What Is the Way to Contentment and True Blessing?
If you wish to understand how to enjoy, through belief, great contentment and blessing, how to experience fulfillment and ease, then listen to the following parable.
A parable to understand how belief gives contentment and brings blessing
Two men set off together on a journey for both pleasure and business. One of them who is arrogant, self-serving, goes off in one direction, the other, who is God-serving, goes off in the other direction.
Since the self-serving one is both conceited and pessimistic, he ends up in what seemed to him to be a most wicked country because of his pessimism. There he finds himself everywhere surrounded by poor and hopeless people who are tormented at the hands of bullies and their lives ruined. Wherever he goes, he sees the same scene. Everyone in that land is suffering the same misery. Then he decides to forget all such events by becoming a drunk. Everyone then seems to him like a stranger or an enemy. He has awful visions of dead bodies and orphaned children. His soul is plunged in torment.
The other man, by contrast, who is God-serving, decent of conduct and fair-minded, goes to a country which is, in his view, very excellent. This good man sees a universal festival. In every corner there is joy and happiness, and a house for the remembrance of God overflowing with rapture. He also sees the festive celebrations of a general discharge from duties accompanied by cries of good wishes and thanks. And he also hears the sound of a drum and band for the enlistment of soldiers with happy calls of ‘God is the Greatest!’ and ‘There is no deity but God!’ In contrast to the other man, who suffers on account of both himself and all the people, this good-natured man becomes happy at both his own joy and that of all the people. Moreover, he enjoys a comfortable trade and offers thanks to God.
When he meets with the other man, he understands his situation, and says to him, ‘You’ve become a crazy man. All the bad things and the ugliness you see come from, and reflect, your inner world. Because of this, you imagine laughter to be weeping, and the discharge from duties to be sack and pillage. Come to your senses, clean your heart so that this inauspicious veil is raised from your eyes and you may see the truth. For, this is an orderly country, prosperous and civilized, belonging to a powerful, compassionate and just king. So things cannot be as you see or suppose them to be.’ Then the other man comes to his senses, and is full of regrets: ‘Yes, I’ve really lost my mind on account of what I have drunk. Thank you. May God be pleased with you for rescuing me from such a hellish state.’
O my soul! Know that the once arrogant man represents an unbeliever or a heedless sinner. This world means for him a general mourning. All living things appear as weeping orphans because of the hurt of separation and decay. Human beings and animals alike appear to be lonely, uncivilized creatures cut down by death. The great masses such as mountains and oceans appear in his vision as a terrible corpse without soul. His visions arising from his unbelief and misguidance breed such anxieties in his mind which torture him.
But the other man is a believer. He believes in God Almighty and affirms Him. To his way of seeing, this world is a place where people praise Him, a sort of practice arena for human beings and animals, a sort of examination hall for human beings and jinn. All kinds of animals and mankind enjoy a demobilization—that is, those who finish their duty of life travel in spiritual enjoyment to the other eternal world. This is quite simple to understand—the world needs a new generation to people it and to work in it. All kinds of animals and human beings have entered the world to carry on some particular business. All living things are as soldiers or even officers happy with the business appointed for them. And the sounds that are heard are the sounds of their praise and glorifying as they begin, or of pleasure as they work, or of thanksgiving as they finish. In the view of the believer, all things are the obedient servants, or friendly officers, or a lovable book of his Most Generous Master and All-Compassionate Owner. Many more beautiful, sublime and pleasurable truths like these arise from his belief.
This is because faith bears the seed of what is in effect a Tuba tree of Paradise. Whereas unbelief contains the seed of a Zakkum tree of Hell.
Safety and well-being are only to be found in Islam and belief. Therefore, we should continually return thanks to God, saying, ‘Praise be to God for the religion of Islam and perfect belief.’
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.