I don’t know why I wanted to write about this, but it has been creeping around in my mind for several days so I guess I should go ahead and flesh it out. Sometimes we run into situations or conversations that get us thinking about free will versus what’s destined. We will sit and mull over all of the implications, and never really come to an answer because in reality the concepts are beyond our ability to fully grasp.
The other day this issue came up, but with a twist. I wondered: will those who are sent to punishment in Hell have free will? Naturally, I expect that there will be some form of binding or immobility that will force those there to accept their punishments and leave them no way of trying to escape from it. Yet, there is a particular reason I’m wondering.
The truth is, I don’t really expect to get to paradise after this life. I hope for it of course, I don’t give up that I might find mercy and be given it (especially since my daughter who is there now will want me to be with her), but I know that I miss a lot of salat and that’s no minor thing. That’s very heavy, and even though I try to improve that area I realize that my efforts may still fall short and I will have to face the outlined consequence. Honestly, if that were to happen I would not feel badly because I know it would be deserved. If that were to be my judgment, I would accept it without protest. In fact, sometimes I try to prepare myself for that very real possibility by thinking of strategies that could help me endure the awaiting pain and suffering. Of course I would rather not undergo it, but if it’s inevitable I would at least want to try to handle it if I am at all able.
Of course, I can only compare it to the ways I try to manage pain in this life. I think about the times I have been in the worst suffering, and how I try to turn to Allah and find comfort in Him while I patiently wait for the pain to end. I wondered, can I do that in Hell? Can I try to make prostration and zikr while I am trying to wait out my punishment? I know I physically may not be able to, but will I have enough use of my mind to at least meditate on Him?
I am sure to most people this seems like a really bizarre question. Going to Hell is something no one wants so why would we think about anything that could happen there? Better to focus on doing what we can not to get there and hope for the best, right? I guess that’s where I’m just a little crazy. To me, that would be the worst situation to be in of all creation, and to me it makes perfect sense to try to focus on Allah if that’s where I find myself. I just hope I will be able to do so if that were to be the case.
For me, the hereafter is a very strange thing. I know a lot of people think of Jannah and the ease and comforts and rewards we will find there, and it draws and inspires them to do all they can to attain it. I can’t say I’m not attracted to the idea of a realm with no strife or negativity, no more burdens and anything our hearts desire, but when I try to imagine it I see it like a wonderful thing for a while, and then afterwords I see myself getting bored with it. Astaghfirullah, I know that’s a horrible thing to say, and I know that what is really there is beyond how I’m conceiving it. Yet, still human am I, and if given a choice of anything I could have in Jannah, I would have a world like this one here again. A world with temptations, pains, struggles, tests, challenges and even unpredictability, because in truth I am more in love with the striving than I am with the reward of succeeding. Even though a lot of things hurt me and I wish for them to change to what I prefer, the fact is when things have gone the way I like for a period of time in actuality, I feel empty because there is less of a challenge, less of something to spur me to better myself. When I imagine that state being constant for eternity, I almost begin to believe I would be happier in Hell trying to make du’a against the extreme pain. I know that’s pretty backwards, but it’s the best way I can express it.
I don’t know where someone like me fits. Sometimes, this world seems perfect, like nothing could be better. Not because everything is here I would want or because things always go my way (they totally don’t), but because there’s something about trying to live in a world of chaos and suffering that makes me feel I am really becoming more of who I was meant to be. Make me a perfect person forever in an instant, and it doesn’t seem quite so fulfilling. However what’s funny is, for everyone else I want them to have Jannah. I want them to have no pain, all bliss, and for it to never end. I want this for them because this is what they want for themselves. I know how badly it all hurts, and I want them to find that ease.
I guess I’m just the crazy one, the one who would rather struggle than be relieved. I hope Allah doesn’t hold it against me. I am really not sure what it says about me as a person or whether it means I’m “good” or “bad”, but I really feel like this life is beautifully intricate in its balance between fighting and conquering; in humiliation, abasement, triumph and achievement.