I heard a university professor criticizing the Islamic Paradise for only being a place of physical pleasures and not having a space for intellectual activities.
He hadn't understood that the Islamic Paradise given to a person is a custom-made world dedicated to the one thus blessed. It is a world made for you, in which you are treated like royalty, in which you have the freedom to do what you love, for ever and ever, without fears, worries and distractions.
In Paradise all your physical needs are taken care of, to give you complete freedom to pursue your dreams.
How many gifted and talented people have wasted years of their lives to take care of irrelevant things like providing their daily meals? This is what Paradise is about; it removes these silly distractions, these millions of little things that in this world cause us grief and prevent us from doing what we love.
If you had the entire world to yourself what would do with it? Paradise gives you this world. So that you may use your creativity and imagination to do everything, to create everything, to work on everything, that this world's shortcomings prevent you from.
Paradise is everything we wish this world to be. You want world peace? You want a loving family? Amazing friends? Is there a beautiful and sweet moment in your life that you often think of, when everything was just perfect, that you wish could have lasted forever? Paradise is about giving us these things, these moments, and making them last forever, and removing every possible difficulty and flaw.
There are video games I love that I wish I could play with good friends for a long, long time. Another wish I have is to read every (interesting) book ever written. Learn every programming language. Master all the sciences. And to spend an eternity in the Golden Country
, the place that Winston dreams of in Orwell's 1984. Paradise is about giving us these things, without the possibility of losing them. Every person's dreams come true, forever and for eternity.
Indeed, those who have divided their religion and become sects - you are not [associated] with them in anything. Their affair is only [left] to Allah ; then He will inform them about what they used to do. [Quran 6:159]Most sects were created with good intentions. To get closer to Allah. To get closer to true Islam and revive the religion among people. But...good intentions don't guarantee good results. Once you have created a clearly defined group with "us" and "them", all inside the same religion, you have immediately created division and sectarianism.
And obey Allah and the Messenger that you may attain God's mercy. [Quran 3:132]
And this [Quran] We have bestowed from on high, a blessed one: follow it, then, and be conscious of God, so that you may attain God's mercy. [Quran 6:155]
Why, do you deem it strange that a tiding from your Sustainer should have come unto you through a man from among yourselves, so that he might warn you, and that you might become conscious of God, and that you may attain God's mercy? [Quran 7:63]
When the Qur'an is recited, listen to it and pay attention that you may attain God's mercy. [Quran 7:204]
Hence, [O believers,] be constant in salah, and give zakah, and obey the Messenger, so that you may attain God's mercy. [Quran 24:56]
Said [Salih to the erring ones]: Why do you seek to hasten the coming upon you of evil instead of hoping for the good? Why do you not, rather, ask God to forgive you your sins, so that you may attain God's mercy? [Quran 27:46]
When they are told, "guard yourselves against what is before you and what is behind you, in order that you may attain God's mercy," [they turn away]. [Quran 36:45]
The believers are brothers of one another; therefore create reconciliation between your brothers and fear Allah, that you may attain God's mercy. [Quran 49:10]
O you who are wrapped in your clothing. Spend the night in standing, except for a little. Half of it, or decrease a little from it, or increase a little on it. And recite the Quran in tarteel (in a beautiful manner and without hurry). [Quran 73:1-4]"The night" in this verse means the period between the `isha prayer and the fajr prayer. Half of the night for me is 5 and a half hours where I'm writing this in Sulaimaniyyah, Iraq in February. When the verse says add a little to it or decrease a little from it, it means either to do this recitation for one third of the night, half of the night, or two thirds, as it becomes clear at the end of the chapter.
Indeed, your Lord knows, [O Muhammad], that you stand [in prayer] almost two thirds of the night or half of it or a third of it, and [so do] a group of those with you. And Allah determines [the extent of] the night and the day. He has known that you [Muslims] will not be able to do it [perfectly] and has turned to you in forgiveness, so recite what is easy [for you] of the Qur'an. He has known that there will be among you those who are ill and others traveling throughout the land seeking [something] of the bounty of Allah and others fighting for the cause of Allah . So recite what is easy from it and establish prayer and give zakah and loan Allah a goodly loan. And whatever good you put forward for yourselves - you will find it with Allah . It is better and greater in reward. And seek forgiveness of Allah . Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. [Quran 73:20]In this verse Allah's mercy, kindness and understanding is shown. Allah says to "recite what is easy" of the Qur'an. Unfortunately most take this to mean "recite it when you have absolutely nothing else to do." But the verse subtly tells us, those of us who are dedicated to Allah and love His book, which excuses are valid in Allah's eyes: illness, travel, and being engaged in war.
Those who listen to what is said and follow the best of it: [for] it is they whom God has graced with His guidance, and it is they who are [truly] people of understanding! [Quran 39:18]One quick excuse that I have said to myself too often is that "I haven't memorized the entire Quran, I will stand the night in prayer when I finish memorizing it!" [even though I wasn't actively memorizing]. This is forgetting the fact that the chapter was revealed at the earliest days of Islam when little of the Quran was revealed. Therefore what you know of the Quran could possibly more than what many of the Prophet's companions knew at the time, yet they carried out the command.
AND [remember:] We have not created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them without [an inner] truth; but, behold, the Hour [when this will become clear to all] is indeed yet to come. Hence, forgive [men's failings] with fair forbearance. [Quran 15:85]Therefore if you wish to help people, do it in a beautiful way and with kindness, without criticism or humiliation. And if this fails then leave them alone in a non-aggressive and beautiful manner as the Quran commands:
and endure with patience whatever people say, and avoid them with a comely avoidance.And pray for them, but don't say you are praying for them in a passive-aggressive manner, since that's not the attitude of the one who loves and follows Allah's book.