When I was a kid, I thought of paradise as a fantastical, cloudy land. It was where I could fly, swim in candies, and talk with my favorite fantasy characters like Doraemon. In short, paradise in my head was sort of like Disneyland.
Now, at the age of 22, paradise means …
- a place where things would be preserved in a much better form. A place where everything beautiful in this world is resurrected and persists forever, where things and people that I loved, have loved and will love would return and never leave me again.
- A place where pain stops. A place where my heart can stop aching because of separation, betrayal and disappointment
- A place where justice is manifested. A place where oppression, corruption and hypocrisy no longer exists. A place where weak, disaster-stricken and oppressed people are compensated, where oppressors and unjust people are justly punished. A place where words like ‘war’, ‘refugee’, ‘crisis’ would become alien and obsolete
- A place where my heart can (fully) embrace the joy and happiness of God’s mercies without being disturbed by the pain of the past and the anxieties of the future.
- A place where I can continue to learn and be amazed by God’s Infinite Knowledge, Wisdom and Power.
- A place where veils are removed, and I can directly ‘see’ and ‘experience’ all the attributes of God.
I have read somewhere that this world gives us some glimpses of both Paradise and Hell. Thus, Paradise is neither white limbo nor unnatural, unfamiliar place. It’s similar to this world, only thousands or millions or billions or zillions of times better. It’s infinite and always flourishing, just like the incessant blessings and artworks God has displayed in this world.
Even belief in Paradise brings sweetness. Thanks to this belief, I want to strive and stand up again no matter how many times I’ve failed. Thanks to this belief, my heart feels a sense of solace when feeling overwhelmed and despaired by the news. And because of this belief, I know that I need forgiveness more than anything.
The existence of Paradise (as well as Hell) makes known my Creator. I find it hard to even entertain the thought that there’s a God, but there’s no hereafter, no place for God to fully manifest His names of Mercy, Justice, and Power.
When it comes to the topic of the Hereafter, Said Nursi’s explanation of it in “A summary of the Eight Topic” (The Staff of Moses) is still my most favorite. Read it online here if you’re interested