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We believe that a true and comprehensive understanding of Islam would not be possible without careful recognition of the Prophetic Tradition and the Prophet's Household. And Allah is the Source of Strength.

Perceptions: Paradise

" The original proposition Perceptions discussed how With the spiritual maturity and guidance, the perception of a believer changes. That is why Rasool (SAW) in some of the ahadith had mentioned sitting with the pious and the learned as being a preferred form of Ibadat, for from such gatherings you might change your perceptions.

This piece will emphasize the fact how reality may be so much different from our perceptions hence it is important to be flexible in our thoughts and understand the spirit behind legislation.

A caveman living 40,000 years ago could not comprehend the comfort of living in an air-conditioned room, being entertained by your favorite tv show and eating pizza with a coke. You could probably never explain that experience and feeling to the caveman whose perception of bliss was limited to a safe night sleep on an uncomfortable surface. To a neanderthal who hunted dangerous animals with poor tools for survival without the taste of spices, who had to survive disease, weather and other nuisances of life, the cinema room maybe paradise.

Man today has a quality of lifestyle, with technology, medical science and hygiene progression, today's peaceful rich life may not be less than that of a paradise to some one millenniums ago. More importantly these perks, privileges, experiences and blissful moments may not be fully understood by those who lived thousands of years before us.

The definition of luxury has changed, some one who went to perform a pilgrimage on his caravan of camels still required months to perform the hajj and risk robbers, climate and distances vs the business class air travel many afford today and perform Hajj in a matter of days.

Fast forward tomorrow, a 100 years from now, some one will be laughing at us on how we were so proud on our luxurious first class travel on a world class airline, wasting 24 hours to travel accross the globe, while all they need to do is snap their finger and teleport to the destination of their choice, instantaneously.

The biggest mistake a man today would do would be to perceive paradise in its literal words. While what may have been used to explain paradise to a desert nomad who suffered from heat, dust, scarcity of water, lack of fruits and gardens, the essence of paradise must not be limited by the capacity of our perceptions and understanding.

We may not fully comprehend paradise except that Heaven in Quran's words gives an essence of pleasure, perpetuity, harmony, peace, bliss, companionship, food, drinks, gardens and rivers.

Can you imagine the excitement and pleasure of someone who worked his life to understand how the universe worked and suddenly figured it out through a mathematical model? Someone who had proof of angels scientific evidence of life after death, someone who proved how black holes work or someone who made a theory that dark matter exists and lived to see its discovery? There maybe not a bigger pleasure than a curios mind seeking knowledge, and then it attains it.

Paradise is not only every believer's incentive but also right. However in Imam Ali's perception, there was something more important than paradise. In Imam Ali's (AS) words, he neither worshipped Allah for his fear, as it will be the worship of a slave, nor he worshipped Allah for want of paradise, as it will be the worship of a trader; he (AS) worshipped Allah because he (AS) realized that Allah deserved this worship, that Allah is the rightful owner of the worship.

Therefore real feeling of pleasure will be when creation's faces will become bright when they will be "looking to their lord (Quran 75:23)" and witnessing his glory.   "

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