Is it a not contradiction to hold on to belief even though one does not fear Hell and does not want Paradise?

The Details of the Question

- What does a person’s not being afraid of burning in Hell, but constantly repenting to Allah mean? For example,
“I will pay the penalty; it does not cause fear in me; I have many sins, but I do not give up on worship, repentance and forgiveness, I am not afraid of burning; punishment does not lead me to worship; it does not give me fear to avoid sins.” And
“I do not want the gardens of Paradise but I live worthy of earning it; however, why should I ask Allah for them?”

- What would you say to someone who thinks like that?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

There may be two different personalities that ignore Paradise and Hell.

One: His respect and love for Allah, his sense of obeying His orders and prohibitions has reached such a peak that all his feelings are activated only by depending on Allah. He might not think of fearing Hell because the fear of Allah in his heart exists in a very fine corridor of belief such as disrespecting Him or hurting His mercy and compassion, not due to torment (penalty).

Besides, such high personalities are not lovers of Paradise... because the sense of seeing Allah’s beauty prevents them from thinking about Paradise.

- This topic might not be understood by us. However, the existence of such exceptional people in history is a fact. Imam Ghazali gave some examples by naming them in the “Love of Allah” section of his book called Ihyau Ulumiddin.

For example, Rabi’atul-Adawiyya said,

“O Allah! Whatever beauties there are in the world for my share, give them to Your unbelieving servants; whatever beauties I have in the hereafter for my share, I have donated them to Your believing servants... I do not want anything from this world or from the hereafter; I just want to see your beauty.”

Someone else said,

“O Allah! If I worship You out of fear of Hell, burn me in hell; If I worship You for the love of Paradise, make it haram for me!”

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi said,

“I also sacrificed my hereafter for the salvation of the belief of the community. I have neither the love of Paradise nor the fear of Hell. Let alone one Said, one thousand Saids can be sacrificed for the belief of the Turkish community of twenty-five million people. If the Quran is left without congregation on the earth, I do not want Paradise because it will be a dungeon for me. If I see that the belief of my nation is safe, I will consent to burn in the blazes of Hell. For, my heart will be like a rose garden when my body burns.” (History of Life, p. 630).

- It should not be forgotten that those people fear Allah more than anyone else, they love Allah more than anyone else, and they worship and serve Allah more than anyone else.

Doubtlessly, we are not in a position to measure the consciousness and enthusiasm of belief in the hearts of those exceptional people. As a poet puts it,

“This small mind cannot grasp those high realities;
For, this scale does not weigh such a big weight.”

The Other: The ones who ignore Paradise and Hell are those who are deprived of the consciousness of belief. Even if they have belief, they cannot show the light that will show the principles of belief, just like a candle that is about to die out. Many of them, like many other people, do not hesitate to spend their energy for the slightest benefit and they tremble at the slightest fear. Such people, whose hands and feet begin to tremble in the face of those who will harm their lives, who do not refrain from making all kinds of sacrifices due to the fear of being imprisoned for two days, and who make so many concessions for the sake of an ephemeral and temporary post and position in the world and a benefit and pleasure, ignore Allah, who created them, Paradise, which is the land of eternal life, and Hell, which is an eternal dungeon; it shows that they have mental problems and that they cannot benefit from the consciousness of belief.

- Actually, they are people like ostriches. They asked the ostrich, “You say I am a bird; Birds fly; we want to see you fly and see.” It said, “I am a camel, not a bird; a camel cannot fly...” They asked the ostrich, “If you are a camel, why do you not carry loads like other camels?” It said, “I am a bird with wings; does a bird carry loads? However, due to its folly, it tries not to see the hunters by burying its head in the sand so as not to be the target of the hunters. However, its huge body is always bound to be a prey to hunters.

Just like in the example of the ostrich, when it is said to such people, “There is Paradise and Hell; so, worship Allah”, they say, “Maybe there is no Paradise and Hell; even if there is, we neither want heaven nor fear hell.” Thus, they think that they free themselves from the burden and responsibility of servitude. On the other hand, when it is said to them, “Since, according to you, there is no hereafter, you and thousands of your beloved ones will perish; that is, you will all be eliminated and sent to the island of nonexistence... All your human values and dignity will be reduced to zero and you will be no different from carrion”, they say, “The Quran teaches that the hereafter exists; accordingly, there is a strong possibility that the hereafter will exist... Therefore, we will be resurrected as honorable people, not as carrion...” Thus, they try to get rid of the boring atmosphere of denial.

However, these wrong maneuvers of theirs are not enough to save them from Azrael’s hands and they will die like everyone else. When believers go to Paradise, such people will unfortunately be thrown into Hell like a rag by angels of Hell.

- We understand from many verses of the Quran that “a lie never lives to be old”. In other words, this lying attitude of those who pretend that they are not afraid of Hell and show off will turn into a real disgrace and baseness after a while: We will give the following verse of the Quran as an example:

“If only thou couldst see when the guilty ones will bend low their heads before their Lord, (saying:): ‘Our Lord! We have seen and we have heard: Now then send us back (to the world): we will work righteousness: for we do indeed (now) believe!’” (as-Sajda, 32/12).

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