Saturday, May 2, 2009

hell/heaven

I was reading through some notes and I came across this quote:

“I want to pour water into hell and set paradise on fire, so that these two veils disappear and nobody shall any longer worship God out of fear of hell or hope of heaven.”

It is by a famous Sufi woman called Rabi'a.

I absolutely love this quote and just wanted to share it.

11 comments:

Sarah said...

I like it too. I've often wondered if the punishment/reward system in religions teaches people to focus on themselves too much? What would a better motivation be? To worship God out of love for Him?

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Hey, thanks for posting!
I've thought about that myself and I wonder if human nature is made to worship/do something without incentive? I'm sure many people can, but the majority?
Also the Qur'an talks a lot of being afraid of God, and mentions paradise and hell often, so are these supposed to have an effect on how religious we are, or not?

Mrs.S said...

The quote is very beautiful. I have my doubts about anything people do being truly altruistic. Even the best of deeds are done for one reason or another. Karl Marx and utopian societies come to mind, and I think what an utter disaster Communism is in practice as an example of our inherent need for risk/return.

To me it just gets back to how important intention is in Islam. If you live with good intentions and strive (key word) to love for the sake of God then inshallah you will have paradise. As much as the Qu'ran talks about fearing God it also says that he is merciful and just.

You ask such great questions! I hope that you are able to take some of these to a sheikh or an Imam at your local masjid. One great thing about Islam, that seems to be seldom practiced, is that we are encourage to ask questions and seek answers and not follow blindly.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Mrs S: I agree with you on human nature and not being naturally altruistic.
I definitely think Islam is all about intention. If you have positive intentions to be as good as of a Muslim as you can be, then I think it is okay to make mistakes. No one's perfect.
I don't really trust a lot of the sheikhs here in Cairo, mostly because of things I've heard from people I know. Many sheikhs are ignorant or extremist, and so I feel that it's too risky for me to talk to them now, since I'm still at the beginning of my journey. Inshallah I will find a sheikh that I trust soon.

Sarah said...

I guess probably most people who try to do good deeds do so because they think it's best for them in one way or another.

In terms of worshipping God, I'm not sure. Can we be completely selfless in that? Or is it always about ourselves and what we get out of it? It's been a while since I did anything religious but as a Christian my motivations were probably different to yours anyway.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Hey Sarah! I think it's probably a mix of both for most people: it is what we get out of it but also an innate sense of love/respect/some kind of feeling for God. At least for me it is.

Sarah said...

That's really interesting, and I love what you said about love for God. I guess we worship God because He is good, and part of that is that He is good to us.

ellen557 said...

This is just... wow, so beautiful.
I do agree with what you said up there in one of your comments - many people seem to have a motive when doing good deeds. I have discussed this with my husband; I just can't imagine it.

I sometimes wonder whether the real test is taking ourselves away from advantages of good deeds - are we then acting out of love for God alone, with no thought to ourselves? This is something I would rather strive for than paradise or hell. Hm.


Beautiful post!

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Hey Ellen :) that's interesting, whether the real test is to take ourselves away from the advantages of doing good deed: I wonder if this is possible? Even if we do a good deed without planning it, don't we get some satisfaction afterward that's sort of a reflex reaction?
I agree, it is something we should definitely strive for.
Thanks for posting!

Faith in Writing said...

Wow, that's so powerful. A lot of what you read by followers of Islam is to get into Jannah though. Some put their whole lives around that. It is a lot to think about though, all the reasons why a person would or would not follow otherwise.....

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Faith in Writing: it is a lot to think about. I guess in the end it comes down to human nature: could we ever do something selflessly, even if it is for God? In the end, even if we do something for God, there is the added benefit of going to heaven...

Thanks for posting!