It is only God whose discretion holds supreme in this world. No one else’s power to decide has, in reality, even a semblance of authority. However, for the sake of trial, God has sanctioned freedom to man, who has been given considerable liberty in an otherwise completely enslaved existence, to see how he uses it: does he opt for the realistic choice of submitting to God’s -- the real Master’s – will, or does he get carried away by the excitement of his undeserved liberty and, as a consequence, resort to a rebellious attitude. 

God has prepared paradise for those who, despite possessing many other options, choose to take the straight path; those who volunteer to fear God even on occasions when fear is not apparently warranted; those who, despite wielding full authority surrender all their authority to God. 

When such people are provided with sustenance through the medium of some apparent material source, they acknowledge that it is in fact God Who has arranged it for them. They have the liberty to be unfair to others, but they check this inclination for fear of God. Opportunities of demonstrating anger, hatred, and revenge come their way, but they choose to exercise restraint on these occasions, and prefer to forgive and hold peace. God allows them to be praised lavishly by others, but they find solace in remaining humble. God makes them wealthy, but instead of spending their wealth to satisfy their vain desires, they find it more satisfying to spend in the ways He has desired. They follow the way of God instead of following the way of their own whims; instead of living for their own sake, they live for the sake of God.

The serene world of paradise is indeed for such people. They make themselves subservient to God with their own free will; they choose to remain constrained within the divinely ordained boundaries, despite having the freedom to remove these constraints.

(Dr Khalid Zaheer)

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