpt from Quran 2:200-202)