Shatter the Matrix- The World is Not Jannah

By Sh Ahmad Salim

Translated by Sh. El Shinawy

Among the priceless benefits of major calamities and the emotional shock that accompanies them is shattering the faulty matrix with which we choose to understand the world. The most common notions for understanding the world which collapse during calamities are:

  • Good things happen to good people…
  • Calamities are punishments for evil people…
  • When you are afflicted and exhibit patience, ease will soon follow the difficulty…
  • Allah will make an example of every tyrant in the way their lives end…

Though this matrix for understanding the world is not entirely flawed, it will not necessarily occur with every person and in every situation. Our world follows a system of laws that are astronomically more complex than that, but you will find that the simplistic notions above are those more widely adopted by people – essentially because they help people live, be optimistic, and find hope. They like to call it having good assumptions of God, and I like to call it: telling God how things must happen.

This world is not Jannah, nor is it a place of recompense. Its days may sometimes follow the matrix above because the scorching desert needs an occasional breeze to lighten its ferocity, and an oasis in its remote corners to prevent despair. But again, the world is more complex than to be governed by a single unfailing rule, and Allah did not inform us of anything in 6,000+ verses of the Quran more than the fact that this life is a trial in which Allah will examine your conduct.

You having good assumptions of Allah is by trusting that whatever befalls you is an opportunity for you to extract your best qualities. You having good assumptions of Allah is by trusting that He will deliver you to the best version of yourself, and by acting based on that assumption. Believing that you are dearer to Allah than His prophets and nearest slaves, who experienced the greatest calamities and it only increased them in faith and surrender, is not part of having good assumptions of Allah.

Life is a journey in a fiery desert, one where its sun cyclically intensifies, then calms, then sets altogether, and it may on rare occasions offer a cool gust of wind. You must exhibit patience when its sun intensifies, and when its nights darken, and exhibit gratitude for its pleasant breezes and sprinkles of rainfall, and await the Hereafter you have worked for – for it is the true life, and whomsoever Allah grants its bliss will never be harmed by anything.


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