These examples illustrate the comparison between heaven and hell. The way to hell is full of pleasures enjoyed by the human heart: temptations such as seductive beauty, sensuous pleasure and wealth, derived no matter from what source, and the kind of material pleasure sought after by so many. Besides this, unlimited freedom of action and renouncement of all forms of control are also experienced on this path, as human beings tend to crave this kind of freedom from all forms of restraint. The path to paradise is certainly no bed of roses. One has to face untold hardships and suffering and to abide by many restrictions and the desire to resist the cravings of the heart. However, whereas the consequence of indulging in what are the temporary pleasures of life lead to constant suffering in hell, the reward for following the more difficult path is eternal joy and pleasure in the life hereafter. It’s rather like a student on the eve of his exams. He is reluctant to leave his family who are watching television, but he has to get on with his revision. However, after this temporary displeasure, he will enjoy the fruits of his success. ‘Another example would be the case of a sick man who has to ‘give up certain delicious foods. His reward is that he will regain his health. God has set the two paths before us and He has created the -faculty within us to enable us to distinguish between the two so ‘that everyone, regardless of his or her educational background, has the ability to discriminate between good and evil. This means that in the same way as when we do something good we feel a sense of relief as we have a clear conscience, we equally feel upset when we do something wrong.

This faculty is not restricted to human beings; animals have it too. For example, if you throw a piece of meat to a cat he will eat it in front of you in a perfectly relaxed way. But if he snatches the meat from you he will run off to a comer and gobble it up on his own so that you won’t see him and grab the meat back! So we can see from this example that in the first instance the cat’s conscience is clear because he feels the meat has been given to him, whereas in the second example his reaction shows he knows instinctively that he has acted aggressively. In other words, he has distinguished between right and wrong, and what is ‘lawful’ and what is ‘prohibited’. A dog too will come and lick his master when he has done something good as if he is asking him for a reward. But when he misbehaves the dog looks sheepish, as if he regrets what he has done or expects to be punished. This is the interpretation of the verse in the Holy Qur’an which says: Have We not shown him the two paths (of good and evil)? (Qur’an;90:80).

The Real Islam

Islam-A General Introduction: “Ta’rif-e-Aam bi-Din il-Islam” By: Shaikh Ali Al-Tantawi تعریف عام بدین الاسلام