Entering Paradise in Chains! | About Islam
Home > Shariah > Refine Your Heart > Advice > Entering Paradise in Chains!

Entering Paradise in Chains!

Entering Paradise in Chains!

In his well-known book, Al-Hikam (Words of Wisdom), sheikh Ahmad Ibn `Ataa’illah As-Sakandari says:

“He knew that people will mostly not come voluntarily to Him, so He mandated obedience, and thus led them to Him in the chains of obligation. The Lord wonders about people, driven into heaven through chains.”

This means that Allah the Almighty, Glory be His, knew that people will mostly not come voluntarily to Him to perform obedience of their own will. So He mandated obedience compulsorily, by threatening them punishment if they do not. Hence, He led them to Him in the chains of obligation and intimidation. He thus gradually led them to what guides them to eternal pleasure and elevates them to high levels.

In other words, according to Ibn `Ataa’illah, Allah the Almighty knew that most people cannot see what is good for them and what may make them happy because of their psychological desires and instinctive needs. He also knew that if He leaves them to the guidance of their reason and the incentives of their natural disposition (i.e. fitrah) which are inherent in their human entities, they would be overcome by their whims and lustful desires.

In the same vein, they would turn away from contemplating over what is dictated by sound reason and what is ordained by beneficial knowledge. Therefore, out of the Mercy and Kindness of the Almighty Lord, He drove them to the path of guidance and happiness through orders and ordainments and pushed them towards what is beneficial for them through commitment and obligation.

This is similar to the father who disciplines a child and obliges him to unpleasant difficult tasks that are to his disliking, and only when he grows up does he discover their value. He discovers that only when his own immature mental faculties failed to realize what was good for his own self his father turned his words of guidance and pieces of advice into orders and obligations.

This is also similar to the hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah in which the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said,

Allah wonders at those people who will enter Paradise in chains.” (Al-Bukhari)

This hadith refers to the prisoners of Badr from among the polytheists who were captured and then, when they had the chance to know Islam and interact with Muslims, reverted to Islam. As they did not know anything about the goodness and blessing that were awaiting them through staying for a while amidst the Muslims and under the protection of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him); a matter which eventually led them to embrace Islam and become faithful believers in Allah the Almighty and His blessed Messenger.

Remarkably, one should realize that the said chains of obligation are not restricted only to the compulsory rulings that are mandated by Allah the Almighty upon His servants. Rather, these chains of obligation may be represented in trials and calamities that may drive those who are afflicted with them to an end of happiness and welfare which they would have never reached or gained access to except through the scourges of such calamities.

Indeed, the Battle of Badr to which Muslims were brought step by step is a typical example of these chains of obligation which are mentioned in the above hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Eventually, the end result of these chains was nothing but a unique victory which led to many other great victories in the battles that followed. In these battles, Muslims gained spoils many times as much as the spoils they had desired to seize from the caravan which they set out in the first place to intercept and which managed to evade capture as is indicated in the books on earlier Muslim history. In this connection, Allah the Almighty says in the Ever-Glorious Qur’an what may mean,

{Yet, behold! God had promised you [believers], then that one of the two hosts that you had come upon would fall to you. And you wished that the unarmed one, the trade caravan, would be yours. Yet God intended to establish the religion of truth [in the land] – in accordance with His words – and to cut off the very last remnant of the disbelievers.} (Al-Anfal 8:7)

Accordingly, as true Muslims, we have to obey Allah the Almighty and carry out all His obligations and ordinances out of certainty that only through this we will pursue our interests and find our happiness. We have to realize that all we are ordered to do and/or forbidden from is meant only to guarantee our happiness and welfare in this present life as well as the Hereafter.

Then, Ibn `Ataa’illah gave emphasis to this through the following word of wisdom which reads,

He has obligated you to serve Him but in doing so He has only obligated you to enter His Paradise.

This means that Almighty Allah apparently obliged you to serve Him, and in reality is only obliging you to enter His heaven, for He made deeds cause for entry to heaven. What is meant here and in the aforementioned word of wisdom is stating that Allah is Rich beyond His creation: their obedience does not benefit Him, and their disobedience does not harm Him. All orders and mandates in reality bring benefit to them, and He is the Most Wealthy, the Most Gracious.

Allah Almighty says in His Ever-Glorious Qur’an what may mean,

{…For it is God alone Who is the Self-Sufficient. And it is you who are the poor.} (Muhammad 47:38)

and,

{O mankind! It is you who are the poor, utterly in need of God. And it is God alone Who is the Self-Sufficient, the All-Praised.} (Fatir 35:15)

Finally and to sum up, the above two words of wisdom by Ibn `Ataa’illah As-Sakandari mean that Allah the Almighty knew that most of His slaves are not self-motivated in seeking Him; so, He obligated for them obedience to Him. He pushed them towards Him with the chains of obligation. And that He, Glory be His, has obligated them to serve Him but in doing so He has only obligated them to go to His everlasting Heaven.


About Dr. Ali Al-Halawani

Dr. Ali Al-Halawani is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Translation Studies. He is an author, translator, and writer based in Canada. To date, Al-Halawani authored over 400 original articles on Islam and Muslims, most of which can be accessed on www.aboutislam.net and other famous websites. He has recently started to self-publish his articles and new books, which are available on Amazon and Kindle. You can reach him at [email protected]

Add Comment

find out more!